Sunday, 27 August 2006

Sunday 27 August 2006 - Mooney

What a beautiful morning for mountain bike riding, the birds were singing and the air was crisp and clean, alas we were a few riders short but the enthusiasm of the four made up for it. We set off at a blistering pace with Doug leading the way showing no signs of his back injury closely followed by Ed, Rees and Robin all heading to our first photo shoot at the bridge.

Every one must have been a little tired today because the hills that we usually go up with not too much difficulty seemed to be very challenging - and there was a lot of feet touching the ground.

The ride to the oranges was fairly uneventful just our normal ride, the ride back was a lot more fun though, Ed, Rees and Robin tackled Brian's rock with no problems at all and Ed and Robin went down the hard way.

Ed was on fire on the way back he was very hard to keep up with he rode like a person possessed , he even tried to ride through the water where the over bridge is but failed miserably but made it up by doing some very dramatic poses for the web site.

This was Robin's first ride to Mooney and overall it was a great ride and I think Robin really enjoyed it , he will be back for more.


Photos, track, profile here

Monday, 21 August 2006

Sunday 20 August 2006 - Redhill and Oxford Falls

We (Whisperer, Matt, Doug, Brian, T-Bone, Rees and Stephe) set off in the warm glow of early daylight from Lady Penrhyn Drive - after the obligatory pre-ride repairs (both Brian and Stephe blew a tube while pumping up their tyres...).

The day looked promising, the sun was out and the track had the odd puddle but was otherwise in near perfect condition.

It wasn't long before we were pushing each other up the early small technical sections, with a bit of huffing and puffing showing that perhaps we were not quite yet warmed up. Then, we were into the Redhill rock section, with everyone on fire - although T-Bone was so excited about Stephe's split lip from the fortnight before that he went over the handlebars in exactly the same place, albeit with a *far* better outcome! What's more, he was 'straight back on that horse', and over the challenge again a minute later - ah, talent and youth, what a dangerous combination...

There was a general pushing of the envelope: Whisperer and Brian demonstrating closet trials riding skills that had never before seen the light of day, Rees taking on every challenge just quietly in the background, but successfully, Doug racing ahead to 'do the photos', despite the fact that he thinks the whole rock hopping thing sux, and Matt and Stephe demonstrating that stupidity is still the best option...

As always the photos and video clips do no justice to just how scary it all really was.

The singles track uphill to Oxford Falls was uneventful, and the race down the cross country track was a blast (marred briefly by T-Bone demonstrating a front wheel washout at the coffin; and by the silly decision (as it turns out) *not* to turn off on the Road to Nowhere to drop into Deep Creek from the north...).

The last real recollection your humble correspondent has of the ride was coming down the four wheel drive track very fast, lots of air, past Brian (safely as I recall), past Doug (less tidy, but trying to give him a wide berth), then asking everyone to leave me alone for a while as I lay eating rocks in a sad and crumpled state in the middle of the track. Four ambulances and nine hours in hospital later, lots of pain, a broken clavicle (the x-ray looks very messy), and a chipped C5 were the outcome. See you all in eight to twelve weeks. Ah, no talent and age - a very dangerous combination!

an addendum from the rider behind (Doug)....

it was easy for you to give Doug a wide berth because he'd been riding on the edge of the road waiting (hoping) for you to pass since the start of the hill hit the ramp at the top of the scariest part of the decent (the bit where Brian has nearly run off the road twice, at half the speed you were doing) at 40-50kph....combined with an exuberant leap this resulted in probably much more "air" than you were expecting, I'd say 3-4 feet (that's 1m-1.2m, T-Bone).

From the moment you left the ground I knew this was going to be either the best or the worst attempt at human flight I'd ever seen...

