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...

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