Monday, February 27, 2006

back in Hanmer...

well, i had twisted my chain, predominantly in one link, so i pulled the bad link, and am now running a link short... seems the last third or quarter of all my chain's lives are run with a link short ...and am trying a new chain lube. at the suggestion of Dougal, who's a regular on the website, i scored me a big bottle of Chainsaw bar lube. $5.85 at the Warewhare (compared to a tiny little bottle of Rock'n'Roll for $20 (1/10th the size of the Chainbarlube)). seems sticky like motorbike chainlube but not quite as sticky. doused the chain and wiped it all off again (which, John, is what you're supposed to do) and is running nicely so far. will be interesting to see how much dust and muck it picks up.

a beautiful day greeted me in hanmer, there was a slight smell of smoke when i first arrived, due to a wildfire up the waiau river towards the Lewis Pass, but i didnt notice it later on. was waiting for some riding buddies but they ended up being longer than anticipated, having a hard time of it paddling on the Waiau (very low flows make for less water over obsacles making for trickier paddling)...

so, took off on my own, rode up the Chatterton river valley, hit the mtb link track, which is a steeeep wee huff up to a pylon then a bit more climbing on a singletrack, which leads to a sweet little descent and sidle round to the Jack's Pass Rd, spitting you out opposite the watertank. just behind the watertank is a singletrack that leads down into the forest, below Pawson's Rd. John's Drop, No Bull seems to be what its called. its a great twisty wee trail with quite a nice steep descent or three in it, and a grunty wee climb in the last third. it chucks you back out on Pawson's, not far from Conical Hill Rd, which you roll on past to the first left, which is a road for a minute and becomes a single track climb, huffy for a bit, up up up, granny all the way, til you pass between two silverbirches on a steep wee step up, turn right climb a tad more, and bam, you're descending like buggery, swooping down another fantastic bermed singletrack tree trunks whooshing by millimetres from your shoulders. and it goes on and on and on, i had a couple of near misses, with the front wheel getting sketchy in the loose stuff, but mostly it was just divine. you cross Pawson's and carry on down to a stream, following that for a bit. This is all exactly the same ride as i did with Al last year, (may 24th 2005 blog) and here i'm upto where i broke my chain. funny, i remembered a lot of it being a bit more difficult, and some of the steeps steeper, but my riding's improved that much that i just flow it all now. anyway, this trail winds its way back round to pawsons, without getting too steep. then you have to follow pawson's to your right - up a bit, then down quite fast for a bit til you get to the Joliffe's Saddle turn offs. not really any signpostings so you pretty much gotta find your own way. i took the singletrack up to joliffes, then at the top, if you're standing looking across at Jolie's pass, Mt Isobel on your left, there's a new trail on your right, marked by a roadmarker . same as Al and me did last year, but they've changed where it descends, added some extra in the open stuff on the top and then added heeeaaaps of sweeeet trail in the forest later on. so this track, climbs heftily up over some rocky crags, then out onto this really open bit, with a bit of the pink stone breaking through, (hence the trail's name, Red Rocks) descending you down this fast and open tight singletrack, and eventually chucking you into the forest, there's some lovely rooty drops down, a couple of wee climbs, and more descending... then into a very new bit (possibly parts still under construction), eventually taking you out to upper dog stream trail. you could easily ride up it and get back up to Joliffes to do that again, or like me, just head out and down to lower dogstream singletrack back to the house. got back and Matt and Sean were stiiiill on the river. they called not long after tho and were on their way back then. i just cruised out. all up, only riding for 1 hour 20 or so. sweeet. woulda done it all again if i'd not been tired. really have got to get up there again soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

