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Mt. Buller Downhill Rush (round 2)

A busy week of work (stress !) has meant that it’s taken me a while to get to blog about my recent day out to Mt.Buller.

It’s nearly ten days ago now, but I’ve still got some great memories of my most recent Mountain Biking outing.

I’d done the same trip back in March, with a bunch of people from work (OBS) – and a it was a new set of faces that headed up to Mt.Buller early on Saturday morning.

I left home about 4.30am – woken early by kids, and excitement – not much traffic at that time of the morning – so, I arrived at Mt.Buller about 7.00am.

The sun was up, but not many people about – except for a few guys preparing for the Australian Tarmac Challenge – lots of racing Porsches, BMWs, Subaru’s, and even some Mini’s.

The sun was up – so I took my D-SLR for a view from the top of Mt.Buller – was a little windy, but quiet & peaceful – a nice spot to hang out on my own for a half hour or so.

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We met up in the Mt.Buller village, with Shannon from All Terrain Cycles – and had a few quick tips & lessons – mainly for the new-comers, and less experienced riders.

I’d hired the new 2011 Specialized Epic Comp for the day – dual-suspension XC bike.   I have only ridden one other dual suspension before (GIANT ANTHEM X1) – so it was great to have the Epic for the ride – let’s go !

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The trail begins behind one of the chalet’s at the top of Mt.Buller – some great single track, and cross country trails.  Lovely Mountain Ash trees, dusty track with leaves & rocks, and an amazing view out to the right, into the valley below – nice way to start the day (9am by this stage).

We re-grouped (and one person dropped out) – before we hit the trail known as “Gang Gangs”.

This is one of the best trails I’ve ridden – an IMBA approved single-track, very narrow, and over a rocky base – with undulating rolling hills, sometimes with the crest needing a head-duck between some criss-crossed trees.

…from the Mt.Buller Cross Country MTB Map (2010) :

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One guy had a tumble – I didn’t see his “Superman” – but he got up again, and started riding off, before he realised his handlebars had swung around – and he crashed again…!

No major injuries – just some bumps & scrapes – and a few laughs.

We also tried out the “skills park” – with the seesaw bridge catching out a few people – with some falls off to the right.   It felt strange riding up – and then a pause, before the plank below dropped, and you’d ride forward – on a 20cm wide beam (!)

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We then had a high-speed cruise down a wide open access road, and the bitumen ‘main road’ – down to Box Corner – and into the bush once again, for the Delatite River Trail.

The forest a little further down the mountain is quite different – with many tree ferns, gullies and mud, and the Delatite River running down also – we were to cross the river many times ahead.

…from the Mt.Buller Cross Country MTB Map (2010) :

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** Click here to see a video of some of the trail – and river crossing.

Last time (in March), we had to ride our bikes through ALL of these creeks, but there have been almost a dozen bridges built – too narrow & rough to ride over – so we had to dismount and walk our bikes instead.

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That’s me with the Specialized Epic – on the left…

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Yes – I was a HAPPY wookie…!

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This time out, we didn’t get ANY punctures, we’d had 4-5 last time – myself included.

We had some mechanical troubles instead – one guy crashed into a ditch, while going “fully sick” – and ended up buckling his front wheel.

He had mud on his helmet, and had taken quite a tumble – his first reaction was “oh, I’ve got a puncture…”   (no shit !)

To my amazement, the guide found two trees and pushed and bent the wheel back to be 80% fixed – it was certainly rideable…!

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After fixing the wheel, we set off – only to hear someone say “uh-oh !” – as their back derailleur simply fell off the frame…!

He’d had a slide-out, and must have bent the bracket – it was knocking on the spokes.   He’d tried to bend it out a little, and must have weakened the bracket – and it snapped as soon as he rode off.

This time, Shannon simply said “oh, that’s easy” (!) – and replaced the derailleur hanger – apparently they’re supposed to break, as a way of protecting the frame.

The ride was nearly over by then – was no-where near as much mud as last time – surprisingly !

We had to carry our bikes through the final river crossing – and onto the Mirimbah general store for lunch.

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Lots of great chatter over a big hearty burger – including one guy who had fallen and smashed his iPhone – I’d left mine in the car, just in case.

We headed back up the mountain – and said some goodbyes – and then there was a three-hour drive home…

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With a busy family, I don’t get to go out Mountain Biking very often – but when I do, it’s awesome !

Thanks to All Terrain Cycles (again) – and for the folk at OBS who came along.

Next time, there’s talk of hiring full-spec Downhill bikes – and full face helmet, body armour – and use the chairlifts !    Hopefully will get to do this in January 2011.

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2 Responses

  1. […] also had two trips to Mt.Buller – round 1 and round 2 – and went along to the You Yangs for the Giant Demo […]

  2. […] ** There’s Shannon Rademaker from All Terrain Cycles, he’s the guy in the initial teaser video – and has been involved in the development of Mt.Buller for a few years – and he was the instructor/guide for my previous tours at Mt.Buller – in March 2010, and again in December 2010. […]

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