Friday 29 August 2008

Friday 29 August 2008 - Manly Dam

It seemed a silly idea at 5.55am as we got organised to meet at the Dam at 6.30am.

But, by the time Donal and Stephe had completed their second lap (no Phil (illness), and no Nicole (intelligence!)), we were Very Happy Young Men indeed...

The first lap was a good warm up, and a fair bit of fun, and the sun was warm on our backs as we rode up towards the golf course. By the time we'd got back to the Hydraulics Lab, we were feeling too good to leave and set off on a second lap (work would wait!).

The second lap was smooth and fun - we could almost get good at this!

What a great start to the day.

Sunday 24 August 2008

Sunday 24 August 2008 - Canberra 8hr Ride Report (Whisperer)

[via Whisperer]


While SUAR was having fun at our home of mountain biking, the legendary ONR, I was in Canberra at Mt Stromlo for the last round of the working week 8 hr series.

This was a 14km circuit based on the ‘Red’ loop of the Scott 24hr, included a 5km climb and then the ‘beginners’ downhill course, with lots of sweeping corners, berms, and overall made up of 90% singletrack. It was very technically challenging, ‘loose’ – fine gravel in the sweepers, and lots of rock. You could say it was challenging!

I drove down on Saturday with John Evans (Carl Groover of Nobmob), and we met up with Steve Knight and Bruce Oscroft. Another Nobmober – Matt, met us down there.

We camped overnight, it was cold but fun. 24 Solo was shown in the big marquee tent, and was very inspiring – the story of Craig Gordon winning the 24 solo world champs in the US, beating Chris Eatough.

As always great to have friendly banter round the camp.

The race started well, 8am, 400 or so riders, with 118 solo, and some lesser number of team riders on the course at any one time. The field spread out pretty soon, and circulated well. I had a good race, pacing myself well to my objectives, getting to the end in ‘good’ shape and avoiding cramps. Kept my heart rate below 80% most of the time, averaged 75% (143) over the 8 hours, didn’t cramp and had enough fuel in the legs for another lap. But.... the short travel bikes really meant hard work on the downhill track descent, and the rest of the time it was either pretty technical or open and gravelly, meaning pretty loose. As Steve01 commented, good practice for drifting & sliding around!

So I did 8 laps and had time to get in and do a 9th, but my right knee was starting to hurt, my ass was pretty raw, and then I got a slash in my back tyre about 2 km from transition. Too big for stans to seal – it just sprayed out, so I stopped and stuck a tube in. Still got in 3 minutes before cut-off, but called it a day, rather than do damage to my knee or ass. John was a legend as always, keeping his steady swift pace for 9 laps. Although he came 25th in the open solo class of 118, he was 5th in the masters age group. (I was 41st/118, and 9th/25 in masters age group). Considering the field had some serious elite riders, we were both pretty happy with that. Steve did 7 laps and Bruce 6, both good efforts.

Happy Whisperer at the end

Stromlo circuit (an old satellite photo, much greener now)

Elevation – pretty steep eh...


Sunday 24 August 2008 - Old Great North Road

We said we'd be back, and on the dawning of a beautiful almost Spring day, indeed we were!

The sun had promised to come out, but was still struggling as we arrived at the pumping station, which would have been a very beautiful sight if it wasn't so coooold. In any case, over the creek crossing, and up the hill to Ten Mile Hollow for the obligatory group shot (Doug, Donal, Stephe, Louis and Matt) - with the young gun leading his father all the way up the hill (a theme to be repeated for much of the ride, until towards the end (!) A reminder that 42kms needs at least a little pacing...).

The flowers are all now beginning to come out, and our 'flow' across the ridge line was only interrupted by the occasional appreciation session. That said, we managed to get some excellent rhythm up along the way - demonstrating that the good old single track still has a lot of life in it yet.

Despite the joy of getting a roll on, we still managed to convince Doug to let us play at some of the technical sections (the first zig zag descent, the two stage rock climb, the "Mound of Death", and on the way back, the second zig zag descent). There was even some adventurous trying out of new lines with mixed success (ie Matt: elegant success, Stephe: noisy failure).

