Sunday, 28 October 2007

Sunday 28 October 2007 - OGNR

Perfect conditions for a great Old Great North Road ride, which - in the end - it was for some, but not for others!

We started out at the standard time, and after meeting up with Paul on the freeway, were thinking about leaving the pumping station at Mangrove Mountain at about 8am - without Ed, who had forewarned that he was recovering from a cold... But, lo and behold - down through the mist emerged the man himself, looking for all the world like a mountain biker's mountain biker.

So, just after 8am, Brian, John, Nicole, Paul, Ed and Stephe set off down the road to the pumping station, across the weir, and into the standard group photo pose.

[At this point, we pause to remember that mountain bike photographer of record, Doug, is still swanning about France - so we feared we were without quality assistance - but we were able to call upon Nicole's skills with a camera (they're the good ones in this set!).]

We then climbed the big hills to the junction of the Western Commission Track and the OGNR, without much incident - and with the young guns (Ed and Paul) taking an aggressive lead, and Brian biding his time for the inevitable "old bull" run at the younger folk (with John also cruising along comfortably)... Nicole and Stephe took their time to enjoy the ride from the back of the field.

The run along the ridge line single track was, as ever, a great one - and by the time we arrived at the 'mound of death' and bumped into Ashley, Graham and co, we were warmed up and raring to go. Paul showed Stephe how to get air off the mound of death (scaring him greatly in the process), and then we cruised on down the next minor technical section.

And, then: disaster... on the last of a short series of three bunny hops down the ledges, there was an almighty crack, and Stephe found himself on top of a very broken Rocky Mountain bike frame. Did we mention that the bike was borrowed from Richard, just back from being repaired... Aaargh.

After some quick engineering input (consensus: Not Good), Stephe started the long trudge back to the car (not even able to roll down the hills on what was left of the very sorry bike), with Nicole honourably offering to accompany him. The rest of the lads cruised along the ridge line to the top of Devine's Hill, had a quick snack and headed back. At this point, Ed's facade of being completely in control finally cracked, he hit the wall and came back well and truly in Stage IV...

Stephe was picked up by a ranger at the Wat Buddha Dharma (after about two hours of walking - seriously trying Nicole's patience!), by which time the other lads had caught up, and we were treated to a personal tour by Ranger Jeff of some Aboriginal art work on a cave by the track which we had never previously seen.

An enjoyable trip back down the hill to the Pumping Station (somewhat less so for those in the 4WD...), back up the hill to the cars, and off to the cafe by around 2.30pm. Many thanks to Ranger Jeff for the rescue.

[photo album page now up]

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Sunday 21 October 2007 - Redhill / Oxford Falls / Redhill

Another excellent run around Redhill and Oxford falls.

Unfortunately, with Doug in France, no group photo, no gps, no album yet - etc [Update: the limited photos we had are now up]. However, at least Matt, Richard, Ed, Brian and Stephe managed to get out and about and have some fun (after the customary excuses early about who had had the least sleep, etc!).

We left Sport & Rec at 6.55am (waiting, of course, for Ed to finally show), and headed straight up the big climb. A quick drop down Red Rock for the silly ones amongst us (no prizes for recognising Matt as a key participant in that group), and then off to Whisperer's Single Track to link up to the top of the Redhill technical section.

Grabbed a couple of shots at the dip along the sniggle -with varying degrees of success on display (!) - Matt, Brian, Richard, Ed and Brian:

We then moved on to the Redhill technical section, which was amusing as always - and again, little bits of silliness inserted in an otherwise entertaining roll down the hill... First Ed's first shot at a decent rock on the new bike:

And then Matt, demonstrating that we can never leave the straight roll down alone any more... (!):

The day warmed up, we scooted across the causeway and up the single track to the firetrail at Oxford Falls and had a quick bite to eat (bumping into a couple of happy looking chappies on the way up)... then on to the XC track (yee ha), out the Road to Nowhere / Somewhere, and down the northern drop into Deep Creek (less fun than its sister run just parallel to it).

