Thursday, March 22, 2007

wednesday night... thomas and richmond

nelson picked me up in the van at 7. we cruised to Slumner and hit Capt Thomas. try as i might, my new LED light was too focussed to light up the trail well enough. it'll be fine for ascending Rapaki, or probably even Worsley's, but its just too tight for singletrack. so, burning a fair bit of the 35W i could see good. think i might consider carrying the 20watt for these sorts of occasions...

anyway, good ride up, cleaned a fair bit, blew a couple bits too. then just near the top, the lollies i'd scoffed on the way home from the supermarket with T earlier gave me a coldsweat weakness inducing sugar crash... i was dying the last few hundred metres. anyway, had some OSM (those things are great!) and softdried banana and choc-coffee beans and dates and we set off up the road for the top of Pleasant... not bad going up the road, only a couple of cars, and one helluva headwind.

from the top, i led the way, tail wind blowing us along. takes a bit to get used to the lack of surface definition and limited field of view that lights-riding does for ya. numerous occasions the edge of the trail rutt caught us, or rocks that you couldnt see properly would grab ya. but the Vanilla forks are doing their job and making my riding smooooooth. was a fast and fun descent. nelson had a good bail, he said following me he couldnt see shit cos of the dust, so was giving me plenty of room. so this one bit, near the bottom he was on my tail and missed a rock, ie didnt see it, and stopped dead, then toppled, unable to clip out, ending up upside down down the steep bank. all i heard was him gaining on me, a little bit of a clatter and then nothing... i stopped further up and there was no sign of him... anyway, nothing major, slight knee scrape and a rotor zing he was annoyed about.

then on down Capt Thomas. bombed it, cleaned it all, nearly took out a hedgehog, then most of the way down, a possum. nelson got the possum with his back wheel, it scarpered through a fence and down a hill after i'd nearly hit it too.

by the bottom nelson's rotor zing was more of a scritch scritch scritch... something not sounding right there. he'll investigate in the light.

Monday, March 19, 2007

a whole week to a nearly non-starter sunday

woke up to rain, so we called off the intended 9.15 at Sumner meet, and decided that as Matt and Tony were both looking for new bikes we'd meet at 10 at C1 and then proceed to raid the bikeshops... i had Otis, who had his first ever 'fluffy', and a marshmallow and a small chocolate fish (which came back to bite me on the ass later with him acting like a 'normal' kid, ie, a little shit, from the sugar crash). anyway, the rain cleared entirely just after 9 and we would have been fine riding, but thems the breaks. (alas, Matt had seen the 6am and not having a synoptic forecasting background suggested to steve to call it 9 i jumped onto the weather radar, and if i'd seen the 6am radar earlier i would have said that it was gonna clear, and then the 9am reading was dead obvious!) too bad. anyway, after the boys i went to Yum Cha with Tra'y and Cas and O at the Foo San, and whilst there it rumbled thunder and flashed lightning and rained and hailed and passed, then to T's's and it blew like hell while we were there, was a helluva system.

anyway, on with the riding. had to inflate front tire, was very low, then i biked over to Derek(from work)'s place into a strong headwind. we proceeded to, and up, worsleys, which wasnt too bad. he keeps a good pace, so we got up pretty quick. some 4x4 drivers not far below the body bag. i blew out on the top section, just didnt have the steam i needed. i think cos of tiredness and the lack of carbs in a yum cha meal... anyway, topped marleys, where i changed my front tube, finding a nasty wood spike (gorse or barberry (from last sunday's)) in the tire. then down down down. track condition perfect, no dust, just damped down enough. Derek asking for downhilling tips, as i was leaving him behind the way he would leave me behind on an uphill. to the kiwi, sweet runnings, some fun new design on the lower sections of the 'nun. then we toodled back up the summit and down the 'new' section of track into Gov's bay, then up road, up summit top of vic, down through gums, down to the lower section of Cool Runnings, then out. good ride. tho, i was in trouble for saying i'd only be 2 hours and nearly taking 3...

glad to get out, a week off the trails is bad.

Monday, March 12, 2007

sunday, out of fog and an overgrown return...

had to deliver my dad's car back after borrowing it for saturday, so drove up with bike and told the boy's (turned out to be Steve, Tony, Andrew and Matt) i'd meet them at top of rapaki. from my folks (top of Cashmere ~200m alt), headed up through fogginess into vic park, up the main fireroad from the skidder/jump site out of the fog into glorious sunshine, then along the singletrack traverse, feeling good. then crossed the road, and up round and down the Mt Vernon singletrack to the top of rapaki, flew it, was all good except for one deadstop on some rocks. waited a bit, fog coming and going a bit.

no sign of the boys, so headed round the Witch hill singletrack to the highest point and then turned back. still no boys, so figured what the hell, and bombed down rapaki. met them on the flat section, and headed back up, feeling really fresh, well warmed up but with heaps of energy.

we turned right, and headed up the road past Farmtrack up to where the singletrack crosses, then took it back to top of rapaki (my 2nd time that day), then on round the singletrack below Witch hill, then up to Castlerock, down to Bridle Path, hummin'!, then for a bit of a break in the shade of the stone shelter. then down Bridlepath and along the farm track above the motorway (see this when we rode it May last year). beautiful flowing ride along the farmtracks, but where it entered the scrub near the tanks it got nasty. Fennel, broom, bit of gorse, bit of barberry, all scraping and scratching at our arms and bars. lots of it unrideable now. needs major work... shame tho, cos it was a great spin last year... then across the motorway, and had to drop into some people's yard, then down Martindales, under railway, past Ferrymead, then round the devils elbow section of the river... and back to steves for muffins and boston bun and coffee, then home for a nice rest.

beautiful day, a fair few miles, lots of laughing and smiles in the overgrown trail.

