Trip Report: Night Mountain Biking: The Oaks Trail
Mountain bikers: Tony Ruzek and Albert Chetcuti
Only two brave SUBWarians choose to venture into the darkness of last Wednesday night. It was an overcast night that greeted us as we both ventured into the wilderness. Not that we’d hadn’t done the Oaks trail before, but we choose to ride the trail when most would rather not. The trip was planned to coincide with the full moon, but unfortunately a heavy layer of cloud had drifted across the blueys, negating the advantage we had with this timely adventure.
We met up at the Glenbrook rail commuter car park, noting that there were no other mountain bikers willing to take the challenge that lay ahead of us. Considering this night was in the middle of winter, we were surprised by the “relatively” cool air temperature. In the car park, we fine-tuned our machines and our lighting systems, and boarded the 21:13 silver bullet heading west which would transport us to the start of the Oaks Trail in Woodford.
Woodford greeted us with even cooler temperatures and the wind was strong. We both had good lighting systems which turned ‘night into day’. We didn’t waste any time and started the trail to get some warmth back. The recent windy conditions in the mountains had brought down a few large trees, which meant a few last-nanosecond corrections on the trail.
Mountain biking at night is very interesting and completely different compared to daylight hours. The adrenalin really gets pumping as you end up riding much faster to keep yourself warm. Short downhill runs were mixed with uphill sections that get you working hard. We briefly stopped at the top of the hills, to catch our breath before continuing into the darkness.
After a few short hills we reached the top of the ridge and could see the lights that illuminated the Sydney basin. We were both looking forward to the next part, the fast and long downhill run to the Oaks. We reached the gate at the end of the fire trail and had a short break. We checked our lights and still had plenty of battery life left. From here, we continuing along on the single track section. The adrenalin was pumping again as this section has a few bends that were difficult to see in the dark. The going was fast and fairly easy as the track is narrow and you just have to go for it.
Towards the end of the single-track section we took the more technical and rocky downhill section which eventually reaches the road. All that was left was the steep climb out of Glenbrook Creek gorge and back to suburban Glenbrook. We complete the ride in about 85 minutes which is pretty fast for night time.
A fantastic trip that is highly recommended.