Silver Mountain Bike Park - is there a better descent in the world?
WOW - Lithium Trail - Teton Pass, Jackson Wyoming
The not so enjoyable part of Mountain Biking in Whistler
Bottom of the World - Surviving Whistler Top to Bottom
Conquering Whistler's Top of the World Trail
Fantasy Enduro - Enduro World Series Fantasy Game
Is the Thredbo AM Trail the best descent in Australia?
MTB Trail Videos - Trail Centre Upgrade Program
VIDEO: The Fourth 365 Days of Reign - My 4th year of Mountain Biking
Pilot Wilderness Ride - Cascade to Pinch - Part 2
Pilot Wilderness Ride - Cascade to Pinch - Part 1
MTB Workout for the Deskbound
Finding Bruce Ridge and Loving It!
VIDEO: Top XC Rides of 2014/2015
VIDEO: 2015 The FAIL Awakens
VIDEO: Nine Days in the Rotorua Redwoods
Exploring all of Sparrow Hill and the East Kowen Forest
VIDEO: 365 Days of Reign - The Third (year of serious mountain biking)
The New Majura Pines and Sparrow Hill Trip
Mountain Biking in the NSW Snowy Mountains
Long term test: Yakima Highroller and Whispbar roof rack
Travelling tips for Mountain Bikers
VIDEO: Giant Anthem 29er vs Giant Reign 26
VIDEO: 2014 FAILS - Will Ride, Will Fail
VIDEO: MTB-TVs TOP 10 Descents of 2014
VIDEO: The Opening of the Alpine Epic Trail - Mt Buller
VIDEO: Wrapping up the Redwoods with a Whak-en Outrageous Ride
VIDEO: Return to the Redwoods Part IV - Eagle vs Shark
VIDEO: Return to the Redwoods Part III - XC Lower Mountain Pedally Days
VIDEO: Return to the Redwoods Part II - Heavily Rooted
VIDEO: Return to the Redwoods Part I - We're Going To The Redwoods
Video: Return to Rotorua ... ok to go!
Video: Return to Rotorua ... definitely maybe!
Video: Return to Rotorua .. maybe?
Cycology - Cycling inspired clothing
Broken Bone on Breakout
Mountain Bike Fail to Triumph in the You Yangs
365 Days of Reign - My 2nd Year on a real mountain bike
Review: the Bionicon C-Guide V2.0
Brake disk rotor size upgrade 180 to 200mm, 160 to 180mm
VIDEO: Rotorua Redwoods - Create Breathing Space
Rotorua - a Mountain Biker’s Journey
Summer Mountain Bike Training at OMV
2013 Another Year of #FAIL
We're going to ride the Rotorua Redwoods
My god I love riding Stromlo Forest Park
Merry Christmas from MTB-TV - What a year its been
How to view web based KML files on your mobile device
Epic Brake Bleeding Solutions - Avid Brake Bleed Kit
The Lone Wolf enjoys some group action
Bantry Bay (Northern Beaches, Sydney)
Bruce Ridge (Canberra)
Bungarra Alpine Centre (Snowy Mountains)
Currumbin Border Track (NSW/QLD Border)
Daisy Hill (South Brisbane)
East Kowen (Kowen Pine Forest, Canberra)
Forest Pipeline (Northern Beaches, Sydney)
Fred Caterson Reserve (Castle Hill)
Golden Jubilee Field MTB Park (North Shore, Sydney)
Hassans Walls (Lithgow)
Hinze Dam (Gold Coast)
Jindabyne (Snowy Mountains)
Kiwarrak State Forest (Tarree)
Majura Pines (Majura, Canberra)
Manly Dam (Northern Beaches, Sydney)
Mt Joyce (Gold Coast Hinterland)
Mt Kosciuszko (Snowy Mountains)
Nerang State Forest (Gold Coast)
Old Man's Valley (Hornsby, Sydney)
Ourimbah (Central Coast)
Oxford Falls (Northern Beaches, Sydney)
Pilot Wilderness (Snowy Mountains)
Red Hill (Northern Beaches, Sydney)
Rotorua Redwoods (New Zealand)
Silver Mountain (Kellogg)
Singleton (Hunter Valley)
Sparrow Hill (Kowen Pine Forest, Canberra)
St Ives and Belrose (North Shore, Sydney)
Stromlo Forest Park (Canberra)
Terrey Hills (Northern Beaches, Sydney)
The Oaks (Blue Mountains)
Thredbo Resort (Snowy Mountains)
Thredbo Valley Trail (Snowy Mountains)
Whistler Bike Park (Whistler)
Wingello (Southern Highlands)
Wylde MTB Trail (Cecil Park - Western Sydney)
STROMLO BABY! The Trail Gods come good
I had one of the best weekends riding .. but it almost didn't turn out that way.