tuesday quickspinspinspinspin

Tuesday night quick spin, was a good ride, except i felt truly crappy going up rapaki, tho, i was pushing myself a bit, cos when i got to the gate at the top of the trees, i saw a guy on a red specialised disappearing round the corner up ahead (~200-300 m ahead) so i was pushing to catch him, but when i got to that corner he was just disappearing around another corner about as far or further ahead so i had to push a bit harder... by the next bend in the track i was a tad closer, but still some ways behind, as i entered the last climb i was probably 100 m behind him, slowly gaining, so that by the top i was only about 40 m behind... and he was paused at the top when i got there, but took off just as i got there. i rested a bit letting him get another 100 m or so ahead again and this other guy came up on a Titus (rare bike round here and $$$bling too, nice blue Chris King hubs etc, very flash). he'd obviously been chasing me, he was one of those guys who i'd say is a multisporter, really lean in the face, super fit looking, he had massive muscles on his legs and he hardly looked to be breaking a sweat, plus that Titus would have been worth maybe $6 to $8K... said hi to me, friendly like, and i let him go first. i stayed on his tail a bit, and a we both caught the guy i'd been chasing all the way up (i said to him, "i've had a helluva time catching you!" and he apologised!), over took him then the superfit guy got away on me, tho i was holding his tail for a bit... he was only a bit faster than me. anyway, all in all a good ride. up rapaki, right, along summit trail to vic park, down Thomsons Track to the Kiwi, then up to top of marley's hill, down single track back under the kiwi, down singletrack below dyers pass road, up into vic park, over and down into bowenvale... flowing very smoothly. my bike was really feeling in tune... til the gears started skipping, which was annoying, but will be tunable, (i couldnt get it tuned quickly as was running out of time), or at worst, i might need a new chain. i tweaked it at one stage along the summit trail, i was shifting onto the big ring and it over shifted, then kinda got tangled in the crank and pedal, but then i thought i'd gotten it and tried to pedal on, but it was a bit stuck, which may have bent a couple of links. i had to stop and unloop it, and from then on it seemed to just kinda clickity click every now and then. might need to get a new chain, but may just get by with a good lube and worst case (other than a new chain) would be to go through and swap out the bent links... i've got a few remainders of chains lying around, from the leftover links when replacing them. at least, gotta get something sorted, cos Saturday, i'll be riding in Hanmer! yeah. bunch of guys i know are getting together to ride and drink and eat bbq'd meat. should be good... update as soon as after i can.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


well, took the bike to Kris on saturday morning, and he taught me how to service my shocks. ended up only costing me the price of the special oil that they require ($40 - which will do 4 oil changes (required only a couple times a year))... cos he figured he kinda owed me a service. took it for a spin yesterday afternoon. i was feeling beat, cos we'd been to barbie at Steve's saturday evening and i'd eaten way too much meat (as usual) but only had 7 beers, but didnt sleep well after (digesting all that meat i'd say) (oh yeah, got home and had to move all dad's scaffolding from where wilson used to park his car to the back of the house (heavy! and in the dark)) and then sunday we went to Al and Zoe's for brunch, then we went to Centennial with Otis to play in the water and then i took off on my ride from there, and having eaten pancakes and banana and maple syrup and bacon at 11.30ish, then the swim, then riding about 3.45, i was hungry, and weak from being tired, and bloody well took myself up Farm track, which is exhausting at the best of times. felt fat and useless and had nooo energy... still managed to overtake people on the summit trail tho, and then headed down the oldschool bowenvale track, which is always a favourite of mine except i dont think the rangers think anybody rides it anymore, cos they never take the whippersnapper down it and so its a bit overgrown, and the heat and dryness of it had me worried again that my nearly redhot disks would set it alight... (didnt see any smoke from the bottom so should have been alright :-).
anyway, the forks were PLUSH. oh so comfy, oh so amazing... beautiful
oh yeah, watched thursday's Drop In on fridaynight. brilliant. that was the craigieburn track that first one with the offcamber scree then the rockin' twistie turnie through the bush. beautiful and Naseby, oh, naseby. i've SO gotta get down there again.
So, anyway, i wrote the local ranger Nick about the trail... I said "Hi Nick,
I realise you must have been busy with setting up the trails for the Crater Rim, but just wondering if anybody's going to get a weed-eater down the old bowenvale track or the upper fenceline track in Vic Park anytime soon? i was actually concerned about the fire risk last time i came down the Upper Fenceline, cos disks get pretty hot, and the long grass on the track was extremely dry. and the last couple times i've ridden rode down the oldschool bowenvale track its been pretty over grown too... (the last time the Thistles were very bad, but they've died down now (rode it yesterday))
i realise neither of these trails are particularly heavily used, in fact, in the last few years, i dont think ive seen another cycle on the bowenvale once. i still really enjoy it though. but i think a lot of the older riders have forgotten about it and the younger ones dont know about it. anyway, just thought i'd see, are they in the loop as far as mowing resources are concerned?
To which he replied:
Hi swtchbckr (not really, but you know what i mean),
Thanks for getting in touch.I was hoping the sheep grazing in the area might have kept it under control. I agree with you that it has become a bit of a forgotten track but its still fun to ride. I've booked it in to be cut in the next fortnight. I'll get Upper fenceline cut as well.
RegardsSenior Ranger- CCC

