With the holiday season upon us the kids have been down in New South Wales spending time with their grandparents. Being time to come home and who better than to do the 1100km(690mi) drive home than Dad?
I must be getting old as the prospect of doing the drive in one day, as I have done for the last 10 years, was not at all appealing. Best split the drive into two manageable bits, right? Right.
Armidale in central NSW is a very pleasant country town located high on the range. It is about half way between Sydney and Brisbane, so a perfect location to break the drive.
As an added bonus there is a sweet little trail layout just to the north of town. "The Piney" was somewhere I had ridden a few years ago. Back then, I had snuck out early while my family slept. This time the kids had their own bikes and were dead keen to ride the trails. GAME ON!
So it was up early and into the car for the short drive out to the trail head.
Everyone was all smiles, keen as mustard until we rolled into the forest and the trail went uphill. I got the "I don't want to do this" from Miss 10 (regular occurrence early in a ride) which I duly ignored. As soon as the trail leveled out and went from fire road to single track she was gushing about how much fun it was! Women!?!
The trails wind through some old growth pine forest as well as some more recent plantation. It makes for a very pleasant ride destination in summer as the elevation of 3200ft keeps the temperature down. It also seems someone had naming rights on a particular section of trail.
It was a glorious, clear morning with just a hint of dew on the grass. A perfect morning for a ride on new trails.
Someone was on a mission on his new Cannondale that Santa had dropped off on the 25th. There was simply no stopping him, don't even try to stop him!
I even got the kids on shutter duties. How good is this having (slightly) older kids? Very handy!
For this time of the year the New England Tablelands were simply stunning! Normally the summer heat has browned off the grass but this year there have been many thunderstorms with their associated heavy rainfall and the country never looked better!
Styling through the rocks....
Technically, the trails are pretty easy. There was nothing that Superboy on his new Cannondale didn't take on. While a bit overconfident at times, this new bike has him thinking he can do no wrong. I guess there will be a slight "correction" sooner or later....but in the mean time....
He sessioned this fence crossing three times!
We did an easy 10km(6mi) and hardly raised a sweat this early in the morning. It certainly made the prospect of spending another 5 hours in the car much more bearable.
It was also a great introduction to new trails for the kids. While they usually do about 15km(9mi) when we head out for a ride, it is usually the same loop in Daisy Hill and at sea level. New trails, especially ones at 3200ft above sea level are a challenge for anyone, so it was great to see the kids take it in their stride, beaming and recounting bits of the ride to each other as we packed the car for the rest of our journey.