Posted by: EPIC | June 15, 2011

Type III fun

Ever heard of type II fun? You know, the kind of thing that you don’t really enjoy while you’re doing it, but then, once it’s over and you think about it, and share the story afterwards, you realise that it was actually pretty fun. Well, this weekend we discovered the third type of fun…that is, not fun when you’re doing it, and not fun when it’s all over…here’s introducing ‘Slush Biking’.

When Jasmine posted her mountain bike trip to the Pilot in the Snowy Mountains, I managed to convince Thomas that it would be a fun way to spend the long weekend and a chance to check out the snow cover. So on Thursday night we confirmed that we’d join Jas -Adventure Sport Pioneer (ASP, of Coasteering fame), Sub-Lieutenant Sven and Derek (all the way from Melbourne) on a three day mountain bike tour. The tentative route was from the Cascade trail head, to Cascade Hut, and onto the Tin Mines Huts. The second day was planned to be spent riding up to and exploring The Pilot, and we’d return to the cars on Monday. That was our tentative route.

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After the usual pfaffing in Cooma and Jindy, we found ourselves and lots of snow at the trail head. Lots of snow. Lots more snow than the reported 6.8cm of snow. In some places it was more like 30cm of snow. A few test runs on the bikes found that it was barely, but only just possible to ride a bike in that much snow with a full pack and various bits and pieces duct taped to our bikes. Just. After about 200m we found ourselves pushing. Up hill. On the flat. And in my case, down the hills as well. I spent as much time in the snow as I did on it, but was pretty determined to get the knack of it. For about the first hour. This was the first glimpse of that elusive Type III fun I’d once heard about…

After a couple of hours slogging up the hills- and thankfully the boys with the long legs had done much of the trail breaking by the time I caught up, we reassessed our options. Jas -ASP was super keen to keep going to see if the snow level dropped as we dropped in altitude, as was Derek. By this time part of me was silently pleading that everyone would agree that the conditions and terrain were much more suited to skiing and we’d go drop our bikes at the car and run down to Jindy to hire some skis and tour around for the remainder of the weekend…but another part of me (albeit small) didn’t want to pike and wanted to continue in our new adventure sport. So onward we travelled. We arrived at Cascade Hut in the late afternoon and considered that this was about as far as we would make it for the day so we settled in, cut fire wood, ate lunch promptly followed by dinner, and spent the evening quizzing the sub-lieutenant on all matters navy in preparation for his upcoming exams- if you ever need to know what kind of rope is best used to lash down wheelie bins- it’s sisal. Look it up.

The next morning, considering my slow pace and incompentence in snow biking, I decided to get a head start and took off back up the hill to continue on to Tin Mines Huts. To my relief, the snow level dropped and I started to see patches of mud along the track, and then some more and then, after about 2km, there was no snow to be seen. Yay! Oh, but wait…there was snow there recently, so the track had now become a mix of mud and slush…which was only slightly more rideable than the snow. I perservered until after about one more km, I was on solid ground, and going uphill…a lot. But, I’d decided that today was to be a Type I fun day and I was not to be deterred, even after jumping over a recent brumbie landmine, to land straight into another one! By the early afternoon, the others had caught up, and we made our way down to the Tin Mines Huts for lunch, and to be treated to a moment or two of sunshine which my frozen toes appreciated! After lunch we turned back to retrace the track back to the hut.

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A night spent in the hut was cosy, thanks to the sub-leiutenant’s supervision of the fire place, and after a warm dinner and some port we turned in, only to hear the wind start to howl around us. We awoke to the howling wind once again, and it was a difficult feat to get the male folk to leave the warmth of their sleeping bags…but arise they did. Again, considering that I was the slowest of the group, I took off early, only to be caught up by the others not long afterwards. The snow over night had frozen a little, so pushing the bikes up hill was not so onerous…but the hill was. As I’d spent most of the way in pushing my bike down the hill, I hadn’t realised how much downhill there had been- and consequently now how much we had to go up hill. After about an hour…that Type III fun started to rear it’s head again. I was soaked through, my feet were numb and I was getting tired…Somehow we managed to get to the top of Bob’s ridge…and I was not so excited to see that the downhill was still snow covered and that I’d have to somehow make it down there. I adopted a one foot clipped in, one clipped out strategy to help steady, except when I fell over on the clipped side! But, after a few mishaps I was determined to finish on the bike, as I’d started. And I did…just!

So…now having had two days to count my bruises, and clean the mud off my clothes, I’ve realised that perhaps Type III fun is just an extreme form of Type II. The kind of activity that is so horrendous while you are doing it, the fun is in the telling it and watching the facial expressions of your listeners who can just shake their head and say ‘You did what??’.

Many thanks to Jas for bringing Snow Biking to the ANUMC, to Jas and Sven for driving (and picking us up at 4:15am on Saturday morning), to Derek for his unstoppable spirit (and legs for blitzing up and down the snow) and to Thomas for waiting at the top and bottom of every hill to make sure that I hadn’t broken a bone after the umpteenth time I fell off.

Having taken part in two of Jasmine’s new adventure sports (Coasteering and now Snow biking) I can’t wait to try the next one…underwater climbing perhaps??

For more photos of our adventure, check out the ANUMC website.

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