The Screaming-o Xc Race - "oooo Ahhhh Oooo Argghhh!"

Postby BUSHLOVERACING on Wed 31/Mar/10 9:07pm


Davo and Al rode the Screaming-Oin the Oronorongo's East of Wellington at the weekend. Here are their tales:

Dave's Tale

When my wife heard I was going for the Screaming-O on Sunday, her eyes lit up like they used to when we were courting.

Her expression changed somewhat when I explained the riding I was planning, was down the Orongorongo Valley and had nothing to do with 'quality time'. My date for the day was Al 'Mailman' Crossling.

The weather started out a little miserable but cleared through a bit for the race which was a bonus. We steamed off the line and I felt boxed immediately. But I persevered as I knew if I went into the woods with Gav McCarthy, I could maybe stay with him till the river. Gav moved away about halfway along Orongorongo track though and I couldn't reel him back in. Awesome riding on the Orongorongo Track. I could see him pretty clearly on the river bed and reeled him in a little, but once we hit the 4WD climbs I didn't standa chance against 'the climbing specialist'!

I had a great time flogging myself across the excellent course, especially the river crossings and the rocky feeder streams. I was finally riding a modern bike too - a carbon Ibis Mojo. It was fantastic to ride on the rough stuff. It was even faster than my rigid singlespeed. Who'd have guessed? I was able to steam through the rough stuff with a far more 'cavalier' attitude than usual. I must be careful my singlespeed doesn't get too jealous.
I spent a lot of time searching over my shoulder for my key dangermen, Mailman and Mr Patton. But they must have all had their brake pads rubbing, went for a swim, caught some fish or something, as I had a bit of a gap. I got in 3.5mins behind Gav which I was stoked with. I got some uber-win scorched choccy almonds which made for an effective week of bribes to my daughter.

Al's first Screaming-O

The last time I went out to the Catchpool Valley was on a primary school trip. But given my class trip involved what seemed like an endless day of walking when we all would have rather gone for a swim, I wanted to get back on good terms with the Orongorongo forest.

So without a bus load of screaming kids and cranky teachers, it was off to the Catchpool Valley for a ride through the Orongorongo Valley on one of the few days you can ride a bike in the area. Davo and I were representing Bushlove in the Screaming O. While I did not have all my primary classmates with me, I was still in for a bit a lesson.

Off the line, I shot straight to the front of the class. Unfortunately I had not been doing my homework in the last few weeks (broken ribs, too many pies...) and was immediately schooled in riding up a hill by Big Gav and Davo.Yes, Davo rode away from me on a hill.

But this was one lesson I was beginning to really enjoy. The Orongorongo Track is simply amazing! In the damp conditions we had it was some of the most enjoyable riding I have ever done. So while my legs were only just passing with a "C" grade, I had an "A+" grin.
At the end of the Oronogorongo Track we crossed Turere Bridge and headed down the Orongorongo River bed heading back out to the coast. Riding down the river valley, crossing the river a few times. Carl Patton closed the gap to me and I chased him over the next few kms of 4WD along the valley side. Where the river meets the coast we turned back onto the road and headed North to the Catchpool Valley. It was here that I could hide the fact that my legs weren't paying attention in class.

In the end I was passed by one more rider in the home straight, but to be honest none of that mattered. This was what mountain biking was all about, a course that is truly spectacular. It will be great if we could ride in the Orongorongo area more often or explore some of the other areas of the park, but unfortunately we're not that spoilt (yet?).

This is a brilliant event that if you own a mountain bike you should not miss. Ican't wait till the next opportunity to ride in this area. Hopefully my legs pay attention in class next time.

Legs = F
Riding in the Orongorongo area = A+
Screaming O = A++ (top of the class!)

Another fabulous outing.

1st Gavin McCarthy
2nd Dave Aldred
3rd Carl Patton
4th Chris Stark
5th Al Crossling

From both of us - Big thanks to Shane & Jill Ross, the marshals and all the other bikers for coming out and helping to make it such a great day out.

Thanks for reading. Cheers.
Dave & Al.

PS - The Orongorongo Tracks and River area is off limits to bikes but for this one event each year. Please respect this as any riders on the track risk the continuation of this event and damaging the reputation of the rest of us. Thanks folks!

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Original Published: 8:14pm Wednesday, 31st March 2010 - NZST
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