Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Rifle Butts MTB Park

I suspected I was going to like Rifle Butts MTB Park even before I got there.

 

It's the kind of place where you need to turn left at the black stump to find it (or download the GPS file from trailmate and put it on your phone), and to be honest most people (at least those whose cars aren't faulty, thanks Europcar) would whiz right past on their way to the more iconic Buller trails (where I now won't be going this trip - did I say thanks Europcar?).

Main Trailhead - Rifle Butts MTB Park

So Rifle Butts MTB Park - it's just on the outskirts of Mansfield, and the main XC loop which picks up most of the trails is about 4.5kms long, which even for me who stopped to take lots of photos (as well as adjust seat height, seat direction and pump more air into the tyres several times) was a fairly short time spent on the bike.

I hit the trails on a perfect day (would have been epic up at Buller, Mr Europcar man) and I just really enjoyed the old-school feel of these trails where you'd suddenly find some little technical feature or a corner that is just a little bigger, tighter or less bermed than you expected to give you a nice wake up call and let you know these trails were built by mountain bikers.












The last little downhill section back to the car (Rubbish Run I think it was called) was a tight little challenge on the 29er, and I was almost tempted to head off on a second lap to do it all again.

...  except I needed to get to a bike shop.  

You see I'd got home from work on Monday night and went downstairs to throw the bike into my Ground Effect body bag for the trip over to Melbourne, expecting it to take 10 minutes (I'd done this a dozen times).

However, after spending that time alone just trying to get one of the pedals off, I finally got to the part where I was ready to "easily" slide the bike into the bag ... only to find that it wouldn't fit.

It was at this point that I realised I'd never actually put my 29er into this bike bag and what ensued was a 30 minute battle as I took more and more parts off the bike trying to get it to fit.  

I eventually figured out that if I fully (and I mean fully) deflated the rear wheel, took off the handle bars and turned the forks around, I could just (and I mean with a lot of force) get my bike into the bag.

I guess this is what Ground Effect mean when they say ...
A simple solution to the hassle of hauling your bike around on aeroplanes. Just whip off your front wheel, remove the seat and pop your precious toy inside the Body Bag ... All hard-tail, lightweight XC dual suspension and 29'er mountain bikes should easily fit into either the Body Bag.  Source: http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/product/BAG/BOD
Well if that's the kiwi idea of "easy" then they're even more laid back that I thought - bro.

The reason for this long rant is that if you fully deflate a tubeless tyre filled with Stan's Fluid, then there's a pretty good chance that the tyre will unseat from the rim during the flight heck - it unseated getting it into the bag), and therefore when you pick up your bike in Melbourne you'll find tyre sealant everywhere in the bike bag - except inside the rear tyre.

You'll then have to not only clean that mess up, you'll also have to waste one of those precious two gas cyclinders you brought across in your carry on luggage (yep - it's legal on Australian domestic flights to carry up to two gas cylinders in your carry on luggage) to re-inflate it.

More importantly for this story, you might also find yourself riding around Rifle Butts MTB Park having to stop and re-inflate your tyre every 10 minutes because it's not holding a seal properly.

So there was to be no second lap for me - what I needed was a friendly bike shop to throw a bit more tyre sealant in my rear tyre if I were to continue on ...  a simple and cheap, job ... or so I thought. ...

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Jinxed

I will confess to creating a lot of my own problems in life, however I do also think I have a pretty good case for thinking I'm jinxed.

For example, when I go out riding, and I end up struggling up hills in a puddle of pain - well that's my fault for being so unfit and overweight and I'll accept that - it's my fault, my problem and not a jinx.

When I break a spoke on my rear wheel - well that's probably something to do with my weight as well, so I won't call that a jinx either.

But how many people do you know who have had not one, but two deraileurs ripped from their bikes by random sticks in the last six months?

I bet not many.

