Haven't posted for a while but thought I'd share a few bits:
I did this downhill mountain biking package at Thredbo recently with a couple of friends.
It's good as it includes full body armour, full face helmet and a downhill bike, lift passes, ride license and accommodation in the village at the bottom. To ride the mountain you must have a license and lift pass which can be about $80/day. The accreditation involves doing a ride with one of the people from the shop at one of the designated times. I thought it would be like a lesson, but basically he just rode with us, had a walkie talkie and first aid kit and kept an eye on us to ensure we didn't trash the bikes or ourselves.
We left Sydney at 4.30am and managed to make it for the 11am accreditation and were on the slopes by 11.30. Pretty good way to spend a Friday! Gorgeous views, weather and other things to do - beer at the pub at the end of the day, swims in the river, and i did the walk to the top of Kosiosko on the last day when I was too bruised and post-crash to keep riding.
I'd never done the full downhill thing before, the bike has totally different geometry and takes a bit of getting used to - you don't need to hang off the back as it's already the right angle. It feels a bit frightening to lean forward when going down hills but you need to, and it works! I also found it challenging getting used to no cleats - knowing where my feet where took a while. The carrying the bike on the chair lift also a bit tricky, but after a few runs, it's all fine.
The flow trail is fabulous fun, great berms swooping trail and good speed potential. Huge fun.
Here's a youtube clip of the flow trail
They now allow you to do the flow trail without a full face helmet as a way of attracting more riders. I made the most of the full body armour and slid out on a couple of tight turns which were on grass. The full over the handlebars into a swampy bog inflicted a bit more pain and had me picking grass out of my helmet visor and being very glad for the full body kit.
The top half of the downhill trail is very very hardcore - double air jumps, really big drops with messy rock twisty landings. It was a challenging walk for me! The bottom half rideable and more fun.
Also recently did Stromlo in Canberra. Amazing trail network, and the roller-coaster, skyline and luge bits matched Thredbo for fun berms.
In Canberra most of the bike shops do 'test bikes' so a friend and I tried out some new Specialised 29'ers for $45 each. If only that was the full price! A good way to get a sneaky ride or two in if you're on a business trip and flying/driving as Stromlo is totally doable before and after work - as many lucky Canberrans do.
http://www.stromloforestpark.com.au/map ... es_000.pdf
Without going too deeply into the entire 26'er/29'er debate, I loved the specialised 29'er for going up hills and rolling speed but found it so big and like playing a video game you were so 'distant' from the ground. I feel like 26'ers are more like the fun of a bmx when you are a kid, you hoon around corners and throw your body weight around. On the 29'er tight corners were harder. I can see you could definitely pick up some speed % pretty readily though in races through the bigger size of a 29. Maybe the new 27.5 the answer?!
Stromlo did feature some huge kangaroos which bounded across the track with regularity
Did Yellomundie last weekend. Fun trails, some technical uphills and lots of single track. Had a couple of encounters with red-bellied black snakes I could have done without. As the grass at the moment is really high, and the single track really narrow, the snakes obviously like it for the sun. Next time will wear the shin pads...
For the MTB and mud/dirt/rock lovers...
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