Jinki Ridge

Access: A nice walk along a gentle ridge. Tar to parking area

Navigation: Navigation is fairly straight forward though the trail can be a little vague further out

Time: 30min out. 30min back

Date walked: 31-03-18

Jinki ridge is another spur off the Bells Line of road that gives nice views over the Grose Valley. A trail runs from the Bells Line of road out between Jinki and Dalpura creeks and the Pagodas out the end are reminiscent of the Lost city.

 

Getting there: From the weigh station at Bell follow the Bells line of road toward Sydney for approximately 4km and just after the concrete lane dividers end there is  an old fire trail which goes right just as the road swings around to the left. Turn off into this fire trail and park at the locked gate (Obviously try not to obstruct the gate)

The fire trail goes South and then veers East to start and is easy to follow (note: there is another fire trail just back a bit at a more open park spot, but it goes West then swings North) . Jinki ridge offers great views over the upper Grose over towards Mt Victoria.

The fire trail eventually deteriorates to single track. It can be a little vague  but just stay on the top of the ridge

Views change to your left side with some vantage points looking down the Grose. Towards the end of the ridge you get views over to Valhala Head and Thors Head from high pagodas. Be careful near the cliff edges as they are all over hung and brittle.

Also care is needed on the pagodas. The plate pagodas are fairly unique to our area and iron stone bands that make them so unique break off very easily. These awesome rock formations take thousands of years to form, the last thing we want is for them to be damage by a careless footstep.

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Return: The way you came in

 

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A dabble in Dalpura

31-03-2018

Tal, Ben and me

With an early Easter combining with a few family birthdays I was able to organise the usual Easter Epic Ride this year so instead conspired with Tal to do a quick early morning trip to Dalpura canyon.

Ben posted that he was down from Qld and keen to check out a canyon or two and I messaged to say if he didn’t get a better offer he’s be welcome to come with us. He accepted the offer and we met nice and early in some typical mountain mist. AKA, fog.

Last time we had done Dalpura we dropped into the western tributary, which had some nice bits high up but also involved some thick cutty scrub. This time around we followed Toms track notes and found a reasonable track into the Eastern tributary which also had acouple of short and shallow but nice canyon sections.

Anyhoo it doesn’t take long to get to the abseil. It’s a short drop into a very nice chamber. Last visit I was still using and iPhone4 for photos so I was hoping for some nice light to see how the TG4 would go.

We waist no time rigging up and drop on in.

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Ben descending

It’s a nice little abseil into a deep green pool. Luckily you land on a ledge just below the water and can work your way around the side.

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Ben gets busy with a big camera

While Ben was setting up his tripod I remember I have the glass ball thingy my sister bought me. It’s been in the top pocket of my pack for about 3 months, I keep forgetting it is there but decide to have a play with it.

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With auto focus and hand holding both ball and camera it was tricky getting a shopt but I think it’s definately worth playing with a bit more

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For some reason my camera was struggling to focus at all in here. Not sure if it was just the low light or what

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Ben in the canyon

Dalpura is more a series of short canyonish section but it has some nice bits

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A tube like section

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The water is so clear but the deeper bits have this gorgeous blue/green tinge

All too soon the canyon opens out and a final optional abseil snakes it’s way down a cleft.

We can walk around it if you don’t want to abseil.

We’re here to experience the canyon….

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Ben on a tricky start
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Before the easy bottom bit
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Tal enjoying it.
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And with views like this at  the end waht’s not to love?

Party size: 3

Time: 3.5 hrs car to car with some photo Phaffing

Some people are so obsessed with reaching the top they forget it’s the side of the mountain that sustains life.

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Claustral Canyon, with a side of Thunder

24-03-2018

Ed, Ethan, Garry, Jodie, Dick and me.

So Ed had just about run out of awesome photos to edit awesomely into awesomer photos of our awesomest trip to Claustral with Lewis last season.

If you haven’t seen his photos do yourself a solid and look him up on the book of faces or find him on flickr

Anyhoo, with Ed being a new dad he had other things to occupy him and thus was only going on limited trips but we had hatched a plan ages ago for a return trip to Claustral for more photos.