In fact in the last month, I've spent nearly $800 just on bike repairs, including today where All Terrain Cycles in Mansfield charged me $40 to top up the Stan's No Leak Fluid in my rear tyre. 

Now to put this in context this is a 5 minute job even for me - you remove the valve core from the tyre, you inject the fluid (about $2-$4 worth) into the tyre, you put the valve core back in and inflate the tyre.

It's a $10-$20 job, not a $40 job.

Jinxed.

Another example from a couple of months ago: I went into the doctors to get a skin growth on my calf checked out.  My dcotor didn't think it was anything to worry about, but erring on the side of caution, he agreed to cut it out and sent it off for a biopsy.

All was good, the biopsy came back clean, the stitches were taken out and I went back to my life ... except two weeks later, whilst riding over a long weekend, the wound reopened, it got seriously infected, and for the last month I've  been going to the doctors twice a week to have it cleaned out and re-bandaged.

Jinxed.

Because of this wound, I've not been able to ride my bike for over a month, so I'm now up in Victoria on a weeks leave (which was booked on the premise of competing in the Bike Buller Weekend several months ago) but because I haven't  been on my bike for a month and with no base fitness to begin with, I'm now just cruising around riding trails instead.

Jinxed (but making the best of it).

I've got more - the Sea Canoeing Club has just had Nic Cunliffe, a brilliant instructor from Wales, over here teaching us some paddling skills.  I was originally meant to be on some sessions on 21 February, but getting dates for the Convicts & Wenches run that Kim is doing, I moved it to March 14.  (This wasn't, necessary as her run was actually on the 21st March, not 21 February).

The week before my revised session, I had to drive over to the Rosbery for some meetings about the West Coast Mountin Bike project. 

Now, I had a nice large car booked for the drive (as there was a chance we might get to ride some of the trails and so I wanted to take my bike), but when I went to pick the car up, I found someone had double parked over the back of it and I couldn't get it out. 

Needing to get over to the West Coast, I swapped the keys for a small car, just to get on the road, and came back the next day (after 10 hours driving in two days) with a really sore neck and shoulder from the driving and the headrest.

Rather than get better after a few days, the shoulder actually got worse over the course of the week, and so when I got in the kayak on Saturday for Nic's training, I found myself doing advanced training with a leg I can't get wet (because of the wound) and a shoulder which quickly started flaring up ... so I ended up having to sit out most of the morning session, and I dropped out completely from the afternoon session.

Jinxed by some idiot who double parked over my car.

All of this brings me to today where I flew into Melbourne with my bike, picked up my hire car from Europcar and headed off towards Mt Buller for a few days riding.

Now I'd already found out that there would be no shuttles up to the brand new Epic Trail (they only run on weekends), but I was still keen to hit the trails and explore and had arranged my route to maximise trail time.  I stopped in Mansfield for some lunch, and as I jumped out of the car, I locked it and just out of habit, I tested the drivers door to check it was locked ... and found that it opened.

Not thinking much about it, I then tried relocking it a few different ways, but although all of the other doors locked and unlocked, I couldn't lock the drivers door. 

There wasn't even a key hole in the door to do it manually.

Thinking there must be some trick to it, I both read the very thick drivers manual, and I even googled it ... all to no avail.

Finally, embarrassed, I did what every male hates doing - I called up the customer service line, explained my predicament, and asked if I could talk to someone who might tell me if there was some  'trick' to locking a VW Golf.

I made this call at 1.35pm after having already spent about 20 minutes trying to figure it out myself.

The customer service line put me through to the Melbourne Airport dealership where I'd hired the car.

The airport office, after hearing my issues (by this point I had also recalled that the car was unlocked when I picked it up and I'd also realised that the a funny 'door clicking' noise I'd been hearing on the way up to Mansfield was probably related to this problem), apologised, told me to call the roadside support number and assured me that they'd come out and fix it.

I rang the roadside support office, who told me they could get there, but I'd need to call the customer service number to get my contract number before they could log the job and come and help me.

