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 ;-)