by Phil Johnson » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:12 am
Word on the street before the start of Hash 195 was that it would be a fairly straight forward, 24km Christmas saunter to finish off the year. It wasn’t; and that’s a good thing.
The fancy dress and festivities seemed few-and-far between during the briefing, and after we were given the go, a mix of tarmac and farm tracks circumnavigated a delightful smelling sewage/waste incinerator towards the jungle canopy and the first climb of the day. This climb was hard work in the slippery conditions but rideable for the first few, and led to Check number 1. Pat B chose downhill and was greeted by an array of trails, and he was soon joined by others including Rob Spinks, whose primary role was to disappear and flirt with another unsuspecting victim. Unfortunately for the downhill few, the trail in fact continued upwards, and after a rather generous(!) 200m the paper appeared once again and continued steadily uphill. The initial climb in the humid conditions was a tough start to the day.
Once topped out, a pretty speedy farmtrack descent meant that Check 2 was almost missed, but the pile of paper in the centre of the track appeared to have all the hallmarks of a back-check. Derald and others continued down but sure enough, a few hundred meters back-tracking led to a small single track and a fairly cautious, albeit exhilarating descent through what seemed to be previously unridden jungle trail. Once out, we encountered a series of steep terraces, where the hares had conveniently laid out the line to follow, directly to Check 3. There seemed to be no obvious or apparent trails to follow, so a few of the front runners began aimlessly wondering around fields, plantations, and forests in search of paper. Danny used some local knowledge and decided to hike back up the terraces, to scope out a farmtrack close to where we had just descended. Sure enough; Danny was right, and meant that many could avoid the terrace section altogether. By this time the leading pack numbered about 30 riders, who collectively navigated a carry section, a few gates and around some local dwellings towards the second climb.
The hares had warned that the second climb was likely to result in most people walking/pushing, and despite some valiant efforts, it would seem they were right. To my knowledge there was no one who managed to clean it; although a few commendable efforts noted from Pat, the chap directly behind Pat on a Scott Spark (apologies for forgetting names), and Roberto. Let’s just all agree it was the conditions and the subsequent chain-suck that prevented us from nailing this one.
Soon after this we arrive at what was either Check 4 or a false trail – I’m still not certain - but either way, the steep push upwards towards an electricity pylon was the outcome. Much confusion and fruitless checking followed until the Pylon team were out of ideas. The rogue ‘on-on’ calls from below were going to require somewhat more conviction before the dozen-or-so folks who had made the trek up, would be losing any altitude. However, some sterling work from a Sablatnig-Bee combo checked out a very ambitious er…..slope, which turned out to be the carry section which would lead to some meandering jungle trails and quite frightening single track descent (in fact the ‘single track’ was just that; a tyre-wide track to slide down). Their earlier checking success gave Steve and Phil B a healthy lead on the pack and ample time to suss out Check 5 before the remainder of the pack arrived. I hear that some guy (a very good looking guy apparently) was lambasted for not closing out this final check after returning from a false trail…I can only assume that any inaction was entirely innocent and unintentional!
The remainder of the ride took us through some fast flowing plantation single track and farm trails where we joined the short route, and finally back to the welcoming and familiar sight of Stan the custodian of refreshments.
Stats of the day from one of the front runners suggest approx 22km ridden in 2 hours 8 minutes, with a total ascent of 582m.
Clearly a lot of thought and time had gone into this ride which resulted in a superb bash and a fitting end to 2010. Many thanks to Darcy, YT Chee and Vic for a belter of a ride, and Sha for the job of sweeping.