Monday, July 30, 2012

Back2Back 6 Hour

Sunday finally saw the running of the first of Two Wheel Promotion's 6 hour races, after months of weather cancellations.

I think it showed bravery on the organiser's part to reschedule the race, not once but twice, due to rain and while I wasn't racing myself, the 150 or so riders who did enjoyed a perfect winters day with temperatures in the low 20s Celsius(70F).

Three of the Regular Daisy Hill Wednesday Morning Crew were pitting themselves against the track for 6 hours so I thought I might drop by to capture their in the first few hours of the race.

At the end of lap one it was still all smiles.....

Lap 2 and the expressions were subtly changing....

They were as busy as the proverbial....


The "thousand yard" stare......

Tough work, this spectating....

Congratulations to all of the guys on your effort. The Canungra track is one of my favourites and I must admit, I was more than a little jealous while watching you guys circulate.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trail Care Rears It's Ugly, Eroded Head

Saturday morning saw a return to "Trail Care" activities after a somewhat well earned rest. The target today was one of the iconic trails in Daisy Hill Forest, "Nirvana".

This trail has a bit of everything. Being on a steep, shaded slope this trail throws up riding challenges as well as visual pleasures and is a personal favourite. Some photos were included in this post from last year.

Unfortunately there has been no love shown to this (or any other) trail for a few years and several parts of it are becoming badly eroded.

While still challenging and fun to ride, it gives the land managers the opportunity to equate mountain bikers with trail degredation. To redress this balance, LCTA (with some prodding) has stepped in to address some of the more ..erm....fecked-up parts of the trail.

Three cubic metres(yards) of rock and three cubic metres of road base were ordered for the job. The method of moving the material was a couple of wheel barrows and a heap of sweat. It is amazing how out of control you can get with a heavily loaded barrow on steep, narrow single track! Oh for a brake on that little wheel!

So, most of the gear ended up at the work site with only the odd huge stone rolling down the hillside. Unfortunately I missed a golden photo opportunity when a few of the guys retrieved a runaway, much to their discomfort.

With just 2.5 metres of rock and about tha same of road base, we went from nasty exposed roots to two huge rock step-offs in about five hours. Not at all to the IMBA standard at 30% slope, but it will stand the test of time and shows that you don't need to have boring IMBA McTrails if you have the proper materials and some volunteers to fix(or build) it right. With some more volunteers we could have achieved an even better outcome on the day....

Huge props to the small, but talented and good looking team that turned out this morning ;-)

While Andrew was the designated test rider this morning, I managed to take a quick spin over just before dark to sample the works for myself.

The verdict? It rolls so well that the average rider probably won't even notice it. It will become a part of the pleasure that is "Nirvana".

And thats good enough for me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Moto Loving

Well...I purchased the bike on Friday the 13th of January. I decided that today would be the day to do that oil change which would give me a base line for my maintenance schedule....! D'oh! Where has this year gone?!?

The plan was to also fit the Goodridge braided brake lines that I bought waaay back in February while I was at it.

The oil change was something I have done heaps of times over the years. However, just not on a road bike for the last 7 years. I had to feel my way around the fairing fasteners, then look for the sump plug. All was well though. It was on the bottom of the sump, right where I suspected it might be!

The oil that dropped out was pretty black looking, which had me wondering how long it had been in there. In the past I always changed my oil every 2000km(1250mi) which might be a bit excessive but then I never had any engine trouble in the wear department. These modern lubricants are a bit slicker than the stuff I used to use so maybe I can stretch the service intervals a bit depending on how often I ride the bike. At the moment, averaging roughly just 6-8 rides a year I guess I should change it every 12 months to allow for moisture ingress here in the sub-tropics. What do you guys recommend?

The K&N filter was replaced with a genuine Yamaha unit. My, how the genuine parts have come down in price. I recall them being prohibitively expensive and aftermarket consumables were almost mandatory for the budget conscious biker.

That done it was time to move onto the front brake lines.

My brother had replaced the front brake lines on his 2000 model R1 earlier this year and raved about the increased stopping power given by the stainless braided lines. I was concerned with the amount of lever pressure required to stop my bike. I recall my last R1 had fantastic brakes and therefore suspected that the old rubber lines might be past their best at 10 years old. The other scenario was that I was used to riding 11kg(22lb) mountain bikes equipped with hydraulic disc brakes and just needed to harden the f#ck up.

Anyway, I decided that the bike was at fault and for just $73AU how could I go wrong? So I set about pulling the old lines off the bike and fitting the new lines. Now, the instructions for fitting the new lines were pretty vague, just mentioning superfluous crap like "make sure the line doesn't snag on anything", "don't over tighten the banjo bolts" etc,etc. Yeah, yeah. But nowhere was instruction of which end went where! Which end was the top and which was the bottom?? Both lines look identical with one end having a curved fitting and the other a straight fitting. I decided that the curved fitting must go at the master cylinder end with the straight fitting at the caliper. Any suggestions are welcomed before I bore along a road at 180km/h then throw out the anchor.....

Out with the old...

And in with the new.......

They are all bled up with a great feel at the lever.

