OTB, 0 (Not a real ride then I guess, we have to try harder next time)
Approx. 125KM, 6h35M Riding Time, 10 Hours out there
So we met at ANU at 8am, the same time as the bilby's road ride meets on Saturday. Around 20 roadies and 6 people on mtb's. I called Dave around ten past wondering where he was, he said He and Julie would meet us at the top of the first climb. So we set off up to the saddle next to black mountain. Picked up Dave and Julie (fortunate as David was providing navigation for the day).
I shuddered at the thought of doing anything steep at the start of the epic when Dave said he had a plan in mind for the route, we set off and kept going downhill (whew) for a while. We crossed through to the bottom of Blue Tongue and Dave asked if there was anyone meeting us at Cotter. As far as I knew there wasn't so headed off behind Dairy Farmers hill towards Coppins Crossing.
Through some firetrail, single track (the last we saw for the day) and some bush bashing (Dave attempted to get us lost twice, fortunately Julie saved us all) to Uriarra road. Julie decided to leave us (we are doomed to David's navigation...) here afraid she was too slow, she left to go do the bike legs of the upcoming triple tri, personally I think we had the easier ride. Down to seven people, we now had the boring roadie ride down to Uriarra. What they really need is a firetrail or similar from the back of Stromlo through to Uriarra forrest or similar. (Also I think more single track should be developed in Uriarra, I think we Canberrans are just to complacent with the fact we can ride easily, or drive 10 minutes, to the popular riding areas, a half hour drive to a single track mecca in Uriarra would not kill us (whee summer project, I can find out where we are allowed to build and become a track gnome)).
We got to the start of Two Sticks road after chasing down Andrew and his team mates (trying to be roadies or simply not realising there would be a bit of a work out later in the ride). After a steep section where the bush really got started (escape from farm land) Andrew mentioned his back wheel was rubbing on the brakes, and had been all day. On inspection he had a broken spoke. We fixed him up so he was able to ride with out brake rubbing, just as we were about to go Aaron noticed he also had the same problem. Fixed that and we got into the climb.
The climb up the length of Two Sticks road is surprisngly pleasant. There is nothing from here on in. All middle ring (or I suspect big ring for the likes of DM Bontjer). And it is not as much of a slog as climbing from the other side, from Warks road or similar area straight up to Bulls Head. Great views all over the place, an occasional fun downhill bit, etc. Dave attempted to get us lost again which involved climbing to get back from. On track to arrive at Bulls Head for lunch and water refill, David made a seemingly innocuous suggestion.
As we are here anyway lets go up this road to the top of Mt Coree, the downhill is fun. Sounds alright, we all agreed. As we headed up the road I caught a glimpse of a very high up cliff face through the trees. Damn I hope that isnt it.... It was. Half an hour in the granny ring later we got to the top to die^H^H^Heat lunch.
There are some great views from up here. All of Canberra low down in the distance or out further into the ranges. David rang Julie to tell her where we were, she said she was at the top of Red Hill, we started waving like mad but she said she was on the opposite side so unable to see us. Two 4wd loads of people pulled up, got out looked at us like we were freaks, sat around in the shelter drinking a bit and left. They dont know what they are missing.
I offered to swap bikes with Carl for the downhill, he said it was a new bike and he was still getting used to it (oh well I tried). So we set off back to Two Sticks Road. Wheeeeeee. Bump. Wheeeeee. You get the idea, that was a fun downhill, a bit bumpy but otherwise fun. Half way down Carl got a flat over some bump. Riding a tubeless wheel set this was surprising. We stopped while he shoved a tube in and pumped it up.
We rode on to Piccadilly Circus, when we arrvied looking at the time we decided we should head back to Canberra rather than go up to Bulls Head. We were all close to out of water, but thought we could fill up in a creek (Canberra's water supply comes form around here after all). We turned down Brindabella road. This downhill was also a heap of fun, something like 10 KM of downhill, a bit wider than most fireroads as cars use this road a lot, still fun.
We hit bitumen for a while after the downhill, then left it to head around the back of Mt Mcdonald towards Cotter. Dave once again tried to get us all lost, climbing (again) out of this wrong turn I got the second flat of the day. Took my time fixing it, then as we started rolling Andrew got a flat. This is one unlucky wrong turn.
Past Uriarra Forrestry settlement (old almost burnt out Holden hangout it seems) and down the fireroads towards Cotter, these were a lot of fun, they had been graded recently, and with the recent rain were thick sand but kind of sticky, so you could float around corners feeling like you might fall off but not doing so (a bit like Mikey's fun mud).
We refilled with water at the Cotter campground and then had the 5KM uphill out of Cotter back to Stromlo. Once we got to Deeks we rolled in through the carpark (for all the people there knew we had just done a lap or two of the 24 hour course, I thought for a moment it might be neat to have some obvious sign we had done a fun little epic instead....) and headed back to ANU on fireroads.
We got back to ANU at 18:10 after a very good day of mtb'ing up in the ranges. Looking forward to another one soon.