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Not The Faint Hearted

hathill's picture

By hathill - Posted on 26 February 2011

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Well, what an event, what a turnout! The quality of the steeds presented certainly made up for the lack of quantity. These old machines had already paid their dues in spades on the trails but that didn't stop us brave, but more likely stupid riders asking them for one last chance to relive the glory days of mountain biking.

First step was the essential train ride with many bikes crammed into the carriage. Not just any carriage mind you with myself managing to single out the carriage with the toilets for maximum inconvenience to all concerned. The morning was off to a fantastic start and we weren't even on the trail yet.

With our sweep riders in tow, we pedaled up the hill from the station. Chuck used his Clydesdale legs to beat us all to the intersection at Appian Way where he quickly found out how “effective” the brakes were on the Specialized. Possibly Specialized had fitted the Rockhopper with an early version of ABS technology?

A regroup at the gate for photos and disbelieving stares from other more sensible riders and we were on our way, Stephen quickly taking the lead. After the first half a dozen bumps, I wondered if we would all make it to the finish line without something rattling or snapping off. It would only be a matter of time.

Pull up at the top of the BMX track and it looks like my GT is very excited with the seat pointing a little skyward. Out with the multi tool and re-adjust – “not too tight, you might break the bolt Giles”, I am advised. “Never mind, I have more effective ways to take care of that bolt later on” I think to myself.

A fairly uneventful run sees us quickly at the Circles where Matt the sweep rider starts complaining about how good his modern mountain bike is and wishes he had brought along one just like ours. (I can see a lot of Ebaying going on later this evening.)

Again, our excellently engineered and maintained bikes make it to the top of the next big hill with Jim showing just how superior his ride is by effortlessly pulling a mono and then almost flipping it.

Alright fella's, you've had it easy until now as we hit the start of Redwire Saddle. Michael and Stephen are off and as I catch Stephen, I realise why as I hear the sound of a jogger rubbing against the tyre for some extra braking force. I can just see it now – Avid Elixir R Joggers with sintered metallic soles. That's an avenue SRAM should be seriously looking into.

A few more kays and we are at the Helipad and staring down that unforgiving 7 kilometres of rocky, sandy hell. Surprise surprise, everyone makes it down safely, Stephen having a few shifting issues on the way. Michael and Ian were pitting old against new in a downhill charge not seen since the 1995 Woodford to Glenbrook.

Next, the section I have been dreading. The Singletrack. How many pinch flats, dented rims or OTB's would we see? I should have been thinking about that seat bolt earlier 'cause it would shortly cry enough over a couple of rough spots placing my nether regions in grave danger. After surviving the snapped bolt with my bits in tact, a bit of CSI work found all the parts including both ends of the snapped bolt, not much good to me now! Never fear, Jim whips on his Mr Fixit hat and lashes together everything with cable ties. I wrap the whole thing in tape for good measure and we are off.

A little further down the track and we have lost Jim – could he have been abducted by aliens, or, perhaps someone really wanted his bike and he met with foul play? After all, we did find a strange square of sticks and stones on the single track. An ancient Inca pyramid perhaps? No, nothing so exciting as that, merely a seriously bent rim which had been secretly practicing to become an aluminium can. Vice grips and a bit of persuasion saw Jim back on his way.

All this action saw Stephen bail out and head for home on the fire trail. The usual bash along the single track, over the log jumps (hard landings!) soon saw us hit the technical section at the end. Luckily the Tioga Psychos weren't fazed by the terrain and the GT made it happily to the car park.

Just the slog up the causeway and it would be over although I must have eaten too many creampuffs prior to the ride and had to bail out on account of not wanting to have to visit the doctor for a premature “gentleman's operation”.

All in all a great days riding, something different and it certainly gives you an appreciation for just how easy we have it these days.

See ya all on the next one.

Oh - almost forgot. The winner is

1st - Stephens Ross Beach Cruiser
2nd - Chucks Specialized Rockhopper
3rd - Giles's (Borrowed) GT Timberline
4th (Sorry Jim - suspension automatically put you out of the running!) Street Wheeler

Thanks Craig for the loan of your machine. I'll find a new bolt, I promise!

Ian_A's picture

You're a classic Giles.

The Brown Hornet's picture

Judging by the repair J the B is undertaking, there was a fairly comprehensive tool box on the ride!

J the B's picture

But I had a bell and a rack! And slicks!

Alright, I wussed out and rode my second-worst bike. Good call methinks. I might have flattened the rim, but I don't want to think how many tyres I would have flatted on that skinny-tyred tank.

Yeah the toolbag was strapped onto my rack (along with a first aid kit). I brought enough tools, but forgot about spare bolts. Have to make a note for next time.

BM Epic's picture

Great write up Giles, wished i could have come, looked like mad fun!

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