Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday: greasy Thomas, mucky Godley.

trundled thru a cold and frosty morning to Steve's for a lift. him, tony and me shuttled out to Scumner in the TFC Van... tony w/ his hardtail due to a flat on his susser. outside DotCom met up with Waynus, Steve(abba), Hubbster, and Mark and Marie on the (well dodgey) tandem. (pete was crook and Andrew was off to the Home(OH!) show.)

squelched up Captain Thomas. wasnt too bad, but it was too in parts. the worst part by far due to a horse living on it, rather than bikes... issues with the tandem slowed Mark and Marie's progress. At the top, we bailed out the old route, rather than facing the dredge it would be on the south facing section before rounding up to Evans.

At Evans, tandem rear wheel got a tickle, and all but them hit Godley. as usual, blew the early rocks, but after that i had a really good run. cleaned heaps, if not all. some recent work was in evidence further around, but man the trail was a mess. even tho it was Open, we felt we probably shouldnt have been on it, but continued to ride anyway. good run through, tandemriders avoiding the earlier rockies and joining us up on the flatter tops, then the descent to Livingston Col, the first section to and between the boardwalked bits rather untidy. the teddington shitted stuff not bad, but soggy and splecky in places, and the final run down cautious, but with some speed. tandemmers back to road, the rest of us headed up and over to breeze. good cleaning ride through for me, and on the way down to breeze my cassette came loose, and was a mudbath at the bottom around the cattlestop.

tightened up the cassette and bombed onto the 'conda. tandeems and abba had headed off earlier. i caught them and pulled up thinking i'd let them get ahead, then hubb underpassed me and caught them, so i headed down after. he got past them then i managed to (when they pulled over for me the ended up in a wheelshaped ditch!), and so all of my run down anaconda was sweet. bombed out the tail, slowly gaining on hubby. one VERY close call in the tail above the baches, nearly lost a wheel over a rocky edge, but held on and got through.

climb out of Taylors, i pushed hard cos i felt like i needed it and got up first. felt bad and good. then nice cruise down nicholson and round waterfront to coffee and hospitality at the 'Com.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursnight: McPleasn'tGreenmitMondgans squirrelville

forgive us for we have sinned... Last night, nelsh picked me up about half 7, we cruised to McCormacks Bay and headed up into the valley. there's been some work going on in there, and they've mulched the hillside of its brush, so the track was a soft sucky heap of sticks and mulch, albeit a fennel fragranted one. headed off the mulched track onto the single track and started squirrelling our way up, me walking heaps cos i just couldnt get good traction... by the time we got into the switchbacks parts of the track were saturated with water oozing from the hillside, and much walking ensued... onto the road and we tried out Longridge Drive, on up thru to Upper Major Hornbrook, which was a steep wee grunt, tho got rid of a lot of the duller sections of Mt Pleasant Rd...

got to summit rd, hung a left, and rolled on down to the start of Greenwood. here began the badness and sinfulness. which, if you read on, we ameliorated a little, did some pennance as it were. yes, i read now on ccc website that it is Avoid, but earlier i'd figured, no rain since weekend, should be good to go, right? wrong. anyway, we soldiered on, i ended up mostly riding several metres away from the track, parallel, following sheep lines through the tussocks, something that isnt too bad to do on those slopes. due to the trail being reasonably flat in that area, it holds ALL the water. we stopped and cleared out one particularly bad drain, cleaning up the wooden drainage channel and its feeders. at the same time, bumped into someone i know who was up walking with a mate.

continued to squirrel around on down and round, past the ruins, the trail picking up a bit in places, over all the rocky corners, all good, nice flow on, with minimal wet spots, until down round on the east face... rode through a bunch of stuff and i holla'd to Nelsh that we oughta stop and do something... so, out with the shovel, and repair repair repair. the water is just ooozing out of the hillside, and in places it is running down the track, so we took measures to stifle its flow down the track by making it drain straight across. fixed up a few really bad spots, but left others for another time.

on down, round into gloomy gulch, boardwalk so sweet compared to old slats. nasty section over the rocks and then i was super tentative further down on the rocks, but then good flowy sections into the top of the next few switchbacks, where i found nelsh stopped. out with the spade, where one place water was running down round a corner, really trashing the track. this was cos of a completely blocked wooden drainage channel, which i had to get my hand into the stinky anaerobic mud to clear, dug, diverted water, cleared out drain... corner pretty much sorted. should dry out nicely now.

on down, sketchiness prevailing, round and up to that little creek, part of which was running down the trail... so. out with the spade, yet again, and dug it out so it wasnt running down the trail. and then on down and out, the rest of the track being pretty good cos its north facing and has enough rocks around.

