Monday, July 28, 2008

More adventures in mountain biking

Amanda and I went out to Cudlee Creek again on the weekend for an eventful ride. It started off well when we only made one or two little side-detours on the way there, cutting our travel time in half compared to last time. Next time I'm sure we'll make it all the way there without one wrong turn! Continuous improvement is the name of the game.
There was no-one in the park again, which I couldn't understand. The sky was clear blue (except for the looming rain clouds), the sun was shining, and it must have been at least, oh, 8 degrees in the sun. We quickly got on the bikes and started moving. Amanda has been in training, after my old legs exposed her lack of fitness last time. She has been making an effort to get out on the bike and actually up some bigger hills, and you could notice the difference. I didn't have to stop and wait quite so often. :P
After hooning around a little bit on a purpose-built downhill (lots of downhill and corners for very little uphill, very good value), we made it to the top of this very high hill and then I started the descent. It was a narrow track, steep and slippery. My back wheel slid out from me a couple of times but I got it under control and made it down. I stopped to watch Amanda, who'd wised up after watching me slide around and rode down in the grass on the side of the track, very clever. When she was nearly down the bottom, I headed off on another downhill, around a corner and out of sight. In the first wildlife sighting of the day, a massive SHEEP bounced across my path. When I made it to the bottom of this downhill, I saw another half a dozen sheep looking down from the top (probably wondering where the other one had disappeared to) and about the same number of kangaroos hopped past. I took a photo of the sheep while I waited for Amanda. And waited. Waiting for too long is not a good sign. Finally I headed back up the downhill, to discover her at the top. She'd stacked it about two seconds after I started off again, going straight over her handlebars and landing on her head and shoulder. Took a large chunk out of her helmet, and hurt her head and her shoulder, as well as somehow ending up with a massive bump on her ankle. She was recovering by the time I made it back and decided to press on. So we headed off the same downhill I'd already been down. Only this time, instead of making it over a fairly large log in the track, my wheel slid along the log, meaning the bike and I went sideways and slid down the hill. Fortunately it was a grassy trail and my backside is reasonably well padded, so it wasn't all that painful, but I collected a LOT of dirt and weeds in many bits of the bike, and my hip is letting me know about it today too.
Later we came to an incredibly steep uphill that there was no way we were going to ride up (or down, for that matter, waaaay too scary), even walking up it was difficult. Note to self: get cycling shoes with some grip. Amanda managed to slip over and land the bike on top of her. I was already at the top and went down to bring her bike the rest of the way up for her. And this time she actually drew blood! On her knee. She bravely cycled on (we passed more sheep or perhaps it was the same gang following us). There were no more adventures, and it didn't even rain on us.
The park is beautiful, lots of panoramic views without very many people at all. Considering both the Mawson and Heysen trails criss-cross the park, that's surprising. We came across one group of about eight walkers, and there were some lads with bikes in the carpark as we were packing up, but that was it. We are starting to get a feel for our location in the park, as it's not really that big. Although there's one whole section to the west that we haven't even ventured in yet... next time perhaps...

Photo: Just to prove it really happened - the blobs near the top of the hill are sheep.


Nana Gabe said...

Rachel you blow us away . I can't believe you have turned out to be the dare-devil of our children. We hope you have a fantastic birthday on Friday.

Anonymous said...

please me careful, i knew someone your age into cycling and well now hes in a wheelchair due to an bike accident.

Michael Field said...

Is the bike OK? ;)