Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rituals - Paluma ride

Riding at Paluma is always good, the difference in temperature from the city is a welcome relief and the trails are great for a long morning ride. So in an effort not to repeat myself, I'll take a different angle when writing about the ride I did yesterday.

While I was riding I got to thinking about the rituals of a ride, the things that have been evolving since the advent of the group ride that we all seem to take for granted but are the same the world over. Here are some of them.

The journey. A well planned group ride usually takes place somewhere distant from home. In this case we met up enjoyed a bacon and egg roll breakfast at a road house on the distant outskirts of town. Then we headed up the 28 kilometer ascent, into the clouds to the top of Paluma Range.

A fine mist and some light overnight rain had made the roads and trails wet, just enough to keep them nice and sticky.
A fun past time is to drive behind a car that has bikes mounted on the roof racks, then watch the trees get torn apart by the handle bars and seats of the bikes on top, always fun!!!!

Arrival. When you arrive you always faff around for a while, visiting the toilet, lubing up, dressing and packing your gear.

After the obligatory faffing, introductions, bike talk and route discussion, the ride begins. As promised I wont go into how good the ride was, because Paluma is always good, fire roads connected by some fun singletrack, tropical forest followed by dry iron bark bushland. Fast downhills and water bar jumps, blah, blah, blah!

Flats.If someone gets a flat you need to all stop, eat and watch them fix it. Ask technical questions about their tyre and pump choice.

Reward. A mid or end point needs to be incorparated into the ride as a reward. In our case we chose to stop at the Hidden Valley Cabins for a drink and snack.

Weakest Link. Always ensure there is someone who is sick or unfit in your group so that when you ask which route to take home from the mid point, they will always choose the shortest. In this case it was me, I chose the 'sickness' excuse. My broken rib would have been a backup as well as my lack of recovery since the 24 hr at Forrest.

Water obstacles.Although we are technically all grown ups, we still enjoy mud and puddles. It is important that if there is a water obstacle that can be entered at speed, someone is always at the ready with a camera. Water obstacles are usually navigated with caution, but once a rider sees a camera they almost always hit it with nil regard for personal safety, ensuring a good photo.

Showering. Following a ride, no one enjoys driving home stinking of sweat and covered in mud. Where possible a water-hole or shower should be incorporated into the journey. Find a white and emaciated member of the group and photograph them.

Laundering. Dirty and wet clothing should always be hung on the battle scared and weary bikes, I don't understand why, but a photo should be taken.

Food and beer. A BBQ and beer-fest should follow a ride where possible. In this case Jason organised and amazing spread of gourmet sausages, kababs and beer. If he was charging for his services I think he would have made a pretty penny, we were all starved and the beers went down so smoothly. Always try to incorporate a person with organisational skills into the ride. Although I am technically a logistician by trade, I am, when not prompted, pretty useless at these sorts of things.

It was another great ride at Paluma, following a few of the simple rules of mountain bike group riding.