As I was calling the customer service number, I found the contract number on some of the documentation I had been provided, so I hung up and called the roadside support number again.

After getting through to them a second time, I explained my problem (again) but was told this time that this was in fact not a roadside support issue, and that I'd need to call the Melbourne Airport dealership and they'd deal with it.

I explained (I pleaded) that the dealership had told me to talk to roadside support, and that this was already by fourth or fifth call, but roadside support were adamant, so I hung up and called the Melbourne airport dealership ...

Except ... I couldn't get through. 

After trying three times over 10-15 minutes, I finally rang the customer support line, explained I was getting pretty pissed off, and could they please help me solve this problem.

They finally managed to get through to the Manager of the Melbourne airport dealership, who told me my options were to return the vehicle to the airport (three hours away) or that he could send a new vehicle up on a tow truck which would take 4 or 5 hours.

Either way, this completely ruined my days plans, so I asked for a minute to think about it, and got a direct number I could call him back on.

After a few minutes, I decided that the best option would be to book myself into a hotel in Mansfield, and then at least I could unload everything into my hotel room and go for a ride locally while I was waiting for the new car to arrive.

So I rang the manager back on the special number he gave me to tell him the plan ...

Which put me straight through to a message bank service which was full and hung up on me.

Over the next hour and a half, I continued to ring the various numbers trying to get through to someone, anyone ... I finally got a call back at 16:35pm - three hours and 24 phone calls (seriously - I counted them) after I'd first called with the problem.

By this time, I had also booked into a motel, but as I'd spent all day on the phone, I had not got out for a ride or done anything else other than make call, after call, after call.

Finally, at 9pm that night, a replacement vehicle finally arrived at my motel.

No apology was however forthcoming.

Go on ... tell me I'm not jinxed.  I dare you.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

A metre matters ... but doesn't location as well?

I'm going to go off half-cocked here and say that I saw this sign this morning and I was p*ssed ...


But to explain why, I probably need to go back a few steps and say that a few months ago (or it may have been weeks - I lose track) I saw that the Tasmanian Government was going to be putting up these signs as part of a road safety campaign.

And I thought this was a good thing.

So good in fact that I made the effort to contact some people and suggest a few routes where these signs could be located.

Yes, I'll admit that my suggested locations did have a strong (OK, complete) correlation with where I ride, but there was a good and logical reason for this - research has conclusively proven a 100% correlation between where I ride and where I am likely to be hit by a car, which means it makes sense to put the signs up at locations where I ride.

This is obvious.

Now before any of you come up and join me on my high horse (perhaps espousing that you might actually like some signs where you ride as well) I will point out that I ride a lot of places, and I do actually have a pretty good feel for some of the less safe places to ride on Tassie's roads (especially around Hobart) ... and so my suggestions were probably quite reasonable.  They may even have been where you might have wanted one as well, which would be dandy, just lower on my priority scale.

You're welcome.

But .. and this is a big but ... it didn't matter anyway because when I raised my suggestions, I was informed that discussions had already been held with 'key stakeholders' and 'peak cycling bodies' to decide where to put these signs and it was all wrapped up and my input wasn't needed.

I was shattered (mainly about not being considered a key stakeholder, but also about the decision having already being made as well).

Which brings us to today and this frickin sign ...

Did they put it on one of the many dangerous pinch point commuter routes heading into Hobart?

Nope.

Did they put it on a major arterial route so it would be seen by lots of people?

Nope there as well.

They put it here ...


or if it helps, here ...


Yep, they've put it at the end of Pittwater Road near Seven Mile Beach.

Yes, it's a popular road cycling route, but is it a busy road or a dangerous cycling route?

I'm happy to stand corrected, but I wouldn't say so from my experience.  I've certainly never felt threatened cycling along there (except maybe by the rough surface).

Maybe there's lots of other signs elsewhere and so I'm being harsh, but I'd like to know where they are, because I compare this sign's location to the section of road between Rokeby and Lauderdale (which is where I suggested a sign should be put) and I think ... FAIL!

