Sunday, 15 July 2007

Sunday 15 July 2007 - Old Great North Road

It seems to me that OGNR defeated us today... We were optimistic enough at the start, with Rob, Matt and Whisperer driving up in convoy with Brian, Johnbo and Stephe, to meet Rees and Doug, and Steve K. at the Mangrove Mountain pumping station.

[Steve K, Rob, Matt, Brian, Stephe, Johnbo, Rees, Whisperer, Doug]

But things started to go wrong when Stephe missed the Peats Ridge turn off (the conversation (about a topic not fit for the delicate sensibilities of readers of this blog), was clearly fully engaging). After a flurry of calls from Whisperer et al, we managed to get back on track and arrived not too long after everyone - and, indeed, before Doug and Rees (coming up the Old Pacific Highway).

Things deteriorated further when Brian discovered that when you buy new shoes you have to actually install cleats in them (ah deary gracious me). Matt came to the rescue with a pair of flat pedals, Brian changed back into his runners, and we were eventually on our way (some time after 8am).

It was around 2°C as we dropped down into the even colder valley where the Pumping Station had water flowing over the weir (and most definately over the rocks below the weir). Our crossing was cold and wet - with a couple of brave souls riding across, and a bunch of loonies taking off their shoes and socks and walking across in near freezing water! So, by the time we finally managed to start the ride proper, everyone was desperate for a climb, and slowly but surely we warmed up as we made our way up to Ten Mile Hollow, and then on to the junction of the OGNR track and Western Commission Track.

We met the first of about five groups of folk (riders and walkers) at the junction, with others along the ridge line, at the entrance to Spiders, top of Devines Hill, and on the way back at Ten Mile Hollow.

Johnbo was an OGNR newbie, and was happy to ignore the difficulties of using a hard tail beastie on this track - taking in the surrounds and making 'happy noises' from time to time.

Steve K. was struggling with the pace (that is, he kept trying to find a low enough gear to not be more than 2kms in front of Stephe at any point!). At least Doug, Matt, Brian and Rob had someone to hammer off with now and then, when they needed to clear their lungs...

Whisperer was clearly feeling the affects of his week's illness, and was part of the ultimate (dastardly) movement to scotch the planned drop via Spiders into St Albans... That said, even when we arrived back at the cars with Whisperer telling us all he was buggered, he managed to be among the first in the final sprint.

The ride across the ridge line was excellent as always. Steve K made a spectacular dismount at the first of the drops into a switchback, and Matt mastered the infamous two stage rock climb on his first run (leaving all other eight riders in his wake - humiliating!). Stephe was playing silly buggers, and only discovered after knocking Rob to the ground (and then riding over him), that Rob wasn't playing... ooops.

We arrived at Spiders, decided against it and went on to find the old road down Shepherd's Gully from Devines Hill, but retired defeated - although we did find a nice little section of single track heading out to look over Wiseman's Ferry (sort of the mirror image position on the North to Finches' Line on the South).

The ride back was a bit tiring - and Rees, Johnbo and Stephe were all grateful for the brief respite that came from a flat on Rob's bike (why is Rob still riding a bike with tubes?). We were hoping for some company from Brian - but he managed to hammer through the last sections, without being overly handicapped by having flat pedals rather than clips...

In any case, the pace was off a bit, but we all arrived safely back at the Pumping Station around 2pm (?) and then made our way back up the vertical bitumen road to the cars.

In all, a good ride, but not one of the better OGNR ventures. Nonetheless, a pleasure to have had the company on what was a great day for a ride.

Photos, a single video, the Profile, and stuff are up here...


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