But it just didn’t seem like it was going to go to plan. Ed’s camera had some issue which meant it needed to be sent away for repair. I strained a calf muscle a couple of days before the trip and could barely walk and the weather turned wet and cold and the best laid plans of small  rodents and hairless apes seemed like they would crumble.

In the end it came together and we found ourselves signing the visitors book on the walk in track just past 8am. We had thought the weather might put people off but a group of 3 was just in front of us and a party of two pulled up just as we headed off. We’d perfectly time it to briefly meet each other at the thunder canyon junction and exit but otherwise not see each other in the canyon. (more cars were lined up on the side of the road by the time we returned to the car park)

Ed showed up without his camera. It was just back from repairs and he didn’t want to risk it in the rain. Probably be too gloomy anyway…

The day was actually sunny and we wasted no time getting into the good bits.

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Ed in the ferntatious fernery of the fernilicious entrance gully fernery
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After a week of rain water levels were up a bit
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And the water was a little on the chilly side
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But the light was divine

We get to the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta. They are roaring. We agree on whistle signals as voices wouldn’t be heard and work out a plan to piggie back the ropes down the abseils to avoid a large group waiting in cold water.

In I go

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last time I was awed by this section. Today even more so.
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Descent into the Maelstrom

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Despite the sun shine up above the black hole seemed even darker than usual. Around the corner the Green Room at the Ranon junction was as spectacular as always. A lovely soft light had Ed regretting not bringing the camera but if he had I think we’d still be there…

Free of camera duties he was quick to strike some poses

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The quintessential Claustral shot of recent years is looking back towards the Green Room with someone standing on a rock that looks a bit like Hulk’s fist. Just about every group that goes through takes the shot. I’ve heard of people booking a commercial tour just to get the shot. You’d think it would be blasé by now.

But it still holds some magic.

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Ed contemplating shades of green on the Hulks Fist

Still I try a few different angles and poses just to be different. Now I wouldn’t claim to be a photographers areshole but I think they turned out ok

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And we move on.

It’s dark in the canyon. With the mist lifting I was expecting sun beams but it seems we are a tad early. In a few spots I’m glad we had head torches

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The low angle of the sun creepng down the walls  throws up interesting shots like this shot below

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Jodie in the spotlight of Garry’s Ay-Ups while up above the light plays hard to get and a mist fall sprays the walls
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Ed posing in a scene he made famous with his 2017-18 season Ozcanyons banner
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Jodie joins him to pose for Ethan. I’m pretty sure thats the angle that featured on the cover of National Geographic a few years ago.
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And onward we go
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And th greenery continues
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As does the dark

We get to the junction with Thunder Canyon and I convince them it’s worth the side trip with it’s cold dark swims.

The group in front of us are just coming back out. they have found an intense light ray and are warming them selves in it’s brilliance

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It was a small teaser of the light show that was about to burst forth

But first to brave the cold swim. Thunder Canyon is deeper and darker than it’s more popular siblings.

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It has glowworms shinning throughout the day if you know where to look and are game to turn off your light

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Oh look light rays are starting to come through

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Dick and Ed admiring the sun beams

And didn’t they what

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We spent quiet a bit of time here
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It gt better and betterer

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But eventually we dragged ourselves away. Further up was more dark but it was worth venturing up to join the short finned eels in the cold waters.

Just around the corner is the base of Westerway Falls.

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Believe it or not this is 100% natural lighting. As Ed declaired you couldn’t design a light scheme that perfect. And check out the play of that water feature.

But still there’s more. Hidden behind the falls is another delight

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A deep dark cave behind the falls themselves. You may be able to make out some glowworms in this shot
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The biggest draw back with the little TG4 is the 4 second exposure limit. Thi s needed about 30 to bring out the glowoworms in their full glory. Olympus get around this somewhat with their live comp mode which builds a little in camera histogram type magic that takes multiple shots and blends the bright bits into the back ground image. It works ok for waterfalls, fireworks and stars but glowworms are hard.

