Occasionally I do some work. Mostly I like to check out places like this.
Just thought I would start this post by sharing my most profound realisation of the amazing weekend I have spent in Kirrawak State Forest riding in the first round of the Chocolate Foot Single Track Mind Series for 2014.
Now before you think I am going to be disappointed by being slow, or some other such emotion (bahh boring!) it was the best weekend I have had in ages! The trails were unspeakably awesome, the people on the track all lovely and courteous while waiting for the slow people like me to get out of the way, and really it was just great.
Like all good weekends away mine started off with last minute packing which was closely followed by breakfast and coffee with Tim (my travel buddy for the weekend) and Ez. After some packing magic had two bikes, and a whole lot of gear stuffed into the back of the car and were on our way to Taree. Now I always think Taree is a long way away, probably a flash back to riding in the back of a troopy towing a trailer as a kid – however the drive is quick and easy aside from the pesky 100km/hr zones.
Arriving at the event site we checked in, received our chocolate feet (I am serious they give you a chocolate in the shape of a foot at check -in. I never want to receive one with sprinkles on it) and set about checking out the tracks. I was expecting roots, and branches and all sorts of fun obsticles given the rather eucalypty nature of the forest we were in but the local MTB club had completed the mammoth task of removing every leaf and twig from the track and the trail was more groomed than I had ever imagines possible. Even better the track was essentially free of hills which is always a splendid thing.
So a shake down ride,some slack-lining and fish and chips saw us tired and weary and ready for the race the next day.
Race day came with my usual level of organisation. After breakfast we wandered down to check out how things were going at the event site knowing we had heaps of time to spare. Confident of the amount of time we had we ordered coffees and waited, and waited, and waited. I knew I wasn’t going to be even starting the race without caffine so I waited in line while Tim prepared himself. With 8 minutes to spare I was at tent, coffee in hand, beginning to prepare for the race. I made the race briefing, but then realised I was still wearing my normal glasses!
So anyway, I joined the race start line, sat up the back and rode along with the crew until I arrived near the start of the single track. Much to the amazement of those looking on I ducked off to the tent, retrieved my sunnys and politely waited until all the real riders had started while continuing to consume my coffee. I won’t go into detail, but the rest of my race continued in much the same manner with multiple stops food, general chatting and such good things. Needless to say I didn’t win, but I also didn’t come last – second last to be precise. That said I had amazing ride, chatted to some most excellent people who I was chilling with, and rode some amazing new trails!
I’ve recently started getting involved with the Sydney Bush Walkers group as a way to extend my adventures in and around Sydney. SBW as it shall hereafter be referred to is quite an amazing club for the diversity of its membership, and the openness it appears to have regarding its experience. I haven’t been to many things yet other than a few social nights and the two single day activities listed below, but everyone has been extremely welcoming and willing to share their experiences. So for anyone wishing to get involved in outdoors adventures look up the website, alternatively just read the following….
Abseil Beginners Day
I am not a beginner when it comes to abseiling, or other rock sports for that matter, but I went along to the SBW introduction to abseil day a week or so ago to check it out and spend some time on ropes after a fairly long period of boring-ness.
The course was excellently run, though why they encourage people to use figure-8 descenders I still can’t fathom. Anyway it was great to watch the way the instructor (Tom) and the co-awesome people who helped (Terry and Sue) introduced everyone progressively and safely without getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty detail or scaring anyone. As it turned out I did remember what to do, could play around enough to readjust to using a rap rack etc. Happy days!
Garigal National Park Exploration
Today’s adventure was all together different. As part of qualifying to become a full member of SBW you have to do a certain number of walks consisting of off track walking. Today I joined an “exploration walk” which was planned as follows. Pick a national park, pick a car park, find a point on the other side of the park, get there via the wettest least direct path possible.
Now Garigal National Park is a coastal national park not far from the beach, and is the kind of place that experience lots of weather including wind and rain, so the natural environment includes a lot of water down low, and tough wind swept scrub up high. Basically it was a most excellent day, that involved getting mud, leeches, scratches and all things good.
A big thank you to Shahram for being our intrepid leader and navigator! I look forward to many more walks exploring, ambling and squelching through national parks!
Places I’d rather be….
The complete list of the 5th Annual Photo Contest Winners | Adventure Cycling Association.
Inspired by Dayna and her cool blog I’ve made a map of the photos I have stored on my computer. I would suggest it could be broken down a lot further, but it makes me realise there are a lot more places to go!