Sunday, June 18, 2017

And another one, Bottled Family.

Family, fat bike and dog for a spin at the pond after dropping off a musical instrument in North Beach.  We followed a weird and convoluted route due to a certain grumpy child, but we got there in the end.

Sunday Posse Loop with mechanicals

Boys were meeting at Steve's at 9 and heading for St Andrew's Hill, so I figured I'd head down Linwood Ave and meet them at the bridge.  Pete ended up catching me up at the Eastgate lights, thinking he was running late and that they were heading up Huntsbury, a quick call straightened that out and we continued the length of Linwood and round Humphreys to the Ferrymead bridge.  We waited not so long til the boys to roll up. Was good. I hadn't ridden with these guys for ages so was good to catch up with each in turn.  Up St Andrews, climbing away nice and easy at Steve and Robin's heart-conditioned paces, then up to the old entrance to Britten, with it's new little extra entry.  Up here was into fog, getting cooler and damper the higher we got.  I blazed on ahead needing to keep the pace on myself to regain anything I'd lost over the last couple weeks.  Didn't have much of a wait and one by one the boys rolled up.

Down the road and into Greenwood entrance, deciding here to head down the new track having a nice roll down this, the odd off piste on the off cambers.  Then the next new bit towards the ruins, a bit sluggardly with the soft dirt.  Wetspots have had some good work, and climbing the switchies up and then up the 4wd to the climb up Mt Pleasant.  Sticky greasy on the rocks up here, but the rest was fine.  Lots of dabs and quick slips, but all made it eventually, then straight ahead to the gate, Robin vanishing from view before he got to us waiting...  Had caught one of the hidden rocks and toppled off the side, landing upside down and trapped by his bike...

Off over and down, lots of rear end slippage in the corners at the top, but the rest was sweet, slowly descending out of the fog. Round under gondola, with a bit of a stop to check out the view over Lyttelton before heading into Castle Rock.  Good wee climb this.  I dabbed on the first hairpin but cleaned up the rest, conserving energy til the last blast to the top, where I had one small dab, spinning out and wheelying to a halt, got going again tho and headed on to the top.  Regroup, and then off down the road, with Pete and me taking the single track above the road, which put us behind the other boys, but saved our tires a bunch. 

Into Witch Hill, and around and I popped one of the rocky sections as a jump, hearing what I thought was a rock hitting the spokes, but at the next rock I tried to grab some rear brake but there was none.  Stopped and looked and NO PADS!  Huh!  Quickly ran back to the jump and found the spring, then the two pads, phew!  Pete gave me a zip tie and continued on to let the others know.  I did my trailside repairs, replacing my lost bolt (and circlip) with the ziptie, and headed on down to meet at the top of Crapaki.  When I got there I was told Pete had clipped one of the rocks and busted his derailleur cage, but it seemed to still be going, so he led off down.  Bombed down the new singletrack, weaving nicely all the way down and then getting some real speed towards the bottom.  Pete popped a bunnyhop over a ditchy thing at the bottom and when he landed the derailleur spat itself into his spokes, snapped off, broke several spokes, pierced his tubeless set up, and locked up his back whee.  Hmmm...  a walk ensued.  Andy sped off to get his van, the rest of us rode the rest of the way down Craphappy and around to Fava, and Andy and Pete arrived not long after. 

I split and headed home across town after coffee... completing 32 kms, with 784m climbed.  Not a bad effort.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Beeby's Maitland Red Hills Thrashing.

