I don't think I picked the best day to introduce myself to the Gap Creek Rd mountain bike park. It's been raining for the last few days and continues to rain today, obviously making the trails rather slippery. Add my squeaky under-performing brakes from last weekends DIY brake job and I was in for a fun time.
I had no idea which trail to pick or where to go, so I aimed the bike at the first trail I could see and started pedalling. First off I noticed a few bikes coming down the trail toward me and no bikes going in my direction, which lead me to think that these single trails might be one way only. I continued slowly, getting off the track a few times as guys in full face helmets came belting down the tracks jumping and what not. It was a hard slogged and after what felt like about 30-40 minutes I looked down at the Garmin to see how long I'd been out already. 13 minutes!
Going slowly a few things became immediately apparent in these conditions and with my level of skill/familiarity with the trail/confidence with my brakes:
- Need optimally working brakes
- Clipless pedals are not the best idea when you need to quickly get your foot/leg out to stop falling or for other balance.
- Gripping the bar with fear makes your hands ache in no time flat.
- Having your saddle in a position suitable for road is instant fail, because you really need to be able to stand up a lot and move around, including getting back behind the seat for the downhills, drops, and jumps.
- Logs are slippery when wet
I eventually (after about 25 minutes) made it to the top where two guys said to me "How'd you stay so clean". I was pretty muddy, but they were covered in it. I explained this was my first time on the trails and they told me some places to ride and explained that I'd just come up a trail suited to downhill, although it was definitely two way (I asked). I road up the road at the back of Mt Cootha and stopped to catch my breathe (try not to vomit). Rested I decided to return the way I came and try the downhill. Slowly.
The downhill was good fun though required a lot of concentration. The sort of concentration required for a good lap time on F1 2010 :p I wanted to head back to the car but got a little lost and went up another steeper, more advanced downhill. Thankfully, I think because of the rain, the trails were pretty much empty so my glacial speed wasn't bothering anyone.
I slipped and fell on this ramp thing mad of logs but wasn't going fast (ie about 4 kph) as I just got back on, walking for a while. Again I stopped to not vomit, and convinced I was now not the way I had come I turned around. Coming down, even with my brakes was moderately enjoyable. Kind of scary but still fun. By the time I got to the bottom I was feeling more confident and started to pick up speed. It helped that the track was now 1m wide instead of just quite not wide enough to fit 1 bike down :) I was hitting the jumps getting some good air (and mud). Good fun :D
Back at the car I and my bike were covered in mud.
Here's the Garmin data.