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Posts tagged ‘restall road’

Surprisingly cranky

Mountain biking in Woodhill today:-

Husband: Why didn’t you cycle down that hill?

Me: You mean, apart from the fact that it’s semi-sheer? Let me count the reasons. First of all, I don’t really fancy breaking a fall with my sprained wrist. Secondly, it’s been a while since I mixed it up at Woodhill, so I’m taking it easy. Thirdly, I have a puppy trying to jump through my spokes, which is distracting. Fourthly, I have a husband who stops dead without warning randomly and lethally. Fifthly and sixthly respectively, I am tired and surprisingly cranky. Finally, I urge you to bear in mind that I do not share your cavalier attitude towards life and limb whether mine or anyone elses’, OR your wilful disregard for the laws of gravity.
<note: I did not actually say all that, but I successfully communicated the gist>

Husband: But you rode down there before-

Me: Well I was younger then, and more carefree-

Husband: You mean last year?

Me: YES, LAST YEAR!

Savage pine cones

Husband and I went mountain biking at Woodhill yesterday. I was in the lead when my bike jolted.

Me: Hear that crunching noise? Was that me? Did my gear whatchamacallit tooth thing thingy scrape off the ground?

Husband: Ah, no. That was the sound of your back wheel running into my front wheel

Me: Hmm. Technically, I think it was your front wheel that ran into my back wheel-

Husband: Did you observe the incident?

Me: No, but-

Husband: Exactly. I happened to witness the incident, and your back wheel definitely ran into my front wheel. I’d appreciate it if you could be more careful in future

081214-deadly-jump

Husband poses beside a jump at Woodhill (note: the trees are not about to fall up the hill; this is a cunning effect achieved by tilting the camera.)

081214-deadly-jump1

Fig 1.
This is a close-up of the previous photo, with the start of the jump visible on the far left. The idea is to hurtle down the path on your mountain bike, strike some aerial poses in the stratosphere, land on the green baize . . .

081214-deadly-jump2

Fig 2.
. . . career down the wooden platform about the same width as an inner tube, launch yourself into mid-air, do a somersault or two. . .

081214-deadly-jump3

Fig 3.
. . . then land on the path just visible on the right, preferably on your bike as opposed to your face.

I’m working up to it. Might take a while, considering I was unseated by a pine cone yesterday

Aggressive roots

Last Friday morning, we were woken by shafts of sunlight playing with our toes. Inspired by a discussion with MarkJ during dinner the previous night, I suggested we take the mountain bikes out to Woodhill.

We dressed in a high state of excitement (NB: similar effect can also be achieved by the removal of clothes), fixed coffee and packed the bikes in the car. By the time we opened the garage door, it was driving rain.

“Maybe the sun is shining in Woodhill,” I suggested optimistically.

By the time we got to Swanson, the rain had increased in gusto and tempo, with the introduction of a swirling fog effect. Contrary to my parents’ example, I do not give up in the face of adversity. However, I do give up in the face of Husband refusing to drive any further and/or the prospect of wet feet. So we bought coffee and went home.

The following day, we relaunched the expedition. Woodhill is a 40 minute drive west along the #16, then left onto Restall Road. In addition to over 100km of bike trails, there is an obstacle course, motorbike track, horse trails, and orienteering.

We didn’t want to advertise our novice status – the aggressive wobble I employ to propel my bike is sufficient – so we started with a 12km intermediate track. The paths are fully maintained, sand-based woodland trails, with jumps along the way. I dodged these, since I had my work cut out avoiding advancing tree roots.

[Image robbed from someone without their permission]

Each jump is allocated a level of difficulty. Husband tried a few according to a selection process I couldn’t decipher. He acts like it’s all just so ho-hum, but he always waits until I am in the vicinity before embarking on his arial stunts. What cracks me up is that the only time he ever checks to see whether I’m looking is after he flobbles or falls off.

For jumps – or even descending a sharp step – apparently the trick is to dismiss instinct and/or common sense and perform a wheelie just prior to hitting the descent. In theory, this raises the front wheel until the back wheel launches; then both wheels return to the ground simultaneously. Otherwise, if the riser is too sharp, there is a risk that when your front wheel drops the rider flies over the handlebars.

I’m still studying this theory.

Just before the carpark I hit a patch of soft sand negotiating a corner. The front wheel dug in and I involuntarily abandoned my bike and slid into the carpark on my chin. Now I have a fat, lopsided chin; a hole in my lip where I stabbed it with a tooth; and an impressive array of bruises and grazes down my right leg.

But I can’t WAIT to do it all again

The difference between John and me

On Sunday we went orienteering with John and Hazel at Stag’s Roar. Well, Hazel did the course with Husband and me, while John felt navigationally compromised and read his book under a tree.

A few things have changed since I last orienteered. No more twaddling around with clear contact; control cards have been replaced by electronic ‘keys’ which are inserted into a reader at each control. No more huddling by master maps waving your arse in the air; the courses were pre-printed on the maps. No gaiters, but I think that’s a cultural difference. There appear to be less brambles to whip the shins in New Zealand.

And there was blazing sunshine. Perhaps it’s inverted rose-tinted glasses, but orienteering events in the Irish eighties seemed to always be accompanied by gale force winds, horizontal rain, knee-high mud and puddles of ice.

Husband’s sense of direction continues to be purely instinctive. I was gutted when he hit the third control before Hazel and me. Still not completely recovered from it.

Afterwards, we all went to The Carriages for brunch.

The following exchange illustrates the fundamental difference between John and me.

John: Went to the movies last night.

Me: Oh cool! What did you go see?

John: The Painted Veil.

Me: The- what?

John: The Painted Veil. Edward Norton-

Me: I love Edward Norton. Great actor.

John: Yeah, him, and that babe – what’s her name again-

Me: Liv Tyler.

John: No-

Me: Halle Berry.

John: It’ll come to me in a minute. Anyway, it was excellent – much of it was set in China at the turn of the nineteenth century, in the cholera epidemics. It was really interesting.

Me: Sounds . . . nice. We went to the movies too.

John: Really? . . .

Me: Yes! We went to see IRON MAN!

John: Oh, with Harry Connick Junior.

Me: No, Robert Downey Junior. He IS Iron Man – he totally rocks! Awesome actor. And Iron Man is such a great superhero – I mean let’s face it, Spiderman is great but Peter Parker can be a bit whiny. But Iron Man, you know, he’s pretty single-minded and you gotta admire that in a superhero-

John: I’m not convinced.

Me: What? How can you not be? Iron Man has compelling motives, an engaging character arc, and he blows stuff up and flies!

John: Mmm

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