Up Summit road to the big pines on Richmond Hill, nice flowy cruise down paddock towards Panorama. over stile, through cattle, over style, down rooty interesting fun section, over stile, more rooty under trees, over stile onto Clifton to Panorama, down to "Private R.O.W" down round tanks and down steps (vibrating mud off)to Tuawera, down next bit Kinsey, and on down Mulgan's Track. if you didnt know the area, i doubt you'd find your way down all that. Nelsh managed to hop-ride all of the mulgan switchbacks, amazing.
then, on through redcliffs back to the vehicle. homeward bound 10.30ish. guess we spent about an hour digging... so, yes, i freely admit, these were far from ideal riding conditions, and really shouldnt have been up there, but, we did some work and maintenance on the trail, which is more than most who trash the tracks ever do...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weak end weather limited options.

Was the intention Saturday to ride up to the planting in Vic Park with Steve et al, but the weather was abominable at 11.30 when we were supposed to be going, so we all bailed from the riding part. nearly didnt make it to the planting either, but the weather cleared so the whole family went up and planted some future-bush.

Sunday, no contact from anyone (thanks ANDREW!), so loaded up the tagalong and the singlespeed and O and me went out the Blottle-Ache, probably about 11am. just as we were about to head into the forest, i spotted andrew, wayne, warren, dallas and the girl (from Mcleans ride the other week) who's name i dont know all just finishing up their ride... said gudday and headed in to the forest. took the internal loop, rather than southern circuit. interesting new bit where they've diverted traffic into some dark woods (which was scary for O). then once back to the pond back onto the familiar trails. spun north up to Spencerville turn off and back through.

all in all a good spin, fun for both O and me. managed to overtake a few people even. O was well and truly splattered head to toe having been on the receiving end of my back wheel (i really must find that crudcatcher again). Luckily we were both wearing sunnies, me in my yellows, and O was in a raincoat. Worst bit was a new section of trail seemingly pointlessly diverting riders around a tiny bit (about 30m) of track around the intersection of 20th Ave and Golf or Foxtrot. soaked through teddington shit all rutted up and mucky as. terrible stuff. O was strangely a bit scared for the first half. i guess cos we havent spun round there for a while. he used to love fanging it round the place, hurtling down the hills etc, but yesterday he was saying "slow dooowwwn!" a lot. til towards the end when he was finally whooping it up on the speedy descents.

back to carpark, loaded up and did a vegeshop on way home. home by 12.20.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thurs Night, dyers vic marley x 2 worsley

Fun spin last night. the boys were gonna park up hill from kiwi and do laps of marleys, so nelson and me rode up dyers and hackthorne (for a change), into vic, up to top (not Harry Ell this time!), took thomsons down to kiwi, then up road. (a bunch of skyline-wankers were at the kiwi carpark, and all roared up past us later. (i hate skyline drivers)) Thought we'd missed the others, then saw lights at the carpark, and there they all were. Steve and Tony were done after two laps, but Hubby, Andrew, (hel)Mark and Pete were up for another lap.

So, off we tootled up the road, Hubby having left as Nelson and me arrived and Mark grabbing a lift up in his truck with Marie. met them at the top. bit of snow up there, was crunchy and nice. top section of marleys had a bit of frost/snow, and softened up a bit below that. was good. mildly sketchy, but eminently rideable. not sloppy. bombed down taking it reasonably easy. first run, Mark, Nelson, Pete, me and then Andrew and Hubb following. i kept on Pete's tail pretty much all the way.

back to cars, Andrew bailed and Hub's car was at kiwi so he bailed down rest of singletrack for that. Mark was in for another lap as was pete, so three of us rode and Mark shuttled again. another run down, all good, this time Mark followed by me followed by Nelson and Pete, all with good gaps between. i managed to catch up to mark, he'd had a wee botch up i think, by the rocky lowers, Nelson was steady on my tail but not chasing too hard. this time round was better, i felt smoother and trusted the surfaces better. back to car. Pete bailed, and Mark decided to join us on our descent, so we chucked our bikes on the back of his truck and Marie drove us (lazy, i know) to top of Worsley.

hat on, and hit it. Body bag was sweet. it looked greasy as hell but actually had good traction. below the gate we peeled right on a highish line. i was thinking it would get us past the worst of the chewed out bit, but it spat us out at the top of that. it proved pretty not all that bad. was an interesting trip down, a balance of keeping out of the ruts without crossing up too much. most of the surface was dryish, only greasy in spots. around the area we did some digging last week i managed to get into a big rut, riding along, hmm, that puddle could be deep, front wheel in, and i'm stepping off the bike over the handlebars onto my feet. one smooth motion. some part of the bike bit the back of my leg, dunno which bit tho. picked up bike and continued. very messy (4wd's) below the pylons, and then quite a good run down the last of the rutsville. across a permafrost slope, and i hear Mark hurtling up behind me, he actually crashed into my back tire, twice even, unable to slow down. then he crashes spectacularly behind me... his rear (v) brake wasnt working and his front was locking up.