Thursday, February 16, 2006

tuesday fast

Limited time tuesday, had to be home by 18hrs45, so left at 1710, Blitzed across town and up rapaki in 35 mins, then round summit and down through vic and out bottom of Bowenvale in only half hour ... i'm thinkin thats a record time. with the boys its normally about 33 mins from Steves to top of rapak. sweeeet... i burned up rapaki in a gear (middle ring and 3rd down) higher than usual, and rode the single track reeally sweet. came down through the rockgarden to the gums, zigged and zagged through them, down dazza's, then turned right at the 40fter, and down the next bit into what i'm gonna call "the darkness" from now on (where "my favourite" comes in), out that little valley, round the sidler to K2, and bombed down the main valley road, nice wee bit of air on the yumpy... stopped in and talked to Kris for a few minutes cos i was making good time, then hauled ass across town home in just over 10 mins. home by 18hrs40. sweet.

Monday, February 13, 2006

sunday morgans

Met at steve's, the usual suspects, Pete, Andrew, Steve, Tony and me. up rapaki, i was cruising nicely. had a few chats with people on the way up. one guy asked me what i'd had for breakfast, Fish i said... cos i had, had Red Cod for breakfast. yummy. then turned left around the singletrack, i thought i was getting a flat back tire, but it was fine... along summit, overtaken by a sporty dude training for CraterRim, on a Cannondale. down the single track from Castle rock, i ROCKed, flying down it, running really smooth at the mo. then we plummetted off down the Bridle Path, (where i'd walked up the other week), town side, wasnt as loose as usual, seemed to keep quite a good speed on and didnt feel out of control like usual. then peeled before the bottom onto the Morgans Valley Track, which, tho is officially a walking track, fails to mention this until you're already committed... and, when dry, its a perfect bike track, bar some steps near the end. anyway, its a nice wee track, without too much altitude, sidles around the valley above the new subdivisions in the Heathcote valley, and ends at the Heathcote Quarry. then there's a ton of steps to ride down, tho, i managed to only ride on about three steps total, riding to their sides... then back around the riverside of the Ferrymead industria, and i treadled home from Radcliff St. quick ride, i think i was home by 11.30. Bloody hot day too. 29 or 30.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

walkin' huffin' skiddin' chuffin' blowin'...

well, following that last sunday ride, on the wednesday i ended up having to go to Lyttelton to pick up Otis, so i biked across to the Bridle Path and walked up it, 20 mins bottom to top, then, and this is on my town bike, not the switchback, let a bit of air out of the slicks at the top, and proceeded down into Lyttelton cautiously. quite hairy, but it is how we used to do it, what with the vee brakes and the rigid forks etc... anyway,
went to little ak for weekend, took swtchbck, rode it around the property but thats about it. i did take it up to Chorlton to try to get a celphone coverage, (which i didnt) but had the dogs with me so couldnt speed back down. anyway, one loop i had going fast in the orchard ended up sending me over the handlebars... that was fun.

on tuesday, nelson and me rode, met at bottom of rapaki, there was a HOWLING easterly blowing, a warm muggy one, we turned left at the top. i was huffin and a chuffin to keep up with him, he always pushes me harder than i would myself, whereas riding with the other guys i'm always taking it easier than i would by myself. anyway, bombed down richmond hill. oh, before that we trialed the new John Britten Reserve trail, just being built, not open yet, but i figure, riders riding it makes it. shows the builders where to build it... so, bombed down Greenwood (called it Richmond Hill at the time), then down Capt Thomas. i baulked on only the first of the doubletroubles... and there's a stupid new set of posts just before you're about to enter the pines near the bottom... and i lost my endcap on the eggbeaters, so a service kit is on order. so yeah, major tail wind home across the causeway, but linwood ave was tiring. took a good 20 minutes longer than that time i did it myself in 2 hours... must have been the head wind along the top, and i did stop and re tune the gears at the top of rapaki too...

riding tomorrow with the usual suspects.