Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rain and Sunshine in Launceston

Despite a week travelling around the State for work I decided to head up to Launceston for the weekend with the goal of finally checking out the trails up in the Trevallyn and Kate Reed Reserves and to watch the Launceston Cycling Classic.

Of course with the way my luck has been running we pulled up at Kate Reed reserve only to find that it was closed for a controlled burn carried out the day before.  We carried on to Trevallyn to try our luck there despite the fact that the heavens had opened after a week of sunshine (what was I saying about my luck?).

Despite the rain we headed off for a ride from the Village Green and found some pretty cool trails, and lots and lots of wildlife, but after an hour on the bikes we were both drenched through,cold and happy to call it a day and head for our hotel.
Prepared to get wet.

Some of the sweet trail that is out there.
... and just one of the many wallabies that were out feeding.

the rain did add some colour to the day.

I say doghouses, Kim thinks chicken coops.  Who knows?

The winding paths of Trevallyn

and the fast straight road home ...
That night we headed down to watch the Launceston Cyclnig Classin in the rain. Kim had had enough of getting wet after a while and ended up heading back to her hotel room whilst I watched the end of the Men's race.  I got some cool "ghost" shots of the cyclists with my phone camera.

You have to actually look carefully at the photos to actually see the cyclists heading past they were going so quick.

The next moring the sun was actually shining so we decided to go 'outlaw' and head off into Kate Reed Reserve despite the signs.  After the nights drenching of rain we figured it was pretty safe.

What followed was a couple of hours of brilliant fun.  Kate Reserve might not be very big, but what those guys have managed to fit in there trackwise is amazing.  I couldn't begin to actually describe a route or anything as I still haven't quite figured out where I was half the time, but we chalked up nearly 16kms of riding and barely backtracked the whole time.   It's the kind of place where you just head in and see where your front tyre takes you.  OK, having a map does help a bit.

If given the choice between Kate Reed and Trevallyn - choose Kate Reed every time.

We did have a small accident on the way, well when I say we, I mean Kim who had a nasty fall going over some rocks.

Kim in slight shock after her crash.

Other than this slight mishap, which had us stopping in Campbell Town for emergency frozen pea supplies to stop the swelling in her ankle, Sunday was a pearler of a day easily making up for the washed out day before.

Anyway, below are some snapshots from our ride around the reserve.

Anyway, with the wisdom tooth feeling a bit better after Friday's treatment and with just five weeks until the Murray Half Marathon let's hope today marked a change in luck.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Kayak Skills

Sam and I took a friend's new kayak down to Blackmans Bay beach today to give it a bit of a test to make sure it was suitable for "young children" .  We were obviously the perfect candidates for such a test.

Sam undertaking the "can kids paddle the boat into the blowhole test".

Me testing it in 'the big surf'.
After a bit of a play near the cliffs and in the backwash and the surf, I decided there was only one way to truly test how stable this boat is: the well regarded ISO17003 certified "stand up" test. Under the protocols of this test, the paddler, well, try's to stand up.

This is me demonstrating to Sam how a stand up test should be undertaken:

Notice the graceful way I entered the water with barely a splash.
Unfortunately, Sam is a very slow photographer so only got this shot of me showing how to do an emergency dismount after (and I swear it is true) standing up on the boat for a good 2 or 3 minutes playing in the surf.  Fortunately, after my expert tuition, Sam managed to also show how the "stand up" test is done, albeit that he only managed to stay up for a few seconds unlike my marathon effort.

Fortunately I am a much better photographer and managed to capture this shot. 

Our conclusion - you couldn't tip this thing unless you really, really tried.  Shame it's almost as difficult to get it to go in a straight line.  Think I'll stick with my Ocean Ski.


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Eagle's Eyrie, Maydena

So it's been a bit quiet lately on the outdoor front, largely due to my having to have a wisdom tooth pulled a couple of weeks ago (I write this towards the end of November) and the subsequent development of a dry socket which left me spending nearly two weeks (and counting) with a throbbing sore jaw.

