First night lights ride tonight. Nelson usual pick up from work and trafficking across and up Dyers then around the Summit looking for the top Livingsprings entry. We think we found where it was, stopping first too early, then second obviously past it, so the bit we'd seen before that had to be it... Parked down at Gebbies and headed in 6.10pm, last of the sun going and giving spectacular nor'west skies and freaky light on the hills. A car passed us as we gasped up the gravel road, and proceeded to park at the end and the occupants got out, a young couple heading in to the hut for the night. We said 'see ya on the way back'. Up the trail and over, lights on for the first time as we headed down the rooty steep into the forest. It's been so long since I've ridden this bike I forgot to drop my seat, making the descent sketchy to say the least. At the bottom, staying low under the low trees and climbing up the roots was hard work. Then up the fence line and over the stile and on up. Greeted at the top with a MOST spectacular view of Mt Bradley and the basin surrounding the Packhorse lit from reflected off clouds set-sun light. Utterly amazing. Down the road, and into the dark dark fir forest for to climb. Walked the switchies, rode on, past the 'bach' through the open, startling a rather large cattlebeast, then on up up up. In no time we reached the next switchback section, me thinking they were way further ahead. Had another breather at the top, then hit the last gasp climb to the fenceline. Next it was round the narrow sketchy ledge, through the Dykes and into the wind. Howling gale of a thing over the leading ridges, pushing us both off our bikes for dabs before reaching the hut, where we found a bunch of very windswept tents, and a few bods to talk to. 50 minutes from when we set off, dead on 7pm.
Off back down, I led the way, easier riding with momentum, into the wind. At the Dykes we met the walking couple from the start (they'd made good time, we thought), and proceeded to get cow shit all over our tires and bikes, as we traversed the techy ledge. Over the fence and into the woods, flowing, wafting, drifting around corners, fantastic descent through the forest on the soft pine needle surface. Pure bliss riding. Short climb around the tricksy tree, then down again, at times with much speed, others cautiously keeping grip. Into the open, brief climb where the cattlebeast had been, and back into the forest, across and down the switchies, then ballbearing fir cones, and out to the forestry road climb. Nelson took off up this and I plodded on up behind. Over the stile, up, then down the paddock trail, Nelson out front using his newly acquired DH mojo. Over the next stile and down the barbed wire edged rootfest, then barbed wire edged rootfest climb, then steeeeep, both of us walking eventually, to the open and back on for the last over and down to the road, for a dusty follow into the little trail below the road which was fast and grippy back to the car.
As always, surprisingly only 450 odd metres climbed (always feels like more), over a round trip of just over 11kms.
Then we drove round to Living springs, to take in one lap. In the Bamford Rd entrance, and around. Clambered up to do that wee drop bit off the side of the trail, then found a new being-built track that takes you across the slope, through a huge new native planting area, and into the bottom of the Pines, climbing up newly formed, but as yet unfinished, track to the old Pines entrance. Up (and down a couple times) through the Pines, having forgotten how steep bits are, then stopped for a sit in the dark on Rhymes With Orange. Off again, and around into Mississippi, trails all in mint condition, then as we climbed to Zanes I hit the wall, and started to shake. Sugar from earlier in the day had all run out and I was verging on one of those cold-sweat shakes, but managed, just, to keep it together and flowed and hummed down Zanes to the bottom, over the bridge and back to the car.
just over 3 kms, and under 100m climbed...