Sunday 28 January 2007

Sunday 28 January 2007 - Tooling around Oxford Falls

Ah, about time we had a real disaster on our hands... Today was supposed to be a newbie day, and we had planned a relatively gentle local ride, with some exploration thrown in for good measure (in theory, finding the 'missing link' from the old Oxford Falls tracks just before Morgan Road, to the downhill track from the Bahai Temple).

Alas and alack, it was not to be. Our newbie turned out to need confirmation that the ride was on (oops, should have thought of that!), and so didn't turn up.

Doug, Brian, Rees, Joe, Ed and Stephe were starters (good to have both Joe and Ed back for a ride occasionally), and figured we'd press on with the original plan anyway, to try and find anything interesting...

Well, it turns out there *isn't* anything interesting down that set of trails. Some fairly dull fire trail that meanders down and around a creek at the bottom. The only interesting looking bit was a climb straight up the side of the valley which, after much consternation / discussion / mutiny proposals, we attempted to walk up... It was a long, slow, hot hike-a-bike section, and at the top was a boring section of 2km fire trail leading to Mona Vale Road.

By this time, Brian's bursitis had started giving him serious grief, Rees needed to be home, and generally, we wussed it - rode back along the tarmac to Morgan Road and prepared to go home.

An overview of the meander, and the profile:

To add insult to injury, Joe then decided we were such pea hearts that he shot off for a lap of the XC circuit around Oxford Falls on his own!!

The photo and plot are here...

Sunday 21 January 2007

Sunday 21 January 2007 - Redhill / Oxford Falls loop

For a ride that we do a lot, it's amazing just how much fun can be had at Redhill / Oxford Falls...

We were honoured with the company of Matt P. this morning, who met up with T-Bone, Whisperer and Stephe at 7am parked just outside the gates of the Sport & Rec centre, then joined by Doug and Rees (parking down at the Lake, so as to keep a low profile!).

Set off through Sport & Rec without incident, up the big climb into Redhill, and straight into silliness with a dash down Red Rock (whereupon it became clear that Matt was a competent rider, and all thought of us having a good time being mean to him fell to pieces). T-Bone was showing some early fine form, and must now be in competition with Richard for the "mountain bikers who are actually good but still need to get over it" hubris award (although, to be fair, T-Bone's much less painful than Richard ever was!).

Whisperer and Stephe tried to lead a mutiny - to take the longer route down behind the playground at Lady Penryhn Drive - but it was soon quashed, to be added to the trip some other day when everyone's not in such a rush... So, off we went down Whisperer's singles track...

and then out on to the famed Redhill technical section. Much fun had - T-Bone remaining the only one to wheelie drop the big drop at the end, but at least he had more company riding down the other various trick bits in that area.

Finally, after much general playing about - we headed down from Redhill to the pumping station on Wakehurst Parkway, across the road and up the hill into Oxford Falls. Some good technical work on the far side (climbing the single track to the fire trail was fun!), and then a quick break in the shade for apples and Nana's cornflake cookies...

The ride down the XC track was ultimately led by Matt, at the sort of pace one would expect from someone who wasn't aware that his companions were tired old men (T-Bone excepted!).

Tragically, that rush came to an abrupt end when Matt slid out at the bottom of the XC track on the nasty loose gravel - giving him a very attractive spurting red blood fountain where once his elbow had been. Following extensive consultation on the appropriate medical treatment (ranging from ignorant to dangerously incompetent!) we confirmed that three separate people had a medical kit but had chosen today not to bring it along... ah, sad cases indeed. [And, Doug - no photos!!!]

Despite the lack of decent care, Matt soldiered on and we had a great finish down the firetrail into Deep Creek (with Stephe executing a perfect 'over the handlebars' on wimp rock - burning it even more fiercely into his mind as a guaranteed loser - T-Bone, of course, nailed it).

Scooted along the singe track beside the creek, with much fun and the weather just beginning to warm up.

Pretty well everyone (well, excluding Matt, who just kept bleeding!) was in fine form by the time we got back to the cars - well early, and off to recover many brownie points from spouses and spouse equivalent units.

The full set of photos are to be found here...

Thursday 18 January 2007

Thursday 18 January 2007 - Two Creeks Track

A quick evening blast by T-Bone and Stephe, leaving Middle Cove around 5.00pm, and back not long after 6.30pm. Up the road to the top of the Roseville Bridge, down under the bridge, out to Lindfield along the Two Creeks Track, and then back again.

On the way back, we checked out the alternate route (avoiding riding down the road to Roseville Bridge - always a good idea!), which was via Echo Point Park. A good safe alternative for when we try to do the track with some young 'uns...

Stephe was very excited to ride from Middle Cove to the gates at the back of Tryon Road without a single foot dab... The climb up the loose rock section was a monster, and the drop down the final section to the fire trail managed to scare the daylights out of almost everyone in the region (including a poor cyclist trying to walk his bike up at the time). Both Stephe and T-Bone managed to do the return journey with just a walk up the stairs, and a single dab while climbing the section immediately afterward - a very satisfying way to end the day!

Sunday 14 January 2007

Sunday 14 January 2007 - Coba Point

Although it wasn't quite the old saying "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone" (they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot), it was still good to be back to Coba Point to see what we'd been missing all this time (primarily, because we followed Doug's negative reviews of the place!).

In short, it's a hoot - and should be one of our regular rides. Lots of loose rocky bits make the technical sections challenging (up *and* down), there's quite a bit of just riding on good quality single track, and a good selection of up hill and back again to keep everyone guessing. Add to this, the fantastic drop which is Smuggler's Ridge, and you've got a seriously good ride...

However, as Doug, Brian, Rees and Stephe found out (and only them, given that a bunch of folk who had asked for directions never quite made it... (Justin??)), Coba Point is *not* for the faint-hearted when the sun comes out! Particularly not with the hills at the end - check out this profile:

All the photos, profile, track etc (221 of them!) are to be found here, some samples in the following notes:

We kicked off around 7.30am, from the 'not really a car park' at the end of the road, and headed off out along the 'out and back' ride to Coba Point itself. An excellent warm up, with the odd bit of technical fun thrown in for amusement (although Doug was not amused).

At the Coba Point end, a local property owner had put in place ever more extreme obstructions to try to slow down motorbikes, so we actually pulled the pin about 500m before the Point and headed back. By the time we came back past the cars, it was clear that it was getting hot, and there was some element of trepidation about the next bit...

The ride along Smugglers Ridge is initially a firetrail, merging into single track at the end with plenty of speed and smooth enough riding. But the fun started with the drop down into the valley below, with lots of spectating and some interesting opportunites:

Tragically, though - it wasn't long before that behaviour, turned into this:

Which ultimately, of course, led to this - the single most spectacular mountain bike 'off' we've seen in recent times (yet another Brian special, again with no real negative outcome!):

(did we look appropriately concerned?).

In any case, we made it to the bottom in essentially one piece (albeit with a few bruises, and battered bits), cruised out to the Orchard to show Rees - and then started the hill climb out (remember the profile?!). Stephe made the first water bar on the first hill, and then walked the rest, Rees did marginally better, Doug had a good shot as well, and Brian probably rode about 30% of the first hill. After that, Brian pretty well rode the balance of the hills, Doug did a similar job, Rees was a legend, and Stephe kept walking.

We'd all finished our water by the time we started the hills, the temperature had hit 35°C with the sun blasting off the white gravel, and we were knackered:

But - we made it out, we drank a lot, and a few days later - we were happy! If you haven't done this ride: do yourself a favour!

All the photos, profile, track etc (221 of them!) are to be found here.