On our way back from doing a bit of work at Nelson's bach we parked at the bottom of the Red Hills Track (573m trig nearby) and starting at 3pm rode off up the road towards St Arnaud a few kms, hanging a right onto Tophouse Rd into uncharted territory.  Around the road a little and found the entrance to the Beeby's Knob track.  A steep 4wd road, it proceeded to well and truly thrash us.  Managed to pedal for a while but eventually it was steep enough to walk, patches of perma-frost underfoot or tread as we went.  Higher and higher up the ridge we went as the sun got lower and lower in the sky, not that we could see it, other than across the spectacular valley behind and below us the whole time - and we could even see the North Island beyond Blenheim.  And cold - the wind made me don a jacket halfway up.  Just over 1 1/2 hours after leaving the car we got to the turn off to the Maitland Ridge track at over 1300m altitude.  Rest stop and a snack here.

This is a relatively new trail, built by MTB Trails Trust, (according to the sign-) an Expert level, grade 4+ single-track thru cornflake strewn beech forest. 4.40 we took off, into a sweet downhill, and taking off first I soon found myself ahead and stopped to wait for Nelson.  Fun, and at times insane, rooty descents ensued, some of which were fricking steep, and then some climbing, all in quite stunted beech forest.  The odd bit of the climbing was soul destroying (I walked a bunch and towards the end cramped some too). Then there'd be a wicked downhill and steep and rooty and technical, handlebars skimming trees, wheels drifting.  All the fun.  But then in the climbs I'd wonder why the hell I was there.  It was getting darker and darker as we rode, tho the first 300 odd metre descent was all light enough, low lights in the climbs, brighter for the next descents.  A couple of times we came out onto open sections with spectacular views over the Wairau below and across to peaks galore. 

Finally a few zigs and zags seem to be making for a small ridge, and the vegetation changed to a more manuka based scrub (indicating the ultramafic Red Hills landform) and a descent began that was wide open and mental.  We bombed down this for what seemed ages and finally broke out onto a wide track with a sign pointing one way to Porters Creek Hut (4 hours?), and in the other direction there was Red Hills Hut.  Checked in here (nice and warm inside), then headed off again - 6.10pm.

Off down a super fun, rough as guts, steep, 4wd track descent, flat tack down 400 odd metres in about 4 kms.  Numerous small creek crossings and patches of permafrost and really cool looking rocks.  over 40kph in stretches, it went on for ages and ages, with no real idea of where we were or how much more to go, it just stretched on and on, the vegetation around us slowly getting taller and taller, until eventually it was actual beech forest again.  Finally at the bottom there was a gate and the trail skirted past that into the bush, singletrack again, and ugh, some climbing...  Up and down over old river terraces, never huge but killing me, and at one point both legs cramped so bad I couldn't even get on the bike.  Had to wait for a bit and ease myself back on but got rolling again and cruised on through.  A few smallish creek crossings along this section too, then finally we got back to the car, 7pm nearly on the dot, making it a 4 hour loop.

(Apparently only 2 hours of riding), 22 km loop, with over 1000 metres of climb.   Proper mountainbiking.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Queen's Birthday Old Codger

Took Jet into Codgers for a spin. Forgot to turn on the MMR til just up the road. Headed up the main trail towards Tantragee, overtaking a dad and his kid.  Hung a left into Pipeline, around and then up Jack's, which had a fair bit of grease under tread. Spotted a couple of riders ahead, catching them up in the bushy part of Jacks, and then finding a couple more waiting for them at the Middle Rd.  Hung a right here and headed up to Fireball Rd where I found some dude waiting - I asked him what Turners might be like after the rain overnight.  He didn't know cos he was from Chch too.  We exchanged stories a bit then he headed for Smasher, while I headed off up the access link to Turners.  Cool 'Reign' seat/sculpture thing here.  Dropped in to the trail and it was good.  Greasy in places so's not to be too careless, and carefulness was needed in one or two bits.  Bombed down swooping and popping, to the bottom and then headed up Take Me To Your Leader, nice steep wee zig zaggy climb. Big skidder site here with Fireball to the left, and heading up round to the right I rode up to top of Lollipop (also the top of Hot Buns and Top Dog) for a look. Walked down a ways to check it out but decided not to ride it - was looking scary greasy.  So, from the parkbench I headed down the top of Top Dog, fun, not tooo steep, interesting trail through fir and pines and gum, rolling out to the road again.  The trail continued downwards, but I didn't wanna climb all the way back up, so figured I'd go check out Smasher.  Headed back down to the skidder site and the up the start of Fireball and into the Smasher Climb.  Steep little bastard through trees (last time, with Ian and Leigh, this wasnt here), that got me walking near the top.  Into the start of Smasher and I remembered how cool this top section was.  Once through the open bit and back into the forest the trail sidles nicely for a while before starting into a few corners back and forth that just get steeper and steeperer and steepererer until I had to walk.  One, then another.  Then, 'oh bugger', another one, then 'uh oh, shiiiiit' another one, then uh huh...  but once into the gums near the bottom all good and rolled down through the rest of it back to the Sunday Hole swimming spot.  Jet was pretty grubby from mucky bits on the trails so I chucked a stick in for him and he washed off.  From here we cruised back down the Maitai, him meeting lots of new friends.  Passed by Nile St and headed further down to stop in at the Suter Gallery where the family were and found them just leaving, so I headed back to Flamedaisy and cleaned up before they got home.