I could have stayed here much longer but we needed to move on. This was as far up Thunder we’d be able to get. Time to back track to the junction

 

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Back down we go

The light beams were waiting for us again

And then we are back to the junction.

Most people consider the next bit to be part of Claustral but technically it is Thunder Gorge in Camathan brook and Clautral brook is it’s tributarty. Sure Thunder comes down and takes a right angle turn while Claustral seems to go pretty much straight but Thunder was the first one explored and named so it gets the glory. Or sumfink

There is some energy sappng boulder scrambles and tricky climb downs

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but then the walls close back in for the tunnel swim

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Ed at the start of the tunnel swim
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Dick heading into the tunnel swim

And some more gorgeous canyon

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And then it’s time for lunch and the haul up Rainbow ravine.

It’s hard going in the humidity but the veiws from the top of the camels hump are worth it.

Just up there is the old car park… But we turn back down steeply into the top of Claustral Brook  where we work our way down through some more nice canyon sections. Above us thunder rumbles and a storm hits.

Well that saves the dilema of whether to dry bag the dry clothes or just swim in them. By the time we get to the swims we are soaked any way. The rain was heavy but refreshing and we reach our second exit point and do the climb out to the cars.

It’s later than we had planned. We’d sppent longer in Thunder canyon than I thought we would have but it was just so mesmerising. Still Gaz has to be at work for a 12hr night shift in just 45min so no time is waisted and it’s into dry clothes and a hurried good bye.

All in all a top day.

Your comfort zone is the most dangerous place to stay.

Party size 6 all experienced

Timing: 9.5 hrs not rushing and my injured leg holding us up a bit.

The video is a bit longer than my normal opnes but I could have put up 20min just on the Black hole abseils.

 

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2018 West Cycles Classic

I enjoyed last years ride so much I had no hesitation in signing up again for another year.

I had a massive support through both private and corporate sponsors so a big thank you to every one that chipped in.

Once again I hadn’t spent a great deal of time on the bike so wasn’t sure how I’d go. I had been in training in the gym with Phil and Skinny and their crew at Vanguard Fitness so I knew I had leg strength I just wasn’t sure I had any endurance. Then with  2 weeks to go I had competed in a team of 4 in the jetblack 24hr race on our home track at Rydal and felt surprisingly good on the bike.

With an early start Wednesday morning I arrange to catch up with me old mate Fruz to crash at his place on Tuesday night. Pulling up to his house he greets me at the car.

Do you need to put anything inside.

Nope

Good your driving, we’re going out for my sisters birthday.

Now I know Lindal but hadn’t seen much of here since we left school Mummble30mummble years ago.

Anyhoo a fun night was had….

leaving Fruz’s around 5:30am I meet up with the support team at the helicopter base at Broadmeadow and we help finish loading the trailers before getting a lift up to Raymond Terrace for the start of the ride

Day 1 Raymond Terrace to Bulahdelah 97km

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To be honest this is all a bit of a blur. Cruisey riding with a great bunch of people  through gorgeous back country. There was laughing and antics and a lot of fun. My legs were holding up well. My sit bones, not so much.

Now it’s not a race. That gets stressed often. Almost as often as it get ignored.

Of course there were little sprints and climbs and descents where bragging points were earned. Saying that it’s all in good fun and egos are kept in check.

Every 2hrs or so it’s time for a drinks break where not only do you get to fill your water bottle up but they shovel fruit and cakes and biscuits into you.

While I’d raked up 110km in the 24hr that was in 16km stints with a couple of hours of resting, massage, and foam roller recovery in between. This was the longest steady ride I’ve done in ages and too be honest it’s a bit of a blur.

Luckily the scenery and company kept me distracted. We roll into Bulahdelah and check in. I was bunking with Scotty B again this year and we stowed our gear then wasted no time in hitting the pool for a cool down and nibblies with the gang.

Refreshed we joined Katie and Hilary at the pub for pre diner drinks. the others dribble in a few at a time over the next hour or so and we make our way out to the beer garden where we are greeted by a spectacular Sunset.
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Life doesn’t get much better.

