Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Freedom of Sorts

With the mind numbing task of painting the house behind me, the last week and a half have been a chance to catch up with my kids again. Even though we live in the same house, with my work I am away too much and even when I am sleeping in my own bed, I quite often leave uber early or finish up extremely late, hence my chance to spend quality time with the kids is pretty limited. So, I loaded the car up with camping gear, bikes and the kids and pointed the Prado south.
Our first easy day saw us staying at the Nymboida Coaching Station Inn on the Nyboida river, just south of Grafton. This hotel is an amazing surprise, located on the Nymboida river, surrounded by rolling green hills with large modern motel rooms, a great little pub that serves first rate restaurant quality food and the Museum of Interesting Things. The interesting things are fairly varied, but most with a movie or showbiz theme. The person behind this gem in the rough is the inn's owner, one Russell Crow. Now, one of my little blokes favourite movies is that "pirate movie" that Russell starred in a few years ago.(Master and Commander) There on display is the original costume he wore in that movie, along with the gladiator costume he wore as Maximus in Gladiator, complete with chariot towed by two (stuffed) horses. There is a heap of other stuff that is really worth a look and the setting is a real deal clincher. We will definitely be back for another stay.
Nymboida River at the back of the Inn

Captain Jack Aubrey costume

Roman Chariot from Gladiator

OCC Chopper in Rabbitohs colours. He owns the Bunnies too!
From here we trucked to visit my parents for a few days and with the flat country and quiet roads in my home town, the kids literally rode their legs off! They just rode out the front drive and came home when they were hungry. Just like my brother and I did as kids. It was great to be able to give them this freedom that seems to be seriously lacking in the city.

Then it was on to Canberra for some sightseeing, then the mother-in-laws for the kids to spend some quality time with their Nanny.
Carving up the forecourt on Parliment House!

 This is where my cunning plan was set to hatch. Out of five weeks leave I was going to get two days of just my bike and I, so I back tracked to Canberra. The trails in our national capital are, to put it bluntly, farkin fantastic! There are several organic, traditionally made trails networks like Majura Pines,Sparrow Hill and Kowen Forest. Then there is Mt Stromlo. The Stromlo trails have had several million dollars spent on them and quite frankly, it shows. They are built to IMBA standard and the rocky, gravelly soil makes the riding technical and challenging. How much riding could I squeeze in during forty eight hours of freedom? I was going to take my cue from the kids and ride my legs off!

Turning off the Hume Highway onto the Federal Highway I was faced with a wall of water in the sky. A solid front was passing through and dumping huge amounts of rain. As I was only about 70km out of Canberra I was concerned how the trails would hold up to the deluge. On arrival at Mt Stromlo I could see that my concerns were unwarranted. The gravelly soil had drained nicely to leave hero dirt.

Last time I was here, Dean0 and I rode straight up the face of the hill. I have learnt from that hurt-fest and took it a bit easier on  myself by climbing via the Fenceline,Blue Gums, Emu Run, ABC Switchback and City View trails.
The old observatory, burned in the Canberra bushfires in 2003.
This proved to be a great way to warm up, as I could link onto some of the more challenging trails from the top of the hill, without smashing my legs right off the bat.
Five days of rest had been beneficial for my legs and I felt great climbing the hill! This didn't stop me from swanning around at the top of the hill taking a few snaps of the view....er and me!

I was planning on taking in the trails on the back side of Mt Stromlo this time and Pork Barrel and Double Dissolution didn't disappoint.

From here the Crim Track brought out the worst in me.

Various climbs and descents started to blur into each other. In a good way of course! These trails really are awesome.

After the ride I delighted in the decadence of being a single guy. No, I didn't go for a drive to Fyshwick, I had a huge meal then grabbed some shuteye for an hour or so. Those of you without children will not understand the significance of these simple pleasures, but it was a wistful glimpse into a window that closed for my wife and I years ago.

Now to rest up and see how much riding I can gorge myself on tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Please stop. I have two gruelling work days left and these holiday stories are killing me. :)


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