Saturday, March 27, 2010
Headed up to Worsleys on Wednesday evening (23-03-10) on my own and noticed a bit of dark cloud to the south but initially thought it was a bit of Northwest Arch kind of cloud as it was a nice balmy evening. As I got a bit further up the road I could see it was a bit nastier than that and it had a fair amount of water falling out of it. It looked like it was moving pretty slowly and was going to pass to the west of the port hills so I took a punt and carried on up. At the top of the first steep bit in the road I passed 4 guys on full sussers, said gidday and carried on ahead of them. Got to the gate at the top of the road and realised the cloud was drawing nearer and took of my sunnies as it was pretty dull by then. Took a photo and then held the gate open for the 4 other riders who were coming through by then. We all figured we had a chance to get up ahead of the rain if it was going to hit the hills anyway and carried on. I figured I had better go flat out if I was going to make it ahead of the storm and pushed on close to full speed. Got to the dip just before the track gets really rough and decided we weren't going to make it in time and decided to turn back as the wind had changed to cold southerly and was pretty strong. I told the guy who was just in front of me I was bailing and shot down, one of the other guys said he was going to do the same as he had no jacket either but was going on to tell the others in front. I got about half way down the track to the road and suddenly found I was being nailed by 10mm rounds of ice shot from a southerly slingshot and ducked into the trees. From there I watched as it fair hosed down with a mix of rain and ice, all about the same 10mm diameter, which are big enough to give a good sting. It didn't feel particularly safe however as the lightning bolts where being hurled and being in amongst tall trees in the wet on a ridge with that going on right overhead is probably not on OSH's to do list. I noticed a slight break in the hail intensity and decided to make another run for it, so took off as fast as I could on a now very wet, muddy and ice covered track. I got to the flat part before the gate and the hail and howling wind struck again giving me a good pelting about the legs and face (thank god for peaked helmets though) not to mention soaking me to the bone and dealing out a good dose of freezing bloody cold. Note to self, you need more than lycra in a frost... With nowhere to hide I carried on through the gate and down until I spotted a big flax bush at the top end of the road. I huddled behind this freezing cold for a few more minutes until it died down again and then made another break for it. Just as I was leaving the other guy who said he was bailing came down the hill and we rode down together. It turned out he had done the same as me hiding in the trees etc. The others with him were going to carry on but when we got to the bottom he meet someone in a van that was the partner of one of them who was going up to pick them up, so it seems they gave in as well. Had a very cold ride back the the flat and got changed into dry clothes before coming home. Above right is the pic I took from the gate.