Well, we are home, unpacked, the gear is in the machine getting washed, and the tents are nearly dry. It was a busy weekend, but it was certainly fun!
We headed off early on the Friday in time to get to Melrose in the early afternoon so we could grab a good spot for the tent- the cunning plan was that no-one could miss the Escapegoat tent, what with it being a little on the bright side.
Then, once set up, and with all the bikes ready to go, we decided it was time to continue the tradition of Melrose, and so it was off to the North Star for a quick few beers before dinner.
Saturday morning started at 7.30am with Rich from OTE Sports welcoming everyone with the call to breakfast. And we didn’t even have to cook anything. Then it was a quick case of getting organised before the first proper ride of the weekend. Alastair and Stuart headed off early with a group who were going to test out some of the brand new ‘OTE’ singletrack the guys had been building- very soon it became apparent what OTE stood for, as a number of people did go ‘Over the Edge’ on some of the more techy singletrack! Indeed a few guys realised they had bitten off more than they could chew, and headed back to meet up with us for the more gentle cruise to Bartagunyah winery along the Mawson Trail. It was awesome to see loads of the locals and kids join us for the ride too.
Once we got to the Winery there was just enough time for a quick spin around a little of the groovy singletrack before lunch. After this it was time for a sheep-dog display, and then a quick chance for us to rush off and chase some sheep around on bikes- something which strangely appealed to my Welsh heritage!
Then we had the chance to head back to town via the secret locals private route along Lightening Ridge, and I am certainly glad I chose to do it going back to town! This really was a great little ride, particularly the ‘free-riding’ down the ridge; making it up as we went along jumping from sheep track to sheep track.
Saturday afternoon entertainment then moved back to the North Star for the clunker criterium, which was basically an excuse for the local kids to dress up and ride their bikes around, and for Rich from OTE to ‘encourage’ various victims to enter a race with no rules. I was very happy spectating from the balcony with a beer in hand when others showed off their biking skills and daisy covered trikes.
FInally Saturday night involved a monster feed with some wicked pasta provided by the North Star, and then it was time to head off for a night ride. We had 23 willing victims for this one, and it was not long before we all realised Crazy Rich was intending to take us up the same tough trails from the morning ride, but now in the dark. Again more people discovered the real ‘Over the Edge’ Trails! All I had to do was make sure we lost no-one from the back of the group. And every so often Alastair would radio in a quick song direct from the campfire to make sure we knew what we were missing! But the view of 23 riders heading up countless switchbacks was truely amazing, and it was great to see so many keen to pry themselves away from the campfire.
We eventually got back after a final blast down ‘Greener Pastures’ to find the rest of the festival kicking off, and Deborah singing her little heart out very badly to Alastair’s guitar playing…….
Unfortunately Sunday morning woke to the gentle ‘pitter patter’ of rain on our tent, followed swiftly by Rich’s call to another cooked brekkie, so it wasn’t all bad! Whilst most people headed off on the ride around Mount Remarkable, we chose to organise a splinter group to head off for a re-visit to much of the older singletrack in town. Conditions certainly were wet, but it was still great to check out these trails. The best thing though was we then all headed off to the North Star for a further afternoon drink in front of the fire, smug in the knowledge it was pissing down outside. hmm, lovely!
All up, it was a wicked weekend, and it was great to meet loads of new friends. The weather wasn’t perfect, but it certainly didn’t ruin the weekend. A huge big thanks to the guys at Melrose, in particular the OTE mob, who really welcomed everyone to the event. We really look forward to seeing all our friends out on the trails soon!
P.S.- lets not forget the Quote of the weekend:
‘ Why’s it called Mount Remarkable? It’s 500m too small to be a mountain, and it’s not very remarkable’
-‘“Andy” the crazy guy at 4am Sunday morning. Amongst other random rantings. Cheers for waking the whole campsite up, may your seatpost impale you were the sun don’t shine………..