Lots of fun then had along Deep Creek, and Brian and Ed led the high speed drag back along Wakehurst Parkway to the cars (why we had a high speed drag in blazing heat on the tarmac, I still do not know...).

Ah, there's nothing quite like a decent mountain bike ride (vastly better, for example, than the road ride to Kurnell and back the day before!).

Photos up here...

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Sunday 14 October 2007 - Menai

Well, well, well. Who'd a thunked it? Ed, Richard and Ashley back for a ride finally - and perfect conditions down at Menai in which to do so!

[Ed, having finally built his new bike (very flash!), Richard having finally got his frame break repaird, and Ashley finally recognising that we're nice people to ride with!]

Joining the triumphant (well, not entirely triumphant - but more on that later) return of the prodigal riders were Whisperer, Matt, Nicole (out for her first stint with us) and Stephe.

We arrived early, to allow some time for "bike whispering" on Nicole's brakes - but it turns out that the adjustment was minor, and very quick (and highly successful), so we then had to hang around for another 20 minutes waiting for Ed and Richard to turn up... Ah, the best laid plans, and all that.

Finally, we were off - starting with the fantastic intro track on the Eastern side of Old Illawarra Road, and then across the road to do the Northern loop of Menai proper. The form for the day was quickly evident with Whisperer, Ash and Matt all champing at the bit, and Richard, Ed, Nicole and Stephe taking a more sensible approach! After the loop, we dropped down the standard sandy sniggle to the creek crossing at the Southern end of the main bowl, climbed up the other side and headed out along the perimeter fire trail toward the Western edge.

For a variety of reasons (none of them related to the lack of any navigation capapility on Stephe's behalf!), we dropped back into the main bowl a little early instead of cruising the perimeter track, and then headed off along the track on the Western side of the creek and cruised the tracks up and back along the creek, before it was time for a quick bite to eat back at the big central track meet point...

Unfortunately, by this time the consequences of Richard's hangover had become pretty evident to all of us (including, finally, Richard), and he decided discretion would be the better part of valour and made his way out gently back to the car.

That left the rest of the crew to explore the valley over the North Western end of the main bowl, where Matt executed the northshore drop with his customer poise and elegance, while the rest of us looked on admiringly (and with only a tinge of jealousy). The locals had done a fair bit of work on the structures (and we were careful to try to minimise any harm in checking 'em out), but it's fair to say that none are likely to win engineering safety awards any time soon.

After a bit more general playing, we began the meander out, coming back along to the original path in, where we came across a couple of track sentinels (some very dusty water dragons):

Up to Old Illawarra Road, across for the fantabulous blast back along the sniggle to the car park (always a hoot, no matter how tired), and out.

Another excellent day out - plently of nice track, albeit with a bit of fire trail / stop / start action in between... Menai remains an entertaining diversion (indeed, Ashley has since said that "it's right up there as one of the top rides", and Whisperer thinks similarly...), but it's still clear why Mooney and Old Great North Road have their special places in our hearts!

(very limited) Photos are all here...

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Sunday 7 October 2007 - Middle Cove - Manly Dam - Middle Cove

A great ride, on a day made for mountain bike riding - but with everyone else out and about only John and Stephe managed to make it...

From Middle Cove down to Tryon Road, along Two Creeks Track, across Roseville Bridge, along the single track at the edge of the water (with some entertaining drops, and a few 'hike a bike' sections along the way), back up past the Retirement Home at Forestville, past the Scout Hall, around the loops to Wakehurst Parkway and to the top of Manly Dam. Lots of riders out enjoying the sunshine (and, perhaps, a quick glimpse of Graham Maslen - who once joined us a long time ago...).

Bumped into Matt doing his duty with Nicole McVicar on a Manly Dam trail day (what a good bloke), and then did a lap of Manly Dam and went back the same way.

A good fun blast!