Sunday 17 January 2010 - Old Great North Road
It was great to be back to the spiritual home of mountain bike riding. Awoke to a fantastic day, and Helena, Donal and Stephe arrived at Mangrove Mountain pumping station not long before 8am, looking to make the most of it.
Predictions were for a hot one, but as we set off it seemed pretty reasonable. The climb to the Wat Buddhadhama was all good, and we were feeling pretty chipper. We had also passed a group of very clean lycra clad dudes heading down from Ten Mile Hollow as we rode up - which is not something you often see...
In any case, arrived at the junction of the ridge line and the Western Commission Track fighting fit and ready to roll:
Some excellent riding thereafter, with the usual shenanigans around and about the place.
Although it was all going well, and we had originally considered doing Spiders as well, we met up with another couple of lads at the Spiders junction and between us all figured it might get a bit hot later to be cruising up Shepherd's Gully, so we decided just to finish off at Devine's Hill and head back. The snack at Devine's Hill was, as ever, very much required!
As we headed back, it became clear that extending the ride would have been a bad idea, with temperatures (particularly around Donal's bike) hitting a rarely recorded 7 gazillion degrees. Fortunately, it really only kicked in towards the end of the ridge line so, while energy sapping, we were still in good enough condition to spend some time playing on the rock ledges:
And, to make it look as if he wasn't really having a rest, Stephe stopped and took photos of the local flora:
To cap it off, Stephe had casually mentioned to Helena that the road riders charged the little hills on the way back along the fire trail to the top of the descent, and that was pretty much the last that we saw of her until Donal and Stephe arrived at the bottom of the valley on the way back to the pumping station. It appears that some folk are not quite as heat affected as others! And, of course, by that stage the big thunderclouds had rolled in, the breeze had kicked up beautifully, and we were treated to perfect conditions to get back to the cars, get sorted and underway, just as the rain came down.
Yet another brilliant mountain biking day...
All the photos (again, such as they are) are up here, and we are *still* waiting for Doug to come back and ride with us, as well as to take better photos! The track (.kmz) file is here (43kms, over about 4.5hrs).