After a long day in the office, I stuck my Ayup headlight on my helmet, swung my leg over my MTB and hit the single trails in Bayview Conservation Park. The days are getting shorter as autumn starts to make her presence known, so it was pitch black within 20 minutes of my setting off.
Once again, I found myself pushing harder and faster on the new Merida Big Nine 29er than I ever did on my old recycled MTB. The ride is so smooth that I can’t seem to help myself. I’m riding 50% faster than I was before I bought the new bike and am still just getting used to it. Though I’m sure that mean I’m probably heading for some bruises as well 😉
I started out on the Bensen and Blinkey single track. I used to have to walk over all the logs on this trail, as well as the sharp rocky bend through a re-entrant and most of the final hill up to Good Friday. But tonight I rode the whole trail; even managing to stay upright when I banged my left handlebar against a tree (I find it difficult to judge depth of field during the short dusk).
The next trail I rode was the steep and winding Grass Trees. I scuttled down the hill dodging the protruding grass trees that can cause the bike to stop suddenly if you get a pedal caught on them. It felt so good to be able to get down most of the trail with my feet clipped in, rather than having to use my feet as training wheels.
I flew down the Slippery Dip at 35kph, the fastest I’ve ever dropped down this bumpy sloping fire trail. The water in the creek at the bottom barely touched my wheels as I raced through across the rocks and continued to the Black Forest.
By the time I got to IO it was pitch black and my field of vision was limited to the broad beam of light my Ayup provided. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the thin vine along the side of the single track as I descended a challenging section before the creek. Next thing I knew, I was picking myself up off the ground, brushing the dust and dried mud off my jersey.
I cruised down the short section of fire trail to Sharks Tail at 30kph and then attacked the Sharks Tail single track with full force, riding down the stepped tree roots and through the deep ruts cut by the recent rains. I felt free and relaxed as I hit the smooth flowing flat sections of Sharks Tail, enjoying the sight of the red moon rising above the she-oaks.
Turing back up The Maze I started to pick up speed, averaging 14kph as I wound my way back up the gentle slope through the she-oaks. I’ve never ridden The Maze this quickly before but I’m in the zone and enjoying life.
It’s getting close to 7pm by the time I exit The Maze and I had promised my partner I’d be home for dinner so I hit the fire trail back to the Days Road exit to ride home along the main road, rather than battling back up the steep hills near Grass Trees.
I’m really loving my mountain biking now that I have the 29er, suspension and disc brakes. I feel confident out on the trails. But I am also glad I spent the past 18 months riding the Purple Monster because I know I learned a lot of good skills on it.
With the Rogue 24 Hour Adventuregaine just 25 days away, I am keen to get in as many hours on the trails as possible so that I can focus on navigating for team Whoops Witch Way, rather than stressing about the bike legs.
Total: 19.6km night MTB