And, we stayed there for a while (!):

And, then did some more a bit later....

And, the "Mound of Death":

And, then, when we made it to the top of Devines Hill (alas and alack, no Spiders side trip for us today), Doug repaired a tear in his sidewall, while Matt played trials games for us (short video)...

The return journey was almost as much fun, except that the young gun hit a wall (hmmm, probably something to do with the 100mph bolt out of the gates at the beginning (!)), but still managed to look good for the camera... (and Matt still had fun on the zig zag descent on the way back).

I still love the profile:

The full set of photos (and some small video snippets) are here.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Wednesday 20 August 2008 - Manly Dam

A bright and relatively warm winter morning saw NicMcVic, Phil and Stephe take a quick lap around the Dam, having a hoot along the way, getting back home in time for a good day's work...


Sunday 17 August 2008

Sunday 17 August 2008 - Ourimbah

Well, the things you learn when you open your mind to them... Turns out that Ourimbah is actually fantastic, and not the boring bog hole that SUAR folk have long thought...

Donal, T-Bone and Stephe set off nice and early, and would have arrived nice and early, but for some minor navigation errors (heck, a quick trip to Newcastle is always a good thing!).

We arrived with about half a dozen cars from other riders lined up - but not too many folk on the circuit (presumably, the others were climbing the big hill, or exploring the myriad other trails that make up Ourimbah).

We set off up the hill, and dropped in on the track about 100m up from the start at the Five Ways car park - and then gently explored the 'standard' circuit. With a little bit of erosion appearing, there were some challenging moments, but - all in all - the circuit appeared to be in excellent condition, and there were many smiles on the way around. Along the way, we were caught by two pairs of dudes at the top of the Roller Coaster, and had a bit of fun chasing them on the way back down (with one pair riding substantially more aggressively than the other) - but fell away fairly quickly, given that we were still trying to warm up.

The Graveyard was closed, as was the big roll off, but everything else was just brilliant...

Back to the cars, and Stephe discovered that he had emptied his camel back on the drive in, and so had finished the last dregs (bumma) and was now out of fluid. A short break, and we were back on the track (managing to actually start at the beginning of the track, from Five Ways, this time).

Donal proved that he's a legend climbing the hills on the way around, and T-Bone conversely was suffering from a weight lifting session on Thursday (here's a tip: don't do squats with 140kg if you plan to ride aggressively two days later!).

Anyway, we still managed to pick up the average pace, and this time around enjoyed the company of each of the pairs of other riders for a much more extended section of the track (maybe even thinking that competition could be fun...!).

Back at the cars again, we discovered that NicMcVic and Pete had *still* not yet managed to join us, and a quick call established that they were around 45 minutes away... so we decided to do a quick blast up to, and down, the downhill track for mid term entertainment.

Turns out, that wasn't such a good idea.

The climb up "Demtel" hill was long and laborious (with much moaning and groaning from T-Bone's legs, and (sadly) with Donal making it to the top some many minutes before T-Bone and Stephe...). Then we started the downhill tentatively enough, but T-Bone seized the lead fairly quickly and went off like a bat out of hell.

Unfortunately for T-Bone, that sort of speed and lack of track knowledge can have negative consequences... At the first junction point, T-Bone missed the track diversion, and headed on down the fire trail - but at least it looked like that bit was fun. With much yelling at his departing back, we stopped him, and he rejoined Donal and Stephe not much further down. Unfortunately, he didn't learn from the mistake, and did it again about 100m later - disappearing into the distance before he could be stopped.

At around the same time, Donal discovered that he had locked out the forks for the climb, but had not unlocked them for the descent - the discovery being shortly after being spat off the track at a bit of speed, with damage to his hands flowing as a natural consequence....

Sitting in between T-Bone (well below) and Donal (not too far above) was an entertaining experience for Stephe but, after much yelling across the valley, it appeared that T-Bone was going to follow the fire trail to the bottom, and Stephe and Donal were to follow the rest of the downhill track.

Which was a blast (except, perhaps, for those with sore hands!).

