Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Rainmaker ?

For several months now south east Queensland has been drowning under a steady deluge that has been strangely absent over the last seven or eight years. In fact the preceding drought prompted the state government to construct a desalination plant, at great expense, to "drought proof" the south east corner. Not surprisingly the plant has been shut down, surplus to requirements!
The current flood situation is hard to quantify. Various similes have been bandied around. An area as big as New South Wales or Texas or France and Germany et cetera, et cetera. Suffice to say it is huge and luckily Australia is a sparsely populated country otherwise the misery would be immense as well. So a shout out and best wishes to all those armpit deep in murky water and brown snakes.

After the christmas rush we had planned to head down south for a few weeks to catch up with family and show the kids some more of our countryside. Watching the weather reports we were looking forward to hot (40 degree) days and no rain. Apart from the thunderstorms while we passed through Sydney all was tracking well. I awoke today in Braemar to the soft patter of rain on the roof! Bloody.......The rain amped up to thunderstorms this afternoon. Checking the synoptic chart shows why. A trough of low pressure lying across eastern New South Wales creating instability.............and precipitation.

Where is this going I hear you ask? Well, I only managed one ride of 14 kilometres on a MTB in December. With all the excess over the festive season I am severely lacking in motivation lately and more rain was not helping my resolve. When I have got out my knees hurt, my legs burn and my stomach makes me feel like a fighter jet with a big old fat drop tank attached to it. Not pleasant nor conducive to jumping on the cycle.

So, my last excuse gone, I saddled up for some summer riding, Southern Highlands style. Spray jacket? Check. Clear glasses? Check. Wheezy old geezer? Check!
The first few kilometers were as expected. Pain was my companion. It is interesting how when you are riding and training constantly you don't notice these pains. I guess you actually welcome them as it is part of the process of hardening up. Anyway, enough whingeing from me. I am on holidays and am riding a MTB so how bad can it be?
I thought I would check out the trails at nearby Welby, an area I hadn't ridden for just over two years. Much erosion was evident on the small trail network. Looks like they have had a lot of rain down here too. It made for some technical riding and highlighted my dulled tech skills after bugger all MTBing for two months.

Still, no "offs" today but plenty of stops to take photos of the amazing rock formations along the trail. The area consists of predominantly sandstone rock formations which also makes for grippy trails in the wet. Some of the slabs of rock are absolutely massive, with the trail snaking along the rock for fifty metres or so at a time.


The colours of the rock are amazing as well. The following photo is not colour enhanced. It is as it came off the point and shoot camera. The other photos here do not do the area justice, but you get the idea.

Despite the rain, mud and grinding noises my bike was making (love that sandy soil) I had a huge grin planted on my dial by the time I arrived home. It was only a 25 kilometre ride but I had my eye "in" again and am looking forward to my next ride. Canberra is only about an hour and a half away and the minister for finance/war has given her approval to pop down for a few days while she catches up with her mother. Crikey! Why am I still sitting here typing this?

Hoo Roo!!!

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