Friday, June 25, 2010


We made our way down towards the little village of Uki (in the shadow of the amazing Mt Warning..) and about 14km though town along the Kyogle road we found the Inter Action Learning Centre which would be the HQ for the event…..With no time to waste we lined up and got our maps and had a very short period (as always) to plan and get organised for the next 8 hours…. Our event would begin after a bus ride out to Clarrie Hall Dam (water supply for the Tweed Valley) where we would embark on a trek in the surrounding bushland followed by a paddle. The mass start saw us all dashing up a steep track for the compulsory CP1 which had a bit of a line-up for the punch….After this one we had 4 more compulsory CP’s and 2 optional which would give us some extra points that might be handy in the whole scheme of the event. We bashed our way up the hill in search of CP 2, then went up again and traversed the incredibly thick native bush and lantana which eventually lead us to CP Z (with 45 bonus points we were happy to get this one…) We nailed Y (the other optional) and then made our way along a nice undulating track before we had to aim off (and up) to find CP 3….This was a rather steep and rocky ascent…which proved extremely difficult to one particular Aunty….but finally we were at the knoll and found the CP – and had some awesome views of the surrounding mountains and dam below….lovely! Aunty Kim with map in hand took us through some quite impenetrable scrub on the way to CP 4 and we had to back-track here and find our way down the spur (a little less steep and less vegetated…) and when we finally hit the track we were quite happy….Up again to CP 4 (on a single track…) and then down to the dam wall to CP 5…. Phew, finally we were about to paddle. Thinking we were the only team left we were surprised to see quite a few boats still waiting for their paddlers to emerge from the bush….Must have been hard going for a lot of teams out there – not just the Aunties!

Into to the boats and on our way along the lengthy dam we had to find 5 CP’s along the way before the TA at Crams Farm Reserve… Most of these were fairly obvious and we only had trouble with the one on the island (cos sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s an island and what’s the mainland…..) anyway we finally found it and found the TA. From here we were sent out on foot again to find 7 CP’s before a compulsory 45min ‘time-out’ where we were transported back to HQ for the start of the bike leg. We had about 5 minutes to change our gear and then we were off up the hill for a ride that took us to some of the most beautiful trails in the area – and it was dry!! The only problem was, we had quite a lot of trouble finding the first CP when some other teams convinced us we were on the wrong track (it wasn’t easy as lots of tracks were un-marked – so very difficult really to know what track you were on…..) After about 15 mins of trying every track on offer we found the CP on the original track – and learnt a valuable lesson to trust our own decisions and not be swayed by other teams…!! After another problem finding CP 20, we then found the right track to 21 and were on a roll for the next two CP’s before flying down the hill back to HQ. We had about ½ hour to go back out on foot for about 9 CP’s in the same area we were riding. Getting the closest one to HQ was all we could manage in this time….and came into the finish with about 1 minute to spare before the cut-off and they would start deducting points for lateness…..

We showered, poured ourselves a glass of red while we put up the tent and wandered back down to HQ for the presentations and dinner which was provided as part of the event. To our surprise we were 1st female team…after getting some hefty points for those 2 CP’s on the first trek….. Good thinking there Aunties! The 3 course dinner provided with the entry fee was superb and we all sat around and watched a movie before heading back to the tent for a well-deserved sleep…..

Being held on a Saturday made this event a bit more social with many teams taking the camping option and enjoying the area a little bit more. Breakfast the next day in the Uki CafĂ© (only one in town…) was really good and we enjoyed the fact that we had all day to drive home, unpack wash bikes, clothes etc. before Monday came around again…..

This event will be held again next year in the same area. We would definitely do it again – it was well organised by friendly people and the course was set to cater for the pointy end of the field to get nearly the full 8 hrs of racing like the rest of us…(sometimes in an 8hr event the fast ones may only get 3-4hrs of racing…) The race also had a good variety of disciplines….bus ride, trek, paddle, trek, car move, mtb, trek, dinner, movie & camping……and all in the beautiful Tweed Valley with stunning views of Mt Warning from all the highpoints….

