Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Boxing Day Ride

In the last years of the 20th Century, Brothers Pete, Bruce and I made a tradition of riding at Riverhead on Boxing Day, in the company of whatever posse we could drum up at short notice.

Except for an outing to Woodhill in, maybe, 2001, the tradition had died out until this year.

Rick Woodward and I collected a bizarely attired CT-B at Western Springs before heading for the official rendezvous at the Westgate McDonalds, where Pete & Bruce, plus Nick, Adam Lovell (wearing the Best Shirt of the day), Dominic and Hugh awaited. A call from Skoda sent us to the Riverhead Forest picnic area, where Ian Batchelor, Ian's Bro in law, and our guide Skoda were disgorged from Ian's Landrover Discovery.

Ably led by Skoda, the 12 strong posse wended its way through the best of Riverhead singletrack, some of which was vaguely recogniseable from my riding there in the '90s.

This was my first off road outing on my Peace 9r, and Riverhead's sinuous, rutted & rooty singletrack is not the ideal terrain for an unsuspended singlespeed, especially one with an Eggbeater pedal with a broken wing. The 52" gear enforced a brisk pace on the gravel climbs, but was a bit stiff to match Skoda as he twiddled his granny ring up the technical climbs.

The 9r and I got separated a few times, the most notable a trip over the handlebars when I underestimated the size of a small log jump in Gordy's Gully.

Returning to the Picnic area via the rooty Nature Trail, I managed another moment of ignominy, tipping over to the left and jamming my arm in a tangle of branches. Fortunately I managed to pull myself free before I was forced to gnaw my own arm off.

Those of us without other responsibilities or obligations retired to the Riverhead Pub, where chips and Riverhead Burgers were devoured.

By the end of the day, possibly only the Riverhead Pub cat was more content than us.

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