Until diner, that is. Where the meals are true country pub meals. Big, hearty and delicious. Ploughmans inn. Winner.

Out the front Kerrie cracks out the guitar and a sign-along ensues. the hat was passed around and the locals chip in a few coins and notes for requests.

I’d love to stay but I can’t keep my eyes open…

Day 2. Bulahdelah to Boomerang Beach 59km

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Up at the crack of dawn where our handlers already have breakfast laid out. Fruit, cerials, toast, yogurt and bacon and eggs. It really is a blissful 5 days.

We’ll roll out steadily and keep the group together. We should get to the ferry in time for coffee but we all need to be on the same one and that’s the first one once every one gets there. Remember it’s not a race.

Yeah sure Bernard.

We roll out of Bulahdelah and turn on to a little back road…. Lets say the natives were restless as the pace goes up straight away the peloton gets stretched out.  There’s 5 or 6 of us in the lead group. There is a bit of chop and changing and we all have a go on the front. We hit the dirt and the pace goes up again. I drop off and find myself in no mans land. I figure there’ll be steep hill down to the ferry where I’ll be able to catch back up. I was wrong.

Up in front Rebok has fallen off the pack. I push hard to bridge across to him. Jump on behind for a bit, mate

I’m done I’m happy just to roll.

Foxer.

Not long after he take the lead and the pace is back on. We roll into the ferry not too long after the lead 4 who are all ordering coffee. The rest of the bunch are not too far behind.

I have a confession to make, I’m not a coffee drinker. But am happy to fill the water bottle and rest up while we wait for the ferry.

Cross the ferry we go and just up the road is the official drinks break.

Next we are into the National Park and across Mungo Brush.

It’s a long stretch of flat dirt. Rebok , who had played tail end charlie on day one, has a bit of energy to burn and shots off in the lead. Pete and I took the lead of the rest of the group at a more sensible pace. But it starts creeping up.

By the time we hit the rolling ̶h̶i̶l̶l̶s̶, I mean undulations I’m feeling a bit spent and I drop of the lead group as the bulls charge onward.

We regroup a few kms later at the end of the dirt. A nasty pinch climb greets us then its a great run down the hill to our school stop.

Now speeds in excess of 70km/hr may or may not  have been reached. There may or may not have been some rubbing of bars at that speed…..

Anyhoo we roll into the school. Each year they pick a little school along the way and give them a quick speil about the helicopter service and bike safety. It’s a bit of fun and the kids get a bit of a kick out of it.

After that a game of soccor with the kids provided much hilarity.

Recess over and we roll out again. and those undulations keep coming. I was joined by Jodie and we reeled in first Bob and then Kerrie on the final flat stretch and we all rolled into our next night accomadation ready for lunch and then the beach, beers diner and sign-alongs.

Day 3. Boomerang Beach to Coomba Park and return. KOM day.

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Each year 1 day is set aside as KOM day. KOM is “King of Mountain”. A hill is selected and all pretence of “it’s not a race” is thrown out the window.

Up hills have never been my strenght and I gallantly offer to do my duty as tail end charlie on KOM day. Up here for think’n’.

So yep there would be hills today but first a nice flat pedal along the lakes edge out to Coomba Park for morning tea.

The pace was much more sensible. For some reason the guys who had been setting the pace the last 2 days were all cruising along mid to rear pack… I wouldn’t like to accuse the boys and girls of saving legs for the hills especially since I copped out myself…

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Anyhoo it was a lovely ride along the lake to a picturesque picnic spot for morning tea and then onto the dirt and into the hills. The KOM would ride 100m over 1km. Standard grade for the ‘Go but there were 3 or 4 nasty hills prior to getting there. Up the first one and down the other side nice and sensible.. sort of.

A while later we come to a downward stretch full of big kicky waterbars. Hitting the first couple I start to regret volunteering for the last rider job. I hang back a bit and have a bit of fun on the next lot. Much fun.

