Sunday, 11 November 2007

Sunday 11 November 2007 - Oaks (and *not* St Helena's) Trail

After a week of consistent rain (quick note: none of it in the dam, surprise, surprise!), Sunday dawned crisp and clear. Very strong evidence that there is in fact an ultimate deity, given her consistent protection of all things mountain biking!

In any case, Paul, Matt, Nicole, Ed, and Stephe met at the car park for Glenbrook Railway Station in plenty of time for a baked goods snack, before jumping on the train with our bikes, bound for Woodford - for what was to be a St Helena's track adventure, with Paul showing us the way.

Paul (Fearless Leader) was fearlessly leading, with assistance from Team Leader (who shall remain nameless, but *she* does seem to have a natural desire to 'follow' from the front!), and Map Man Matt (who we called upon when Paul was very worried); while Ed and Stephe just came along for the novel ride experience. It did seem a little odd for it to be a novel experience, when there were approximately 413 other riders on the train with us...

In any case, arrived at Woodford, cruised down the road, and off to the fire trail that formed the backbone of the Oaks Trail. A very pleasant ride, cool conditions, blue sky and big fluffy white clouds. Much happiness. We made polite conversation with other folk on the track (when they actually wanted to talk with us - funny crowd on occasion!), and cruised along, checking out the scenery and enjoying some excellent hills - just the right length and pitch to make the hill a challenge, and rewarding when done, but not too much as to cause real grief... There was even a little challenge along the way, at which Matt and Stephe spent far too much time, with far too little success:

We then came to what the consensus opinion agreed was the beginning of the St Helena's track, which looked like a very overgrown fire trail (entirely consistent with the product description!). After a very cool drop, with lots of slippery leaf litter, and a number of little trees to jump, we arrived at a very overgrown single trail, which - after much plowing through overhanging vines - took us to a smallish clearing with large trees across the road:

Although relatively comfortable that this was indeed the right point to be in a general 'correct part of the world' sense (!), there was limited consensus about whether or not to push on, and we wussed it: climbing back up the hill to the main fire trail, and getting back on to the Oaks Trail.

From there is was just a high speed blast along a very enjoyable fire trail (*much* better than the Six Foot Track fire trail for some reason), until we made it to the other end - where we had a quick snack, before jumping on to the single trail to return to the road.

The single trail was a great, smooth, hard packed clay ride, just sitting beautifully on the downside of the hill contour, so we had a pretty continuous five or so kilometre high speed run. At the car park at the end, Matt, Ed and Stephe tried riding down the steep stairs to the causeway, with only Matt looking like a rider with any credibility!

We then had a quick chill at the small pond behind the causeway, and then climbed the big steep road to Glenbrook - where we jumped in cars, stopped for more baked goods, and headed off home!

Full set of photos here (still no Doug, so no GPS etc).


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