Hard to believe this time last week Castlemaine was flooded in parts. No rain since then, just lots of sun — the tracks and trails are dusting up already, you’d never know it had rained at all.

There have been a couple of memorable rides this week: Snakes and Spiders!


After mapping the local fire tracks I had another go at the cracker Baco single track loop which turned into an epic last time around. Great fun this time around — knowing where you’re going, and having food and water on board can make a big difference. I’d read that eating 4 lolly snakes is roughly the equivalent to the sugar in a gel pack, so every 30 mins or so more snakes went down the hatch. Sweet. Huge thanks to whoever put the trail in too, lots of variety and don’t forget to bring your climbing legs along.


Looking around online I’d noticed some GPS MTB routes heading out towards Spring Gully from Castlemaine, so with the van needing repairs I took the Mojo along, the plan being to take the long way home on the MTB. It did turn out to feel like a long way home too. One quarter of the ride was mainly climbing on dirt road, nothing wahoo. Another quarter of the ride was a mix of fun descent and loose single track, nice.

The other half… phew… it was a PITA. Ended up on hardly ever ridden singletrack that  runs beside an old water way. Lots of fallen trees across the trail, lots of overgrown bushes, branches etc, but mainly LOTS of big spiders with webs built across the trail just at face height, LOTS and LOTS of spiders. Had to stop so many times to clean web off my face and remove the hitchhiker eight leggers.

I also managed to score an awkward DOH! fall when stopping for one of the many trees across the trail. Unclip and put shoe down to stop, but shoe goes directly into a deep narrow hole beside trail created by base of tree when it was pulled out of the ground. So while falling down the steep incline beside trail the leg stuck in the hole begins to do its best twistie impression, but fortunately or not, the fall is broken by shouldering into another nearby tree trunk. Lots of nice clickety clackety noises from back, shoulder and neck. Funny but ouch!

The upside is I forgot to take the Garmin 405 GPS along, so there is no record of the Spiders ride and the route is forever erased from my memory already. I ain’t going back there 😛

Spider wrapping up remains of MTB'er
Spider wrapping up remains of MTB’er

Other Stuff

I’ve been running ~30psi in both front and rear which has felt good pretty so far. The plan is still to swap over to tubeless, and probably drop the pressure a little. Just need the right time/day to get it done. There have been a couple of times now where the Crossmark hasn’t felt like it has enough bite when climbing, especially on dry, steep, loose pinches where there’s a layer of grit, small rocks etc over hard pack. Better technique would probably fix it and many other things I reckon. Looking at the tread though the Crossmark isn’t an aggressive climber so we’ll see.

Historically I suck MTB’ing in ‘heat’ (my version of which is 25 degrees and upwards) but already the ‘Maine effect is kicking in, I’m definitely acclimatizing, much improved in hot conditions. Rides in 30 degrees are comfortable as long as the pace is steady.

The SPD cleat/pedal combo on the left developed an annoying squeak the other day. Amazing how floaty the SPD connection feels once you add a bit of wax lube. I’ve almost been caught out a couple of times, especially with the left SPD, assuming I’ll be able to unclip instantly, leaving it until the last moment but then having it take that little longer. SPLAT. Yeah that was awkward.

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