Sunday 29 January – Ourimbah State Forest
A novel ride for the ShutupandRide crew, quite different to what we normally do – but it turned out to be a ripper!
We met at Ourimbah just before 8am, and managed to catch up with the excellent chaps from the FatBoysMTB team – thank you Matt and team for the guidance and company. Rees, Whisperer, Brian and Stephe were joined for the first time by Paul, riding a very mean looking downhill machine. After an introductory circuit, we had some idea of the nature of the place, with lots of narrow singles tracks tracing up and down the hills, some groovy drops and rises, a wander through a closed canopy forest, and then back out into the open forest etc.
The track was laid out in a relatively tight space, which was quite different from the open cross country runs that we were used to (or, even, Manly Dam and related tracks). However, given the layout and the quality of the track (and the company!), the intensity was kept to a very high level for the entire circuit – ensuring that pretty well the entire team were breathing very heavily at the end of that first run. After a quick break, we were back for a second run, leading to a much better performance around the various elements than first time ‘round, particularly noticeable in the Rollercoaster which turns out to be a very hot section, *if* you kept your speed up (and threw you right off the pace if you didn’t!).
We finished the second run tired but pretty happy, although it would be fair to say that some of us had some misgivings about whether or not we’d be likely to return soon...
But! We threw in a long (long) ride up the hill from the car park along the access road to the top – where the downhill boys were getting their bikes delivered to them (struth!). After some Whisperer whispering (Rees had run out of front brakes, not surprising given his aggressive approach…) we were joined by a very decent bloke from Newcastle (Whisper, what was his name again?), who deserted his partner to join us on the downhill drop. The drop was almost entirely doable, although we managed a couple of amusing get offs (Rees forgot that his front brakes now worked, and almost went over the front end; Brian’s new found caution kept making it hard for him). Paul tragically came into his own and looked very much like a man born to downhill (albeit shadowed very closely by the man from Newcastle). Half way down, we had to get off the track for another bunch of downhillers (as their bikes were delivered to them at the top again), which was educational in itself. A future challenge involves jumping off the tree stumps through the not even a little tiny bit threatening one bike width gap between a couple of other trees!
The track then emerged at the bottom of one of the rises of the earlier circuit we’d been travelling and – after watching the downhillers do some more Very Silly Stuff off a big rock – we pressed on for another circuit. This one was absolutely magic – and we discovered what joy there was in simply refining our technique with a bit of speed…
All in all, a great day (finished off with meat pies and milkshakes – you legend!). We’ll be back pretty soon I’d wager.
No photos, or GPS given the last minute withdrawal of Doug from the team.