Thursday, April 21, 2011

MGG #2 Report

Read on for the full MGG #2 report...

MGG #2 Report by Angry


So, the course came together pretty late in the piece and we - Blakey and I - only managed to pre-ride the whole thing a few days before. It was a beautiful sunny day, all bone dry. We tweaked the cue sheet quite a bit and cut out some filler between the Warby trail and Silvan Dam to keep it fun and interesting. Ok, so it was more like 65km than 80km but it was a quality 65km.

Our pre-ride was an expensive one for me. I pinch-flatted the front at the start of a rocky downhill section on Track 10. By the time I managed to stop the bike I’d bashed my way over 15-20 metres of rock on my front rim. Result? One thoroughly dinged Open Pro :

We borrowed some pliers at Cog Cafe and bent it back into shape and we were back in business, for the rest of the ride at least. That rim is in the bin now :(

The Basin

It rained heavily the day before the ride. We thought it would affect the turnout but 61 of you turned up. There was a bunch of riders to chat with on the early train. Tom used the downtime on the train to install a front brake on his fixed Steamroller and also discovered that his rear hub had a massive amount of play in it. We asked around but no-one had a cone wrench so he had to suck it up until we found an open bike shop.

The Basin was great, there was plenty of room in the park, good toilets, cafes/bakeries for morning coffee and fresh bread products. Rego went smoothly and we actually ran out of cue sheets but, with a bit of sharing, everyone was sorted in the end. We did a quick briefing and everyone rolled out. Blakey stayed behind at The Basin to watch out for late-comers and I rolled out a few minutes behind everyone else to bring up the rear.

Here’s how I saw the ride

Starting on the first climb, I was sad to see McKenny rolling back down towards me. Pre-existing knee troubles - bummer! There was plenty of chatting on the way up - I ran into some experienced tourers who were going at their own pace and ready for anything and also some young and eager MTB crew who were loving the new roads they’d never seen before.

Mathias road wasn’t as soggy as i thought - or rather it was soggy but still fun. I ran into David who’d been on the early train and we chatted a bit before I decided to bomb some of the downhill pitches to get in front of some riders so I could take some photos. The arboretum was gorgeous but the ground was weirdly soft in places. I kept looking down to see if I’d flatted and, shortly after, I passed a couple of MTB guys who’d stopped to check if their disc brakes were rubbing.

The descent down to Boundary Rd was fast and not long enough. There were a bunch of people at the turnoff and I noticed Tom had his bike upside-down. His hastily-installed brakes had rubbed on the tire and worn right through it until it went bang. Ouch! I arrived just as he and another rider had finished booting the tire and putting in a spare tube. Back in business.

We all rolled out and enjoyed the bushy trails of the national park. Beautiful part of the world. I fell in with a bunch of riders on Track 10 and we had fun pushing the pace over the rocky trails - not racing, more like kids chasing each other through the playground, except we were doing 30+ and the playground was made of sharp-edged railway track ballast.

There was a group resting at the fence crossing and more riders constantly rolling up so I set up for some photos. It was fun watching all the different styles people used to get down the steep grassy hill. Some bombed straight down and almost bounced out of their seats when they hit the drainage ditch, some traversed side to side like skiiers on a black run. No-one came off, that I saw.

Cog Cafe

When I rolled in, Cog Cafe was packed! Riders and bikes everywhere. The coffee machine was working overtime and Damo had a bike up in the stand working on it. I heard tell of a guy on a singlespeed coming off somehow and ending up with his wrist in plaster? Hope it’s ok! The food was great, the coffee was great, everyone was still all smiles.

Then I noticed that Tristram had Tom’s wheel apart and had found the real reason why there was so much play in the hub that couldn’t be adjusted out. Bent axle. Tom’s two-week-old bearings were now shot and it was anyone’s guess how long it would last.

The crowd started thinning out a bit as people finished their coffees and rolled out on the Warby Trail. I took a shortcut here and took the main road straight to Silvan Dam so I could get in front of everyone for some photos. I’d just started up Silvan Rd towards the final climb when the lead group appeared behind me. Good timing!

Chris, Sam, Michael and Che had been working together to keep a good pace. I took some photos and chatted a bit before letting them ride off up the hill. Che hung back with me for a while and gave me the story from the lead group. His local knowledge of the area (and his legs of course) got him to Cog Cafe first. He’d tried to get the jump on the chase group by taking off mid-coffee but they reeled him in and wore him down on the back roads of Wandin. Che was happy to roll with me for a while but I wanted to stop and set up camp for some photos so I let him go.

