Nelson and me met in Amberly after 9.30am and transferred to his car and hoofed it up to Hanmer. A bite to eat and we got going, around Jacks Pass Rd and on up Chattertons, gravel road section waaay longer than I ever remember it. Up the walking track for a bit then across and up the seemingly seldom used singletrack, leading to the skidder track up to the pylon. Steeper and steeper it gets til we topped out just in the trees. Nelson had a faff with his drivetrain, cleaning and lubing it, then we set off down through the dark forest. A bit greasy in here, so took it quite easy. Around, some climbing and a few more wee descents, and Nelson dropped his front wheel into something and went over the bars, not far from the Beehives. Through these and on around the access track to the road and over this up to the Tank.
Into the Tank Track and descending and cornering like anything. A tad greasy in places, roots inclusive. Stopped briefly a little way down to get the lay of the land and spot where the trail was headed. Onwards and down, getting the groove the further we went, except for one near miss where I seriously thought I was gonna crash, but somehow scraped through. Into the forest and quick climb out to the open.
Across this and into the climb for the Yankee Zephyr. Climb climb climb, a couple switchies then into the forest and over a creek and back out to a skidder site. and into the descent. We enjoyed the top section, it's a little wider and you can rail stuff and jump a bit and it's fun, but the lower swoopies are too narrow, rutted, and you're constantly fighting for balance.
Finished this and headed off down the Swamp track, which started out too tight, but got better and better, faster and faster. A blast towards the end. Then it was across the road and up Timberland trail, nasty climb for me, gasping for air, but eventually out onto the last steep 4wd bit to the skidder site at the top.
A rest here and a bit of a snack. and off up Joliffe Saddle track, climbing climbing, and around the final corner to find a bunch of guys at the top. One of them said, "Nice bike", and I looked at theirs and there was an orange 5 Spot. indeed, it was the dude who'd let me have a wee go on that very 5 Spot and who told me WideOpen were selling ex-demo frames back in May last year that cinched me getting mine. I told him as much. They'd just climbed up where we were heading down. Into it we plummetted. Mint descent, fast and raily, drops off steps and surprise corners and it was over way quicker than I remembered it.
Across the bridge and up some steps and up to the road, climbing a short distance up to Big Foot... One that was shut down a few years back (2008 or so (last time I'd ridden it) for logging and apparently has been back in action for about a year. Great to get into it again. Sweet climb up, zigging and zagging for ages, up through Fir forest, coming out into the open now and then, where it used to be totally enclosed the whole way. At the top we caught a young guy. He took off while we rested for a bit, and then we hit it. Entirely different to memory, because it used to be in tall tall forest, whereas now it's open and you can see it ahead all the way down. But it's a great trail and rides really well.
Eventually out to the road, and a quick coast down this and into the Detox climb. As ALWAYS, longer than memory would permit, and then we're into it and it's again different and yet the same. After the 'chicken line' option (which we didn't take) we passed a guy fixing a flat, and then it was the steep rutty chute out to the end, where his mates were waiting.
Across into Mach 1 and climbing a bit but not as much as I thought and a few descents and tight corners. Across Camp track and then up the Dog Stream track, then up Jolliffes road, the climbing really dragging me down here, and into Red Rocks. Nelson was waiting for me at the top. We did the short down and up and I stopped to put my glasses away, then continued on. Quite greasy in places but fun nonetheless. At Eeny Meeny we decided not to bother with the rest of Redrock and took that instead, which was cool. Went where Red Rock used to finish, and into more forest and a couple of choices in there.
Then it was just down to Timberland, along and across the Park and then a quick climb to Torquay Terrace and a nice coast down here back to the car. Went to go for a swim but the queue was so big we bailed and grabbed a bite to eat and then came back home, via me picking up the car in Amberly. Home by 5.
Mapped. Surprisingly only 568 m gained, felt like a lot more...