Sunday, 4 March 2007

Sunday 4 March 2007 - Coba Point, including Smugglers Ridge

Ah, mountain biking - she's a hard task master!

Today's report would have (should have) been, a quick discussion around what a great ride Coba Point is, and why Doug needs to change his mind about it - but unfortunately, in a lapse of concentration after the ride was basically all over, John came off over a water bar, knocked his head and is now ruing his foolishness at North Shore hospital.... (all looks ok, following what seems to be a bit of concussion, but they did a CT scan and kept him in overnight).

The day started out on a much more promising note... Brian and Stephe were joined by John for his first ever real ride out in the wilderness, and we also finally caught up with Justin (we've been "almost, but not quite" having him on a ride for almost a year now!).

We set ourselves up with a minimum of fuss, and then headed off for the 'out and back' section of the track as a warmup. Turns out to be around two hours (not the one hour that Stephe had promised), but still a great ride, with technical bits, up hills, down hills, smooth running bits, and lots of stuff in between. The recent rains had eroded a lot of the soil between the rocks, so the loose rocky climbs were looser and rockier (!) than usual. And, there were spiders everywhere!!

All good, and John was performing like a much more experienced rider...

As we came back past the cars, the day was heating up, and we topped up our water supplies - and then headed off to the Smugglers Ridge run.

Again, a great consistent run - with Justin showing us that the fact that he'd never before ridden this particular track wasn't going to slow him down... We arrived at the start of the descent, and made varying attempts at conquering each of the individually challenging stages, with equally varying degrees of success. There was the occasional moment of concern, but all in all, a great ride along the ridge, and a lot of fun navigating the drop.

At the bottom, the creek crossing was well full - so it was shoes off, carrying the bikes across and ducking our heads underwater to cool off. After a bit more mucking about we finally set off for the ascent.

Hill #1 was a beauty as always, with Brian and Justin riding the top half, John setting a cracking pace walking up, and Stephe trailing far behind from the very bottom... Hill #2 proved to be a better run for Stephe and Justin, Brian again nailed it, and John again showing his pace on foot whenever not riding.

Just before Hill #3 it got ugly, as John had a momentary lapse of concentration over a water bar, appears to have shifted his weight forward, and gone over the handlebars into the ground. He had a big whack on the helmet (always good to get a reminder of just how good helmets are, eh!) and a couple of hits to the head just below the helmet. He also managed to break the fifth metacarpal on his right hand, and gathered a bunch of grazes along the arms and legs. Nonetheless, after a few minutes recovery, he was happy enough to get back on the bike (despite the 30° plus heat) and wind his way up Hill #3 and out.

[Once we arrived home, John started exhibiting some curious concussion style symptoms, so he then managed to spend the rest of the afternoon being x-rayed, prodded, poked, dressed, CT scanned etc... as of the following morning, still recovering in North Shore hospital, but appparently ok, albeit more scans and a pin for the broken finger...]

So, other than that - an excellent ride, perhaps not for the middle of summer!

Photos, such as they are, are all here, but no GPS I'm afraid (there is a rumour that Justin had a GPS in his bag, but that he doesn't know how to use it - say it ain't so!!!).


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