Then we get to the base of THE climb. and stop for a drinks break just to make sure we are all cooled down before tackling it 🙂

The big guns take off and I’m happy to spin up in last place.

We regroup at the top there is a left fork that goes to a lookout and a right fork that goes down the other side of the hill.

The offer is made for anyone who wants to go to the lookout they can. 9 riders move into the left fork.  Riders who would come to be known as the evil 9 (later softened to the Naughty 9)

So, says ride captain Bernard. Does any one want to go to the lookout?

No hands went up. Nothing was said. But 9 riders are pointing left. Well OK onward Bernard leads the pack down. Except 9 riders go left.

No I have a dilema. As tail end charlie I’m mean to saty at the end of the pack do I go right or left or wait here.

Ah Wiggsie is with the 9 and he pre-rode the loop. The 9 are all strong riders, and we are near the top of the hill the lookout can’t be much further anyway (Except to get there the road descended back to the foot hils and climbed the next peak over….)

I opt to follow the main pack. Fun fast descent I set up for the first sweeping righthanded but note skid marks and Scott standing off to the side of the road.

Shit are you OK. Yeah it was Bolto but he got back on and kept going, had a bit of blood spurting out of him.

OK.

A couple of hundred meters later, at the bottom of the hill, there’s Bolto on the ground in some discomfort. 1 finger is obviously dislocated and he has lot of skin off his knee.

Our medic pulls up and goes into action.

I’m just goign to pop that finger back in.

The howl of a thoughsand banshees being slaughtered…. I have no idea how he didn’t faint. I almost did. But finger remained stubbonly dislocated.

That’s no good I’ll give you a block for the pain then we’ll need to get you to hospital…

Out comes a needle big enough to tranquilise Hannible and all his elephants. More screaming.

With Bolto packed up into the ute. we continue on. Mindful that the ute was behind us with the injured rider in it the pace was up.

Look at the treeeeeeees. Called Hilary. No one is paying attention to the beautiful surroundings. or some such.

She had a point. We were in regrowth Blackbutt forest and it was beautiful.

A photo was called for.

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Hilary in the forest

We get to the drinks break. Ride Captain looks concerned. He makes sure Bolto is Ok then Notes 9 riders are missing and has a small tantrum….

Now with the work he does for the ride I’d make him immune to fines and reverse awards but where’s the fun in that. Dummy spit award nomination.

The ute leaves to take Bolto into get some scans (Turns out a cracked knuckle. He put a bit of ducktape on it and completed the the next two days riding like a champion. they breed them tuff in Pacific National)

Bernard gets a text… A photo of the Nine on the lookout. I have proof of who they are for fines!!!! .

Anyhoo the naughty nine eventually roll into the drinks spot.

Mount up. Calls ride captain. You’ve 2 minutes and we’re leaving….

The rest of the day was uneventful. Back at Boomerang beahc for lunch then beach, beers, pizza and sign alongs

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Day 4 Boomerang Beach to Nelsons bay via the Tea Tree ferry Buddy Day

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Buddy day is a bit of a highlight of the 5 days. Riders are paired up for the day. The idea being you are not meant to go more than 2m from your buddy all day.

The group is split into strong riders and not so strong riders and a “random draw” pairs them up, um randomly. Except ride captain is open to bribary.

After Hilary rode in a Centennial jersey for KoM day her Pacific National commrades decided to punish her by organising for her to be paired up with Wiggsie. Wiggsie is one of our strongest riders. Despite Hilary’s protests she isn’t too shabby either. They’d be a strong pair but she’d get pushed out of her comfortzone a bit.

Last year I snuck into the not so strong riders hat and got paired up wth Beddo. It’s not a race… but we won.

This year they were sure I got put in the strong riders hat and I got paired with Rosemary. I didn’t know her real well but what I did kw of her she didn’t strike me as a weak riders.

We roll out of camp nice and early.

I’m happy for you set the pace. If you want to have a crack go for it. If not I don’t mind

I’m happy just to ride, I’m not competitive. lies Rosemary. I’m a little slow on the hills. Yeah right.

