Monday, January 30, 2012

F#ck, Fu(kity F#ck, F#ck, Sh1t, Arse, Willy....and Tits....

What do you say when you get an invite to go ride Mt Buller for three days with a personal pick up from Melbourne airport, but there is a trail build day on in the middle that requires oversight?

If we don't get a decent roll out to build this flipping trail I am going to go off the deep end.

Over 10 000 members on MTB Dirt and we get 13 people willing to give up 4 hours of their time and help out. Thats less than 0.15 of a percent of MTBers in south east Queensland willing to help build the trails that they ride. I do like the building/maintaining aspect as it is still time spent in the bush, but I have spent a crapload of hours building. These hours come out of my riding budget. I don't want any recognition for any of this. None of us do. We just want legal trails to ride and here we have a council saying "go for it, you have our blessing" and we can't get the help to make it happen!!


and TITS.............

End Rant.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Escaping The Deluge

This week I launched into six days away at work. Ordinarily, I might be listing all of the things that I wouldn't get done around the house because I was on a work imposed hotel sentence. But Tuesday was going to be subtly different.

It started a tad early, at 3:30am Brisbane time, but the blow was softened by my first look at a new business class breakfast. It has taken ten long years to get to this point in time, but this IS living! Woo Hoo!

And no, I didn't eat it all!

Looking to my left, I had an amazing vista overlooking one of Australia's newest, coolest, mountain biking destinations. Mt Buller was looking pristine this morning and I vowed that I must visit it as soon as practically possible. Little did I know what the day had in store for me and how I would come to putting a small piece of that jigsaw in place, but more on that another time.....

Today I had the good fortune to finish up mid morning in our nation's capital. The forecast was for partly cloudy skies and a top temperature of 26C. Perfect mountain biking weather! My steed for the day was to be a Norco Nitro in stylish lime green and black, adorned with much low end, but reliable componentry.

This beast was courtesy of Capital Bike Hire and Peter had me sorted quickly, in a typically aussie no fuss manner. I could not recommend these guys highly enough and for the "not so tight fisted" they also have dual suspension bikes. For what I had in mind though, the hardtail would be just fine.

I felt like a kid wagging school as I pushed out of the hotel foyer, almost bowling over Geoffrey Rush in the process. As I went past, I wondered two things. Number one was "what is he doing in Canberra" and number two..."why are these celebs always shorter than you think"? Wednesday answered my first question. He was there to be named Australian of the Year. I am still waiting for an answer to my second question.

The rough plan for the day was to ride. The slightly more refined plan was to climb up and over the hills and find Majura Pines. This was achieved in short order and I was pleasantly surprised when I crested the hill above Majura Pines having barely broken a sweat. These sweet trails, as visited last month, are literally a stones throw from the eastern suburbs of Canberra, but I was glad that I scoped out how to find the trail head on my last visit.

From the hilltop I plunged down into the mess of trails that is Majura. I had a pretty good idea of where to go but one day I will have to bring a map along and tag some names to the trails that are etched in my mind. Some are easier to remember than others....

I really need one of these though.

At one stage I found myself smashing along the western trails of Auto Alleys, Car Body, Bucket Run, Dew Drop Inn and New Year's Resolution. I recall riding these a couple of years ago with Dean0 and laughing ourselves silly at the ridiculous trails. They seemed somewhat easier than I remembered this time though.

Not long after, I came blasting around the corner of a trail to find five police officers sitting by the trail side, one of them holding a large stick. I quickly blurted out "you aren't going to put that through the front wheel?" to which one of them answered, quick as a flash, "yep, this is a random breath test!" Who says the rozzers are slow witted or have no sense of humour? Funny stuff at the time.

It was then time to climb back over the range and my plan was to head for the highest hill to the south, namely Mt Ainsley. Canberra is laid out like a model in front of the viewer and there just had to be hidden single track across it's slopes somewhere.

I found this promising looking sign and proceeded to climb a rocky, rutted, loose mongrel of a climb, not dissimilar to something in Nerang Forest. Why does the breeze stop and the temperature climb about 10 degrees when one tackles these type of climbs? Does "tip"refer to going over the back of the bike?

This trail led me onto a rough, creek like trail that climbed all the way to the summit of Mt Ainsley. It didn't have a very "official" look about it, but like many of the trails around Canberra, it was a challenging, yet rewarding climb. The view is always one to savour....