Please feel free to point out any glaring errors here folks. It is my (dumb) ass on the line and while I can land a 737 in a howling crosswind with an engine on fire, I may not be super numba 1 mechanic in the area and google was no help today.

I am just going to bleed the rear brake with some new fluid tomorrow, then next week will be "game on". A multi day motorcycle ride with lots of photos and some dribble to fill the void between said photos.

Now where did I put my thermals.....?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hello Spring ?

I found it waaay too hard to get myself out of bed at 5am for the Regular Daisy Hill Wednesday Morning Ride today. Its not that I didn't want to ride or to catch up with the guys. It is just that I need to try putting my body back onto a normal footing sleep-wise while I am on holidays. I found in the last month or so that working earlys, followed by lates, with the odd back of the clock wedged in sideways that I felt like the walking dead. So, this two weeks is being dedicated to getting liberal servings of sleep at normal hours, as well as a great ride or three.

Patting the family on the head and sending them out to the salt mines/school, I was wondering what use I could put this outstanding winters day to. Yesterday was a day of much gardening so today should be a day of much cycling. Balance is the key!

Kitting up I decided to head out toward Redland Bay to have a look at the old trails that have been given some TLC by the trail fairies. I decided to take a different route today. Part of my regular road bike route would lead me into the trails.

One of the reasons was so I could photograph this old house. I have done countless rides past it but must have been in the pain cave on each of them as I have never noticed it before last week. It is just crying out to be photographed in the early morning light, but that will have to wait until I am back on the hamster wheel.

Just one year ago the approach to Bayview was along a narrow fire trail, across a creek via a slippery, mossy fallen tree, then more fire trail to the entrance. That is all gone now, under hundreds of new Lego-Land dwellings. While I found the original fire trail emanating from the back of the housing estate, the cosy little creek crossing is long gone. Progress I am told.

Into the single track and the arm warmers came off almost immediately. Since it stopped raining the weather has been very pleasant. Today was feeling most tropical and I am wondering if we are in for an early Spring?

Through the usual trails and then I was off hunting the Shark's Tail Trail. I hadn't ridden this since January 2010 and that hiatus indicates what I though of it then. Now though, apart from one boggy spot, it is a pleasure to wind through. Feeling like you are in a living tunnel, the trail isn't too tight as it's heritage was originally a dirt bike track.

I deliberately had the map page up on my GPS today. That meant there would be no stats. No "how far have I gone". No clock watching either. I just stopped when I was hungry. I wandered around and explored interesting looking trails and didn't stress if they went nowhere. This being on holidays is pure gold! I highly recommend it!

I rode the Maze next. Last time I rode it we took about an hour to get through as we had to basically cut our way through. Today there is a 2-3m wide trail. It looks like someone drove a small tractor with a slasher along the trail. No issues with getting whipped in the face by undergrowth now. Shame really.

Heading back toward the main entrance, there is a trail called i0. It is only short but the forest through here is the most interesting, feeling like something from Jurassic Park, or Rotorua.

I was looking out for Newman here. The ferns have almost reclaimed this old Daihatsu jeep, with it only just visible off the trail side.

I love all the ferns through here.

i0, Bayview from Davey Crocket on Vimeo.

Climbing out through Blow, Fluffer and Vegemite I was soon on Valley Way and winging my way to the little shop at Mt Cotton. I was famished by this stage. Having no bananas in the house I was reduced to some nuts and a couple of gels to get me this far with the carrot being a banana(if that makes sense?). Much to my disappointment, NO BANANAS!  "The bloke is running late and should be here soon" was the response. Plan B was several Snickers bars. Yum, I was happy to roll with Plan B as Snickers are becoming my trail snack of choice lately. Great taste and they seem to keep me going for a while.

While munching on said sweet poison I was checking out the local notice board. How did I miss "Bender 6"? They probably would not have let me in due to the "No Shitheads" clause!

From here I climbed up to Mt Cotton Rainforest Gardens. I noticed a large "For Sale" sign out the front and hoped that this route up the eastern side of Mt Cotton isn't about to close. Major pain in the arse if it does. There would be no reason to climb up for this view over Moreton Bay either. It never ceases to amaze me how much rain falls in the bay while we are dry just a few miles inland.

Just near the honesty box, inside the gate, was a magnificent display of Poinsettia.

I loitered here for a minute or two while sucking down another gel and some water. The climb through the gardens is absolute Granny Gear territory for me.

Once at the top of the climb I felt the need for a brisker pace and gave up on my plan for a lap of the Karingal track, partly because two guys were standing at the gate and partly because my legs were starting to tell me that the 7km(4.5mi) track was 7km I really didn't need today.

So, I just put my head down and pedalled for home via Daisy Hill. I hit up a small amount of single track in Daisy then headed home via Wallum Froglet in Cornubia. I decided to hit WF as fast as my legs would take me, mashing the pedals on the short, mid descent climb and leaving the brakes alone for the down-bits. This netted me 3rd overall for WF on Strava! And on a hardtail at that.

 After 66km(41mi) and 1150m(3700ft) of climbing I must have been warmed up sufficiently!!