I got the camera ready halfway up the Silvan Rd climb and the next rider through was John G - on a singlespeed no less! I was hoping to get some good photos of “pain faces” on the final climb but as soon as everyone saw the camera, they started smiling - masochists! Looked like everyone was still having fun - that’s the main thing.

Around about here a dude and his lady friend came grinding up the hill in an old white car with half the front-left panels, bumper and lights all smashed in and falling off. The dude gave me a grim nod as he rolled slowly past, metal grinding on plastic grinding on rubber. WTF? I took down his number plate just in case but I had no idea what the hell had happened.

Tom called shortly after and said he was half way up Silvan Rd and the bearings were now so ground up that it felt like the rear brake was on hard all the time so if he didn’t make it, that’s why.

I moved up the hill every now and then and took plenty more photos and tried to give encouragement to the passing riders. My photo skills aren’t up to scratch so I didn’t catch it but Heavy Metal James and Jeremy did synchronised wheelies for me half way up the Silvan Rd climb - ROCK!

Tom finally came grinding up the hill, rear hub making a godawful grinding noise now. We rolled up slowly to the carpark at the lookout and had a rest. That dude in the white car rolled up to the carpark, got out and started panelbeating the car with a big hammer while his lady friend sat in the passenger seat smoking. WTF?

The view from the carpark was great. Riders rolled in and out. I chatted to Mark and Patti, the Canadian couple - and Piers, one of the fixed riders, rolled in and took some great shots from the lookout. I decided to stick with Tom now just in case anything bad happened to that hub. Also if there were sparks or something melted on the descent down Basin-Olinda Rd I wanted to see it!

We took it easy down Basin-Olinda Rd, there were no sparks or flames but the bearings were getting well and truly munged. The play in the hub got so bad that the chainline was all over the shop and eventually the chain dropped hard, wrapped around the sprocket and locked up the rear wheel. Lucky he was going slow!

There was so much play in the hub now that it was obvious that the chain was going to keep dropping - so we took off the chain, adjusted the front brake again - because this was now going to be Tom’s only means of stopping - and then did an enforced Col De Roll down the the hill all the way back to The Basin.

The Finish

There was still a good bunch of riders at The Basin standing around eating fish’n’chips, rehydrating, swapping stories of the day. The fish'n'chip shop must have done a roaring trade - every couple of minutes someone would walk back over the road with a hot bag saying "I can't eat them all!"

Most riders were jubilant at the finish and, despite some good-natured cursing, it looked like everyone had a fun day. Dan, one of the fixed riders, and a small crew rolled in after taking an alternate descent down from Olinda (and I don’t mean the 1:20 though I know a few people did descend that way too!) and, after a quick phone call to check directions, Benzy and Matt B finally rolled in after missing the turn onto Basin-Olinda Rd and ending up in Montrose or something and then taking on the full length of Sheffield road in all its undulating and corrugated glory.

Blakey ticked off everyone on our list as they rolled in and, pretty soon, every rider was accounted for. Big thanks to Blakey for graciously volunteering to be “the guy at the end” and therefore missing out on doing the ride itself. Though it looks he did have fun teaching the locals correct portage technique. Watch out for this dude at Dirty Deeds!


There was an even more varied turn-out than last time with CX just pipping MTB. There were more tourers, more fixed gears and even a bamboo bike - I thought Mik’s ride looked a bit different! - check it out here.

25 CX
20 MTB
5 Touring
4 Fixed
1 Hybrid
1 650B
1 Bamboo

Thanks and feedback

Thanks everyone for coming out after the massive rain the night before - it wasn’t so bad in the end, was it? Thanks also to Damo and the crew at Cog Bike Cafe for being patient and helpful and keeping everyone fuelled and happy despite the mad crush.

Thanks to everyone who called in when they decided to pull out and thanks to the touring crew - Cam, Thy and Justine for letting us know you’d be late and not to wait for you at The Basin. They finished about 6:30pm and did the final descent down Basin-Olinda Rd in darkness with lights blazing!

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions for the next event, feel free to email us at

When's the next one?

The next one will probably be at the start of June and will be based out of Hurstbridge again. There’s so much good riding out that way that we’ve barely scratched the surface...


Oh, and that guy with the busted car? Allegedly he tried to overtake a bunch of riders on the left on Silvan Rd and ended up driving straight into a ditch. Patience is a virtue my friend.

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