And that's my half-cocked opinion.
======
POSTSCRIPT ... All is saved ... I saw this posted the day after my post ...  http://www.transport.tas.gov.au/roadsafety/roads/cyclist_warning_signs , there are lots of other signs and they do look to be well placed.  There you go - who knew I'd admit to being wrong.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Ollie & Ella

Kim trusted me with her precious monsters the other night ...

No, not the big monsters ... she left me with the other monsters  ...  Ollie & Ella.

Meet Ollie & Ella
Now overall Ollie and Ella are really taking to the new house, and they particularly seem to like the lounge-room where they can perch themselves up on the couch and dog bed and stare out the window at everything that is going on in their domain ...

Yes - all seems in order here.
So I thought everything would be tickety-boo with our night without Kim, but I hadn't factored in the small child problem.

You see the problem was that like most young children, they weren't quite sure what was going on ... and whilst they were initially excited and happy when I got home from work, you could almost see the question start forming in their little heads ...

Where's mum?
Where's mum?
When is mum getting home?
 I played with them a bit more and tried to distract them, but 30 minutes later, they were at the window ... waiting, waiting, waiting for mum.


and waiting ...


And waiting ...


and waiting ...


At around 9.30pm, I finally pulled the curtains shut and the first thing Ollie did was jump off his bed and try and find a way under the curtain so he could continue his vigil.

It was so sad because it was too dark for him to even see anything outside the window.

I finally got Ollie up to the bedroom where he usually saunters himself up to the top of the bed, throws himself down with an "oh if you must" look on his face and proceeds to roll over onto his back waiting for a tummy tickle ... but this time he perched himself on the very bottom corner of the bed - the one closest to the door  - and he just sat there staring out the door, waiting for his mum.

Poor Ollie.

Postscript: We all had a very long night as the dogs ran up and down the stairs every time they thought they heard something, but I'm glad to say that they've had a few more nights without mum now and have settled into the routine a lot more.  Ollie's even decided that even if mum isn't here, I'm still allowed to give him his tummy tickle.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

St Albans Bay

It was pretty obvious that the North East was going to be over-crowded with mountain bikers today, so I asked myself the question ... where could I go riding and have the trails all to myself ...

West Sandy Point
The answer ... St Albans Bay ...


St Albans bay is part of a 4WD route that runs from Bridport through the dunes and along the beaches to Bellingham (you can check out the parks information on the route here).

It is not however a mountain biking route because to get onto St Albans Bay (which is itself soft sand at high tide) you have to first get through either East Sandy Cape or West Sandy Cape ... and that involves a lot of very soft sand and a lot of pushing, let me show you ...









So if you do want to go there, and you want to ride, then you'll need to get one of these ...

Norco Bigfoot 6.2

Yes, Santa (I do like that jolly old fellow) bought me yet another present (albeit that he charged it to my credit card)  ...

I'VE FINALLY GOT A FATBIKE!!!






 (Sorry ... did I shout that out loud)

Anyway, I've had this new toy for a few weeks now and I've been chaffing at the bit to actually get out and ride it ... so much so that I took a detour on the way to the Blue Derby Trails to somewhere where I thought it would get a real test.

And that's how I (really) found myself at St Alban's Bay.



I learnt so much about fat biking today:

I learnt that even with a fatbike, a fat, unfit guy still can't ride up every dune or along every beach (I know - damn - but don't panic, I've heard that there's an electric fatbike on its way).

On the flipside, I also learnt that you can ride so many more places that a normal bike couldn't even begin to ride.

You can scoot along flat, dry sand ... like it's tarmac (albeit slow, dead tarmac).

You can fly down soft sandy rutted tracks with a huge grin on your dial (without that over the handlebars moment that comes on a normal bike).