on down, meet up with Nelson and blat out the last to the road. then, put on warmer gloves under bike gloves, and off we go. down road, flat tack. and down into the freeeezing cold valley. along river singletrack out onto cashmere road and Mark heads up hackthorne and nelson and me continue, round Ernle reserve and then back to his through Studholme, the park, Woodard McCombs Roker and Bradford Park.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday a.m. tiresome bottle lake blat

tired from excesses on friday night and lack of sleep both friday and saturday, i was gonna take the singlespeed for a spin but remembered just as i was heading out the door that the back wheel would drive me mad, so i grabbed the Cotic instead. bout 10.30, hit the road, usual route, north parade, new brighton rd, horseshoe lake terrace lakewood drive burwood rd. into main carpark, headed round southern loop out to beach, back in normal loop out to top and back and back same way, pushing myself hard the whole way to the point of nearly wanting to puke. managed to overtake a few people. home at 11.55.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Weds Night, mudspin Worsley, foggy gnarley Marley, Vic Park

Got a call in the middle of dinner from Nelson saying he couldnt ride tomorrow night, so how bout it. figured why not and headed out the door after bathtime for the two boys...
got over to his about 7, and we headed for Worsleys. My LED flashie was low on battery so i ended up having to use my main headlamp for most riding. Up road wasnt too bad, i got a bit puffed, as you do. took a midlayer off at end of seal and hit the dirt.

greeted by a muddy mess on the flat bit above the gate, headed up the rutty track, picking our lines carefully. traction was bad, with only the top surface of of the flatter pieces of clay saturated, allowing no purchase. north facing slopes, below the powerlines, were good, but other bits were diabolical. slipped and slid, avoiding massive 4wd created ruts. rounded the corner, and Nelson got out his spade. the section above the corner above the powerlines needed some tickling to keep a good riding flow up, so he dug and dug, and i rode bits, and he dug, and i rode. then when deemed done, we headed on up, only to be greeted with nightmare inducing ruts and slipperiness. woohoo. walked a bit, spun a lot, caked up tires. clank clank as we bashed mud out of cleats. the section where they'd graded was nasty, with some really sloppy bits, and a massive hole eroded. then on up to body bag not so bad, and the 'bag itself was cool. i stayed in middle ring to avoid the granny'd chain 'cleaning' the side of my rear tire (and thereby inducing some chainsuck), only blew on the last steep grunt.

on up to Marley's. wasnt looking good, as the 4wd track from seal up to singletrack was very greasy, but top of singletrack looked good, and off we went, into this horrendous fog. severe lack of visibility made for a cautious descent, encountering new sections too. trail condition VERY GOOD, no wetspots, no greasy chewy mud, meaning we werent damaging it at all. AWESOME JOB TRAIL WORKERS the other weekend. bombed on down out of the fog to the Kiwi.

Hit the road up to second section of Thomsons, and treadled on up that. little greasy but nothing major. tree across it half way up.

Top of Vic. headed down past the seesaw, and on down to the gums. headed in there and only two sections were a little greasy, kinda flat bits. due to Sesame St and all the 'crafted' trails, this old trail is seeing less and less traffic, which is great for us. peeled left before the jump lineup and cruise on down to bottom and the little berms under the cypruses, before walking back up to the skidder site. then, hit up Dazza's, which also was in good knick, maybe two mudpuddles. on down into Brent's which was also good.

Now, round onto Flow and Bridges... hmmm... flow, just after the wee bridge half way down my front wheel rutted (too much front brake!) and threw me, i held on and just managed to get off the back, but landed on a wooden gutter on my ass. bruised glute. sore as i write this still... on down and some horrendous ruts and wetness. Out with the spade. dug a couple of drains across a particularly bad section, and skimmed off a few rut edges. this was just before the trees. hit the trees and kept to the low line, then i pulled up and nelson bombed the drop, and got caught out. lost it but held on, i thought he was a goner for sure. i took the pussy route and then it was off down the valley, out, and back to his. home about 10.30... late ride. amazingly my light held out the whole ride considering all the standing around i was doing lighting up Nelson's digging efforts.

