|View from my office, who wouldn't want to go for a ride?|
As I stepped out to join them again a few minutes later, it was strange to think that I'd been out for a two hour bike ride and less than hour earlier I was lying on the ground checking for any dislocations after coming out second best with an argument with a tree.
But, I get ahead of myself. The idea had came to me earlier in the week of a "Friday night foible", mainly because I liked the sound of it. In my head this was a rambling, exploratory ride along the foothills of Mt Wellington after work to justify some guilt-free, yummy take away afterwards and blow away the cobwebs of the week. The main idea, was to select one or more of those little trails running around the mountain like spiderwebs and head off straight from work to see where they went.
Unforuntately, after checking my disctionary, I found that although the alliteration sounded wonderful, a Friday foible was actually a Friday weakness, which actually made no sense unless I was talking about the yummy takeaway afterwards. The one positive of this definitional error is that as well as enjoying the ride, I now also get to ponder new names for my planned friday ride, though the best I've so far come up with are "Friday Firefly" to "Friday Frolic", which is what it will go by until and unless I think of something better.
Unfortunately, my sisters suggestion that we should catch up for dinner seriously curtailed my initial nights plans as I only had an hour and a half after work, but after trying to justify not meeting her for dinner, I quickly realised that as I see her about once a year it would have been somewhat selfish to not join her every opportunity I got.
My Plan B, as I expounded to Stephan over a coffee earlier that day, was therefore to knock off work early, say 4pm, and still get a 2 hour ride in before heading down to see her. He must have misunderstood my brilliance and determination in juggling these two feats, as his response was to laugh at me and suggest that the more likely outcome was that I would get to my sisters house just as they were finishing washing up the dishes and going to bed. Strangely, there was a little voice in my head saying "You, know he's right, don't you?"
But, 4pm came and I was out the door and on my bike. I had planned a brilliant route, which if it worked out perfectly would have me cycling not one, but three new trails, and what's more I had organised a location that if something should go wrong I had multiple exit routes so I could still get back to see my sister on time. This was going to be perfect.
|Hobart Rivulet Cycleway / Walkway|
But, it was a beautiful evening, the muscles and lungs had started to waken up, and after a short think I realised I could just head up around Cascade Brewery onto Old Farm Road and then cut off through the bush onto the Main Fire Trail from there. All was not lost.
|Main Fire Trail, Mt Wellington|
I had probably better explain that I love dogs, but can't abide walking a dog on a leash. A dog is born to run around and be free and crazy, at least that's what I think, so the idea of a dog being on a leash just doesn't work with me. This being the case, I quickly assured the panicked dogs owners that I thought it was great that their dogs were running free, before quickly realised that in doing this I'd gotten distracted from a looming climb in front of me and wasn't quite in the right gear to tackle it. God must have felt kind to me given my kindness to the dogs however and I somehow managed to keep turning the cranks until I emerged at the top of the Old Farm Track.
|Main Fire Trail, a psuhy bit, with my trusty GPS|
So it was, at about 5.15pm I finally arrived at the top of New Town track which was actually on my planned route for the day. However, having taken an hour and fifteen minutes to get here, and with only 45 minutes to get back again, I decided to postpone my first planned loop, and instead head straight for that track I'd seen those two riders disappear down last week. The idea was to plummet down there, which I was pretty sure would drop me somewhere around Knocklofty and a quick dash back to my car. I'd have time to spare, in fact I made a mental note to give Stephan a call and mention this to him.
With this thought in mind, I turned my bike off onto the new trail and began a descent down what looked like a great bit of single track that I would never have known about if it hadn't seen those two cyclists disappearing down it by sheer stupid luck.
|Doesn't look that steep, does it?|
I like the way we get that Adrenilin shot that seems to slow down time so we have all the time in the world to appreciate every single moment of a crash. Firstly, that moment when I realised that my forward motion was too much, that my front wheel was sliding as I touched the breaks, that feeling of weightlessness as the front wheel jammed against a root and I was propelled over the handlebars, the realisation as I flicked my eyes up off the track to where I was going to see a thick tree right in front of me, the impact with the side of my head and helment, the bruise as I felt my legs hit the handlebars and then the bike come down on top of me from behind, and then just as quickly, the stillness as I realised, I was on the ground and had stopped moving.
Then there's that moment when time starts speeding back up, you realise you're alive and you start moving arms and legs to see what hurts, at the same time you start to realise that EVERYTHING hurts, and yet still, there's that impulse to forget your own aches (a good sign they're not too bad) and check out your precious new bike instead to see if it is in one piece.
What finally gave me the confidence that I wasn't too badly hurt was the realisation that I was more worried about being late for dinner than I was about my various scrapes and bruises. I couldn't stand the thought of Stephan being right ... again.
So it was that I pulled myself and my bike together, and continued downwards. Now the track isn't really all that steep and technical, it's not easy, but most competent cyclists could get down it, but my confidence was now thrown a bit, and I was also fast coming to the conclusion that this trail might not be dropping me on to the Knocklofty trails, it was just going down, down, down. I checked my GPS and it showed me that I was heading down towards McRobies Gully which I was OK with, and soon enough I crossed over McRobies Creek and expected to jump out onto the trail which would wend it's way around the tip so I could announce to the world a new trail discovery.
Except, again it didn't, the track turned right and started to follow the creek upwards. Suddenly, my bruises and scratches were completely forgotten as I realised that this trail meant to head all the way back up the the Main Fire Trail. I had less than 35 minutes ot get back to my car. This was a disaster. Any other time, I would have enjoyed that trail, actually truth be told, I did enjoy that trail, just a bit less than I otherwise would have. It was great riding, with a bit of pushing, and I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, not less than a kilometre from Tasmania's largest refuse tip and 2 or 3 kms from the centre of Hobart.
|More trail (if you can see it).|
I have to admit, that even in my rush, I did have to respect the rules of Friday Frolic, even if I was making up the rules on the spot, but the philosophy of the frolic is to explore new trails whenever they appear, and so even here I decided to cycle that little firetrail just below, but parallel to, the main fire trail in the other direction to see if it was nay fun, but it wasn;t really and that's about all I have to say about that.
From there it was a quick run down onto Old Farm Road, an even quicker descent down there, popping back out onto Cascade Road just behind the Brewery, and a further downhill pedal into a frustrating headwind back into town. I pulled up next to my car just before 6.10pm.
Seventeen minutes later I walked into my sisters house as though I'd just come from a relaxing ride straight after work. Unfortunaltey I hadn;t had the time to send that text message to Stephan.
I think I'm going to like my Friday Frolic, bring it on.