...your angle of momentum was slightly across the road from left to right, I think this may have caused you to attempt to adjust left while airborne to save landing in the rocks off the road to the right...alas without flaps and a rudder there was little chance of success landed heavy on the front wheel pretty much directly in front of was quickly obvious that your slightly confused angle of momentum would remove any chance of the usual skilful compressed the front end, bounced slightly left and then dived head first into the ground...that bit explains the broken bones, however you still had 40kph to get rid of and that took many horrible seconds to unfold...lucky for me it also gave me time to apply the brakes and not run you down

Your recollection of the next few minutes is fairly accurate...we all stood around checking for obvious injuries, thankful that you were still responsive at least...after a few minutes you got tired of lying in the dirt facing downhill (looked comfy to me) and we/you managed to get you sitting on the side of the road

...called ambos and they sent the entire fleet...5 all up, 3 came down the track to you, the first was a 2wd VW van...not sure how he got out, I think they were going to tow him with a 4wd...these guys/girl were absolutely fantastic, professional and had high-tech gadgetry all over you in minutes, plus drugs to ease the pain...a helicopter trip would have been nice tho

The rest is obvious from the photos...except that the scariest part was that you vagued out several had no idea where you were, what happened and how old you were...if it wasn't for the head injury we would have made you walk you made Brian walk out

and, a further addendum on logistics, for those that care:

First off we all huddled around you to assess the damage. It took maybe 5 mins to work out that you had probably broken your collarbone, then another 2-3mins to decide that you had a head wound, you were not the full quid and we were not going to make you walk out (like you did to Brian...there was some discussion about forcing you to walk out though...Brian kept bringing it up for some reason)

We discovered that we had a least two mobile phones (why everyone doesn't bring one beats me)...after a short workshop T-Bone was elected to dial triple-0 as he was the closest thing to the establishment we had...I stood by with GPS co-ordinates (not sure if they used these in the end) and to make sure that T-Bone didn't miss anything (like the head wound bit...I figured this would hurry them more than a trivial broken shoulder).

Whisperer was assigned logistics (and he was good at it too)...he decided to dispatch two riders to make sure the ambos didn't get lost and to get someone from the aerodrome to open the gate. Rees and Matt set off up the hill. I believe that no-one was at the aerodrome, however they met someone at the gate who agreed to leave it open, then they went up to meet the ambos and escort them down.

The next problem was bike extraction. The logistics manager decided to ride your bike to the top and chuck it into the bushes for later retrieval by car, then run back down and ride his own bike out. Fortunately he met the other two ambos at the top and one offered to take the bike back to St Ives ambo station for safe keeping.

Meanwhile Rees arrived back at the scene with the first ambo, a 2wd VW van. This ambo didn't dare drive down the last 200m so they had to get out and walk their gear down. They were on the job cutting your clothes off, putting up with your smart arse jokes for 5-10mins before the ambo guy asked me to ride to the top to make sure that the 4wd ambos didn't get lost. I set off but only got as far as the second water bar before they arrived.

Then another 4wd arrived with the ambo boss. So you had a mob of about 13 people fussing over you at this point. They doped you up, stuck a collar on and some bandaids then chucked you in the back and suddenly you were gone. We rode back up the hill, down the singles track to the earth-stations and back over to beacon hill. Whisperer did some fancy navigation to get us there by the shortest but most painful route (he did much better at navigation than THAT last time we won't mention here).

Photos, tracks, profile here (thank goodness we had Doug back), with some sample photos below.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Sunday 13 August 2006 - Old Great North Road (and Spiders)

Folks, there is no way to describe just how brilliant a mountain bike riding day today was...

The sun was out, the sky was blue, the clouds were fluffy and white. The bellbirds belled, the valleys were beautiful, the lyrebirds ran, the goannas were big, fat and happy, and the track was dry and in perfect condition. I have never seen so much magnificent wattle in my life... In short, it was great, great, great.

T-Bone, Joe and Stephe met Darrell at the pumping station at Mangrove Mountain right on the button of 7.45am (having spent a couple of minutes cruising around at the top to find each other). We spent a little time getting our act together, but were relatively soon on our way...

The long climb was, as ever, the perfect warm up - and by the time we got to the junction of the Western Commission track and the Old Great North Road single track, we were ready and raring to go. It was so warm, we actually needed to stop part way up the big climb to doff some of the cooler weather gear... Lots of excellent riding followed - with very little going wrong (Stephe's forks continue to be a little troublesome with the cable, but we managed to sort that out as we went along).

We were on fire, and riding comfortably through the technical sections (including a substantial number of zero touch sections which usually caused more trouble) - and arrived at the beginning of "Spiders" with everyone cheery and looking for more (although, to be fair, Darrell was perhaps not entirely certain what we had in store for him, and may have been a little apprehensive).

