23 11 2011

Since Sunday i’ve been grappling with the concept of whether a 30 km ride can be epic. Normally i’d say no, normally i’d say you have to be in triple figures before you even start thinking about throwing the phrase ‘epic’ around. Normally I’d say that you have to have ridden right off the edge of the map and returned against all odds to describe a ride as epic.

Yet when I go searching for an adjective to describe last Sunday’s ride, epic seems to be the most natural fit. Everything about that ride was bigger and better than any ride I have done for quite some time.

The heat: It was hot. Baking hot. There was a breeze but it was seemingly hotter than the direct sunlight. It didn’t matter how far I unzipped my jersey, there was no additional cooling to be had. It was so bad that we had stopped at a tap about 5 k’s into the ride to cool off under and fill bottles. I already knew that 3 litres in my camelback just wasn’t going to be enough.

The trail: I think it was mostly GNW although I’m not 100% clear on that one. Some of it was rideable, some of it was distinclty hike-a-bike, yet the shouldering of the bike always seemed to be met with some kind of immediate reward – brilliant flowing single track at the bottom, a swimming hole, waterfalls and all manner of views and experiences. This included the bushwhack from hell (there are photos in my last post from some of the more ‘open’ spots). I won’t even attempt to describe how insanely bad that bit of trail is except to say that it was the point the laughter stopped. I was chuckling away at the sheer absurdity of the trail but as time went by, the laughter stopped and the pushing continued. Just as I was mentally ready to vito this bit from the Big HuRT, we pop out onto single track and I start to think of it less as a terrible trail and more as an “experience”. It couldn’t have been more than 500m of pushing but it felt like forever and it was both soul crushing and rewarding in some kind of masochistic way. It is exactly what the HuRT is all about, gritting your teeth and getting through the crap bits because you know the payoff will be more than worth it.

After cooling off in a swimming hole with my mind fumbling that we had only ridden 9 k’s. I was soon faced with one of the best climbs I have ever done. It went on for several k’s and never got steeper than about 10% yet it was so lumpy and technical that you couldn’t lose focus for even a second or you’d be dabbing. It suits how I like to climb – being distracted from the actual climbing by all the obstacles trying to trip you up. I can’t wait to ride that bit again!

The finish: Arriving back at Ourimbah train station, I was amused at the sheer number of leeches crawling over everything I owned. They were on my handlebars, my backpack, my shoes and in my socks. Somehow, I was only bitten a couple of times but if you are bivvying along this bit of track – make sure it is zipped up tight otherwise your going to be someones dinner.

The Bike: This was only the second time I have had the moonlander on single track. There were rocks. There were lots and lots of rocks. I struggled at first. There isn’t really a way to finesse a moonlander through the chunky stuff. The rear end is so heavy that you can’t unweight the rear tyre and pop it around rocks, you just wind up hitting them anyway. I felt like a roadie closing their eyes and hoping in anything technical. It was awkward and the 10psi pressures weren’t helping things. With some practice and dropping the tyre pressure closer to 6psi, it got a whole lot easier. Soon I was riding all manner of chunky drops and climbs on auto pilot. It’s just a different style of riding that took a little practice.

On the flowing leafy corners, the moonlander was almost like surfing. Just carving from rail to rail and  floating off the top of bermed sections. I can’t describe the feeling except to say that it was different to any of my other bikes and a whole bag full of fun.

The moonlander certainly isn’t the most capable single track bike on the market, but it is probably the most  versatile all round bike. If I am heading off on a colossal ride into the depths of god knows where and speed is a secondary concern to enjoyment, the moonlander will be the go to bike. There are a few such trips floating around in the back of my mind that may eventuate sooner rather than later.

Note from the Mrs: If you are buying a new bike – perhaps telling her before buying it might be a good idea. Someone in this household is perilously close to the n+1=s-1 rule. (The perfect number of bikes is one more than you already own and one less than the trigger for your wife leaving you).




4 responses

23 11 2011

Basic algebra would say the the number of bikes plus 2 more will always equal Wife. Alternately, Wife – bikes – 2 = nothing.

24 11 2011

The only way to truly test this n+1=s-1 theory (because until its validated it is nothing more than a theory), is for Ross to get out and purchase another bike.

24 11 2011

Its a chance i’m willing to take 🙂

24 11 2011

I’m calling that the bluff coefficient has been left out of the formula.

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