Sunday, 24 June 2007

Sunday 24 June 2007 - East Lindfield to Seaforth / return

The weather continues to maximise bike wear and tear, given that today was another very wet day out... But that didn't stop it being a fantastic ride!

Brian came up with the proposed route, and Matt P and Stephe joined him for a very entertaining, albeit exhausting, blast.

We parked at Tryon Road tennis courts at East Lindfield, and dropped in through the pathway to the fire trail, which is always a hoot right at the start before any real warm up or bike 'conditioning'... In a sign of things to come, Matt P was elegant and in control, Brian was very competent and looking dangerous, and Stephe was crudely attacking things and then wussing out when he got frightened.

Running gear malfunction reared its ugly head on Brian's bike fairly early, which meant that his flamboyance was at least somewhat curtailed along the ride. Perhaps some bike maintenance is in order...

The first uphill and downhill technical sections at the end of the the fire trail from Tryon Road were an excellent warm up challenge, with some fine efforts being put in all around. Matt led the blast down the hill along the river, to the car park on the South of the Roseville Bridge. After a quick check that T-Bone was not making it (ah, T-Bone), we 'hiked a bike' up on to the trail to Bantry Bay, and then rode along in the misty rain and clingy, wet scrub. It wasn't really too wet, and the technical challenges were mostly doable (even if we didn't 'do' all of them!).

By the time we'd made it to the track behind the houses of Forestville (Magazine Gap track? Natural Bridge track?), we started to come across the first of 7,372 Oxfam trail walkers (all of whom were instantly recognisable by their very flash walking gear and new camelbacks etc). Although a few of them managed to witness Matt in full flight, or Brian and Stephe in half flight, most just saw us carrying our bikes up cliffs, over trees, or whatever... (ah well).

In particular, the section from the Retirement Village fire trail down into the gully and back up turns out to be not bike friendly, just as Doug has constantly told us in the past.

From the Natural Bridge track (?), we rejoined the 'standard' route from Roseville to Wakehurst Parkway (where Matt was spotted by some adoring fans - unfortunately for him, just as he attempted a novel (and tragically unsuccessul) approach to a rock face! They still loved him anyway...), and then on to Seaforth Oval.

By this stage, our short local ride had taken around three hours, and we were yet to start the return journey (apples and bread at Seaforth Oval at around 10am - at around 18kms or so (as measured crudely on MS Live Earth)).

A much faster, and more focused return trip followed (Brian leading the way on anything that let him 'open up', with Matt simply cruising along behind looking stylish and Stephe panting slowly in catch up mode). We cut out a big chunk of trail in the middle (emerging at the Retirement Village, and taking the road to Roseville Bridge), and then we were right back into it.

Had the classic embarrassment of catching some runners along Two Creeks Track, leaving them behind, getting caught at the next tree, leaving them behind, and then worrying every time we hit a hill and ran out of energy. Fortunately, we managed to get back to Tryon Road before being caught again - and finished the ride at around 12 noon, absolutely knackered, filthy dirty / muddy, and very, very happy!

No photos, no GPS - but a great outcome. A total trip length of probably 30 - 35kms or so.

Yee ha!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Sunday 17 June 2007 - GNR from Mangrove Mountain Dam

Brian and Stephe set out on a very wet Sunday morning, intending to join Doug to try the classic GNR ride despite the adverse conditions...

Made it to Wisemans Ferry road (the road into the road that leads down to the pumping station), and came across the first detour signs. We drove around them, and found that the first bridge down the road had been washed away (seems to be a recurring theme for recent rides!).

Fixed Brian's bike on the side of the road (a couple of bits needed tweaking, most of which went pretty well, given that we were doing it in 12° temperature and rain) while waiting for Doug to come up the Old Pacific Highway. Once Doug joined us, we started on the detour to get back to the main plan. Decided halfway that we should take the opportunity to start from the Mangrove Mountain Dam instead, so we kicked on there. Pleasant drive down, and a good view from the observation deck.

The dam was looking very impressive, and had climbed from 7% to about 16% full, so that was (a) good, and (b) a long way from an uncontrolled spillway release!

Made it across the Dam (there's another track there called "Blue Door" apparently, which we didn't take - Doug has old maps of it if interested).

Got on to the Great North Road (after a couple of monster, big wash out, hill climbs), and then went North to the end (McSomething's entrance - essentially paved road at the end of the GNR trail sections). Huge amounts of washout on the way there... Lots and lots and lots of water.

Stephe had a humungous / slow motion 'over the bars' at the end of a big charge across a lake (was going well, but the front wheel dug in at the far side just as he was about to emerge!). Hurt his leg, and whinged a lot. Oooooow.

Ride back was a bit faster, but still lots of impassable or near impassable bits (all actually passable, but lots of mud and water). The surface the entire way was boggy and soft, with loooots of chain suck (although, Brian - who oiled his chain just as we set off, which I thought was a complete no-no - had none at all).

The trip back to the turn off was actually quite fun, and fairly quick.

Then a couple of big old climbs, and some humungous down hill washouts (again, Stephe went over the bars at one point - classic, focus on the hole and you just can't miss it!).

Back over the Dam, chatted to the local Dam maintainer about water levels, challenges in looking after a dam and stuff, and back home (got lost on the way home, had an unsatisfying stop at the Peats Ridge Milk Bar, and then had a bike fall off the roof racks on the highway at Warrawee, causing some ugly looking dents in the car).

It was actually great to be out - beautiful smells, rain was warm enough, lots of fun - damaged somewhat by the return journey happenings.

There weren't many photos, but those that there were are here (pictures of an old bridge half way along the track where we pulled apart Brian's brakes, and also of the earthquake monitoring station we came across!). The profile shows the climb down to the dam and up again, at each end of the ride...

Friday, 15 June 2007

Sunday 10 June 2007 - Mooney (in the wet!)

Ride report hopefully coming from Brian (although, to be fair, he has not agreed to the request yet!).

In any case, it was very wet, and we were washed out when we got to the big creek crossing / ford... Here's an old clip of the creek crossing, without much water. And here's one, two and a third from this ride, showing a bit of water!

This link is to the full set including videos, and here's a selection for amusement:

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Sunday 3 June 2007 - Manly Dam + Seaforth

Following a little confusion among the lads, only Brian, Matthew and Stephe managed to make today's ride - which was a short and sweet one around Manly, and along to Seaforth Oval...

But, it was fun, and got Brian back into the groove - which was also important!