Spiders was a blast, and the drop into the creek was in superb condition - we spent some time attacking different angles on the way down (Joe and Darrell caught on film being a little conservative in some sections and taking the walking option; T-Bone and Stephe doing their best to learn how to fall gracefully!).

The only real injury of the day was Joe falling over a rock into another (sharper!) rock down on the creek section - and it was one of those "really, really hurts mum" shin bashes, that gets insufficient sympathy from loved ones... Until that point we were all looking pretty impressive on either zero or a low number of touches on the tricky rock sections.

The ride out past the farmhouse and on to the road stage was pleasant and uneventful, although some of the troops were flagging a little at this point, particularly as we hadn't yet stopped for any snacks.

Shepherds Gully: fantastic. Perfect conditions for one of the best 'honest' climbs in Sydney, marred slightly by a T-Bone flat. Then up to Devines Hill for a well deserved snack break.

The trip home was a more quiet affair, as the tiredness started to take an impact on some folk - although once T-Bone had forced some Magnesium into Joe, he started riding like a man possessed and, indeed, ended up winning the drag up the bitumen road to the cars at 3pm. The downhill run involved far too much speed, and plenty of air, without even the standard someone off into the trees overcooking section!

I can't think how the ride could have been any better - other than, I suppose, being able to share it with some of our absent buddies (c'mon boys, get those backs fixed!!).

The Old Great North Road is just one of the best balanced rides around - we should do it every week!

Photos here - sorry about the quality, no Doug (although we also now have Darrell's photos up as well) (and no GPS, although Darrell's speedo told us we cracked 50kms I believe (Darrell, any confirmation on the distance?)). Some highlights below:

The untidy unpacking business, and the team ready to roll:

General ride stuff:

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Sunday 6 August 2006 - Redhill and Oxford Falls

Although the entire Redhill / Oxford Falls playground was saturated, we managed a ride today without a drop of rain during the journey.

The day started almost on time, with T-Bone, Brian and Stephe gathering at Lady Penryhn Drive, where we waited for Ed. Ed, who was running late (surprise!), then rang in and asked for instructions - somehow, he interpreted the instruction "Lady Penryhn Drive" as meaning "Morgan Road" - which we discovered when we rang him 15 minutes later... Ah, Ed. While waiting for his next attempt, we went into the newly refurbished Redhill 'playground' and tried to work out just how all those free riders do what they do... It was fun, and incident free (although T-Bone landed a couple of scary looking attempts).

Ed arrived, and we set off on the ride proper. Everyone seemed in good form, and - despite getting our feet wet in the huuuuge puddles that existed everywhere - the day looked promising.

That is, until we arrived at the Redhill technical rock section where, for the second week in a row, Stephe demonstrated that his luck had now really run out. What started out as a fun, and mildly aggressive drop down the rocks, turned into a wussy roll over a ledge, front wheel plant, face plant - four stitches in a split lip combo... Bugger.

We fixed the front tyre (another pinch flat in the course of the disaster), took basic medical treatment (Brian saying "are you ok" and the odd dab with a tissue), and pressed on - a slightly disturbed Stephe was a bit shattered from there on, but it was still much fun.

By the time we got to the Oxford Falls side, we were back in the groove and made a couple of good technical uphill challenges, which was satisfying. Unfortunately, the wet and slippery conditions contributed to a couple more accidents (T-Bone demonstrating that, if you get hurt in the first one, you should back off and not have another seven stacks in a row). Despite the increasingly poor form, we dropped into Deep Creek from the north side - which was still fun, even tho' we gave some of the bigger risks a miss.

An enjoyable burn back along Deep Creek, a sprint by Brian up the Sport and Rec hill back into Redhill proper (fitness is a glorious thing), and then Ed led us on a final charge from there back to Lady Penryhn.

Unfortunately, the mothers dropping off their children for a little play at the Redhill jumps were somewhat taken aback by the abundance of blood we displayed as we arrived back at the cars - we probably set back the kids' chances of further independence by another year or so!

If it wasn't for the pain - we'd have all had a great day. Unfortunately, with Doug still recovering from a bad back, no photos, no GPS.