The Oaks Trail – Cycling in the Blue Mountains

This was my first time back on the bike since the Canberra Mount Ainslie mega-huff at Easter.

The Oaks Trail is a 28km fire trail ride down through the Blue Mountains from Woodford to Glenbrook.   The first time I cycled this 3 years ago, Neil had advertised it as ’28km straight downhill’.  ‘ That sounds like my sort of day out’ I thought.

28km to go

He lied was economical with the truth.

There was rather a lot of up involved which he’d failed to mention.  I wasn’t fit at the time so this meant getting off and pushing up some very steep hills.  It was also very warm and we’d started in the middle of the day, so I was disgustingly hot and sweaty, plus we had  no food or water.

You hear about mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun but there’s never a word mentioned about the daft Scots who’re out there without even a jammy piece or a tin of Irn Bru.  A bit of downhill at the start....

Once the hilly bits were out of the way, the sweaty misery was forgotten during the magnificent final ride down the trail – the downhill just went on and on for aaaggeeessss.  Brilliant fun.  But that just takes you to the end of the park.  The next bit is just as good – about 5km of really narrow track through dense bush where you could probably kill yourself without trying very hard (cycling into trees/going over the handlebars/bitten by enraged, squashed snake etc etc).

Once this has been negotiated, the final part of the descent is on the road – the cycle trail’s still there but it’s too hairy even for Neil – and a splash through the ford at the bottom.

Then I realised I was at the foot of a cliff face.

Ok, where’s Neil because I was really going to kill him this time.

It was a long, long bike push up to the top – there was no way I could cycle it – it’s vertical.  Neil of course didn’t even get off.   It reminded me of the TV program about a pair of arctic explorers and how they have a gun in case of polar bears. The man in front is always the one who carries the gun because the poor sod trailing along behind him would happily shoot him to end the agony.  I knew what he meant.

The swift application of tea and buns in Glenbrook helped.

Well, that was 3 years ago and it’s now one of my favourite rides.  The second time I did it I managed to get up the cliff face without stopping, which was amazing.  This time I wasn’t so fit so there was a bit of pushing but it was fine.  I know I can do it if I put some more effort into getting fit again.

Had a great beef and burgundy pie in Glenbrook (well worth the effort to get back up the hill).  Did some calf stretches for my foot while waiting for the train back up to Woodford.

Great to get out of Sydney – such a beautiful day – clear blue skies and views forever.   Good to be alive.