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...


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