There definitely has not been as much biking as I would like over the last month or so! Too busy at work, a bit of DIY on the house, some weekends taken up doing mountain bike coaching and the weather conspiring against me has lead to a lack of biking. So it was fantastic to get out for a blat up and over Oxford on the weekend with some mates.
The weather had been quite nice leading up to the weekend, but a front passing through managed to drop a fair amount of rain on the Saturday, and while the forecast had been nice for Sunday we woke up to grey cloud blanketing the sky. I was a bit slow to get going, as I was recovering from a friends engagement party the night before, but we were out on the trails by a reasonable mid-morning 10.30. There was the usual bike a bit, hike a bit start to this ride. There is about 30 minutes of 4wd track and intermittently rideable singletrack at the start of the climb, followed by about 2 hours of bike carry to get to the summit. The cloud that was blanketing the mountain seemed to keep climbing higher at the same pace we did. I had great hopes that the clouds would just miraculously disappear to give us the wonderful 360 degreee views we usually get from Oxford, but apart from some sneaky views back down the mountain under the cloud there was not much other than cloud to view.
The Trig at the top was a welcome sight, signifying that the hardest part of the day was over, and that we would soon be on the sweet singletrack down the hill.
The group of 8 walkers at the top were a little bemused at the sight of 6 bikers carrying their bikes to the top of the hill, and were interested in how much of the downhill (which they had just walked up) we would actually ride, as they thought that many parts of it would be too difficult. We assured them that it was all rideable apart from 1 or 2 tricky bits, and that it was an immensely fun piece of track. To prove our point we soon set off down the hill with silly grins on our faces. It is not every day you get to ride down 1000 vertical meters of fantastic singletrack!
Starting out in the open with tussocks and small shrubs, it is great fun blasting down the steep trails
V loving the trail.
We were soon into the forest, and wizzing in between the gnarled old trunks and streamers of moss. I always love biking through old growth native New Zealand forests. All the green growth, textures of bark, moss, lichen and loam and the absolute vitality of the forest. Of course I also love the challenges of squeezing through trees, around sharp corners and floating over the roots, holes, drops and humps that singletrack through forest present.
As always the main descent was over waaaay too soon, and we soon popped out on the Wharfedale track, before heading back to the car. After a number of km of steep full on descending singletrack it is quite fun to have a few km of fast flowing open singletrack. I was definitely feeling the few climbs on the way out. I think it is probably the lack of decent biking in the last couple of months, but then being a bit hung over from the party the night before probably did not help either! Still, floating over the rooty goodness on the way out put a smile on my face
The coffee and chocolate mud cake at Seagars Cafe in Oxford definitely helped refuel on the way home too!
As December starts it is supposed to be Summer here, but the temperatures in the low teens over the last couple of days certainly have not felt like Summer! Hah! What global warming!! I definitely have my fingers crossed for some better weather to start happening soon so we can get out and enjoy the mountains some more!!