1 hour 20 ridden, 15kms, with 500m climbed.  Not bad for a post-hungover morning spin.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Saturday Barnicoat Widdershinvolutionary

In Nelson, so took Jet for a spin round the Barnicoat Widdershins Involution loop. Surprised how short it is, clocking in at under 12 kms, but plenty of altitude (around 600m), all climbed in under 5kms, which means the descent is longer than than the climb...  and serious climbing it was.  Near the start a rider passed me coming down.  Mostly a gravel access road, about 45 minutes in granny or 2nd or 3rd at times, up through pine forest.  I was overtaken by a van load of parasailers heading up for launch, and there were a couple of them floating around in the spectacular views to be beheld west of me, over Richmond.  Up under their launch zone, enjoying the cool breeze they use for lift off as I passed by.  Not long after this I met a woman and her doggy.  A bit further up and around and maybe even a short descent and I got to the start of Widdershins.  Last time I rode up this way (with Stu) this wasn't here and we'd followed the road along the ridge to the top of Involute.

The view from start of Widdershins...


Open singletrack to start, then into the bush, and a few ups and downs and quite a few nicely rounded hairpins.  Good climb just below the ridge and finally out to the top of Involution where I had a nice rest on a log and put some water in a bowl for Jet.
 

Off down this, remembering it from the last time and finding it a lot of fun.  I'd blast ahead down the straights and then slow on the corners and wait for Jet to trot into view, big panty smile on his face, and then I'd blast off again.  This proceeded all the way down.  Heaps of fun.  Didn't meet another person til right near the bottom, and older guy walking his dog up.  Across the 4wd track and into the trail either side of the creek, splash splash, then out onto the final descent down to the car.  A couple getting ready for their ride.  Loads of cars, but I don't know where anybody was, cos I sure didn't see them.

Lots of up, and long winding down... and only 1 hour 12 minutes riding!?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mucky Wednesday Jettison

Nelson picked me up from my place, and as Jet hasn't had a good run for a few days we dragged him out too. Parked on Parkridge Pl and headed up Britten. I got the wheeze, sounding like a flock of Canada geese. Jet had a lovely time roaming off after rabbit smells and then coming back to a whistle, then settled in nicely between us, Nelson out front and me slowly dragging further behind, wheezing, even after a blast of inhaler.  A couple of quite sloppy bits on the way up, but easily avoidable.  Realised at the top there that I'd forgotten to turn on the MapMyRide, so did that here.  Around the front of Britten and then along to the road and across, resting just over the fence up here, watching a bunch of lights rounding under the gondola and up the road towards us.  Turned out to be mtnbikers, on the road.  We took off up the hill and they watched as we ambled slowly upwards.  Up in the zig zaggy bits the trail got REALLY greasy, with no traction on the flatter bits, so we walked a bit, then it got okay and on over the top to the gate.

