Monday 23 April 2007

29 April 2007 - Coba Point

Liam and the NobMob crew invaded Coba Point big time today, and Pete (second ever mountain bike ride, with lots of "but I'm a roadie, this isn't the same" attitude), John (first ride back since the concussion and broken hand sustained on this very ride...) and Stephe tagged along (joining lots of folk we hadn't met before, as well as Steve, Matt and Rob to make sure we knew some folk).

The ride started at 8.30am (wow, it's actually hard getting up that late), conditions were perfect and around 15 people turned up. Turns out that 15 is a *lot* of people...

We did the Out and Back ride to Coba Point (with a quick detour to the lookout first), and had around five mechanical failures (tubes, gears, whatever) along the way - with the resultant many hands offering to assist etc. We pulled the pin just before the end of the track, where the local land owner has started destroying the trail to prevent thoroughfare, and gathered up the stragglers as we went back (probably a bit harsh on those that hadn't made it to the end before, but we had already used up a loooot of time on that section...).

More failures on the way back - including one stop of around 30 minutes waiting for a hanger repair I believe. In any case, by the time we got back to the car, the "roadies" were despondent (too much stop/start), and there was a bit more wear and tear on folk than expected at that stage. That said, predictions that lots of people would pike it before the second section did not turn out to be at all true, and we all motored on to the Smugglers Ridge ride.

We had a fairly good pace along the initial part of the ride (with the delays being due to Stephe mainly), and John was slowly warming up back into the groove, and even Pete found some bits of ride that were acceptable. Dropped into the first technical section and started to spread out the field - Matt, of course, wins hands down the elegance award, and Steve was without a doubt the "silly line, but no problem, I can get air here anyway" winner...

There was a minor spearing incident when a tree went into a gap in Stephe's helmet and then into his head (and it still hurts), followed by some colourful bouncing on the final seriously steep section of the ride (with all of Matt, Steve and Stephe bouncing over the edge at one point or another - and, again, still feeling the pain!).

In any case, we were all ultimately down at the bottom safely (to one degree or another), and then set about the long climb out... Lots of impressive work here, and - while it was fairly slow - very few folk actually blowing up on the hills. There was what looked like it was going to be a phenomanal storm as we climbed Hill 2 (and went past the site of John's debacle on the other side), but in keeping with the excellence of the day it blew over without anyone getting wet.

Back to the cars around 3pm - happy and tired, but perhaps not convincing Pete that this was a viable alternative to the road...

Rob was doing photos - they're up here...

The planned ride details from NobMob are here, where (presumably) there will also one day be a ride report.

Sunday 22 April 2007

Sunday 22 April 2007 - Forestville to Manly

T-Bone's plan turned out to be a goodie...

He not only suggested the ride (starting at the Forestville Retirement Village (Cook Street), then ride through Allambie, Seaforth, Manly Vale to Manly Dam and back... ), but actually turned up!

T-Bone, Doug, Matt, Whisperer and Stephe arrived at the Cook Street departure point around 6.45am. It was cool with an occasional rain drop or two, which meant that the close in bush on the single track was wet, but otherwise conditions were excellent.

The ride out to the dam was uneventful, but enjoyable. T-Bone's been pushing far too much weight recently, so found having to actually do useful work with his muscles somewhat unusual, which meant we could try and make him suffer even further up any hills we came across.

Given the pace and the generally smooth ride, we didn't stop much for photos - although Doug snagged a couple along the way (see below). Once we made it to Manly Dam, we joined about a million other healthy folk doing laps (said "hi" to Nick, Gavin and Ryan as we went past while they were unpacking at the water station), but it was still great.

Unfortunately, we'd managed to not get entirely into the groove, with everyone failing to make the technical rock section above the golf course on their first pass (even more humiliating was the fact that there were people on the rocks on each attempt!). Matt continues to show style even when he takes Really Silly Lines up the rocks, and Whisperer also managed to look fairly stylish despite not nailing it with his usual aplomb.

The climb out was uneventful, back across the Wakehurst Parkway to the Forestville return run (with a quick detour 'round the technical section on that side of the road).

The ride home left us feeling peculiarly tired for what was actually only an 18km ride - but it was still fun!

