Sunday, 16 July 2006

Sunday 16 July 2006 - Coba Point

To think that we were considering changing venue, given the ongoing threat of inclement weather - it was very lucky that we didn't: the day dawned sunny and bright, and we road in near perfect conditions.

Rob joined Doug, Rees, Ed, Brian and Stephe on a little adventure which was to have encompassed Coba Point (out to the first lookout and back, then out to the Coba Point lookout proper, and back), and then the plan was to travel along Smugglers Ridge to the end, drop over the edge, and then come back up the biiiiiig hills!

Unfortunately, the plan didn't get executed in quite that way. We spent quite a bit of time playing around on the Coba Point section (some rocks to go down with amusing attempts, and some stretches which proved quite challenging going up!), and had used up a fair bit of energy as we got into the return journey of the inital section before we were to head off to Smugglers. Then disaster struck - Doug managed to knock his back out somehow, and was unable to ride back out, so spent some time walking back.

Doug suggested we ride on without him (and we took him up on his offer), but Rees was exceptionally noble and stayed with him to nurse him home.

Ed, Rob, Brian and Stephe set off - only to be waylaid with a flat tyre. After we sorted that out, Ed decided he would join the retirees, leaving Rob, Brian and Stephe to explore Smugglers.

The good news is that Smugglers is nothing short of brilliant!

Although at least half the ride along the ridge line is just a firetrail (pretty but boring), the balance of the ride makes up for it. First there's a couple of kilometres of single track, which was fast and fun (a bit like the top of Manly Dam or Menai, after a fashion). Then, the great drop down to the river - probably a kilometre in total, and right up there with the most challenging technical descents we've had the pleasure of doing (including Spiders, the drop into Deep Creek from the North, etc).

Although it was probably all doable, we didn't manage to do it (!) - with each of Rob, Brian and Stephe alternately shining on some really tricky bits and then executing pretty bizarre over the handle bar type disasters. But it was just plain great!

Brian gets an award for the best exit over the side of the cliff, which (of course) we only award when the recipient comes out alive. Rob gets the award for the most aggressive approach to a tricky bit before bottling out at the moment of truth (but was in a lot of competition for this award with Brian...). Stephe fell down most things with occasional grace, but mostly just bone jarring stupidity...

We then faced the famous three hills of the Valley to get back out to the cars - which Stephe walked, Rob rode and walked, and Brian - the hill climbing legend - rode. Very impressive indeed!

Photos and stuff are here (all 125 of them!). In addition, Rob's version of the profile, track data, heart rate and stuff are here. And a silly video of a couple of folk here.

Motley crew riding along the start:

The view and the starters (Doug, Rees, Ed, Stephe, Rob, Brian):

Playing on the rocks:

Great scenery, check the sky!

Brian, Rob, Stephe on the Smugglers Ridge descent:

The joy of having made it down; and then the exhaustion of the hills on the way out!):


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