Monday, June 08, 2009

sunday afternoon, Mulgans, Richmond, Greenwood, CaptThom quicklap

time was short, so T dropped me at bottom of Mulgan's Track. grunted up that, dabbing on the corners as always, feck its steep. then up next steeper section, then up to water tanks then up to Panorama. Up panorama and onto the singletrack rooty climb. at the stile i was only 20 minutes in. on up the paddock to next stile and then up to the big pines. hit the road up to Greenwood entrance. half way up i spotted a guy behind me, and thought, if he catches me he catches me. hit the singletrack and there he was on the road below me, maybe 50 m behind. by the time i made the ruins he was 100 metres behind. good bomb down Greenwood, careening off occasionally greasy rocks. track in mint condition, only about 4 troublespots. new boardwalk quite the damned sight better than the old slats. had a couple close calls. both right near top. one i was >< this close to going over handlebars, the other was a rut edge near tip. good flow down down down, by the time i was above Evans, the other guy was easily 300 m or more behind. stopped to stash sunnies, and then hit the Captain. (the other guy went on to do Godley).

Capt Thomas was in reasonable knick. i got a good flow on apart from blowing the rocky drop above the climbing bypass, and bailing on the next nasty (which i havent cleaned for ages now), but cleaned both old nemesises further down. way further down, the trail is well cleared (by horses?), meaning better visibility against arsehole walkers (hark memory back to Steve getting shoulder barged by those wankers that time). met one lady with dog on way down. felt dodgey on the rubber mat next to the steps on final descent. layered up and tootled round through sumner, moncks bay (passing bottom of Mulgans 1 hour 10 mins since i'd headed up), redcliffs, streetlights coming on as i went along causeway, stopping at ferrymead where i met and caught lift with T and the two boys home.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Thursnight, (c)huntsbury, Vern, Witch, Castle, eltsaC, hctiW, Rapak(yawn)i. Plus Maintainence.

twas a cold and frosty night, in town. Moon was getting pretty big too, 86% or so waxing gibbous, lighting the hills nicely. drove to Nelsies, and we cruised the streets kinda towards Rapaki but not really knowing where we were gonna go up til we decided to see what Steve's fuss has all been about and headed up Ramahana and Aotea and on up the Kunstbury hill. not that bad i'll admit. that last bit of seal sure is a steep wee number, and watch out for boiracers. and there's one section of gravel between top of Oldskool and the gate that is a mare too. other than that, yeah, not a bad climb, and yep, mint that it spits you out at the top end of the Vernon trail.

Hit Vernon and stopped at the first mudpuddle. Nelson was carrying his fold-up german army spade, so we cut a drain. rode on, nice, very slightly greasy, slippy rocks, occasional sparkle of frost under lights. i had a nice 2 wheel drift into the second hairpin, then on down past top of FarmTrack, and round. next muddy bit, stopped and cut a couple more drains, draining water away for everybody. onwards down, bomb bomb lotsa fun. hit the Teddington Shit section and stopped at a particularly bad boggy piece, cut a drain, emptied the water and made it so it'd flow away. on down to top Rapaki.

Onto Witchy poo. (some dumb ass boiracers saying "do some skids, au" - fucktards). nice wee climb up, cleaned but one dab. around, down, fun. then just before ya hit the road again, there's always been this big puddle... well, no longer. nelson cut and dug a nice clear drain for it, all the water ran away.

Hit road for Castlerock. some frosty bits in the shaded parts of road. very first corner of Castlerock was sparkly crunchy ice, not slippy tho. down that first section, bouncing and skidding about on the rocks, and onto some water... so. stopped and made some better drainage. on down, down, all good, great surface, dry (enough), round the first hairpin, and half way to the next before we found something we needed to drain again... spade out, dig, spade back. onwards. next hairpin, rockity rockity rock, bridge, climb, another spot to dig. this one needed some thought. a dripping rock face right next to the trail, water dribbling down the trail. picked a spot juuuust below where the water dripped and dug a wee channel across, waiting til the water trickled. on up the trail to top of bridle path. decided there to turn back. so. back up trail towards Castle Rock. cleaned everying except for blowing out (stupidly) on the second hairpin, and then up near top. all our drains were working nicely as we came back through. as he approached the top, another group of boiracers said "bit late to be out?" to which nelson replied, "yeah, past your bedtime isnt it?". that shut them up.

then chilly blast down road back to Witch Hill, big puddle now drained and drying, good spin up through there, with nelson's light starting to get a bit orange. so, bailed it down Rapaki. 200 m down i thought "fuck this", and bailed over the side into the field, dodged some tussocks in search of animal trail singletrack. hello cattle! but fun wee sidle back down to main track. then on down. this was my first time since the resurface and i must say it SUCKS. you almost cant let go cos the gravel they've laid is too loose. i liked it better when it was a rut infested rock fest. at least there were edges you could use as berms. what a waste of altitude, but had to be done cos of Nelson's gammy battery.

Frosty chilly ride back to his place where we had a Weka lager which put a good tingle in the limbs...