Sunday 16 September 2007 - Redhill (playing!)
In the absence of Doug, we thought we would be mischevious and go out and do the silly stuff around Redhill. Following a few weeks of rain, it wasn't clear that we wouldn't be underwater, but it appears that the last couple of days of sunshine were beneficial - and the tracks were in pretty good nick overall.
As the day dawned, it was crisp, clear and on the way to being very sunny! Paul, Stephe, Matt and Mark arrived at 7am to kick off a great morning's ride:
We set off straight down the hill behind the Redhill main playground, with some early tentative rock playing (well, tentative from everyone but Matt who was - of course - straight into it out of the gates!). The first OTB was Stephe discovering that 'the little rock ledge covered by leaves' was in fact 'a large hole covered by leaves', but he was quickly joined by pretty well everyone else in various stages of 'in motion dismounting'... (other than Paul, who appeared to remain solidly connected to his bike the entire day).
In any case, we completed the drop (yee ha, mucho fun - including Mark demonstrating that he was as happy to act foolishly as the rest of us, with just a little provocation from Matt (who always seems so sensible when Doug is around?)), and came out at the Retirement Home units, to wind our way up the bitumen.
The drop back in was accomplished without taking out any of the star pickets (still scary!), although the following section of rocks did their bit to take out the odd derailleur. Then, on to the climb back into Redhill proper - up the classic, clay track - accomplished with varying degrees of success (some) and panache (none). Across the top, down Whisperer's single track and into the technical section - all generally completed with gusto and amusement (read: stupid actions, involving lots of challenges and some 'active dismounts').
After playing in the technical section (with only Matt doing the silly roll off, everyone else turning mature suddenly), we climbed back *up* the technical section. Which, for the record, turns out to be a jolly difficult thing to do!
Then, off to the Rim Track, which was by far the muddiest bog hole of the entire day, but still a fantastic bit of track, with plenty of entertaining challenges. Much fun again. Up the channel at the end, back on to the main Redhill Track (backwards) to the top of the Sport & Rec centre. After the obligatory roll down Red Rock (again, still scary), we climbed up the track to the top of Itchy & Scratchy. Then, apart from Matt showing us all up (although, Paul showed no hesitation in doing the same stuff, followed pretty closely by Mark - maybe it was just Stephe being shown up), Itchy and Scratchy was just plain brilliant. Hooeee.
Back down to the track from Sport & Rec, up the climb (riding 90% of it - clearly, it's all "doable"(!)), and then grinding back up the sandy track across the top back to Lady Penryhn Drive to the cars, and out by 11am.
While not a huge number of kilometres, and less free flowing than most of our rides, it was a hoot! Glamour shots at the end, for the little black book of great looking mountain bike riders:
When all was said and done, and despite the occasional "Redhill sound of money being ground down the drain" noises, the bikes didn't come up too badly... Here's Mark's beast, showing very little in the way of wear (and hiding quite well the nasty dent in the main tube incurred at Menai last time out):