Rolling into the garage I felt that familiar tinge of fatigue, accompanied by some leg soreness and a huge smile. Ahhh sweet pain. It is but temporary.

Sure beats working......

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lake Manchester

With my young bloke attending a soccer tournament with his Mum, I was keen to spend some quality cycling time with my eldest.

I perused the extremely helpful "Where to MTB in South East Queensland" for a beginner friendly ride that we could attack. I was leaning toward a ride on the Sunshine Coast as the countryside there is spectacular but after checking the contours on the maps the rides all looked to be too steep for a ten year old. So I settled on the Lake Manchester loop. At 18km (11mi) and some change I thought this would be an interesting ride for us both as I hadn't yet ridden these trails. The profile looked a bit "uppitty" but the ride was listed as beginner friendly, so we headed out for a look.

Miss 10 was very excited on the way to the start point and was so keen to get going that I could hardly make her stand still for a "before" photo with all the huge taps.

Funnily enough, this gung-ho attitude changed within about 100 metres(yards) as we had to cross a wide, swiftly flowing stream. I had visions of her taking a dunking if she tried to ride it, so it was off with the shoes and push the bike across while I pedalled through the shallows.

What you can't see is the terror she was gripped by while walking this shallow crossing. She must have had visions of being washed away, as I had to coax her to move across even though it was only ankle deep.

Once across it was all smiles again as I dried her feet and she bolted her shoes on again.

We then headed up a short, sharp climb to be abeam the dam wall. Unfortunatley, her legs were "sore" by this point and would prove to be on most of the climbs throughout the ride. :(

The blurb on this ride was that by riding it clockwise most of the climbs were in the first few kilometres and it flattened out toward the latter stages. What I hadn't factored in was the complete lack of riding Lucy had done in the last 6-8 weeks and the resulting skills erosion. This made not only the climbs difficult but the descents were also being walked. I had visions of us finishing the ride in the dark at this pace, so the positive re-enforcement was flowing freely from quite early on. I knew she had the ability. She just needed reminding.

I also had to keep in mind that these WERE steep hills and for a ten year old, small mountains in fact. So almost immediatley, I was pushing two bikes up the hills. The ratio of whinging to walking decreased in proportion to how much I pushed right away!

Our confidence grew to the point where we were riding the downs as well as the flat parts. We soon came across a small cabin on the foreshore. One of the interesting things here was a piece of 4x2 that had been attached to a young tree some time in the last few years. Much more interesting than the cabin!

The trail was relatively flat for a while with just the odd boggy patch to negotiate. That was until we came to Branch Creek. Here was a reasonably deep, fast flowing creek where we stood to get wet feet. There were some strategically placed stones that saw me across using my bike as a walking pole. Dry feet so far, but with a daughter on the wrong side of the stream and no other real options I plunged in and carried her bike over, then held out a "Daddy" hand so that she could hopscotch her way across with dry feet this time. Lucky for me winter in Brisbane sees daytime temps of about 22C(72F)!

This crossing worked up an appetite so about 100m from here we stopped for some food. To be exact, some more food, as Lucy had been eating her way around the lake so far!

One peanut butter sandwich dispatched, then it was time to move on. I say move, not ride, as we were steeply uphill from here. This was the biggest climb of the ride and I must have been propogating a hunger in my offsider as she decided to tuck into a Mars bar as we climbed the hill toward Light Line Rd. Shame that I had a bike in each hand and couldn't partake of the Mars bar but it certainly put a smile on Lucy's face!

Once we crested the top it was a more pleasant rolling trail that could at least be partially ridden up. This part of the trail had a small black x on the map with the word "Wolseley" next to it. This was an old car wreck and after my missing the Bora Ring on the way to Blackbutt, I was definitely on the lookout for this feature. So was the little Miss! She spotted it and tore down the hillside to check it out. About 1,806,462 questions followed. "Where are the door handles?" "Where are the seats?" "Where are the wheels?" were in the opening salvo!!

The trail flattened out from here and we were passed by a few dirt bikes at the next creek crossing. In typical dirt bike style they passed us on narrow firetrail on the back wheel. F#cken  tools. Do they think we are impressed? This is after all a no motorcycle area.

After just a few more climbs the trail started to flatten out and we could pedal most of time.

 Apart from when we were looking at interesting trail side stuff.

We passed a couple of horse riders and the questions started flowing again.There is nothing like having an inquisitive child with you to make you feel uneducated!

On the roll down to the front gate the trail threw one last hurdle at us in the form of a total bog! I am so glad I told Lucy to wear her new white joggers! I was going to be so popular when I got home!! Whoops....

We rolled along the main road for the last few kilometres and this was about enough for both of us. A recovery  lamington was stashed in the centre console of the car and was duly inhaled upon arrival back at the car. 

So, slightly covered in mud, slightly tired and slightly hungry we finished this ride in just under three and a half hours. I was very happy with this time after the ominous look of the first few kilometres. 

And the first thing that Miss 10 told her Mum about the ride?

 How much fun that first terrifying water crossing was!!

Go figure!!?