We roll up the first little pinch mid pack. Get to the second  hill and Rosemary looks at me with a checky grin. Lets go. and off she shoots like a rabbit.

I only just manage to hold her wheel to the top of the hill and get in front to lead her down the other side. I’m rolling, not knowing how confident she is on descents. As fast as you can go. she calls.

Righto.

Jill and Rebok are a super team and are well and truly off the front.

2 other strong teams Wiggsie and Hilary and Bernard and Al are in second and third. Not that it’s a race.

We get Bernards wheel and Al drags the lot of us across the gap to Hilary and Wiggsie. another pinchy hill and at the top Al and Bernard jump.

Go go go! calls my non-competitive buddy. Gravity is my friend when the front wheel is pointing down and we hit the bottom of the hill in second place. Not that it’s a race.

Some long flats punctuated with undullations comes next. I lead out. Tell me if it’s too fast or slow.

I’ll yell “Flynny” if I need to you slow down and just “Go” if it’s ok to go faster.

Um there was more “Go” than “Flynny” being called.

Rosemary takes the lead to give me a rest, not that she is pushing a great deal of wind. Being a fair bit slender than I am… Up the next hill. Wiggsie and Hiliry were closing.

First stop is at the bottom of this one… Not that it is a race.

Rosemary crests the top and I take the lead again and we descend like demons to screetch into the drinks spot in second. High fives. Not that we were racing. It’s not a race. Well unless you come first, second or third.

First and second teams get handy capped and have to start at the rear of the pack for the next section..

Back onto the dirt and we are happy to roll with the bunch. It’s not a race.

We reverse the Mungobrush section of day 2 with a detour down to shelly beach for a drinks break. What a pretty spot.

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Jill cooling her legs and smiling prettily

Usually this little camp ground is accessable by boat so pretty quiet. I felt a bit sorry for the cmapers who were enjoying a lazy Saturday morning in the little haven when 35 nutty mountian bikers roll in with their support crew….

Not sure who won that stage, probably Jill and Rebok. But it’s not a race so who cares really.

Back out and we roll down to Bommbah Ferry.

Ok final stage for the day will be a 27km flat stretch of tar between here and Tea Gardens. We have plenty of time. We need to be on the 2:30 ferry. Let keep the group together. If we sit around 22km/re that will give us plenty of time. Once we see the 50km/hr sign there’s 3km to go and you can all go for it. Not that it is a race…

Yeah nice plan.

About 1km in and the pace creeps up to high 20s.

Come on, says, the Wigg. No. replied Hilary.

They go anyway.

They get a gap. The pace hits the mid 30s.

They come back.

Theres some funny too and fro between Wiggsie and Hilary.  It’s Buddy day. Says Hilary. There’s 2 buddies not just the 1…. They go again any way.

The peloton hit mid 30s. Hilary and the Wiggs get reeled in and fall to the back of the pack. Just behind us. They look spent. They were foxing.

How far now. Says Hilary. Whatever Wiggsie told her she felt it was time. Lets go!

The roar to the front again. Everyone is expecting them to be reeled in. They keep going.

I wasn’t any where near the front. I wish I was because if I was there I could tell you how the pace crept up and up. If only I had seen I could relate how the almighty hand of Jarred, by far the strongest rider in the pack, came to rest on his partners back. His partner being Kari, the elven pixie of a pocket rocket who was about to be shoved into warp speed 9.

Be this stage I had well and truly lost touch with the pack. Rosemary and I were now dead last, not that it matters it’s not a race, otherwise I might have seen the big fella, one hand on the bars 1 hand on his partners back, blow the rest of the peloton apart has he screamed up up 40km/hr..

In the end Hilary and Wiggsie held on and took over all honours. Well riden and smart. Bloody oath it’s a race!

Lunch, St paddies day beer at the pub while waiting the ferry and then a nice cruise over to Nelsons Bay.

Dress up night, Australiana. But what happens in the Bay stays in the bay.

Day 5. Nelsons Bay to Broadmeddow

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Some hang overs to ride off. Day 5 would be pretty much all tar. Some nice back roads through beautiful country. but also some long stretches in to the wind.

