On Saturday (19/6) I took my new bike on it's first dirt ride. I chose to ride the fire trail that runs the length of Narrowneck, the beautiful sandstone ridge that separates the Megalong and Jamison Valleys just west of Katoombe. If you have ever admired the view from Echo Point at Katoomba you have seen Narrowneck to the west of Echo Point.
The day started with a ride from Dulwich Hill to Central to catch the 07:18 train to Katoomba. Hung the bike on a spare hook in the train then chose a seat where I could keep an eye on it.
Arrived at Katoomba to find some very strange looking people getting off the train. It looked like a Harry Potter convention - lots of dark capes, makeup, face masks, a bride, and many others. Apparently it was the Winter Magic Festival. I was definitely the odd one wearing lycra and bright colours.
A short ride on tar from the railway station to the start of the dirt was a good warm up after sitting on the train for 2 hours.
The dirt road is good although a bit corrugated in the earlier sections that are ope to public vehicles. Public vehicles can drive as far as the gate that is maybe a 1/3 of the way along. Along this stretch is access to the walking track for the Goldern Stairway and the Ruined Castle.
The road undulates up and down through saddles as it runs south allow Narrowneck. I was caught out by the steepness of some of the short climbs. My favourite was the concreted section (if you've been there you'll know it). It was steep (note: extreme understatement) that helped me achieve a new max HR record on my bike computer, a record I would have preferred to avoid. After a few of the climbs I needed to slump onto the handle bars and wait for the HR to drop to a non-life threatening level (note: slight exaggeration) before proceeding.
It was a mainly sunny day with the temp hanging around 10C and a steady westerly wind adding a bit of wind chill. Nice to have a wind breaking vest to keep the core warm.
Most of the ride has fantastic views in every direction (see pics below).
After a good ride I caught the train home, changing at Strathfield for Summer Hill and a short ride home arriving at about 5pm.
Some fun downhill runs followed by the inevitable (sometimes nasty) climbs:
Some short sections of open riding through beautiful bush:
A bush fire watchtower:
Looking east from the south end of Narrowneck. The sandstone cliffs in the distance is the west side of Kings Tableland. The body of water in the right of the picture is the upper reaches of Lake Burragorang (the water behind Warragamba dam).
Looking south east from the south end of Narrowneck. Sitting on the edge of that rock shelf taking in the 180 degree view was just breathtaking. It's beautiful country.
Looking west from near the south end of Narrowneck at the start of a walking track that, I assume, is the start of the route to Kanangra Walls:
The view west into the Megalong Valley:
Wow, it's a spectacular place to ride:
Some more cruising:
Again, just spectacular: