OTB, 3 (Michael 2, Steve 1)
Photos by Martin
Approx. 30KM, 2h20M Riding Time, 4 Hours out there
Woohoo another ride in the single track mecca of Livingstone National Park near Wagga Wagga. This ride had a sadder aspect, Martin is moving back to Melbourne so he was out in Livingstone saying Aure Voir.
We met at the Wagga beach around 9am and drove out to the rifle range/start point. Starting at around 10am with the normal fireroad climb we got half way up and Martin suggested we head down the track here (Cindy's Adventure) rather than going up as far as Goonrooter. Martin headed off first to get some action photos of people on their way down the track. This track finishes at the open(ish) area where we start the fireroad climb out at the end of the ride usually.
On the way down "Cindy's adventure" we had to get off the track for some moter cross riders coming up the track, for me this was a first as on my prevbious livingstone rides I had only ever seen moter bikers on fireroads and never on the ST (though obviously the did once ride (and create) the ST here), for the rest of the ride we often saw obvious signs of fresh tyre marks on the ST's created by the motor bikes, they really do chop the ground up a lot.
Next we headed through a track surrounded by thorny bushes into a rather interesting gully (aptly named "Sticky, Rocky, Fucking Gully") (also surrounded by thorns) that would be a lot of fun in the other direction. Next we climbed up a track through a rock garden, probably fine to ride down, but I could not clean it uphill. Michael and I tended to be at the front up most of the hills, however I at least was generally slower down them, maybe I should think about a dualie sooner.
For those of you who know Michael or have heard the stories, you would be surprised not to hear of any crashes so far in this recounting, do not worry he made up for it. We next went down a fast fireroad with some waterbars and off cmaber corners, I was dropping back from Martin a bit and heard someone coming up fast behind me, after the next water bar I sped up a bit and could not hear the person behind any more. When Martin and I stopped we started wondering where everyone was, we soon found out why I could no longer hear the person behind me. Michael's back tyre unhooked and started sliding sideways and he went down and slid sideways for about 5 metres at speed into a water bar. The result, he now has some big scars on his leg, and arm (and he is also now grinning hapilly at having his first significant crash in a few months).
I went on ahead now with the camera to take photos at what Martin referred to as a small log drop/jump, I should find it I was told. I did so set up beneath it and waited for the riders. I alas never quite worked out the timing of the button press to picture in order to get someone in the air properly but the shots worked okay. Michael went off the track just below here also, still working towards some more crashes. This track is called pinball, I suppose due to the fact that if you ride it fast you tend to get bounced form side to side a bit on the corners. (or so Michael and Martin claimed)
After some more fast flowing ST (this is part of why livingstone is so much fun, flying through ST at 30 KMH with the odd jump or gully and corners is a lot of fun) we climbed up to the start of "Fun Mud" so named due to the comments Mikey made when we first rode livingstone and it was very muddy. In the dry this track is still a heap of fun, and with the huge amounts of dust around it was a good idea to hang back from the person in front quite a bit you were otherwise completely blind to the track or corners until you were on top of them.
Near the end of this track I noticed my left crank getting very loose (it had gotten loose a few times on friday and once home I tightened it with a better allen key than my toolkit contained (more torque available with a long handle) and thought it would be fine), I stopped and attempted to tighten it with both my multi tool and Martin's, however neither had enough torque and it started to wiggle again by the end of "fun mud". Rohan had a drop forged park tool of some sort that fixed it, he got me to hold the crank while he stood on the tool and got another full turn or two more than we could get with our multi tools. Who knows I may never get it undone again, but at least so far it stayed connected.
Now at the scout camp we stopped for a bit to eat and talk, Michael did not seem keen on stopping and was riding around the field, when he came close he said he siezed up when he stood still, we finally forced some painkillers into him at this point (at his protest), after the breather we headed out to an edge of the park and started climbing (some putshing involved) up a fenceline, soon after we got onto a pretty cool undulating (with some fun gullies) track heading towards P Plater.
Just before the climb up to "P Plater" we came across a plain 2 wheel family car parked out here, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, with no occupants about we left it be and kept going. At the start of "P Plater" Michael was amazedto find another P Plate (the track is named in part due to finding one a year ago there, on a ride where Michael crashed badly), this was we guessed probably off one of the motor bikes.
Michael crashed off the track at the bottom of the first gully in P Plater, fortunately for him the barbed wire was no longer there and he simply fell down a longish way, I came down soon after, too slowly and worried about the drop, watching some rocks too closely I went over the bars (too much front brake), Martin insisted I hold the pose so he could photograph it, I had no scrapes or anything fortunately so got up after the modelling.
Once we finished "P Plater" Andrew rode on ahead to get some more photos, I doomed us to a flat by noticing out loud we had been lucky with no flats so far. So off we rode down "Pod Racer" (another really good 30 KMH swoopy descent), everyone was waiting with Andrew taking photos just below a loose corner with a few sharp rocks. I pulled up to a stop with them and Michael came down, and got the flat I doomed upon us on the sharp rocks.
Once we finished this it was time to climb out, the standard climb out is an easy fireroad up hill followed by a fun fireroad with waterbars at speed down to the cars. It was fun, though spoiled somewhat by moter bikers coming the other way almost having head ons with a few of us. Martin said it was a good ride, compared to his last communal trip out to livingstone on Australia Day, when they had plus 40 degree temperatures and a few slower people and had to skip quote a few of the more fun tracks, we ot a lot more in today, and all had fun. It was now time to head into town for Pizza and Beverages and relive the ride, and time for Martin to say Aure Voir to Livingstone in the hopes of returning one day (after all he has been telling us all that it is not far for Melbournians or Sydney Siders to get to)