Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And people pay for mud baths?

On Saturday the 29th of May, myself and 1500 other (crazy?) riders competed in the Capital Punishment enduro MTB race. Held in our Nation's Capital, the 50km version in which I was entered took in many legendary trails such as Majura Pines and Mt Stromlo.

Competing in this event was very important to me. I've had a goal for close to two years now to compete in, and finish, such a race. I guess the only thing I didn't plan was for the heavens to open on the night before and for the trails to resemble chocolate mousse!!

As you can see below, I didn't need to pay extra for a mud facial.

All the trails in the ACT are amazing but the highlight for me, other than finishing of course, was riding the Mt Stromlo downhill section at the end - it made the pain of the previous 50km completely worthwhile, including the nice hill climb right at the end!!

Even as I write this now and look at the photos, I've noticed a smile has crept upon my face :-)

Oh, and I think my bike might have been a little "heavier" during the race for some reason.

For those "data minded" people out there like myself, here are some stats and a link to the recording with my Garmin Edge 705 GPS.

Official Time: 05:27:16*
Overall Position (50km event) : 578 / 848
Gender Position: 488 / 676
Category Position (Open): 323 / 531

Official Results
Activity on Garmin Connect

*My official time is different as there was a 6km untimed section along Gungahlin Drive.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ah, we should have turned there....

Despite it looking like it was going to be a poor-weather weekend (as Sydney likes to do), the rain stayed away today and we got to ride Loftus Oval again. This time, however, we had a goal: to find the missing 7kms! (approx)

"7kms? How do you loose 7kms?" I hear you say! Well, during the week, I had a closer look at the data I collected during the last ride and realised that we'd only ridden 18.2kms. After scratching my head a little, I discovered that the course file I had downloaded to my GPS unit (which I'll be sure to blog/gloat about soon) was missing a whole section. Doh! A quick search using our friend Google and a new course file had been downloaded.

To give you an idea of the differences, here are screenshots of the ride on Google Maps.

Short Ride
Longer Ride

You can easily see that we'd missed whole additional sections of the course. The new bits were mainly fire trail, some nice downhill bits and of course some great hill climbs but they definitely added to the appeal of this track.

The awesome views helped too.

Another great morning out on the bike!

P.S Full details of the ride are available here on Garmin Connect.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

If at first you don't succeed......

About ten years ago, I purchased my first "good" mountain bike (a GT Palomar with front suspension no less!), however, for many years, it didn't get used and sat unused (but not unloved) in our garden shed. Thankfully, a former colleague of mine invited me to ride with him around Manly Dam and reminded me how much I loved being on a bike.

That was a bit over two years ago and since then, I've purchased my first dualie (a Specialized Stumpjumper Comp) and now ride pretty much every weekend.

Usually, we rotate between some ride/bike track rides or for the preferred off-road rides, Manly Dam or Lady Carrington Drive, however, up until last weekend, I'd have to say Manly Dam was my favourite trail. What changed? Well, it isn't that I don't like Manly Dam as much, its just we were encouraged (forced) to start looking for other trails in and around Sydney by the closure of sections of said trail - more info here. In fact, this event was the inspiration behind the title of this blog! 

Thankfully, Manly Dam has been reopened for now, however, in the mean time, I was able to ride two trails in or around the Royal National Park - one of which is now a favourite in addition to Manly Dam.

The first of these trails was the Heathcote Pipeline.

Somehow, when researching this trail, none of us saw the TrailFlix rating of "Medium-Hard" and only the 25km distance. Fail #1. Given we had all ridden further than that we thought great, this should be a nice ride. Little did we know that there were some very "nice" hills involved (including a 4km near-continuous climb). Fail #2.

Said Climb

Although I did enjoy this ride, it involved mainly fire trail along with some poorly-maintained service road and even a bit of highway. These really aren't the ingredients for the ride I'm searching (see the title of the blog!). There were two highlights though: getting to see Woronora Dam though, something that I'll have to visit again (but probably in a car!) - and the downhill bit of course. ;-)

Anyways, that's all in the past now so I guess I should explain what I meant earlier when I said Manly Dam wasn't my only favourite trail anymore.

The second of the trails (and the new favourite) is Loftus Oval.

Many a visit to TrailFlix has seen me look at this trail with interest, but for some reason we've never ridden it - until now!! This trail had everything I was looking for, some hill climbs, a nice downhill and of course, the all important singletrack - woot!

Here is proof of how much fun I had.
Look at that smile! (and it isn't just the sugar high at work).

To add to the morning, the historic trams were running 
along the tracks into the Royal National Park.

Now if only they still went to North Bondi.

Thankfully it only took two attempts to find another great trail near the city. When will I be riding this trail again? Hmm..give me a moment to think. How about this Sunday ;-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I've been meaning/planning/avoiding/ to start a blog for well over a year now and always found many reasons not to, however, the day has finally come and Searching for Singletrack is the result!

So I guess I should start with a welcome to my blog. I'm still not 100% what exactly I'm going to write about (well, obviously it will mostly have to do with cycling) but I'm hoping it will be a place I can share my thoughts, adventures and discoveries whilst I cycle around Sydney and surrounds.

Finally, thanks must go to my colleague Jenny P who gave me the inspiration to finally star a blog. Thank you Jenny!! Check out her blog - Get on your bike!