I learnt that when the tide is coming in, the sand gets sticky and heavy and is very, very hard to ride through.  Even on a fatbike (damn again).

I learnt that the heavy chain oil that came with the bike is a really bad choice for a fat bike (my chain was so thickly covered in sand by the time I'd covered about 15kms, that it started getting stuck to the front chain ring and I couldn't pedal the bike - did I mention the bad luck I've been having lately?)

I learnt that there's lot of 4WD's on 4WD tracks in Tasmania (I mean a *lot*) and that the drivers and passengers are a pretty good bunch (I'd say great bunch, but not one of them offered me one of those cold drinks I saw them all clutching through the windows as I stood in the thirty plus degree heat).


But my most important lesson of the day was a simple one ...

There's lot of flies on Tasmanian beaches (I mean a **lloott**) ... and you can't outrun them on a fatbike (damn, damn, damn and damn).

You have no idea how much I hate flies .... anyone know where I can take my fatbike that doesn't have flies?




Notice the registration plates on the tree

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Dove River Road and Lorinna Road

This story could have lots of beginnings.



But I think it's main beginning occurred when I started thinking about the West Coast Mountain Bike Project and in an idle moment sketched out a possible bike-packing circuit on google earth to pick up what I though was some of the best riding in the area …


And then, well, the public submissions came in apparently everyone else who rides trails in the State wants these nicely groomed, gravity trails, and so that's the direction the west coast project has gone in.

However, I did stumble across one person (we’ll call him Mr T) who mentioned bike packing in a submission to the west coast project, and we had a brief email exchange where I showed him my bikepacking route, and a day or two later he came back to me and said “you know you’ve got the bit between Mt Roland and Cradle Mountain wrong … there’s a track between the two which you can follow to avoid the road”.

Intrigued, I got Mr T to send me the route … and then as soon as I looked at it, I thought to myself “I want to ride that” …


More specifically I thought “I want to ride that NOW” and opened up my calendar to find my first available weekend.

That's where we'll leave that part of the story now.

Another start to this tale begins when Oliver and I were chatting and he mentioned that he’d run into some quad bikers when riding the Wolfram Mine Track who had said it was possible to ride all the way to Cradle Mountain without going on the highway.

"It's true ... all the way" ... probably right on this very track here.

So I passed on Mr T's route to Oliver with a “I’ll just leave this here” comment.  I

Suffice to say that my comment was like throwing a huge box of chocolates in front of a kid with a "first come first served" sign on it.   We were soon making plans to ride the route the day before the Cranky Penguin.

Then those plans sort of imploded as Oliver had a work commitment come up and I ummed and erred about whether to go ahead by myself ... or maybe with Mr T.

Which brings us to about 4pm on Friday night when I received a message from Oliver basically saying “I’ve no longer got to do that work stuff.  Still doing that ride tomorrow?

I stopped and thought through the logistics for a long minute – I’d done no real planning, I wasn't packed (I wasn't even sure if I had a clean pair of cycling clothes), I’d just driven back from Queenstown that morning, I was tired, and I had a Sea Canoeing Club meeting after work, meaning I wouldn’t get home until about 10.30 or 11pm.

But then I weighed all that against the chance to ride this route ... 


... and messaged back with a “YES!!!!” (well a “yes” with a few caveats) and started to figure out my plans for getting from where I was to Cradle Mountain in the next 12 hours (and preferably with some sleep in there somewhere).

As is often the case, if you set yourself to an idea it comes to pass, and with a bit of phiffing and phaffing in between, by  8.30am the next morning I'd made my way up to the Round Hill coffee shop in Cethana where I was busily (albeit rather sleepily) packing the packraft as Oliver ordered coffees and we debated the likelihood of needing the raft to get across the two rivers that we’d been warned about.

In the end, I decided I couldn’t be bothered carrying it (yes that is how I make key strategic supply decisions) and emboldened by our morning coffee's (my third), I argued the case for just leaving it in the car and testing our luck.

