Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Insane are Running the Asylum

News headlines today:

QANTAS has grounded it's entire domestic and international fleet and will lock out all striking employees from monday night.

Insane? The Walking Kangaroo? Watch this space.......................

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All the time in the world

This morning when I woke up I thought it was time for a decent ride. You know the type, where you fill the camelbak to the brim, pack a banana and some gels and you ride wherever you want, at whatever pace you want. So after packing the wife off to work and the kids off to school I sat down with a cup of coffee to contemplate a route.

Generally, heading east from home gives me two main options. Bayview, in Redland Bay or the Eastern Escarpment, which can in turn lead to Bayview if you so desire. But for today I had a hunger to ride the Brisbane South MTB club home track at Karingal. So over the Eastern Escarpment to Karingal it would be. The initial warm up along the West Mt Cotton rd track turned out to be a cobweb clearing exercise. I was literally covered in web and had numerous small arachnids hanging off my bike by the time I broke out onto West Mt Cotton rd. Did I mention how much I hate spiders?
It was warming up by this stage and I was really noticing the humidity today. Summer must finally be on the way. Adding to the thick air along here is the biting aroma of road kill rotting in the sun. There are always numerous wallabies and kangaroos that find themselves the victim of hit and run incidents. My challenge is to hold my breath for long enough to exit this pungent zone.

Turning off the sealed road onto the dirt and as I point my bike up the first real climb it becomes apparent how much rain fell here last week. During the passage of one storm cell, 110mm (4 1/2inches) dumped in under one hour! The trail was scoured clean by the torrent of water that rushed down it. Totally amazing to think of that much water in such a short period in time.

Nearing the top of the first climb, it appears that the mysterious Bunya Lumberjack has paid the Eastern Escarpment a visit, with the log rollover at the top now modified.

The wind had also done it's thing with numerous trees down. The bottom of the climb near the cow shed is blocked by multiple trees that brought each other down during the storm.

With the humid air this morning the view wasn't quite what it usually is, but as I had all the time in the world today there was time for a photo stop.

Up and over the top was the usual tough push. The way down the fire road to Karingal is one of my favourite rides here on the south side. I am not sure why really, just that I enjoy the steep, rocky down hill and the lack of use the trail receives. Today, the trail is totally different as the deluge has caused all the old lines to be washed away and replaced with new ones that need bedding in by having a few wheels over them. Could be a while before that happens.

Dropping in on Karingal is always rewarding. The single track here is well designed and holds up to the elements well. Sunday was a trail care day in preparation for the Karingal 4 hour on the 13th of November and it was nice to ride some of the trail that we had prepped yesterday.

I thought I would keep the eastern escarpment loop theme going by following the back roads across to the Koala bushland in Redlands council area. These are easy flowing fire road through native bush and when in here I always feel like I am a million miles from the city.

Along the regular loop is the pineapple farm. I have always wondered how they got the pineapples to grow in the rocky, barren looking soil around here. Perhaps I wasn't the only one to wonder as it looks like they have given up on the whole deal and let the fields go to ruin.

There are miles of trails in here that make a very nice cross country loop with a bit of technical riding on the badly eroded trails. There are even some creek crossings complete with filthy looking water. After seeing a small terrier floating upside down here several years ago I try my best not to put a foot in. God knows what is down there.

Exiting the koala bushland (without seeing a koala) I head across the road into Daisy Hill for a roll on some singletrack. It is nice to ride in here during the day as the trails seem to belong to me, with nobody else in sight. 
Heading generally for home now I will finish off the ride with my new favourite singletrack link up. Back into Cornubia I start down Stupidly Happy until it intersects with Resurrection. Here I hang a left and head up the hill via Resurrection, onto a brief fire road haul, then down the drop to the start of Wallum Froglet. Minimal fire road and maximum fun! I have to stop for a photo at what I think is a signature section on WF. I love riding this bit in particular, knowing how much work went into creating it.

Back home again for a cold drink and a guess at the temperature. It feels like close to 30 degrees. I am somewhat deflated later when I find out is only about 25! This summer is going to hurt if I insist on riding during the middle of the day. While we may have to resurrect the Friday Fling and opt for the cool of 5am, there is nothing like sneaking out for a leisurely roll by yourself, especially when it feels like you have all the time in the world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Back on the bike

After what seems like forever, I was finally able to head out into the bush for a ride today. Mr Garmin is telling me it has been three weeks since I last managed the feat and to be honest I was thinking that it was going to hurt. The fitness drops off quickly, as do the technical skills, so to get the tech skills on the mend I started with some easy Cornubia trails, then dropped into Nirvana at Daisy Hill for some further honing. Somewhat surprisingly, the legs weren't rebelling on me at all! They responded at all the appropriate moments when a burst of power was required and I looked after them by not crashing through the shrubbery and cutting them to shreds.

The trails were in surprisingly good condition after the absolute drowning we have had in the last few weeks. Just a puddle here and there where you would expect them, but apart from that, hero dirt everywhere. The wind has taken it's toll on the gum trees though, with several trees down across trails and numerous very large branches re-decorating the bush.

I was just happy to be out pedalling. There is nothing like a good ride to clear the mind and sort the wheat from the chaff of what is important to me. This housekeeping has been missing these last few weeks and it is easy to fall into negativity when I am confined to sitting on my bum for too long.

I almost had the forest to myself as well. The only other traffic I encountered were three overly perfumed "school moms" puffing their way up the Buhot Creek circuit climb. At least they had high visibility pink on and were easy to see. They looked like they had taken a wrong turn on the way to the coffee shop, but good on them for getting outside and having a go!

With the regular Daisy Hill wednesday morning ride tomorrow I did not want to overdo it, so after a short time I headed for home via some sweet Cornubian singletrack. The drop (above) was great training for the mad downhills in the Epic this year. Wallum Froglet is getting better and better as it beds in and definitely left a smile on my face.

Another thing to leave a smile is this great video I found while cruising mountain biking blogs. The trails in the States are just jaw dropping and some of these guys and girls know how to capture the moment. Check out this offering from Chris at Gooney Riders . He is one talented MTBer.

Bring on tomorrow morning!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Paunch

Currently working on an ever expanding waistline, here in the shadow of Parliment House, Darwin.