Our Saturday adventure recently was quite amazing….Just the 2 of us for the climb up Mt Cooroora – and as we had never done this on a wet day before, we were thrilled with the different views we got on our way to the top…. Rugged up in wet weather gear we set off in the rain – not too cold though – and had a beautiful hike up through the clouds… Kim took this extraordinary pic on the way up…and you can see Mt Cooroy in the background – and the spine on the ridgeline of Mt Tinbeerwah also just visible above the clouds….While on top we also explored the possibility of the track that goes down the back of the mountain….but didn’t have enough time to go too far as we had advertised that we would be at the bikes by 8.30am….Not that we thought anyone would turn up – but we found Terry & Richard scouting around for us when we got to the bottom….So it looked like we were going for a ride! They were interested in finding the track that goes around the mountain…..and after a little way on Trail 5 we turned off and showed them a way we had explored previously… Aunty Kim was giving them a little extra when she forgot a turn and we had to back-track up a very long and steep hill….but the guys didn’t complain and hopefully enjoyed the trails around Mt Cooroora from a different perspective….and the coffee and snacks afterwards is always good! We were lucky to be joined by our special friend Gail who had been out geo-caching (as recovering from a broken wrist) and was in for some bacon & eggs herself…It was really great to get out on a day when most people stay in…..a very rewarding experience

My Remote & Occupational First Aid course during May was amazing….even though by Wednesday I was in ‘brain overload’ I thoroughly enjoyed the week and now have lots more knowledge with regards to emergencies in the bush….which will benefit all of us….The girls who delivered the course were incredible (must have huge brains to store all that knowledge..!) and we had many ‘real-life’ scenarios….including a night one up at Laguna Lookout….with Aunty Kim as one of the patients! If you are interested in doing something like this, take a look at their website . They have a 2-day course in July and will have another 5-day course later in the year I expect….very worthwhile for us adventure lovers….

What a great weekend of adventure we had…..Here’s a look at what happened….

SATURDAY – The Aunties spent about 4 hours out at Ringtail forest setting up the Mtb & Foot orienteering course. We designed a route that took everyone through a very nice part of the forest – up some good hills and (for the riders) over some really nice tracks….

SUNDAY - Orienteering is a great way to spend a winter’s day. We enjoyed seeing everyone getting excited about finding the CP’s and learning a bit more about navigation in the forest. Welcome back Alinda…! Thanks for coming along with your boys and joining in our activities! The only glitch to the day was the disappearance of CP1 – on the ‘high point’ off Guards Rd…..can’t understand this one as no trail-bike riders would have hiked up there….????? Anyway, those who got to the spot were still awarded the 100 points for their efforts!!

Part 1 - 12 of us met at the Radar Hill Rd entry to Parklands forest. What followed was a fantastic ride through a great line of single track (following Hells Bells map – thanks Craig & Louise…). For the next 2 hours we reached the limits of sensory overload as we tackled this demanding but beautiful course. Notable moments were – passing Chris Vermullen (motor cycle world champ…) on one of the technical bits – well, not really passing him – just going the other way. He was very gracious and stopped to let us ‘vintage’ riders through….. J Georgann was oh so close to asking him for his autograph! Then there was Steve who continued to impress us with his downhill and jumping skills – but only when we asked him to – and he made it look sooooo easy we almost wanted to try it ourselves….(in our dreams…) Parklands is a great way to upskill your technical riding – and I think we all did a bit of that as well…..and Hayley was using her clip-in pedals for only the 2nd or 3rd time which resulted in a few unplanned meetings with the ground but no major injuries….so all good practise for you girl!

Part 2 – After getting back to the car park we formed a convoy and headed to Yandina for coffee and refreshments….Hmm….town was a bit quiet on Queens’s birthday, it seems…. No cafes open and pub only serving lunch from noon, we rocked over to the Ginger factory – as sure to get something there….Aunty Kim made a last minute decision to pull in at the Nut Factory instead – sounded a bit more like us…..Unfortunately, they only had 2 staff working and could not cook us any ‘real food’….ie: put the sausage roll in the microwave, but the scones must have microwaved themselves…..ok…….the girl making coffees was a bit flustered with 12 dirty, hungry mtb riders demanding food – so we helped her with the waitressing bit – Steve was an expert – good catch there Hayley … George was determined to get a sandwich and hot-footed it over to the Ginger factory for one. The rest of us ate and drank what they could muster up – and Terry made nice work of the cold sausage roll….