Oliver just agreed (probably thinking that if the rivers were less than 20 metres across he'd just jump them or something) and so off we went.

We parked Olivers car at our planned exit point near the Cethana Bridge, just below the dam, and then drove around to our Start point on the Dove River Road… which is where we hit a big snag, or more specifically a “Private Property” sign.

Suffice to say we hadn't planned on that being here, and it kind of sucked, especially as we couldn’t tell if it related to the land beside the road or the road itself.

After a bit of debate, and noting that the sign wasn’t on a chain across the road itself, but rather off to the side a bit,  combined with my late night route planning which had seemed to indicate that our route was following public roads ... may I show exhibit A - listmap ... which seems to show the route following an old public road for all but the last bit back to the car ...

Our planned route (highlighted in yellow) seemed to be following a public road on ListMap ...
... and we’d also been given indications that this route was public from two different sources, we decided to proceed ... with caution.  We were happy when we got down the road a bit further and saw another private property sign a bit further off the road which seemed to confirm our thinking that it referred to the surrounding land, plus we also found a signed walking track down the road to Quaille Falls.

Postscript: when I got home I did another search on listmap for this road and noted the first section of this road is marked private.  I'm not sure exactly what this means (whether it is privately owned, or just closed to public vehicles) but it would be wrong for others to follow without clarifying access and landowner permission.

A few kilometres down the road, just past quaille falls, we had gone as far as we could go in the car, so we unloaded the bikes … and I proceeded to try and find all the bits and pieces I’d thrown in the car very late last night and early this morning whilst assuring Oliver that I was almost ready ... almost.

I’ll be nice to myself and say that 20 minutes later we were moving (although I note that Oliver’s strava time started a long time before mine did).

As well as (maybe) being on private land, the first section down to Dove Creek is also unused, rutted, overgrown and steep.  It is also great fun, albeit that both of us took a topple on the way day.

Probably not so much a surprise for me, but it was for Oliver who can actually react to upcoming obstacles by doing more than just closing his eyes and hoping that he'll get over/around/through it, which is my most utilised strategy.  Anyway, it speaks to the technical nature of this first section.

Cradle Mountain?
I crashed on this (not so) super technical section somewhere around here.
At least Oliver spilled trying to ride a slippery, rocky creek washout.

I think Oliver was starting to wonder what he'd got himself into in these first few kilometres (remembering he was trying to reserve himself for the Cranky Penguin the next day) but I tried to assure him that the track conditions would get better as we went on ...  glad he didn't see my fingers crossed behind my back.

We got to Dove River - our first real obstacle - and after admiring the washed out bridge, found our way down a steep side trail and across the river without any real problems - I mean it was extremely slippery and about knee deep, but mainly fun and certainly beautiful.

Most importantly ... it did not need a packraft.

washed out bridge - from the other side.

You want me to go down there?
Even Oliver's pushing.

Dove River
Dove River
Dove River
Crazy people first
The super slippery rock technique.

little bridge built by quad bikers?
Once on the other side of the river, the track really opened up and what followed was a long, steady but beautiful climb up (ever up) on some old, overgrown trails ...

We start together  ...
But very soon ... can you see him up there in the distance ...
Crossing Carruthers Creek
Carruthers Creek
Carruthers Creek


The story of my day ... Oliver just on the edge of my vision.
Most of the trails shown on maps are now overgrown leaving the one main track, and although we were going slowly (thanks to me), we were still both in great spirits and enjoying the ride as we got to the top of the ridge and started our plunge down to Campbell River, the second of four identified "we might not be able to get past here" points today.

The descent down to Campbell River is ... well, a descent.  You drop around 600 metres in a very short distance, and my brakes were so hot that I could feel the heat radiating off them.

You can't fathom how steep that is ...

And I'd probably be writing a lot more about this descent, if it wasn't for the even more amazing fact that somewhere between the top of that descent and Campbell River my bike went through an amazing and unplanned transformation ...