Over the fence here and across the sort of new bit to the usual trail and over the rocks to the A frame stile, then downwards.  Not so bad to start, but the back face above Lyttelton had some slop so I was taking it pretty easy.  Then lower down through the tussocks was better, but still taking it pretty easy in the greasy, and keeping an eye on Jet behind.  Nelson was awaiting us at the bottom of this section, and we saw a newly sprayed (and slightly ridden-in) new line from here, bypassing the 4wd section, so off down around it's curves across above the trees and then coming into the top of Greenwood right where the newby trail starts (above the ruins).  Decided here that Greenwood would be diabolical so we headed off down the newby, finding a bit of drift and not a lot of traction.  Fun, tho splecky, and rolled it through to the big pines and around onto the climb.  Here we stopped and cleaned up our drivetrains a bit for the climb.  Onwards up, good climbing, plenty of traction bar one or two spots, and through up to the top of Greenwood entrance. 

Up the road, bunnyhopping off a bit of muck, and then into Britten for to descend.  Slowish going for me, not trusting the slop or grease (and post-crash of last week).  Jetty had a nice sprint behind me, cutting the corners to catch up, then under the pylons and across the slope and into the fun descent back to the end.  Good doggy had fun and so did a couple of mucky boys.

My ride from part way up, vs Nelson's...  so, we did just under10kms and around 300m climbed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Night, Hunts, Verne crash, Witch and Castle.

Now regular Nelson pick up from Countdown carpark, and we headed across to and up Huntsbury - parking at the top.  Took a bit to get MMR going, when we finally got moving another vehicle had arrived and I'm sure there were a couple of lights approaching up the road.  Headed up the gravel, surprised at the running water in places.  Good pace up here, me managing to stay with Nelson for most of the first half, only easing off in the upper reaches, but even then not too far behind.

Straight up onto Vernon, up the rocks and along, trying to stay out of the odd puddle up here.  Just before it heads over the rocky section I was avoiding one of these puddles and my front wheel dropped off the left of the trail, dropping me onto the ground.  "oop, here goes the shoulder again" I thought as I plummetted to the ground and slid painfully on my elbow and knee..."Ow. Ow. Ow..." Picked myself up, and my handlebar light was hanging from it's cord, the mount snapped off from the impact.  Nelson was a wee ways ahead and had taken the high line and so I figured I'd coast down to where it meets back on the trail, but then he'd crashed too so I sat down and groaned for a bit, sorting my crap out.  He came back and we headed on down, me being much more carefuller than I'd been, getting some reasonable flow, down to Crapaki, although, I was overthinking and overreacting to stuff, which spoiled my flow a little.

Into Witch and the clambering and climbing was good.  Definitely didn't need the Track Closed sign on it - not a wetspot in sight. Up and around and over and on the down I was ultra cautious.  We regrouped at the road and another biker turned up from behind us.  Turned out it was Quetty (Kwiti? Kuiti?) who we'd met a couple of times before.  Chatted for a bit and then he tagged along and we all rode up the road and chatted.

Onto Castlerock, me taking the backseat on account of my injuriousness.  Cautious Colin heading down here.  There were a few wet bits, but it was not too bad.  The worst bit is where the worst bit always is, ie, around on a stretch before the first hairpin where you're below the road and it's really really rocky, and the water was all sheep poos and wees - yech!  No sloppy mud to be seen tho.  Around the hairpin and I was feeling okay.  Usual sketchy angle rock across here I managed alright, and around the next hairpin then climbing, climbing over and down to the road again.  Chatted here for a bit and 2 other riders headed through.

