Andersons and the Oaks Social Ride
Last Sunday while everyone else was dealing with butterflies and last minute mechanicals at the Highland Fling. A small group of us were rolling out of the carpark of the Grand View Hotel Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains aimed at the head of Andersons Trail. After many months of chin waging about how good it would be I had finally got around to organising it. Our guide at the last minute had injured himself braking a leg literally in an event the weekend prior so we used a combination of combined vague memories of the group and a Garmin Edge 800 and ultimately found our way all the way to the bottom with no major dramas. Having never riden Andersons before I had no idea what to expect. I had been told that it was mostly firetrail with a big ass climb out at the end. But I what I wasn’t prepared for was the amazing amount of descent in this trail. Some of the descents were eye blurring. I recall seeing fist size rocks being smashed aside out of the corners of my eyes as I tried to retain focus on what was fast approaching in front of me. Sitting on speeds of up to 60km at a time on these road was awesome fun but allowed you to easily forget that whilst as fun as all this descending can be…… what goes down, must at some stage again go up. The trail winds eventually down to a creek crossing at the bottom of the hills which then simply turns you back to the sky with a series of moral breaking climbs, thankfully my Specialized Epic Expert 29er was completely at home in these conditions. The temptation to put a foot down and simply push up the hills was many time tempting but the will to stay slotted in a comfy spinning gear and focus on the reward of getting to the top stayed with me and I was at the end stoked with my efforts. We climbed all the way out into the sleepy back streets of the mountain town of Woodford then hunted down the trail head of The Oaks. Powering down the first descents was a welcome change to the climbing we had done out of Andersons. Despite having quite a few solid climbs on this trail I would definitely say that I had been desensitised to them from the scale of those I had just conquered on Andersons and was somewhat thankful for it. The Oaks has a somewhat infamous 5km downhill fireroad descent which was of course one of the most anticipated sections for the whole group. Not to disappoint, winding out as fast as I could in my biggest gears for 5 minutes on a downhill fire road was an amazing feeling which has to be tried at least once. Leading finally to a sweet single track section of smooth bermed corners and rocky multi lined descent we made it to the Glenbrook causeway for the final brutal climb out to the train station home. This ride is highly recommended whether it be for a great training ride or to look further into the history of the trails you are riding, but ultimately we enjoyed getting out there and riding something a little different to what we are used to riding around here locally at a leisurely pace . Above all any ride that includes 1600 meters of descending is alright in my book. Special thanks to Peter McGill for guiding us to the relevant trail heads and Steve Rugen, Matt K, Big Stu and Robbie for being a great bunch of guys to ride with. Good times and here's to more like it. J.