No sign of T-Bone at the bottom after a fair wait - so Donal and Stephe then ventured back to the cars. Still no T-Bone, but Nic and Pete had arrived.

With Donal's hand now very sore, he packed it in for the day, and Stephe was about to drive back down the track to try and find T-Bone (as Nic and Pete set off for their first lap) - when he reappeared. It seems that the yelling across the valley was actually intended to advise that he'd punctured the front tyre, and had no tube (which might just explain why he never turned up at the bottom!). And which might also encourage sticking with the group on the preferred track in future...

Given T-Bone's forced trudge out, discretion was the better part of valour, and we called it a day at two and a half laps.

Other than the relatively sad ending, it was a great day, and we'll see a lot more of Ourimbah in the coming months!

Photos (such as they are - a limited set!) here...

Sunday 10 August 2008

Sunday 10 August 2008 - Menai

Well folks, we managed to finally do it - put together a Menai ride so that we were always heading in a direction of our choosing, not doubling back for no good reason, and finishing as if we meant it!

NicMcVic, Paul and Stephe cruised on out to Menai for an early start to a beautiful day (albeit with a little early hiccup on timing / sleeping in etc!).

We arrived, got ourselves sorted and set off, through the oval, and down to the track to the sweet single track to the Lucas Heights road... Across the road, we went off to do the clockwise loop off to the Right, and ended up on the service track for the power lines, from where we traversed across to the drop back to the centre of the Menai 'bowl'.

Paul was looking good on the way down:

From the bottom of the bowl, we followed the creek (roughly!) to the fire trail crossing of the creek (with some abandoned cars). Along the way, there were the standard little hill challenges, and it was really very beautiful in there, with lots of lush green foliage, and pretty flowers:

Nic took some time out for a bite to eat, and Paul and Stephe checked out the extremely well made and maintained playground, including a few practice runs on the (less challenging) rolls:

Then, off across the creek, up around the back to the 'roller coaster' section (near the rickety north shore stuff), and then a rush back to the car for Nic to get back into the City in time for the afternoon's performances (ah, it's a pleasure to ride with such talented people!):

The rest of the photos are up here (and, again, we definitely need Doug back, not just for his company and skill, but for photos!).

Sunday 3 August 2008

Sunday 3 August 2008 - Yellowmundee (Yarramundi)

Paul, Donal and Stephe meandered out to Yellowmundee (which we have always previously called Yarramundi - ah, it's all very confusing, although we might have now worked out that the recreation park is Yellowmundee and the place is Yarramundi...).

Donal and Stephe managed to get a little lost on the way, but spotted a couple of dudes with bikes strapped to the cars and then Paul - so, following the crowd, we managed to arrive around 7.30am.

Unfortunately, it turned out that the reason there were other dudes with bikes was because we had managed to turn up on a race day!

After a good conversation with a single speed prospective competitor (and a jolly nice chap, who gave us the skinny on the days proceedings, and also suggested that we sign up), we did a lap around to check out the circuit, and got back in plenty of time to do a second. We set off for the second, managed to do a slightly better pace - although Donal did an even better time, breaking away from us, not to be seen again until we were back at the cars!

With the race about to start, and brownie points to be gained by an early return - we called it a day, and were at least happy to have put a few kilometres under the tires...

[again, no photos - soon, Doug will be back at with us and the world will once more be at peace!]

Saturday 2 August 2008

Saturday 2 August 2008 - Manly Dam

Paul, Rob (who took time out of his busy life as the owner of Sydney's best Pizza restaurant(!)), T-Bone (at very late notice) and Stephe had a very pleasant Saturday afternoon blast around the dam.

Started off at the Hydraulics Lab, had some fun on the way up and then once we'd hit the top, we had a quick meander over on the Bantry Bay side (avoiding anything that might make the NPWS cranky folk any more cranky).

Stephe couldn't manage a second lap, and unfortunately had to drag T-Bone away with him, but Paul and Rob went around again, and had even more fun.

The top section of the drop back down to the Hydraulics Lab is still out of action (excellent that the Council has got funding to fix that section tho' - looking forward to riding it...).

No pix, but it was still fun!