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!)


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