Sunday, 26 November 2006

Sunday 26 November 2006 - Old Great North Road + Spiders

I know it's boring and repetitive to say it, but the Old Great North Road remains the best mountain bike ride available to anyone living in the vicinity of Sydney, hands down!

Not only is it a great ride with a superb mix of both open running track and technical challenges, but with the addition of the 'Spiders' loop, you get an extra single track loop, a challenging and entertaining descent, a great rocky creek section, and a transit stage to prepare you for one of the best uphill climbs available - Shepherd's Gully.

All this, and the weather was great too!

The only real challenges of the day were (a) it took a long time to cover 54km or so (we were out for around six hours, with a total trip time of more than eight hours - pushing the family relationships a little(!)); and (b) anyone carrying only three or four litres of water ran out - so the last stretch up the hill was a bit hot!

Richard, Brian, Doug, T-Bone, Whisperer, Stephe and Rob all managed to get an early start:

However, this being an Old Great North Road ride, Brian did need 20 minutes of mechanical work on his bike on the side of the road before we set off - which of course set off the usual round of "Whisper, can you please just quickly check out my bike" queries...

The ride itself was one where all the bits seemed to be in the right place at the right time, with everyone having a great ride, taking on challenges and nailing them. Even the trip back was good, despite the heat coming on strong, and fluids running low.

T-Bone managed a flat on the downhill run home (changing his tyre with a variety of not very successful bike pumps did cause some amusement...), but we otherwise pushed the bikes hard with no ill effects.

We ate just before getting into Spiders, so that we had managed to get some energy back into the system for the climb back up Shepherd's Gully to Devine's Hill - this seemed to work, as everyone managed the climb pretty well... One for future reference!

Apart from exhaustion all around, and some cramping on the return journey, a great, great ride.

Rob's track profile is here (with more information than you can poke a stick at).

Doug has now uploaded all 234 photos and maps from the day (hoooeee!), which are here (including *many* of the Spiders track).


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