Sunday 12 November 2006

Sunday 12 November - Old Great North Road - Wat Loop

We (Doug, T-Bone, Brian and Stephe) had a gentle 'come back ride' for the long absent Stephe, to see how he could handle the conditions. At the end of the day, it turns out that Stephe did ok, but - sadly - Doug did not...

The climb was a typically enjoyable affair, with much affable conversation and general skylarking (T-Bone was once again pleased to be joined by someone with the same level of maturity!). Although there was a brief suggestion that we simply go on and do the standard Old Great North Road ride (south), Doug and Brian insisted on remaining with the original plan, and we headed off behind the Wat Buddha Dhama.

Unfortunately, Stephe's lack of recent form meant that he 'dropped in' on Brian's line just as he was about to crest one of the many challenging climbs behind the Wat, lowering the overall civility of the ride at that point for some time... (the Irish are remarkably capable expletive users, we have now found).

We meandered out along the North track for a while, but - in a rare concession - the team took pity on Stephe's lack of match fitness and turned around early - with a total ride distance of just under 30kms.

Doug's recent run of bad luck continued on the way back down the hill to the pumping station, when he collected a stick (thrown up by Brian) in the front wheel - reducing his speed from 30km/h to zero in the time it took him to be thrown from the bike, attempt some sort of crash protection roll, and land on his knees...

The blood was ugly, but the graph of the track speed at the time of the crash is great viewing! Four broken spokes and other general impact damage later, the wheel was still in a relatively straight line, so we limped home slowly and cautiously.

Photos and track (including a couple of variations on speed / distance) are here.

A quick view of Stephe's scar now that it's all over (why? because we've got a photo, so why not!):

And a shot of Brian playing at the pumping station:


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