It was a cold weekend, following a rainy week, and a last minute confirmation from Doug (relying on Rees) that we should do Bulli rather than a local ride - so no surprise that we lost a few people at the last minute (Brian, Whisperer, Nicole and Richard all spring to mind - with a variety of excuses and timing, including three post 9pm withdrawls!).
[We also managed to be quite rude to Graham who had proposed a local exploratory ride and got no confirmation of our intended plan until this morning: again, our public apologies for such dodgy behaviour... we trust that we can still prevail upon you for a future exploratory ride.]
In the end, Doug, Rees, Donal, Phil and Stephe managed to brave the elements for what turned out to be a brilliant day (weather wise, at least). Arrived at Bulli about 8am and pretty well straight on to the bikes and up the hill.
The profile and google earth snapshot tell the story well: essentially, we climbed from the bottom to the top of the Bulli Escarpment and then cruised back and forth along the ridge, with some very entertaining single track downhill sections and a couple of ancillary hills along the way (and, of course, pretty well all downhill from the lookout home).
Unfortunately, following the long wet period, the track was either boggy with clay, and deeply rutted from run off or - and much worse - long sections of the fire trail have been basically paved (extensive gravel laid down to create a road surface).
Energy and confidence sapping where we had to claw our way up through the mud and ruts; and dullsville where we were cruising along the 'paved' sections (although, to be honest, a bit of a relief as well!). The final climb (Rixon's pass?) was actually now a full concrete road...
The track along the top to the North was still quite fun, including the single track at the end - and the return journey to the Southern end of the Escarpment was a fair challenge in the conditons with pretty well everyone coming off at one point or another on a tree root, or in a rut, or just into a bog.
Despite the adversity (!), we did eventually make it to our turn around point, at the lookout over Wollongong, replete with great views, a couple of kindly locals (oops, failed to get their names...), Broadcast Australia tower, and the obligatory team shot (Phil, Donal, Stephe, Rees, Doug):
And, with all the water, there was lots of new growth everywhere - which is always good to see:
While we failed to get any photos of Doug or Rees, and only limited shots of Donal, and despite the mud everywhere - there was quite a bit of fun in the ride:
Occasionally leading, tragically, to this:
All the photos (the good, the bad, and the downright ugly) are to be found here
. We have also managed to get the helmet cam pointing in the right direction now (a big step forward!), but the footage is nausea inducing as it bounces around - looks like we need a competent rider like Matt to come back and join us to provide a stable platform...).
Looks like we may give Bulli a miss for a while now...