Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sunday 28 September 2008 - Appin

And again - another magnificent spring day - just how good is this weather for mountain biking, eh!

Johnbo and T-Bone were both last minute scratchings, with not good medical conditions - although prognosis looks good for both. That left Donal, Phil, Cassie, Daniel and Stephe to meet up just near the pub at Appin at around 7.30am.

Daniel led us out on the first lap, as we checked out the general lay of the land. The course was quite entertaining - still not same as venturing out into the wilds of Mooney or OGNR or Coba Point, but still a good flowing track, with enough technical stuff to keep laps interesting and areas where a bit of speed could be had, if accompanied by an appropriate amount of skill!

We only managed one more lap before time got the better of us - but it's clear that you could spend a fair bit of time on the course, improving and having fun.

Well worth the visit, and will be the destination for future rides I am sure.

Only two photos (from Phil's mobile phone, no less), looking at the drop into the wooden bridge, and then some very attractive flowers along the way.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Saturday 27 September - Ourimbah

It was yet another beautiful spring day in Sydney, as Sue, Cooper and Stephe ventured north to Ourimbah to meet with Aimee and Dan, and about twenty other folk, to get tips on how to do a lap from "Brendo" of Bikeworx fame...

The course was in great nick, and after some introductory comments we were off. It wasn't long before it became clear that Brendo wasn't going to be able to provide much in the way of individual learning to the large group, and we broke away from the group to meander along the track ourselves.

Unfortunately, just before the start the assembled masses had convinced Sue not to change the spd pedals for bear traps, and pretty soon she was getting worried in them - driving confidence and fun levels downward very quickly indeed, until about half way through a lap she retired back to the car. That left Cooper and Stephe well behind Aimee and Dan by this time, but Cooper finished the first lap like a champion.

Aimee and Dan were well into their second lap by that stage (by all accounts, they loved Ourimbah!), but Cooper, Sue and Stephe took the opportunity to meekly retire.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Sunday 21 September 2008 - Mooney (Oranges)

As Spring settled over Sydney, we were looking forward to a beautiful day at Mooney, and we were not disappointed... The sun was out from very early on, although it remained a fairly pleasant temperature, without getting too extreme.

Doug, Richard and Stephe met Aimee and Dan at the kick off point underneath the Mooney Mooney bridge on the F3 at about 7.45am, and we set off not too long afterwards.

There was still a fair bit of water around, and the obligatory attempts were made on Lake Mooney, with the necessary resultant wet feet (except for those too wussy to even give it a go!).

The ford across the creek was no longer covered in water, but was incredibly slippery, apparently not having dried out from the recent rains - and there was no prospect of a successful 'dab less' crossing (despite a couple of valiant attempts). By the time we'd got to the dam, we were already a wee bit tired (with some whingeing from Stephe about his brakes being locked on, but not so much so as to think about fixing them (!)) - but we still appreciated the striking blue sky background to the trees (and the ever beautiful flowers):

Once we were back on the bikes, Dan and Aimee were fearless in their attack on the loose rocky climb, with Aimee in particular winning the "keep on keeping on" award (and Richard finding the first section of what was to prove to be a fairly troubling back pain in all later sections...):

From there it was up to the water towers, and on to Oranges, with some room for fun along the way - some successful, some not quite so successful:

We finished the Oranges loop, had a quick bite to eat back at the water towers, and then headed back down the climb, with much fun and amusement (at least for the initial stages).

Unfortunately, about half way down Stephe proved that speed and lack of skill can do ugly things to a derailleur hanger (not to mention the body), and we had a quick rest as we (successfully) rebuilt the bike...

And Aimee proving that she was not only keeping up technically and physically, but scoring well in the "damaging the body" stakes as well...

All in all, an excellent 22 kilometres, up a tricky rocky hill, with lots of beautiful bits around, and then back down again!

All the photos are here.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Sunday 14 September 2008 - Menai

The day before was bright and sunny, and at 6am things were looking pretty positive, but by 6.32am, the sky was dark and foreboding... A call from Paul confirmed that it was already raining further South, but we figured we were up and had to go and check it out anyway.