Part 3 – Down to 8 riders now we got back on our bikes at the bottom of Bottle and Glass Rd, headed north along Browns Crk Rd looking for a track that would take us on a big uphill towards Pt Glorious…. After venturing along near the hippy commune, we decided to turn back and take the more main road as we didn’t want to upset the communers by encroaching on their land. As it turned out we were on Pt Glorious Rd and it took us a very nice way to the top – and all completely rideable…..When we got to the top, we spotted a rider coming the other way – it was Corallea – what was she doing here? We thought she’d gone home…… So, she got lost when following Alan & Michelle (who were heading back to Noosa), then somehow found our cars and took Bottle & Glass Rd to the top and was on her way down when we intercepted her…..convinced she should stay with us now, she made a u-turn and rode with us up to the Lookout….for the 2nd time…. After a quick look and some photos we got back on the bike and found our track that would take us back down. Luckily we had not found this one for the ride up as it was steep, rocky and a bit scary….however, we all made it down intact and a pichere shows the steepness… riding this for the girls. We then followed it back to link up with our uphill track – and got our heads around this beautiful forest a bit more. We were pleased with our efforts – got a great ride in, got some more accurate tracks on the map and all in the company of adventurous, fun and like-minded people….

Part 4 – Yes, there was a part 4…. After everyone else went home, we Aunties had a few more tracks to explore – it wasn’t dark yet, and we did have our lights anyway… we spent the next couple of hours out there again – found some more linking trails and another ‘creek paradise’ to show you all one day… that will be next time…. Home for fish & chips washed down with a bottle of bubbly….Mmmmmm, yum!

WEDNESDAY MTB – and more!
After our Queens Birthday experience, where many of you went right out of your comfort zone, this week was going to be a bit of a quiet one……but our Wednesday ride always seems to be entertaining in one way or another…. Changing the venue with one hour to start time saw George put in a few more Km’s than necessary….however; she wasn’t too worried about that. We left from The J for a coffee run to Coolum, enjoyed great coffee at The Caf (and got the discount cos we were wearing lycra – see Toby, that’s the reason we wear it…..) and headed back along the bike path. At Marcus beach I decided to offer everyone a chance at the sand track that runs along the east side of Lake Weyba. George, Hayley, Terry & Richard were starters…and the others took the safe route home along the coastal path. Sand riding is a great way to build some leg strength…..and as it was still a little damp from recent rains, was not too overwhelming….(ie: didn’t upset anyone too much!...) We got some great views of Lake Weyba and beyond on the high points….and Terry got into the native thing when finding a broken ‘spear’…..see pic….

Our Sunday paddle-run was spectacular, as it always is, when we head up towards Harry’s Hut. We managed to smack out about 35k’s of paddling with an 8k run though beautiful trails in the middle….See pics of Lake Cootharaba & Noosa River on the most picture-perfect day……The wind did whip up on the lake for our paddle home, however, it was not the worst we have seen it….and we enjoyed the challenge to end a huge day… We were very happy to finally get to Boreen Point Top Shop and they remembered our breakfast order….. even though it was about 2pm by then…..fried eggs and crispy bacon is good no matter what time of day it is!

We had a fantastic ride out on the eastern ridge to Kin Kin recently….Starting at the Dairy Farm on Trail 2, we made our way up the hill towards Cootharaba Views Lookout. Backing up a group of runners who were doing a ‘recci’ for a scenic day walk – we thought we could drop off the ridge down Murray’s Rd, and take a short-cut around Kin Kin…. We took what we thought was that such road, and the runners opted for a run down the paddocks. As it turned out we had the most amazing ride down the spur off Sheppersons Hill…..and we were on Murray’s Rd, but the spur took us north-east rather than west and we found ourselves in the valley near Sheppersons Lane….the runners had got here too and taken the trail through the cow paddocks and we met them when they reached the road…. Not knowing how we could get back off road, we mulled over the maps in Kin Kin whilst enjoying some coffee and snacks. We decided to take the road back and turn off on some back-roads, wing-it, and hope they go through. The runners took a big chance when they opted to take the Eastern Branch Rd….us riders went a little further along the road and took Moffats Rd….We climbed up the big, big hill and found the link to Williams Rd…and (on the advise of Aunty Kim’s dad) forged on along a fence-line with an indistinct track till we found the end of Black Pinch Rd. The runners were lucky too – they run the entire length of Eastern Branch Rd, then went through a couple of paddocks and we met them at a fence corner just above the Dairy Farm! They were happy they had discovered a nice way back from Kin Kin – and we were very excited to find our way though as well.

So, that’s about all our news for a while. We will be on the Gold Coast opening up the Anaconda run course next week – then taking a group over it on July 3rd. Plenty of stuff to do in winter outdoors…

See you out there!
Jan & Kim