A spontaneous weekend adventure p2

21 12 2011

Departing Kincumba with food in our stomachs and freshly filled water bladders was bliss since it was all down hill. While it was primarily fire trail, it was still descending so life was good. We rode through suburbia a little before reaching Point Clare and detouring to the shops where I stocked up on supplies.

In every past multi day ride I have done, I have been guilty of horrendously over estimating the amount of food I would need. Determined not to repeat past mistakes I took only a packet of Deb potato, 2 packets of instant noodles and a packet of Uncle Ben’s instant rice. So I needed some chocolate and biscuits to keep me going until we reached camp for dinner. My weapon of choice is usually picnic bars so I bought a few of them along with some coke and some beer with the aim of a late afternoon rest break to watch the cricket in a local park.

From Point Clare, the easy stuff was over. I knew we would be climbing up some steep roads and it wouldn’t be long before we would arrive at “Chad’s Fault”. I posted a photo or two from Chad’s Fault a fortnight ago and sadly I knew exactly what kind of bushwack I was in for. I paid close attention to the GPS and that section of trail is only 400m long but it seemed an eternity. I took the liberty of adding a waypoint called ‘salvation’ to the HuRT file so that ‘riders’ will have something to aim for rather than stumbling blind into most peoples idea of hell. The beauty of “Chad’s Fault” is it lies just past a point of no return. Once you are through it, your going to have to keep riding the trail so even if it breaks people, they will still have plenty of time to change their mind before dropping out of the race.

'The Beard' taking the walking option up some chunky Point Clare trail

Our aim had been to make Mooney Creek camp ground for the night and we arrived with an hours light to spare leaving us to wonder how far one could push through if they were racing this in the HuRT. The campground is a delightful spot and I suspect that if there are more than 4 riders for the Big HuRT, the campfire may become a point of reformation of the peleton. Those that are really racing will push through although there is no point in getting past Sommersby on the first day unless you are carrying 2 days worth of food with you.

The descent is all carry which is fine because the trail that leaves the camp ground more than makes up for it. It’s not the sort of carry I would be looking to do with crappy lights in the dark however. There are plenty of places to take a tumble.

Brad demonstration the reverse orthodox De Bellin portage

Mooney Creek

The campsite

As the light faded and darkness creeped in, I spent time fussing with timber and building a campfire. While not strictly necessary, there is something spiritually uplifting about fire. It melts away the thoughts of  a long hard day and leaves you content and excited for the following day. Long ago a quasi pyromanic friend spent all manner of time perfecting the art of the ideal zen fire. Even though it almost seems OCD to ‘construct’ something you will soon burn, I took his ‘lessons’ to heart and quite enjoy the process of designing a fire in much the same way an architect designs a house.

I cooked my Deb instant potato mixed with a cuppa soup on my trangia and devoured it’s warm, salty goodness. It was manna from heaven and I made seconds while trying to mentally calculate excatly how much water I had left and how much I was going to need to make it through the night and onto the next water source the following day. Meanwhile, Brad pulled out a flat bread, cheese sticks and salmon sachet to make a gourmet trail side wrap which partnered his Uncle Bens Risotto which seriously raised the ante for campsite cuisine.

Around 10pm, we called it a night and I wearily lay in my bivvy without the need for the mosquito net since there hadn’t been a single insect all night. Sleep was fitful and I repeatedly dreamt of people walking through the campsite which I suspect has a lot to do with how much caffeine I had late in the afternoon.

Despite being summer, it was bloody cold in Mooney creek. After long days on the bike I often notice the cold much more than normal so I long ago learnt to carry thermal gear for night time. I had a mid weight merino undershirt and cotton long johns and at the last minute before leaving home I added a cotton thermal long sleeve top because my seat bag was so empty and I needed to firm it up a little. I was so thankful I did. I suspect the temps dipped into single digits in the early hours of the morning and my summer weight sleeping bag is see through so I woke shivering several times. It seems I wasn’t the only one that noticed it as the first thing Brad said in the morning was “Cold eh!?”. He didn’t have a thermal top and his sleeping bag is as bad as mine…. poor bastard.

The morning cup of coffee reinvigorated the soul and chased away the lingering cold with a bitter sweet jolt to sleep addled eyes. Some food, some packing and we were soon breaking camp.

Hurry up and make my coffee

To be continued….

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