However, just before I went into the dentist's chair I did manage to get away for a day's ride to Eagles Eyrie out near Maydena.

View from Eagles Eyrie towards Lake Peddar.
This is a ride I've been meaning to do for quite some time, thinking that it might be a nice loop to add to that is starting at Maydena, head out to Junee Cave then follow old trails and backroads out onto Florentine Road, which I would then follow back around to Styx Road and the Styx Big Tree Reserve and finally the big climb up to Eyries Eagle lookout and of course the fun downhill run back down to Maydena.

GPS of Route.  Note originally planned to follow the powerlines from ther Styx up to Eagle's Eyrie.
I liked the idea of this ride as it seemed to link together quite a few cool points in the area and I thought it would include some nice tracks as well.  Unfortunately I was mainly wrong on this latter point.

False promise: The first section of road out to Junee Cave
I'd been out to Junee Cave back in August and it was a lovely drive through eucalypt forst and overhanging pine plantations, however between then and now there has been a road side logging operation go through (hey, it happens) which has turned what starts out as a lovely ride into a bit of an eyesore and a chore to ride.

Mouth of Junee Cave

Mouth of Junee Cave
After Junee Cave we continuned to follow the road through pine plantations around to Florentine Road, and then backtracked towards Styx Road as planned and began the long climb up over the pass.
Back trails from Junee Cave to Florentine Road.
Kim was having one of those days where the legs just weren't working, so after a bit of a consult at the top of the pass on Styx Road we decided to cut out the drop back down to the Styx Big Tree Reserve and head staight up the power lines to the lookout. 

Kim pushing up the hill.

The power lines ... it goes up steeply in the distance.
Word from the wise: DON'T follow the track that runs up under the power lines, it ends after a couple of hundred metres and we ended up spending 20 minutes bashing our way through thick bush to get back out onto the main track.  There's a small road that heads off a further 50 metres along the road towards the reserve - that's the way to go.

To say that the start of this ride is steep is like saying the My Everest is high.  The climb up this track is just brutal, but it's actually so steep that you can just sort of get in behind the bike and push.  I found myself doing lots of step counting (50 steps and rest, 50 steps and rest, 20 steps and rest).


However, it only took 25-30 minutes to get up the steep bit and from there it was some fun riding along the ridge, before the final steady but ridable road up to the lookout itself.

half way up. check that - third the way up.

Just for the record ... I let her beat me to the top so I could get the photo.  Honest.

You should be aware that it can be slightly depressing standing outside the building in a biting wind looking inside at the nice comfy couches and coffee machine before crouching down in the lee of the building outside and eating your sandwiches, or in Kim's case feeding it to the birds ...
Kim, feeding the birds.
In the end, we ended up just following the main road (Roberts Road) back down to Maydena, though we did poke our heads down a few 'trails' but they all looked pretty extreme (yes, I've already locked into my to do list for a future solo ride).
Following Roberts Road back down ... it's a lot steeper than it looks here.

John's Great Idea number #429 - let's leave the road and go this way.

Kim's Great Idea number #3 - roll this stump onto John before he has anymore stupid ideas.
Other than a small detour onto the road to cut out a big dog-leg (which some of us handled more gracefully than others) it was a pretty straightforward ride all the way back to Maydena.

How not to get down a steep slippery bank.
We ended up going for a drive out to the Styx Big Tree Reserve for a look around, and also continued along the Styx Road to check out the river crossing up the alternative route to the lookout (just filing it away for another day).

The Big Tree

The 'Bigger' Tree (I kid you not that's what it is called).

Mr Echidna having his afternoon tea.

I am a god - the river has been crossed.
... now if only I could remember how I did it.
All up it was a pretty cool day, though if I had to rate the route I'd only give it a 2 out of 5.  I'm still keen to get back out there and do some more exploring.  I know there's a route out there ... somewhere.