Today was a public holiday in Sydney so thought I’d continue the sporting streak I seem to be on lately and go out Mountain Biking! After a bit of surfing (the web) I found a great track near Manly beach and a cheap rental place. They offer a few routes, ranging from beginners to advanced tracks. Cnfident as I was with my biking skills, I am dutch after all, I decided to go for the advanced Manly Dam trail.
Turns out my biking skills aren’t that good… Even getting to the start of the track proved to be a challenge. After about 500m I took a wrong turn leading me up some steep hills in the opposite direction. Luckily I brought my phone so eventually could work my way to the track using it’s navigation.
The track had some really rough terrain, there was hardly a visible trail and had a lot of big and slippery rocks. It had a lot of steep ascends which forced me to get of my bike cause it took so much energy but the big descends all made it worthwile! It’s a shame we don’t have these kind of tracks back home cause it was really fun to do and is really just about the best workout you can get!
All in all it took me about three hours to finish the track and I was glad I came out alive 🙂 When I got back into Manly I noticed a few live music stands and it turned out they had their annual Jazz festival. After buying some deodorant I relaxed and listened to some great music before taking the ferry back to Sydney.
If there’s one thing the Aussies like apart from surfin’ it’ll be Rugby! There are two main forms of Rugby, the Rugby League and Rugby Union. I have to admit I’m not sure exactly what the differences are but generally the Rugby League is more aimed to spectators and Rugby Union it the toughest of the two.
The objective of the game is to get the ball into the in-goal area within six plays. If the engaging team doesn’t make it within those plays the other team gets possesion of the ball and will try to do the same. The game is played in two 40 minute halves with about a 10 minute break in between. The game goes on pretty much all of the time so no annoying breaks after each tackle like in American Football. The ball always have to be passed sideways or backwards.
The National Rugby League is coming to an end and my manager managed (!!) to score a few tickets for the semi-finals between the Dragon’s and the West Tigers. The game was held in the Olympic Stadium so me and a few guys from work took a cab up there and met up with the rest. The atmosphere there was really great, both teams were from the vicinity of Sydney so the game had a big turnout. Unlike some sports (you know who you are!), there wasn’t any aggression amongst the supporters and you can even bring alcohol into the stadium.
Unfortunately I forgot my camera so had to rely on my phone for pictures. I just bought the phone so didn’t know how to focus the camera yet (Really it was the phone, the amount of beers had no influence whatsoever on the outcome of these pictures!)
Went out to the Sydney Dragway track with two collegues today. It might start to seem like I’m really getting into cars and bikes. The truth is that when the guys start to talk about V8 turbo diesel engines with nitrox boosters and whatnot, I just nod my head and smile like I understand what their on about…
I did really enjoy the day though, saw some really absurd cars which were more like engines on wheels and some real nice looking muscle cars which seemed to come straight out of a Starsky and Hutch episode!
At one point we saw a white van coming on the track and we assumed it was there to clean up or something. Turned out it was actually participating in the races and amazingly put down a pretty good time as well. They must have stuffed the back of the van with one big engine or something!
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This Sunday Christen, a collegue from the Sydney office, took me out for a bike ride through the Blue Mountains.
The Blue mountains is a region west of Sydney consisting mainly of sandstone plateaus, gorges and woodlands with the highest point being around 1km. It gets it’s name from the blue haze you see when looking out over the stretched land.
Christen frequently does roadtrips together with other members of the New South Wales HOG (Harley Owners Group) and they were kind enough to bring me along. Of course I wouldn’t jump on the back of a bike without proper protection so he hooked me up with a leather jacket and tough lookin’ helmet with a skull on the back!
He picked me up in the morning and drove to the meeting point at a Harley dealership to meet up with the rest of the guys. Most of them looked like you expect Harley rides to look, tough, bearded and wearing a lot of black but really were very friendly and welcoming.
Around 10am we all left together which was an impressive thing to see, 30+ bikes all riding together making a lot of noise. After about an hours drive the scenery started to change indicating we we’re getting near to the Blue Mountains. After stopping for a re-fuel we took off and had our first steep descent. The scenery was really amazing here and I felt comfortable enough on the back of the bike to take out my camera to shoot some pictures and movies.
About two hours later we took a turn into a dusty back road where the real fun started. The road had a lot of twists and turns so almost felt like a long rollercoaster ride. At the end of the road we arrived at a pub in a small town called tarana where we all had lunch together.
This marked the end of the trip and from there on the group split up into several smaller groups. We took a nice ride out through a dense forest area, stopping at a lunchroom for some drinks where we spotted some nice cars as well. The day ended with me and Christen riding into Sydney over the Harbour Bridge at sunset.
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