Across to the carpark and up the walking track Nelson and me have taken to riding.  Steeeep climb up to a bit of walking, little bit more riding, hopping up rock steps, and then walking again to the last ride to the top.  Nice views up here.  Then down towards the Tors, yumpy steppy then climbing, walking a bit but Nelson cleaned heaps, and then riding a bit around above Castlerock entrance and a rest.  My sore bits were a bit achey after this break, and I was ultra cautious on the descent here below the Tors.  This trail is different every time I ride it.  Dabbed through the worst bits near the bottom and rode heaps more than I'd expected to.

Across the road and onto the singletrack above the road.  This was great, nice and flowy, mildly techy.  Then across the road again and into Witch.  Another good blast through here and around to Rapaki, up Vernon, grind grind grind, I hate bits of this climb, especially at the end of a ride.  Met a whole huge heap of riders coming the other way on the climb before my crash location.

Across the top and across the road and into the Traverse, cruising around here then dropping down through the tussocks and rocks and down Huntsbury gravel into the landing strip and Quetty had never been in this entrance before.  Over the fence and along the singletrack, some horrifically greasy spots.  Not far above the first big jump (that Nelson had cleared), Quetty got rutted and slid to a rolling crash in the tussocks.  We got rolling again, out and down to the gate.  Over this and heading for the jumps.  The lower we got the greasier it got.  Disgusting mucky greasy sloppy crap.  Sprayed and splecked and coated, I bypassed as much as possible and skipped pretty much every jump.  The bottom ruts had been dug but were greasy as hell and gross.

Said our goodbyes to Quetty and hit the road home.

15 kms, over 600m altitude climbed.  Painful and cautious

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Hanmer School Camp Fatso Escape

In Hanmer for most of the week on school camp at the Forest Camp with H.  Had the fatty with me cos the Turner was with Josh receiving a fettle.  We finished our Code Breaker activity early, giving me some time to escape out for a quick ride.

Headed out of camp and into the Mach1 trail, climbing it, first time in this direction I think.  Quite good, got my lungs pumping pretty quick, Climbed and descended, repeat, then across the road below Detox and through to cross the main road and on up through to the Dog Stream bridge.  Up onto the road and into the Fir Trail, climbing this, very pleasant track, reminding me of all those years ago when I did the Day Nighter, riding it in the opposite direction.  Out the top of this and into Bigfoot for the steep clamber, tight trees, zigging and zagging up to the top.  Cleaned it all headed over into the descent.  Fun bomb down and around, stopping briefly to deflate some air for smoother riding.  Finally out the bottom, most of the trail flows nicely but the last few corners dont quite work.

Briefly down the road and into the Detox climb, always longer than you remember, grind grind grind, up and around and across to the big skidder, making a lap of that, then heading into the descent.  Taking the non-easy way, dropping over the rock and into the clay rut descent, fat tires gripping a treat as I fanged down the trail.  At the bottom, jumped back on Mach 1 back upwards, across the road and up to the bridge, crossing this and heading down the road-like section of Dog, lots of speed down here and then hung a right to head up to Joliffe Saddle.

Long cruisy climb up this to the top and into the Red Rocks track.  A little way into the climb I heard some piggies, obviously spooked them, and saw two little squealers, one black one grey, running off up into the trees.  I made a bit of noise in case their mama was nearby, then kept riding, climbing to the top and hooning down the first descents, weaving around the ruts and rocks, dropping down, and continuing left (instead of right as per the last couple times).  An interesting detour line off to the right, over some red rocks, then back onto the main blast, with lots of jumps all the way down.  Fun.

Finally, the last sweet singletrack through big trees before exiting on to Dog Stream, heading down around to Camp Trail, heading into the new Base Camp track, and bombing through and around this.  Quite good in this direction, cos the second half flows nicely mostly downhill back to Camp.  Out onto the road and down towards the Forest Camp, instead of heading straight into camp, I hung a left up a forestry road up around the back of the camp, and headed down a fun little final descent into camp. Rolled into camp happy and utterly splattered in muck.

Mucky 13kms. 350 m climbed just over an hour of riding pretty much non stop