So having fairwelled Brett and Quentin we set off for the Rattler trail. Whilst Roger and I voted, Andrew, had chatted to a local about the trail who seemed to think that there might be a little storm water damage. The Rattler trail follows the old line of a railway from Auburn to Riverton. As we left Auburn we hadn't decided whether to go all the way to Riverton or to leave the path at Rhnie and return to Auburn via the bitumin.
It soon became apparent that this trail is no where near the quality of the mornings ride, The trail had frequent ruts and pot holes and then there were the fences. Grazing pastures are on both sides of the trail and the local farmer(s) felt that his cattle should enjoy the green grass on both sides of the trail. So we came upon a fence strung across the trail with a fluro yellow sign advising that it was an electric fence and 3 or 4 metres further on another one thus creating access for the cattle to both sides of the trail Somewhat carefully we manourvered ourselves and our bicycles over and/or under the fences. Looking ahead we could see that there were several more "electric fences". However on closer inspection it soon became apparent that they were not connected to a power source so they were quickly traversed.
Unfortunately the condition of the trail continued to deterioate to the point that in places the surface gravel had been completely washed away and we were riding on rough bedrock. Fairly soon we were openly talking about getting off the trail at Rhnie and returning to Auburn via the bitumin. Unfortunately we saw no sign or signs of or for Rhnie. The closer we got to Riverton the worse the trail got, Andrew, still recovering from a broken shoulder was feeling every bump. Finally Riverton was in sight and we abandoned the trail in favour of the road as the trail dissapeared into a copse. And so we reach Riverton. Now I thought we were going to return to Auburn via 17kms of nice smooth bitumin and I presumed that one of my fellow riders knew which road we had to take, Ooops. Wrong. Fortunately Roger spyed a local leaving the golf course and sought navigational advice which was probably just as well as I had already convinced Andrew which way we had to go and that was one of several wrong options. We headed back along the road we came into Riverton on headed for Rhnie.
By now memory was serving Andrew a little better and he pointed out that Rynie was a bit out of the way so we got back onto the trail. Not too long and we came across the junction we were looking for earlier that would have taken us to Rynie, there was a huge sign but it was so badly overgrown it was impossible to see when headed south.
We continued along the trail but light was now becoming an issue. Fortunately we found an escape route via a dirt road down to the bitumin. Fairly soon we were pushing as hard as we could as light was fading fast and we only had two front lights and one tail light between us. We got back to Auburn just after sunset (the sunset light on the fields of canola was quite stunning) and quickly packed up the car and headed for home.
I think the total Kms on the trails was close to 110 but 110 kms on gravel paths is considerably harder than on the bitumin. It was meant to be a relaxed ride but perhaps we relaxed a little too long at morning tea/morning coffee and lunch. But I suspect that we shall seek a similar ride in the not to distant future, good company, good food, new territory, you cant beat it.
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