After a bite to eat and a cold drink it was time to drop down into the less rarefied air and crunch out a lap of Lake Burley Griffin.

I managed to find some pretty serious downhill trail that had me "sucking seat", all within sight of Parliament House. How good is this?!

I then jumped onto the bike path around Lake Burley Griffin to grind out some training klicks and take in the various sights. Some stranger than others.

Would you believe this hair clip fell out of Julia Gulia's hair and threatened to crush my poor Norco leaving me to pay the excess? No, then how about I couldn't find any flowers to press, so I thought this MTB would look cool all pancaked?

Ok, clearly I needed some sustenance by this stage so it was on to the National Museum foreshore to rest, take in the sights and refuel.

If you have the chance to visit Canberra, I highly recommend grabbing a bike and taking in some of our nations capital from a saddle. They enjoy first class cycling infrastructure and it is eye opening to see how our tax dollars are spent.

To cap off a great days riding, my partner in crime and I found a top notch steakhouse where we enjoyed a perfectly cooked, succulent steak washed down with a smooth glass of moderately priced red wine.

All of this while Brisbane was disappearing under 300mm(12 inches) of rain! Some days I have to pinch myself to make sure this is all real!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Glorious New Trail!

Today, here in sunny Cornubia, we kicked off the next installment in our mountain bike trail building sequence.

This stage has been stalled for almost a year due to various reasons, but it was great to finally get the original CFSM trail underway. We had a crew of 13 hardy souls turn up at 6am, with the movers and shakers of one of Brisbane's foremost MTB shops lending a not inconsiderable hand, despite their corporate demands. It is great to see these guys out in the field to put back into their industry and if these guys can find time to come and help build trail, anyone can.

I am slightly biased, but I think these trails, while smaller in size, are going to rival the trails in Gap Creek. Why, I hear you ask? Well, first off, we have the man that built Gap Creek as our primary advisor and a matured hands on trail builder as part of the team, who is intent on building the best, sustainable trails that we can have. Then, of course, we have the stunning topography to work with here in Cornubia Forest.

The beauty of having some truly gifted riders as part of your trail build team is that they see lines that 29er SingleSpeed riders may not normally see!

I was chatting to Jeff (Ozzie) and he suggested that making a trail building movie might be interesting. I didn't mention that I had in fact bought my camera and tripod along to do just such a thing, but as it seemed to me once "on site" to be a slightly less-than-manly thing to do I had not bothered to set it up. However, once inspired, I did get it running and I hope you get a feel for what trail building is all about! It is a shame you can't hear the Shit That Mountainbikers Say while building though!

Look out for a better, more comprehensive version in the next few weeks from Jeff though.

A   HUGE thanks to all of the guys that turned up and donated their time to building this trail. We will have a completed loop of trails in the next 6-12 weeks that will rival anything in South East Queensland.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fling

Friday morning. Trail conditions are just perfect at the moment, so what better way to kick start the day than with a fling to the Eastern Escarpment?

Dr Geoff had an appointment to keep, so the pace was going to be hot (for me).

Darren, the destroyer, metered out the pain. I tried not to blub........too much.

Have a great day and an awesome weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Now That All The Rain Has Gone

Just a day after we received about 150mm (6 inches) of rain, I thought I would head out and see how the trails had held up...........

Move along please.  Nothing to see here..........

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My God! Look at My Gear!!

So, the new blue bike sitting patiently in my shed waiting for the rain to stop wasn't totally an impulse buy. No, over the last six months I have slowly had the motorcycling fires rekindled within. Between my brother getting back out on the road more and blogging about it, to some guys at work leaving the odd AMCN lying around the flight deck and my mountain biking acquaintance, NitroNick, with his toy shed, I have thought quite a bit about the many years that I  spent hurtling around this fine brown land on the back of a motorcycle. Some bloody good times, some pretty ordinary times too, but all great memories to me.

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can rationalise things away. Pretty much anything can be examined until it fits neatly into the pigeon hole you need it to. Of this I am certain.

Here is my thinking from early 2002.

Fat, dumb and happy. From here it was a short few months to denial, then resistance and finally on to acceptance.

Technically, I have only had a two year hiatus from motorcycles in total. My last bike being my hairy chested Husky TE510 (too much bike for me!!). The R1 went to a New Aussie from the Mother Country in mid 2005, so it had been about six years since my road kit had a work out.