I'd spent many hours monitoring my phone's weather app in order to find the best weekend for the 3 hour drive down to Canberra's Stromlo Forest Park. The weather report had forecast sunshine for more than a week but of course the day after I booked my accommodation it changed from sunny to pouring rain - all weekend. So I headed off expecting to spend the weekend in the War Memorial, driving around to bike shops and looking for a restaurant with a decent béarnaise sauce.
It pissed down until well beyond the Southern Highlands but as I approached Majura State Forest - may it rest in peace - patches of sun started to appear so I dumped my bags at the hotel, geared up and rushed across the city toward Mt Stromlo. And I'm glad I did!
Despite rain earlier in the day the trails were in remarkably good condition and in the most part dry .. or maybe damp. There was only the odd puddle and virtually no mud to speak of.
I was totally stoked with my first run (Loop 2). I climbed well and to my recollection the only feet-down occurred in the section from the Observatory to Echidna Gap - Rockys. Descending I felt really comfortable. I flew down Western Wedgetail and carried that enthusiasm through Skyline with great conviction. In fact I was really blown away with how well I went on Skyline. Confidence is an amazing thing.
Luge was going to be the real yardstick but as I dropped in from the (Buchar) bridge at pace and hit the first set of berms I knew I was up for it. I was dropping the inside arm with far greater confidence than when I rode the Thredbo Flow Trail at Easter. While I still need to work on my technique and commitment I was really happy with my improvement in the berms (there are no banked corners on my local trails - I rarely get a chance to practice them).
Totally stoked with my ride I popped a few jumps on the way out in celebration before almost rear ending a guy who simply didn't get the idea of pulling off the track when stopping.
I considered climbing up for a second run, but the hard going on a damp hill and my plans to do at least 3 descents the next day kept me on the lower slopes. Or more precisely in "the Playground". I learnt a valuable lesson that day .. Leave the children's playground for the children. OTB on the seesaw (teeter totter for the Americans) and a fairly serious knock and slash to the ankle that had me hitting up the bar staff for a bag of ice .. "and a glass of Shiraz thanks".
(See the video above for the #Fail footage.)
Sunday ... queue the inspirational music ...
Sun .. glorious sun. I made my way to the top of the mountain, set my brain to "fun" and took off down Wedgetail, Skyline and Luge knocking tonnes of time off my previous day's run and feeling far more empowered along the whole descent.
I took a short break at the bridge to watch a group of 4 guys flying down the Downhill on Enduro Bikes, which totally inspired me to keep working on my technical descent skills. My goal over the next 12 months is to build up my skill set and confidence so I can ride gnarly long descents such as Megavalanche (prolly just ride - not race).
And they weren't wrong.
It was SUPERB .. rocks, more rocks, rock drops, rock slabs, loose rocks, in-trail rocks, big rocks, little rocks .. lots and lots of rocks. After only one run it became my new favourite trail, in fact about halfway along the trail I can be heard on the video saying "Oh Yeah! This is exactly what we want".
Pork Barrel ends at a crossroads and straight over the way is Double Dissolution. While Pork Barrel was all about rocks and drops Double Dissolution is all about jumps. Lots of jumps up to around 2ft high, some singles, some doubles and some tabletops. Its major challenge comes in the number of jumps, how quickly you come across them and their sometimes precarious positioning (just before, during or after turns). It was a great place to practice my "scrub or jump" reflexes and as the afternoon shadows reduced trail visibility this became all the more important.
The trail itself was far smoother than Pork Barrel, even smoother than Skyline, in fact its pretty nicely groomed the whole way. It's fast and flowy, you can pump off the jumps and bumps and really hold momentum through banked corners. Really fun stuff!
In my opinion the only downside of this descent is the undulating winding XC track back to the base, NOTHING like the descent thus far. It's the MTB equivalent of traversing via snowboard from Mt Perisher to the Valley Terminal. That being said I'm sure there are plenty of MTBers that love those flowy XC trails.
After climbing around 1000m of vert and descending it all with a big arse smile on my face my weekend of MTB came to an end.
The Stromlo weekend playlist
- Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones
- Love Spreads - The Stone Roses
- Ready to Receive - Animal House - *Featured in the video
- Dear in You - Gerling
- Parachute - Falling Joys
- Debaser - Pixies
- Where is my mind? - Pixies
- People like Me (Alphas TV Show Theme) - Eirk Kertese
- Pay the main - Offspring
- Sodajerk - Buffalo Tom
- Tree House - Buffalo Tom
- Nike Ad Remix (Sodajerk & Tree House) - Buffalo Tom
- Hungry Town - Big Pig
- Heartspark Dollarsign - Everclear
- Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz
- Rooster - Alice in Chains
Trail Centres and Trails featured in this blog
- Nerang State Forest (Gold Coast, QLD)
- Stromlo Forest Park (Canberra, ACT)
- Thredbo Resort (Snowy Mountains, NSW)