Sunday, February 26, 2012

TORC Canberra Training Camp

After a very soggy Sydney Summer, you could be forgiven for getting just a little bit excited about heading to the mecca of mountain biking for a weekend of single track serenity. Sure enough 17 of TORC’s finest climbed aboard the MTNBike Express in search of some sweet dusty trails

First stop was Kowen forest and again we had the privilege of mixing it with Ben Henderson, still recovering from a virus, Ben was kind enough to come out and set the scene for a weekend where the object was to ride your bike as fast as possible through every conceivable type of corner. Before long the natives got restless as Kowen’s beautiful lines beckoned and it wasn’t long before a few keen beans blasted off to stretch the legs and the lungs. The name of the game was “Where’s Brad?” Hardly a puff of dust had been raised one of our team were missing in action. Turned out he thought it was the Roadies tour coming up in a couple of weeks and decided to take a detour via Queenbeyan! Steve also pushed hard on the power limit and broke his chain link by link until he had to scooter back to base camp. There was plenty of “Yieeeew!” and “Yeaaaaah” and “Whoooooa” calls coming across the valleys, these are the mating calls of the mountain biker and the better the single track, the more frequent the calls.

Back for lunch and Will and Laurie really fed us well. The whole tour was expertly organised and the food was a hit for tired legs, then it was out for another couple of hours of soaking up the trails over Sparrow Hill, just 25km of uninterrupted singletrack.

Peter took the prize for the hard man of the weekend, taking particular offense to a certain pine tree and both he and the tree were left missing some bark. Of course the tree won, but Peter has the bragging rights and got a nice ride in an ambulance for his efforts.

Post ride coffees and a good quality “all you can eat” buffet at the AIS were very welcome after a big day in the saddle and then it was off to sample the night life in Dickson. Yes there is night life in Canberra and we all enjoyed some carb loading in the cool summer evening

Sunday morning provided another opportunity to ride the “all you can eat” single track, rolling out at sunrise to take in the manicured trails of Bruce Ridge to roll the legs over the before breakfast. It really was the perfect morning at 12 degrees and clear blue skies and not a puff of breeze. Ben, Hayden, Will and Isy had a great time navigating this tortoise shell of criss-crossing trails with gentle climbs and sweeping bends on the descents.

Our final ride started with an easy bunch ride through the suburbs from the AIS to one of the oldest and best love MTB precincts in Canberra, Majura Pines. The trails were a little damp which made for tricky conditions as one moment you had loads of grip on a tacky corner and the next you could be two wheel drifting over a slippery tree root. There were heaps of riders there including families and heaps of girls all enjoying the best of MTB in Canberra (Great to see more girls getting into this sport!). Mike Farkas was having a shocker and no sooner was he singing the praises of Scarlett and the next, going rubber up at low speed over a couple of sketchy obstacles, very unlike Mike. Fankles also revealed his talents for inflicting pain and made a foursome with Nick, Mike and Isy to explore this area that is some areas resembled the Blair Witch project, gothic aged pines trees, plenty of hills and made for some gorgeous scenery.

All in all a fantastic weekend of riding with friends and right on queue the storms reappeared as we made our way back to Sydney, wishing we never had to return


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