Exhuming it from the cupboard to test ride the new bike proved a bit of a shock. My much used, much loved leather jackets were covered in mould!

Last summer here in Brisbane we had many metres of rainfall and ultra high humidity. Leather jackets and humidity are arch enemies as can be seen by this photo of my old Brando style jacket. Not sure what to do with this little number as it has given twenty two years service, but seems a shame to just give up on it. The jacket from my two piece suit is at the dry cleaners for a resurrection, but after purchasing that suit in 1993, I will have to pay pretty close attention to the stitching. The leather looks fine, but it might come apart like the proverbial "cheap suit" if I have the misfortune to rag doll myself along the tarmac!

My AlpineStar boots had been trying to shed their soles for years, so it was pretty much a no brainer here. Straight into the bin with those. I note that my brother had two pairs of AlpineStars over the years and both of his pairs lost their soles too. And it isn't like we were big walkers back in the day! Another pair will not be on the shopping list as a result. Time to try another brand.

My expensive, much love, little used helmet was a bit of a disappointment as well. The liner was dotted with mould, while the neck seal at the back was leaving little balls of black sticky stuff all over my head and neck. Bugger!!

Now, this puppy (an Arai Quantum e), while being a 1998 model worn by some Japanese GP rider whose name now eludes me, has had less than 15 000 kilometres of use and being in bloody good nick apart from the black balling issue, I will definitely be trying to breath life into it lest this return to motorcycling turn into a financial black hole!

Hang on. Isn't this one of the reasons I got out of it..............????

On another note, this is an anniversary of sorts for A.V.F.A. This being the 100th post!! Like most things in (my) life, I wasn't sure where this blog would go and personally I am finding it very interesting , every now and then, to go back and see where I have come from and see what I have done. I am under no illusion as to the insignificance of all these ramblings, but despite this insignificance, these postings are the content of my life and hold true to my very first post.

Thank you for looking in and I hope you get a laugh or at least a smirk from time to time. I know I am having fun. Thanks for tagging along........

Monday, January 16, 2012

Holiday Ideas

Well, the wife has returned from nearly three weeks in London and Paris with her family and has okayed a couple of weeks away for me! Good Karma for letting her slip away at christmas!

Now, down to the serious business of coming up with a possible destination. Some destinations would be better ridden sooner rather than later........

Although, New Zealand is much closer and there are sooo many sweet trails.

So, armed with cheapish air travel and a couple of weeks off (yet to be booked), where would YOU go? I would love to hear some of your dream destinations and why you would go there. And remember, there is always room for a riding partner.........

Friday, January 13, 2012

What Have I Done Now ?

Waaaay back in 1990 I bought my very first motorcycle. It was a 1984 Honda CBX 750F. It looked all Buck Rodgers (kids, ask your parents) and I was hooked by the two wheel bug.

Over the years I upgraded to bigger and better bikes. Some Honda,

                                                                        some Kawasaki

                                                                   sometimes multiple bikes

Some race bikes

but, my last road bike was a 2000 model Yamaha R1.

Ahhh, the R1. To me, the most perfect sports bike I had ever ridden. It had massive amounts of power. It had huge brakes and you could use them while cranked over, in a corner, without the bike trying to run you wide and spit you off. And you could tour on it. And I loved that bike more than all the others.

Unfortunately circumstance conspired against me and in a fit of logic (be careful about letting your head rule your heart) I decided to stop road riding and get into dirt bikes. The dirt was good fun. No speeding issues, no traffic in the bush, but also no one to find you if you had a close encounter with the shrubbery. This meant always riding with others. The downside to this was that organising a ride partner became mandatory for a ride to happen. Just another hurdle erected in front of a the dirt bikes went as well. For the last four years I have been getting my two-wheel-fix riding mountain bikes and reaping the benefit of hugely improved fitness as well.

I look forward to the mountain biking continuing, but the velos needs to be kind to their new stable mate.......

I always liked the blue R1 more..........

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And Straight into 2012

I was correct. I didn't even make 8pm.

Declining a cycling friend's invitation to dinner and drinks for NYE was a wise, if disappointing, decision as I was awakened by the birds chirping, feeling refreshed and quite frankly, GREAT!

Donning my riding kit, I snuck out while everyone was still asleep. With a self imposed upper heart rate limit of 150bpm, I took a most enjoyable roll around the Redlands.

And finished it off with a strong, smooth, steaming coffee.

Welcome to the future people..........I hope it is a great one for you as well.