Sunday 7th Sept - Crazy Ruts and even Crazier uphills!

After a magical Saturday in Forrest spent with our MTB Skills group I had planned a social ride with some daring riding buddies.

Leaving Forrest at 9:30am, in attendance for the ride were the likes of Sally, Ross, David L, Gavin, Normie boy, Matt the Smoothie Peddlar, Sandy "magilla", Lizzie and Me.

First up a delightful warm up - 5km to Lake Elizabeth entrance via Kaanglang Rd.  A quick regroup and off again for the final 8km climb up to the Mt Sabine-Benwerrin Rd intersection.  Matt and I had a quick discussion with the route through Curtis Tk being the more "interesting" (in Matt's words) option.  

PhotobucketUpon finding the entrance to Curtis Tk, we met a bushwalker/photographer who was more than keen to tell us how "impenetrable" parts of this route were and there was no chance of riding the uphill that would present to us.  Whist I did believe him somewhat, I was hoping that he was exaggerating a little bit for sake of a good story.


Here is a pictorial of the downhills, creek crossing and uphills.

The downhill was great fun and started off very firm with a rock base and then as we descended further the ruts began as the road became more clay based.  It was a matter of luck looking far enough ahead to choose the right line & it was often the case of the rider about 4 or 5 back that would get the best line through watching everyone else stuff up.

I have no idea how many people fell into ruts, high speed, slowly and even front wheel first into quick sand and over the handlebars, but no one was hurt.  With all the rain we have had - there is loads of soft landings!

Creek Crossing - Curtis Track








There was even an awesome fun creek crossing at 291mt elevation and then we went up, and Up...and UP...and UP and UP until we were back to 485mt elevation in  1.3km...practically all walking.  The ruts were crevasses. The hill was mostly near vertical - the steepest gradient being 38% recorded on my Garmin. Photobucket















Not sure if anyone has tried to ride a gradient like this, let alone walk it...then carry your bike, with bike shoes on...and then negotiate thigh and hip deep ruts.  I personally have never been on a MTB ride with these sorts of obstacles in it.  And this was only 20 km into the 75km ride.

So by the 29km mark, almost into Wye River for lunch at the pub, Gav Norm and Matt (Smoothie Peddler from Forrest) decided to hoon on down the steep switchbacks into Separation Creek.  I was on Gav's tail thinking they were going very fast, fast indeed! 

I was imagining them overcooking the corner...and low and behold, Norm somehow held onto it whilst Gav and Matt visited the bushland for a little lie down beside the road, bikes included.  Gav was cracking up with laughter and Matt was smiling all over.  I could not believe what I saw before me!  Thankfully they were both fine and the bikes survived to keep riding.








  Finally sat down for lunch and spent a good hour at the pub.

After lunch the hardest thing was getting back on the bike in the rain,into the wind and on the Great Ocean Rd to Kennett River to ride up Grey River Rd.

Basically a 17km uphill with very little relief rising from sea level to 600mt elevation.  I am pleased to announce myself being the first to exit at Mt Sabine Rd with Norm and Sandy very exhausted after giving it 200% trying to catch me down coming in 2nd and 3rd.  Apparently poor Ross blew numerous gaskets and was lucky to arrive anyway!
In my opinion the final 20km was the toughest as I escorted Sandy back to Forrest to get home to his kids for Fathers day.  Every pinch hurt and the feet and hands were not being felt.
What a top day.  Must do it again guys.  Totally tough and perfect Otway Odyssey training.  If you do a ride like this then Otway Odyssey will be a cinch.

The things we do... Muddy 

Jess' tan mark