Photos (but no GPS?) from Doug are all up here, some samples below (nice tree wrap by T-Bone!):

Sunday 15 April 2007

Sunday 15 April 2007 - Angorawa Creek - Old Putty Road trail

It's never a good day when the masses are entirely correct, but unfortunately, today turns out to be one of them... To all those who *didn't* join us for a ride up the Old Putty Road, congratulations, it was a disaster!

We (Rob, Matt, Steve and Stephe) missed the beginning of the track, rode for a couple of hours on a boggy / sandy trail that we thought might have been it, but which went nowhere much, came back, and then spent another few kilometres riding back down the bitumen (the wrong way) trying to find where we went wrong!

Some minor bits of skill development on the way (we're now all accomplished 'sand riders', with Steve demontrating the "hit it at 100km/h and you'll either get through or fall on your face" technique (which worked suprisingly well!), and there were some interesting / challenging hills to climb).

Ah well, living and learning (we were out at 6.32am and back at 3pm, with pies and milk on the way home!)... It all looked very promising as we left:

The original plan was to link up with the trail on this .kmz file, which also has some topo overlays embedded in it. The meeting point was intended to be:,150.650202+(Grassy+Hill+Fire+Trail)&z=13&om=

And here's the map as it turned out:

Rob's thoughts on the day (and his pictures are all up here, with some below):


Very sorry about today. I'm clearly very disappointed that (a) I didn't have my GPS (durh) and (b) I didn't bring the co-ordinates that we could have easily entered into Steve's :(

The sandpit we ended up riding is not on any map, but seems the water we passed in a couple of places was called Angorawa Creek. Well, the firetrail from the road down the the bottom of the valley was on a map, but nothing past there. Check out the pic, how close we were :(

I still think the walking stuff on the map has potential. It was a good plan, but very, very poorly executed (OK - poorly executed by me!). The cyan loop you see on the image does start out as firetrail, at the top of a hill, and climb further from the firetrail we drove down, before dropping as walking path into the valley.

I'm sure that was the place. Doh, doh, doh!

The only thing I can say to help is think about the trails you love (eg. Smugglers & Mooney Mooney), and how they are marked as walking trails.

Not put off by today's misadventure I really want to go take another look. Erm... although I won't hold anyone to a return trip - I will search for some more willing suckers... erm... volunteers ;)


P.S. FWIW I had an excellent day, feel tired (that sand is tough) and had plenty of laughs which is what it's all about IMHO.

Sunday 8 April 2007

Sunday 8 April - Mooney (Oranges)

Despite inclement weather, we (Rob, Matt, Doug, Rees, Steve and Stephe) made the trip to Mooney, meeting under the F3 bridge at Mooney Mooney (off the old road to Gosford) at around 7.45am (other than Matt, who actually arrived at 7am!).

Although rain was threatening as we set off, it didn't really come down until about an hour into the ride, and then only for ten minute intervals a couple of times over the next couple of hours. However, there was no doubt that Mooney was wet - there was water in all the hollows, water running down the track, and water falling every time you bumped a tree. Which also, of course, meant leeches every time you put a foot down, or bumped into a tree...

But, a small price to pay for a truly excellent ride - our only regret being that we were just not quite up to the condition required to add "The Bucket" to the journey, instead doing the loop through the Orange Orchard and back.

The climbs were excellent (there was the additional challenge of slippery clay / mud added between each of the usual loose rocky surfaces), and the technical sections (such as the 'rock gardens') were even more interesting, given the water overlay, so that it wasn't clear just where the holes were...

At the top of the main climb (which Stephe is excited to report that he made with just one touch - it ain't perfect, but perhaps shows some slight improvement over time? And, more importantly, preserving some honour in the face of the onslaught from the downhill / technical / trials crowd of Matt and Steve!), Matt discovered that the very fancy pants hanger on his Santa Cruz was not as indestructible as assumed, and had a nasty little bend in it. Rob's allen key proved insufficient for the highly technical job of wrenching the hanger back into shape (ah, we're nothing if not sophisticated!), but a bit more effort and a shorter allen key managed to get the thing back into basic operating condition so that Matt could continue.