To be honest it’s a bit of as blur. So much so I forgot to push start on strava and missed the frst 20km

Fun was had. Suffering was done and it was a releif to roll into each rest spot.

So there you have it. Another great year on the West Cycles Classic. Thanks to the generous support of my family and mates I managed to raise over $1700. As a group that figure was up around $40k and when all the corporate sponsorship rolls in it should be over $100k. Thanks all.

A big shout out to the team that put this together especially our handlers Annette and Steph for orgaining every thing so we just have to get up, ride and have fun. The drivers, Garry and Stephen,  Bronny and her medical team and a whole hepa of others I’m forgetting. Bernard for keeping us in track which must be like herding cats through hot water and all the riders for the fun, games and laughter.

 

I’ll be back for sure

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JetBlack 24hr

3-4 March 2018

Richard, Phil, Mick and me

So we were hosting the 24hr on our home trails at Rydal. In return for getting the trails ready Martin offered us a free team entry.

We’ll just ride around as marshals. says I. I’ve had a few injuries and haven’t been doing a lot of riding.

You may as well be timed…

Richard was keen, Phil less so. What about you Mick

I have a bit to do on Saturday but could do a few laps late afternoon.

We’re not taking it serious you may as well be involved.

The team was entered.

I’d have to say I got a little excited the morning of the race but with the 3 of us there racing in a 4 man team we had a chat and agreed we’d go for double laps and go as hard or not as we wanted and if we weren’t feeling it we’d sit out and have some beers.

Set up next to us Gaz as doing it solo so we were happy to give Jodie a bit of a hand supporting his efforts

All good nice and casual.

Except 3hrs  in someone looked at the times and realised we were just 30seconds of 3rd place an dnot far in front of 5th. I’m not a competitive person, or so I sometimes tell myself, but if I’m on the track I want to do my best. Game on.

Turned out the team we were chasing was that of a work mate from up at one of our sister mines. Definitely game on.

We began swapping back and forth from 4th to 3rd.

I was feeling pretty good, Mandy was out there massaging for Mind Body Intigration and I was lucky enough to get a bit of maintenance after each stint.

I’d forgotten how awesome the atmosphere is at a 24hr race. It’s really special. Last one I’d ridden was Dargle Farm in about 2005.

Music was blaring. At one point old mate came up to me and asks what time the music was going off as he was trying to sleep. It was 8:45pm…

It’s a 24hr race mate.

But we are trying to sleep!

You  know the whole concept of 24hr race?/!

The music went off around 10:30. It came back on at 5:30 super load and techno. Sounds horrible but it was such a great pick up after a long night of riding

A couple of Rydal residents didn’t think so and rang Martin to complain. He invited them up for coffee and an egg and bacon roll. all smoothed over.

Anyhoo I get ahead of myself

We were doing well, each of us with very consistent lap times.

Mick turned up around 6pm. He is quick anyway and with fresh legs shot out for a couple of fast laps.

What the hell was that. Muddy says, coming over. We were wondering how you’d go when you 4th rider showed up. He has just punched out a 27min lap!

W’d all been lapping in the low 30s.

Pity he isn’t staying.

Richard goes out, we are up into 2nd.

Mick goes again. We are in first

I go expecting that was Mick last stint. It’s good while it lasts.

Katrina, I might drop you home and come back. Woohoo Mick is in it for the long haul.

We extended out a bit of a lead over night. Get almost 7mins up but come day break the teams in second and third sent their fast riders out for some catch up laps.

Long story short heading into my last lap there was about 3min between the top 3 teams, not bad over a 24hr race. I got back giving Mick a 1min lead. He brought it home well and We found our selves on the top step of the podium.

Fantastic event. Martin and Juliane put on a great show.

Thanks to outer image collective and Lithgow Council for the photos

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Hole in the Wall Canyon

10/03/2018

Shaha, Frankie, Kristy and me

Hole in the Wall consists of 2 canyon sections interspaced with a more open creek walk. It’s a reasonable walk in and out, mostly along a flat to undulating ridge. It is a bit of a Show Case canyon thou, being dark and twisty with glowworm caves, fun little water jumps and interesting abseils so well worth the walk.

