Sunday, 11 June 2006

Sunday 11 June - Old North Ride + Spiders!

It was absolutely washing down rain from the heavens this morning, but for some reason all planned participants thought we were still on and got organised... We drove through the rain to pick up T-Bone at Hornsby, and then through the rain to get to Mangrove Mountain. Then, we arrived at the pumping station, the rain stopped, and the sun came out.

A perfect start to yet another demonstration of just how good mountain bike riding is! It was a great, great, great ride.

The standard long warm up from the pumping station to Ten Mile Hollow, and the further hill to the junction of the Wisemans Ferry singles track with the Western Commission track were knocked off in record time with everyone keen to kick on. We stopped for a quick group photo (Doug, T-Bone, Rees, Brian and Stephe), and a short conversation with some of the famous Fat Boys Mountain Bike team - big shout out to Anthony Drury and the lads - and we were on our way again.

The singles track across the ridge line was a blast (other than Brian losing a spoke in the first ten metres), and much jumping, hopping and general fun was being had by all. We arrived at the first real technical challenge (the two stage rock ledge climb), and only one rider managed the task, although Doug made it almost to the top of stage two but dropped his foot out at the last second. Brian (who was otherwise looking dangerously on form) failed miserably and was forbidden by a tetchy Doug from making a *third* attempt at the climb, but seemed to manage to channel his disappointment into more very impressive riding afterwards anyway.

T-Bone was loving the downhill sections and Rees was running like a truck up anything that even slightly resembled a slope.

Almost to the end of the singles track along the ridge, we headed out North on the Spiders Single Track (pausing only for a quick sustenance break before setting off). With no spiders in evidence to slow us down, we hooted along the track, stopping for 'glamour shots' on the first couple of drops. Then it was down the big steep drop to the creek - what a blast!!!

Cruising along the creek was fun, and the pace was still pretty solid by the time we made it through duelling banjos country to the road transition stage (and, yet again, no farmers with shotguns, so perhaps we're having ourselves on).

The climb up Shepherd's Gully was just plain great, although it's fair to say that it knocked the stuffing out of "but all my muscle fibres are white short twitch versions!" T-Bone - putting him well on the back foot for the return trip.

A short stop at the top of Devine's Hill to recharge the nutrient levels, and we were off again for the blast home. Doug and Brian shifted into a higher plane, and by the time some other dudes arrived on the track our boys were warmed up and ready to see off the (perhaps imagined!) challenge. What looked like a victorious effort at holding off a couple of "roadies" for the majority of the track turned into a major league embarrassment when the interlopers absolutely steamed past our leaders towards the Western Commission track end of the ride, and were never to be seen again. Ah, boys, all that work and nothing to show for it!

Having knocked the stuffing out of themselves, Brian and Doug then had to wait about 15 minutes for Rees, T-Bone and Stephe to catch them - and were both feeling the pain from there to the finish... The ride home was, as ever, a complete blast - albeit with a bunch of *very* tired folk trying to get up the last 500m hill to the cars.

Ride Photos here, with some samples below (check out the profile and satellite picture - turns out to be a 52km loop, all of it fun!):


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