Specifically, it went from a bike with 20 perfectly good gears, to a single speed ... a single speed with a way over-tensioned chain at that.

Involuntary Single speed conversion
Yes, my run of incredible bad luck continued as a stick flicked up into my deraileur during the descent managing somehow to leverage the whole deraileur into my spokes which proceeded to wrench it round, rip it off the deraileur hanger and strip all the thread from the hanger leaving me with a bike with no gears ... or deraileur.

Thank God I had Oliver there who had both the tools and skills to at least remove the derailer, shorten the chain and get me one of those gears back in the form of a single speed.

Albeit that this was a bit of a mixed blessing as we still had something like 30kms of the ride still to do, and with the tension in my chain making it feel like I was riding up Mt Wellington (even on the flats) but still only giving me about 8kms/hr ... it was going to be a loonnngggg ride back to the car.

But hey,one gear is better than no gears and with the further good news that the Campbell River crossing was a doddle (barely getting up over the ankles) we headed across and up the next climb.

Campbell River crossing
After that, I just recall what seemed like a long push back up a hill which I just couldn't ride with my one little gear (but which in reality would have been quite a reasonable and not so long ride if I'd had some better gears)

I was in fact pleasantly surprised at how quick (and easy) the ride was to our third potential "can't get past here point" (Forth River) where I would have happily abandoned my bike and swam if it meant not having to retrace our steps ... fortunately this wasn't required as there was one of these things there ...

Forth River Bridge (gated and locked explaining why we saw no one else)
From the Forth River crossing it was a short hop, skip and jump to the Lemonthyme Power station ...


And on any other day (with gears) it would have been a magical ride from here along the old Lorinna Road and trails back to our cars ...

Start of Lorinna Road
Lorinna Road
More Lorinna Road
Olivery on Lorinna Road (I felt so sorry for poor oliver at this point)
The Washout which closed Lorinna Road - easily passable when we crossed.

View from Lorinna Road as we got closer to the top
Cethana Dam below
Lorinna Road is almost train-like in it's gradient (albeit that you are mainly climbing in this direction, especially between Lorinna and Cethana Dam), it's a great road surface, it's got lovely views and it's just beautiful riding.

The road is closed (and gated) between Lorinna and Cethana Dam, but I had ridden it twenty years ago and was confident we'd get through ...

Which is where I'll stop again.

Yep, if it's not too late in the post, this is where I'll start the third part of this tale - My fitness.

I could throw up a whole lot of excuses and reasons why I am where I am fitness wise today, but when it comes down to it, my fitness has been plummeting backwards in the last year simply because I've not done enough to drive it forward.

Today I paid for this in spades.  I ran out of water at around lorinna (10kms from the end), the salad roll I bought for lunch was inedible, I was running without enough sleep and I just baked and overheating.

I felt so sorry for Oliver as he found himself chasing snakes and trying to ride his bike backwards  (anything to keep himself entertained) as he waited and waited and waited as I pushed my bike up 1% grades because my legs just would not turn those pedals.

All things come to an end.  The Lorinna track (our final "must turn back" obstacle for the day)  did still run all the way through (I had last ridden this route about 20 years ago), and we did get to make the final plunge down to the car past the Cethana Dam.

So that was the tale of a trail which others shouldn't follow.

It's not a bike-packing trail (sorry Mr T - too steep especially if coming from the Lorinna direction), but even with the mechanical and human failures of the day, it was still one of the best new wild trails I've ridden in Tassie in a long, long time.

Postcript:  I really did burn myself out on this ride:  I ended up almost throwing up and then fainting in Oliver's car as we shuttled back to the start, and ended up needing a 45 minute power nap in my car once I got back to Sheffield I also drank a giant banana milkshake, a litre of water and a bottle of lift ...

After that I felt much better and managed the drive back home, pulling in around 9pm.  

It was a long day, but I'd do it again in an instant.  If it were legal to do so.