Sunday, 19 April 2009

Sunday 19 April 2009 - Old Great North Road

The day started with a lot of rain, and an exchange of text messages about the potential for ongoing inclement weather (including from an un-named Celt (who really should have known better)).  Nonetheless, after a bit of to and fro, we were sorted and a convoy headed up to Mangrove Mountain (sans Akis who was detained with some challenges at home, but at least he had a real excuse and wasn't being wussy about the weather!).

Doug figured it would be wise to avoid the weir given the ongoing rain, so we diverted to the alternative entry point - stopping at the top of what turned out to be a truly humungous hill down to the valley floor (and about fourteen times longer on the way back...).

And so it was that Doug, Brian, Nicole, Donal, Whisperer and Stephe set off - at around 8am, with a light rain and fairly cool conditions...  The ride down was entertaining, visiting the cemetry on the way, and enjoying the scenery - but tempered a little by the inevitable thinking about "what goes down, must come up".

We didn't see too many folk on the way up the hill to Ten Mile Hollow, or further up the hill to the ridge line proper.  Various break away groups formed as we rode up the hills, and along the ridge line - with Whisperer taking on the challenge of anyone who wanted a hurry along, and circling back when needed to keep his movement up (he and Donal using the ride as a warmup for the Dirtworx in two weeks).  Brian was strong up the hills as ever, and had a welcome return to technical form, and Doug seems to have also recovered his 'mountain bike' legs, after worrying that it was all going to be beyond him last week at Mooney.  And Nicole and Stephe cruised along smelling the flowers...

When approaching Devines Hill we were aghast to see that the magnificent single track has been horribly vandalised to make an open fire trail, some two or more kilometres further along the ridge than ever before.  This provided a bit of a sombrebackground to the quick bite to eat at the top of Devine's hill, before we started to head back.

Doug and Brian had a time constraint and so struck off at a consistent pace - and were not seen again, arriving back at the cars around 1.30pm.  The rest of the bunch had a fairly relaxed trip back - stopping to check out Donal after a (very silly!) fall, and waiting for folk as they needed to catch up on the hills - all the while with Whisperer zooming ahead and coming back to check out new lines and generally keep his pace up.

On the subject of new lines, to finish the ride, we headed left from Ten Mile Hollow, up to Clare's Bridge, and then down Donny's Trail - meeting some lads we had seen earlier coming in from Wisemans Ferry, on their way back up Donny's trail.  Given that we've now been *down* that track, we have every respect for anyone silly enough to actually come up it!

Then, on to the huuuuuge hill back to the cars - a long, slow, but not too bad climb - back at the cars at 2pm, and a lot of happy and smiling faces!  Around 55kms in all, and a jolly good time to boot.

Compare routes and profiles for the extension at the end:

The full set of photos are up here; and Whisperer's GPS route (with the Donny's Trail diversion) is here.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Sunday 12 April 2009 - Appin

Stephe & Doug managed a quick mountain bike ride during the Easter long weekend road ride-fest (four rides in four days turns out to be quite a lot for unfit middle aged blokes!). But the Appin bit was more fun than perhaps was anticipated...

Profile is cute:

Limited photos (mainly riding and having fun), and by the time Stephe had set himself up to get some Doug photos, a flat tyre intervened, ruining the rhythm. Ah, life.

In any case, it was good, and we need to get back there more often!

Full set of photos up here, and here is the .kmz file of the day.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Sunday 5 April 2009 - Mooney (reprise)

Figured, given how good Mooney was looking the week before, that we should reprise our visit - so Doug, Brian, Akis and Stephe went back for another look. Of course, Mooney being Mooney, the rain in the intervening week had completely changed the place, so that the challenging but "do-able" rocks were now all much less "do-able".

Nonetheless, Brian demonstrated that fitness is a very good thing to possess, even without much time on a mountain bike in between times - demonstrating clearly that "he still has it"! Undone, to some small extent (but frustrating for him, I'm afraid), by the fact that his bike needs perhaps a little more TLC before setting out on the next ride... (and, no, Brian, we're not going to put anything up on the website about the dummy spit - indeed, not even make a passing reference to it).

Akis looked stylish, as ever; and Doug continued the long tradition of smooth riding and dangerously fast descents...

A mere 18 kilometres, but challenging - and the profile, as ever, looks good:

Some other snaps along the way:

Some elegant, some not so elegant...

All the photos, including some embarrassing videos, are up here (ah, 'tis great to have Doug the photographer back!).  The GPS track is here.