T-Bone and Stephe arrived at Lucas Heights Community School at 7.15am as planned, having driven through fairly vigorous rain showers along the way, and Daniel turned up a few minutes later. As we sat and waited for Paul, we contemplated pulling the pin, but by the time he arrived it was a little more clear, and off went Daniel, Paul, T-Bone and Stephe, being brave and taking on the elements...

Which was a jolly good thing indeed - the ride was fantastic (albeit harder than usual, with sickness and lack of sleep affecting at least some of us!). We did the now emerging 'standard' loop - with a visit to the adventure playground thrown in for good measure.

The ride across to the main road was good, with some puddles around, but the sandy loam soils were draining pretty well, and so it was all 'doable' and not too wet. That said, some dirt bikes appeared to have recently gone through, carving up both the track and vegetation on the sides of the track - not good for any of us to see that sort of random destruction about.

On the other side of the main road, we headed North, circled around the ridge to the East, and dropped down to the sandy track on top of the leachate pipe, back into the valley to drop into the centre of the 'main bowl', then along the north eastern ridge to the ford on the fire trail with the car wrecks. There were a few showers along the way, nothing too challenging, although Paul was by far the most snug and warm inside his very fancy, lined, spray jacket....

We bumped into a couple of dudes (all riding Giants, go team!), who had just come down from the adventure playground, and we climbed the hill to go and check it out. Had a couple of runs at some of the roll offs (they're getting less scary, but still...), and then went on to check out the Rollercoaster of Death. Now, clearly, no 13 year old worth his salt would be in the least bit concerned with the Rollercoaster of Death, but we were sitting around getting a little nervous, and contemplating just how much the rain had made things even more wet and dangerous (and, more importantly, giving us an excuse to pike it!) - when T-Bone took matters into his own hands and did a Nike (ie, he just "did it"). Bugger, for the pressure was now well and truly on.

Daniel then (after a couple of warm up approaches (!)) nailed a run, and so Stephe (after a couple of warm up approaches (!!)) had a run of his own... Which left Paul, the insigator of the nonsense, to get on with it - and off he did, with 100% class. After a couple more times, and some slippery attempts at the following boardwalks (which nearly ended in tears) and some further random playing about, we meandered on down the run to the bottom (much fun).

Crossing the ford, dodging the broken cars, and climbing the ever more eroded hill was all good - only marred by the increasing strength of the rain showers and a chain break on Daniel's bike. A quick repair (quick being relative to the wet conditions and Paul and T-Bone's skills with gloves on in the rain), and we were off for a fun but uneventful ride back along the fire trail, into the second bowl, around the ridge line from one bowl to the other and then back up to the main road.

The last section on the other side of the main road to home was pure bliss, despite tiredness, soreness and illness! Home by noon. Yee ha.

No photos, no track profile - bumma!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Sunday 7 September 2008 - Ourimbah

After much rain on Friday and Saturday, Sunday dawned clear and beautiful.

As a Father's Day treat, Cooper deigned to offer to ride with Stephe, and off they went to Ourimbah. It was fun... There was still a lot of water about, so much slipping on the downhill sections, and much splashing (which was funny, as Cooper sought to avoid getting his feet wet, leading to great bike instability (and ultimately very wet feet!).

There were a few walkers around, and a couple of folk doing the downhill section (with much howling and laughter), but only one other pair of dudes on the cross country track - so we effectively had the place to ourselves.

The first lap was a good "get to know the place" circuit, followed by a more serious effort (albeit with stops along the way to witness Cooper taking on the 'technical' bits!).

With Cooper a wee bit tired, we pulled the pin on a third lap, and called it a day.

[took a long time to clean the bikes, but it was fun]

The full set of photos (such as they are) are up here, including three short Cooper videos "not good", "better" and "best"!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Thursday 4 September 2008 - Oxford Falls

Donal, Phil and Stephe managed to get out for a quick ride around Oxford Falls on a window of opportunity when the sun came out on an otherwise dubious looking day...

It was great, had loads of fun, and Donal moved from being generally the 'king of the hills', to being 'mr technical' as well!

Roll on summer, more opportunities to come...