Pretty well everyone cocked up some bit or other of the track, but the tragedy is that it's not all captured on film - the most spectacular get off of the day was Matt on Rock Brian, which Doug had timed perfectly for the camera - until we discovered he'd run out of batteries just as the shutter clicked! We can nonetheless assure you that Matt looks as silly as the amateurs that he normally puts to shame (ie the rest of us), as he flies across the top of his handlebars... Doug was finally captured on film, looking good; and Rees was being very quiet for his return ride after a long absence...

The blast back down the hill was scary, as each little ditch was filled with water, and some ditches proved to be much less little than others... By the time we were on the downhill section proper, we were effectively riding down a continuous creek of runoff water. Apart from a truly muddy mess, there were no major incidents, and we arrived at the big creek crossing amused and with rapid heart beats!

The creek crossing provided lots of scope for silly attempts at what was a Very Wet Crossing indeed, with the inevitable splashes as folk completely failed to have the bike stay upright in the absence of grip. Finally, on the way home, every single one of us failed to negotiate smart arse creek, again proving just what a sensible name that is!

We arrived back at the cars, and rode the bikes into the creek in what proved to be a very successful cleaning exercise (of course, the beasts all needed extra cleaning once we made it home to get rid of the salt water, but they looked better for the experience).

Photos and map are here... (including mostly Rob, with a couple of videos from Doug!)

Sunday 1 April 2007

Sunday 1 April 2007 - Redhill / Oxford Falls loop

A great day for a great ride - indeed, it was getting a little like Pitt Street out there at one stage, with everyone taking advantage of the perfect weather.

We (Doug, T-Bone, Brian, Matt and Stephe), were honoured to be joined by Shawn (out for his first Real Ride) and Steve (really a downhiller, but slumming it with the XC boys while his bones heal!).

Lots of photos and videos, as well as the track map and profile, up on the albums page (again, although we'd need him just for his excellent company, it's also great to have Doug back for the camera work). Of course, that means there were no photos of Doug, and Shawn also seems to have managed to avoid the camera's eye...

As we kicked off at Sport and Rec at around 7am, to head up the hill into Redhill, we spied a group of maybe 15 or so riders led by Graham M. going the same way - it looked like there was going to be serious traffic for the journey. However, as is inevitably the case, the size of the larger group gave us a chance to have a quick play on Red Rock and still get away...

Stephe and T-Bone

Matt and Steve

Brian and the NobMob crew...

We headed up along the trail back past the big sand bowl, then turned right to scoot down Whisperer's single track, to emerge back on the main trail (heading past the turnoff to the Rim Track) and on to the superb Redhill technical section (where both Steve and T-Bone decided to do the section in the air, rather than riding down with the rest of us)...

Stephe and Steve

Matt and Brian

Ah, T-Bone, and Stephe


And these of Steve (the photo here of Steve giving up part way down the rocks is to remind us that he was actually human after all, although he did (of course) then immediately do the rocks run with no hiccups)

From the technical section, we had a great blast around the track to the drop to the pumping station, down and up the hill to Wakehurst Parkway, and across the road into Oxford Falls. The single track climb back up to the fire trail was a blast as always, but the pressure of being the man least used to the track was beginning to tell on Shawn (who kept pushing the whole time in any case, making it hard to blow him up!).

Brian tried to join T-Bone, Matt and Stephe in getting up the mid stage rock on the single track, tragically to no avail (but this attempt looked good!):

There are a stack of videos of the various attempts (almost all embarrassing! see pages 3 and 5 of the photos), and - sorry to be so juvenile as to pick on Steve, but this one was among the more amusing...

One we'd had a quick break at Breakfast Rock, it was back on to the firetrail, and on to the XC track - what a blast!

Unfortunately, the pressure (and complete lack of any reasonable support from the rest of us), got to Shawn who managed a high speed 'off' along the XC track. He yet again got back on the bike to press on, but he *did* look very sore! That just left the creek crossing below the model aeroplane field, along the firetrail to Deep Creek and into the Deep Creek drop (with Steve again showing how it should be done):

After that, there was nothing more to do than blast back to the cars in plenty of time to still get home before we were missed.

This loop just cries out for many more regular visits...