It also empties into a very pretty section of the North Bungleboori crk, AKA Nine Mile crk, AKA Dingo Crk (though that name was originally appplied to a just small but interesting tributary)

It starts with a bang. You are in a pleasant sort of creek that looks like it might canyon up but is other wise unremarkable, you duck under a chock stone, round a corner and BAM!

Anyhoo

I was half keen on the  Banks double again but decided after a couple of big weekends I’d be better to take it a bit eaiser. Shaha, Frankie and Kristy joined me for the trip.

Setting off from the car park it was a coolish day that made walking pleasant and an hour and a bit of relatively flat ridge top walking later we descended into the little creek that would soon canyon up.

Normally I wouldnt bother with wetsuits yet, the top section has a few short wades but no swims, but with the day a bit of the cool side I made the call to put them on and in we went

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Kristy entrying the canyon
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It’s nice but just around the corner…..
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It drops into this amzing, deep, dark  slot

I’ve done this canyon a few times now and it blows me away every time. For the others it was their first time so I encouraged them to take the lead and find the wonder for themselves.

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The tops section is fairly short but it packs in some wow moments
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I once got flooded out of here seconding a comercial group. This was a deep swim as we came up it against the flow. I had to swim up, kicking off the walls pulling my self along the rocks. I then set a rope to pull the others through,..
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Dark, narrow, twisting halls open out to wider chambers which in turn lead to Dark, narrow, twisting halls

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And after a tricky climb down or two the canyon opens out to a pleasant walk down the creek interspaced with boulder hopping and quick sand

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Just when it was starting to get uncomfortably warm in the wetties the creek begins to drop again and the walls close in.

We harness up above a small drop. The water down below looks so inviting.

What are you guys like with water jumps?

Shaha and Frankie were up for it. Kristy, not so much.

Ok we can rope you up here or it’s a fairly easy down climb. She opted for the down climb.

Frankie takes the leap first and then Kristy follows using the sling to hand over hand.

Me and Shaha jump.

Another nice canyon section follows before we get to the first abseil.

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Kristy tackling the awkward start over the log
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Shaha makes the whole thing look easy. Check out the moss on the log to get a bit of an idea of the high water mark/throw of the falls when the canyon  floods

And then it’s into the show stopper section. a dark cave like tunnel filled with glowworms

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“I see Oriens belt but say nothing”:-Ani Difranco

The cave seems to periodically silt  up and flush out. Last time this was a deep swim and a difficult climb up out of the water over a mid way shelf. this time it was barely ankle deep at the shelf and and easy step up.

Over the shelf and back into a deep pool then a tricky climb out and up a cave like squeeze

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Regrouping after the squeeze
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Some more very nice canyon follows

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Log choke. I can’t fathom the power in the flood waters that caused this

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And then the longest abseil, down through a hole. When we first visited this I remember it being a sandy floor with a log spanning a hole a bit back from the edge. you had to rope up around the log and it was a very awkward to get on rope and then you swung in and down you went. At the time we joked that “Hole in the floor” would be a better name. Now the floor is bouldery and it’s obvious you are on chock stones. The hole is right at the edge, the log all but decayed. A handy anchor is found on the wall.

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a 12-15m drop with a nice bit of free space at the end
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Some more narrow, dark canyon follows
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A tricky down climb or awkwardish jump into shallowish water

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Then it’s one last abseil/slippery hand over hand

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Shaha, looking out through the Hole in the Wall

And then we are into the magestic North Bungleboori… AKA Nine Mile, AKA *hackspit* Dingo Creek.

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The hole in the otherwise towering walls of the North Bungleboori that inspired the canyon’s name

Now its a 500m wade, swim, scramble, walk up stream to our exit.

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Don’t get me wrong, I like Dingos but they have nothing on the Bungleboori

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. T E Lawerence

Party size: 4

Time: 6.5hrs car to car

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