Just a couple of weeks out from the highland fling I figured I should probably put some more k’s in on the dirt.This was a pretty simple challenge. Get the Giro with some knobby CX tires and ride it up Mt Faulk Rd before my friends turned up to do a lap of Awaba. I rode out on the fire road on the CX bike, the narrow bars proved to be a bit twitchy but otherwise felt good. Turning right out from the Awaba entry saw a tared piece of road that started a steady climb up and to the right. I knew there was a bit of climbing being a Cat 2 climb, but how hard could it be right.
Turns out, hard. The first half was probably the worst. After turning that first corner the tar makes way for gravel and the incline picks up. It was at this point I regretted not having completed a decent warm-up and really my overall decision that this would be fun. The first 1.5k just stayed constant, hot and dry. After this the road eased in its gradient and the foliage offered up some coverage from the sun. The road was hard packed and I found I was able to shift back up a couple of gears.
The road turned sharply to the right in a uphill hairpin. The road here kicked up to its steepest gradient for about 200m. My heart rate picked up to its max and my saving grace was that I was over the halfway mark. Standing seemed to be the best way to balance power and traction as I just keep pushing.
The road turned back again to the left and I was now afforded the views for the 300m I had climbed thus far. This did last long as the trees became thick and the road continued on its now gruelling 8% average. Finally the last climb came up and I was greeted with a short but welcomed downhill section before another brief rise.
The road forked at a rather black looking dam and I headed down a road towards the Heaton Lookout. This was gravelly in sections but mostly hard packed. At this point I encountered a few 4wd’s who were exiting the picnic area. I arrived and was greeted with a spectacular view from Newcastle down to the top end of the Central Coast. I stopped briefly to take a pic before heading back.
The descent was sketchy at best. My cable discs did not like the descent and trying to handle a CX bike on the drops, at speed, on loose surface proved challenging. The brakes them selves required a lot of pressure to get good modulation which just lead to hand cramping.
I got to the bottom and met up with my friends before doing some single track on the CX bike. It was fun at the start but the appeal wore off pretty quickly. Mind you I set a PR up the camel back climb so must have been doing something right.