Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day 2009

Hope everyone had a good Australia day today. Mine was eventful and ended up on an awesome high.

I started out the day by going to the "Community Breakfast" here in good old Ringwood. The "Breakfast" started at 11am due to the Maroondah Council not wanting their event to clash with the "Official Melbourne Australia Day Breakfast" that was in Federation square in the CBD ..... 40KM away. The Maroondah version was ok, not a lot of people but enough to make it worthwhile I think.

There was a bush band playing for the whole 3 hrs and free cordial and sausages for everyone. The sausages where a bit hard to come by as the waiting line for service was a kin to what post-war east Germany was probably like. HUNDREDS of people in a line waiting for hours just to get something to eat. See.

Bush Band

Waiting in line for some breakfast

The highlight of the event was, of course, the singing of the national anthem. Now I had been lucky enough to have Sophie Feuerherdt (3) sing me the whole National anthem last year and while that was extremely impressive, today they sang a verse I hadn't even heard before...I tried to get a video of it but I missed. I think all in all they sung 4 verses!!

After the event was over I walked back home and did house chores for a few hours because it was quite hot and I wanted it to cool down a bit before embarking on my other planned event for the day. That event was the Lysterfield Mountain Bike Trail. Lysterfield is about a 1/2 hr drive south east of Ringwood near the start of the Dandenong ranges. Now I had heard from people at work that are pretty keen mountain bikers that Lysterfield was "good", "Ok", "Better Than Nothing" and various other non-exciting adjectives. Well let me preempt this blog entry and just say that these people are not correct.
Lysterfield was the most AWESOME place I have ever ridden a bike!!!

If people rate this as merely "OK", they obviously have ridden on some absolutely orgasmic trails somewhere else!

Let me explain. This trail is a purpose built mountain bike course, it actually consists of several interconnecting trails, one of which was actually the Commonwealth games mountain biking track. The trails are HARDCORE. I wasn't expecting them to be as challenging as they were and it was obvious that there had been a LOT of thought put into the design of every trail. To be honest, the trails go up some pretty steep hills and you just don't notice because such attention has been paid to making the trails fast or at worst a steady easy/moderate climb. Here's a graphic to show you what the whole park looks like. If you go around the circumference of the park in that picture...that's pretty much what I rode.

As visible there are 9 different "trails" but they all intersect and you can do one or all of them (provided you know WHERE you are....which I didn't...I had no idea where I was most of the time).

The scenery was...well I am sure it was nice but I really didn't look at it much because I was concentrating on the trail. Partly because the trail had "obstacles" that were built into it and as this was the first time I had ridden this trail I didn't know where they were and thus how fast I could go. Mostly I was concentrating on the trail because some complete F*&$%wads had booby trapped some parts of the track. I really don't understand the logic behind this as some of the stuff they had done was really dangerous and could easily kill someone. They had placed big logs across the trail on berns and in places where it was almost impossible to see them and then stop in time. They had dug "pungee spikes" into the trail like what you would errect to stop charging cavalry. I had to clear 4 or 5 different "traps" on my travels. Idiots. Look at this:

Booby Trap: Logs placed across the trail
by dickheads trying to kill someone.
These logs are directly after a very large jump
on a very steep downhill section.

The trail had enough "planned" obstacles to kill your self on as it was, they really didn't need unplanned ones too :). Here are some of the "planned" obstacles I encountered, thankfully there was always a "wuss" option on most of these where you could simply go around it.

Big log jump 1

Big Log jump 2

The trails were also well defined while you were riding them but also very tight and thankfully I only saw one rider heading down the same trail I was on in the opposite direction when i was stopped. Here's some trail pics.

Warning: may contain language not suitable for children :P

After reaching the top of "Worlds most ridiculously steep hill" I had a pit stop and needed to effect some field repairs (hahaha .. geddit?) on my bike. I couldn't change the front gears as the derailleur just wouldn't move, I hadn't noticed because I had just ridden up the hill in 1-1. I flipped the bike over to inspect the gearing, somehow a tiny pebble had lodged itself in between the spring and the derailleur guider. One in a million that the pebble was precisely the right size to fit there too...luckily I pried it out and was good to go. Also while I was repairing the bike some other riders arrived at the pit stop point to watch me being totally MacGuyver with just a twig and a splash of water. I could tell by the way they rode off quickly that they were well impressed.

As with all good rides there was a few dramas. I managed to crash not once but 1.5 times. The first 0.5 of a crash would have looked awesome had anyone seen it but alas no one was around. I managed to ride along pretty much only on my front wheel with the back wheel up at about an 80ยบ angle for a few meters before somehow getting the back wheel back onto the ground. There was some minor non-erotic humping of a head-stock assembly during this event. I expect that to leave a mark. The second "Full one point zero" crash was a doozy. I saw the log coming up, I was all ready to bunny hop over it (yay for clipped pedals) and when I executed the "hop" the bike struck the log with the frame and stopped DEAD. I didn't. Thankfully my shoes de-clipped and I soared like a chicken in flight to land face first a few meters down the trail. Pics or it didn't happen you say?

Glasses covered in dirt after my
unceremonious dismount at
speed followed by my 9/10 face plant.

Bike in a heap after crash. I hit that log at about 25km/h
and the bike just stopped dead. I kept going :)

Luckily there was no serious damage past a cut on my leg about 20cm long (cool..because chicks dig scars) and a slightly sore left wrist. Luckily I am right handed ;) ;).

All in all the ride was simply awesome. I'll definitely be going back there more often and Rachel you HAVE to come back here so I can take you there for a ride I guarantee you will love it.

After I finally got back to the car I was pretty exhausted but manage to give this post ordeal interview.

Warning: may contain worse language than the last video which is still not suitable for children :P

Ride Stats:
Distance: 17.8km
Time: 2h 48m
Avg. Speed: 11 km/h
Top Speed: 44 km/h
Crashes: 1.5
Rating: *****

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