Friday, March 09, 2007

SS Tuesday Forest

We all assembled at Pete's, Nelson had his van, loaded it with bikes, bodies in Pete's car and me and nels in van. we both had the singlespeeds (and i'd put my 42tooth on front again, to even up the odds against nelson's strength), out to bottle lake, parked up unloaded all the bikes. then spun, out to the right, crossed paths with Mark Hubby Lung and a couple others going other way, out to the beach, along, back in, then north to Spencerpark on usual tracks, bit of a break there, then back thru to waitikiri carpark. steve left S.Park ahead of us, i took off maybe 5 minutes after him thinking i'd catch him eventually, then realised a ways in the others werent following. so, i waited, and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited, with quite a few people (all male, on mostly crap bikes) riding past me, then finally the others showed up. from then on, it was a race, nelson and me out front, trying to get past all these plebs riding through the forest so damned slow... none of them had the sense to pull over or take the slower routes... some of them really pissed us off. but we passed heaps of them, crazy fast... man people can be slow.

people dont seem to realise that riding along slowly isnt gonna make them fit. they gotta push themselves harder.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Craigieburn Luge Dracophyllum Cheeseman Taboggan shute

early early sunday morning, 6.30 to be precise, i lumbered my gear across town to opposite my old highschool on Memorial Ave... jumped in a car with a guy from work Harry, and headed out of town. One other, a guy called Al, was in the car, and another car with three others (Paul, John? and ??) were also travelling... out to Craigieburn. Stopped and put mine and Harry's bikes on Paul's car, left Harry's at the Cheeseman gate, then continued on to the Craigieburn Rd. parked up.

kitted up, and started riding. nice clear sunny day. beautiful conditions, hasnt rained up there for quite a while, so the tracks were dry dry dry... Headed up (granny ring) to Lindon Saddle, beech forest singletrack, the best..., 830m odd to 1140m or so, then "the Luge", descent, beautiful, rooty, twisty, fun, down down down as much alt as previously gained. then up (middle ring) Broken River access road to top (~950) of Dracophyllum Flat track, flat tack down that, even better, more open, faster, with pops and dips, one very close call with a tree, i was heading right for it, but braked and leant with finesse avoiding it beautifully. then it turns hard right and down the side of a steep gulley, gotta get the speed riiiight off as there's a very loose section right at the top that would shoot you out into air air air then trees trees trees... awesome wee descent down to 'the' Broken River (at 800m contour) with a log bridge (dont think you'd wanna ride it). then gnarley steep, granny ring, wee climb out up to Dracophyllum Flat... nice wee blast across this, and into more forest, through a clearing or two. the track would be hard for the untrained eye to find in this bit altho there is the odd marker about (more than last time apparently), then into forest again, across a stream (Cuckoo Creek) and up up up a nasty wee granny gear climb (800m to 920m) that blew me juuust before the top. then across the edge of the bush and clearing to the Ice Skating rinks below Cheeseman.

then we went up the Cheeseman access Rd to the "middle hut", climbing from 950 to 1300m. dunno how long it took, but it was solid, much of it was in the lowest granny possible, to the point where i was going numb in my feet and bits of my legs, just from the slow solid spin spin spin grind grind grind... then a traverse followed, across an old track line, minding out careful like for the Spaniards... then an off piste descent across trackless (follow the cairns) tussock and daisy strewn landscape, down a ridge, and into the bush, where the track hung a right, and down... steep as they come, ass nearly on the back wheel, just holding on... managed not to skid much, the taboggan track, one hunk in the middle unrideable, almost difficult to even walk down with the bike, but the last bit down to the road was wicked, then below the road it continues down to the Ice skating rink, steep and shutey. nice. then we coasted and sped down the access road out to Harry's car... probably about 3 hours riding. over a kilometre of altitude climbed, with about 1200m of descending over roughly 25kms...

home in time for Fat Freddy's Drop at the Cheap as Chips gig... nice.

Eventually, there's gonna be a connector through from Cheeseman road to Castle Hill Village. i cant wait for that, and the opportunity to get a group together, get a bach in the village, go up early, ride right through to craigieburn skifield and back most of a day probably, then party up for the evening. nice.

Friday, March 02, 2007

first night ride... McLeans

The other night i pulled my double-light apart and made it into two singles, one 35 watt IRC (50w equiv.) and one a 20watt IRC (35w equiv.). so, last night Nelson and me headed out in his van to McLeans island around 8. both of us had our singlespeeds. we hit the trail around 8.30. dunno how many kms a lap is, but we spun round the track for 3 loops. sun was just set as we started out, did most of the first lap without lights on, moon rising about 3/4s. i stopped to pump up back tire after first lap, cos it was washing all over the place. spun fast all the way. in the second lap i discovered that following really close behind him i got a good slipstream happening, letting me pedal less. from then on we took turns at leading... the open section has some awesome flow to it, lots of bits with beautiful flow, and other bits that are just a tad boring... was heaps of fun. smooth fast track. headed out the gate about 10.30, sposed to close at 10, but the security guy was just locking up when we were loading the van. so. each lap probably 35 or so mins, i'm sure the first was faster, and the last was slowest... had quite a few short breaks all through. nelson's chain popped off a few times.