Wednesday, January 27, 2010

and another two! Wednesday Richmond Greenwood Godley Conda. + bottle ache tagalong fri

phew! four(?) rides in one week!!!
Nelson and Chris assembled themselves at mine and we Bongo'd out to Slumner, parking on Richmond Hill Rd. rode fast up there, its a steep little bastard, then hung a right down to the singletrack that wends its way into the valley and up to Clifton Hill Rd, staying on singletrack up under the trees, the other two had a good time but i flaked out several times on the wet roots. then up through the tussocky paddocks to the big trees, then up road to Greenwood.

Headed into the trail and not far along i went ping on a rock and crack! then tunk tunk tunk... broken spoke. rode the rest of the way round to the road crossing meeting up with the boys, where we played with it. i unscrewed one end, but the other was down in the depths behind the cassette. ended up electrical taping it to stop it messing with the gears. also tighened up a few neighbouring spokes truing it up as best i could.

fanged it from here, me sitting on Chris's tail at the start then they just left me for dead. tired i was two nights riding in a row. pounded down the rest of the trail, regrouping at the bottom. i did manage to gain a little on them tho, so thats something.

tightened my headset at Evans, then off up Godley, up the first bit, Chris getting a fair way up, and nelson basically cleaning it then dabbing right at the top, AFTER the tricky bit. again, they left me for dead, me barely keeping them in sight, regrouping at the airstrip, then bombing the descent to Livingston, again, me making up some lost ground, but still not catching them. over to Breeze, the descent being very difficult with all the long grass.

And tha anaconda... chris and nelson jostling for the lead, chris grabbing it with nelson pushing him hard and me just tootling along behind tho having a good time. out the snake, and then the slog over to slumnah.

then Friday night, took O out to Bottle Ache with the singlespeed and tagalong and we spun round in good time. almost the most rides in one month evah!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Guerillas in the mist

we assembled at Steves, Steve(Abba), Pete, Tony, Warren, Marie, myself and Steve. tootled round to and up Chuntsbury, nice spin up there, into the mist. cloud, ripping across the hills, dampness beading on our clothes. not cold, just interesting and eery. groovy. hit the summit trail, nice tail wind, chasing a group of 5 others, caught them and stayed on them til the Sugarloaf signpost where they stopped, Pete and me continuing on having a great blast round to Vic Park.

regrouped and headed down through the trees, hit up the old gummies, with the rockgarden at their start catching a couple of the players out, regrouping at the skidder site, Steve wandered off to make a 5lb deposit, and we lost Marie here. sweet wee bomb down Dazza's followed, then Brents, on round Flow etc, highline to drop and regroup for Hidden Valley. cleaned it all up to Old Skool, and fanged it on down and out. sweet spin, felt good, best form i've had in a while, with some sweet control.

L.Ak, Saturday View Hillage into the fog

6 glorious days at little akaloa. got a ride in, the usual, up to chorlton, up view hill rd, through the gate, on up to the weathertop, in the clouds from about 500m altitude, bit of a gale southerly blowing across the top. was with Daryl, a guy i know who happened to be camping in the Domain. he's fit as, had me chuffin' hard up the road talking between gasps, and then he was middle ringing it up the concreted steep bastard leaving me behind to nearly puke up my lunch, twice... once above that tho, i did a little better, and then due to him being on a rigid old kona and having a gammy wrist, i was lots quicker on the down, until the gravel, when he surpassed my sketchiness. a good bomb down.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dreary Sunday cloudscaped hillage.

a good wee group of boys, wayne andy pete steve and me, assembled at Steve's for a jaunt. we hit up Huntsbury to climb into the clouds. first ride of the year as a group again. trail up hunts was damp but not soggy, but at the summit road we turned left, and stayed off vernon single, bombed down road to top of rapaki, and continued round below Witch hill, again off the singletrack, even tho it was probably reasonably rideable with little impact. the cloud was at about rapaki summit level, so we were in it right round to Castle Rock. wasnt your usual damp cloud, was kinda dry really.

At Castle Rock, we had a look at the singletrack and decided it was dry enough to ride. rode it, had a blast. skittery skattery on the damp rocks, but the dirt was just damp, not sticky or soggy at all. there were about 3 wet spots / puddles on the whole track, in all the usual places (ie, at about 20 m in, then a puddle between the two switchbacks, then on the way up out after the wee wooden bridge after the 2nd switchback).

sheltered out of the wind waiting for the others and then we hit Bridle Path. been a long time since i've descended it, and for good reason, its basically a waste of altitude. but, blasted down, pulsing the brakes in a futile attempt at keeping them cooler. several of us tarnishing our rear rotors.

up onto the Morgan's Valley track, and rode under the Gondola, turning left at the [no bikes] sign, great wee blast down next to the pine trees, then instead of dropping down through sheep to the play-centre and gunclub, we stayed above the planted shelter (wattles and a few natives)ending up at the bottom corner of a paddock (nice light brown horse looking down the fenceline at us), with an empty section between us and Morgans Valley Rd. quick bale across it and down we rolled, then down to Ferrymead, round the Heathcote to Tunnel Rd Bridge, then back down Heathcote, tow path round behind all the industria, checking out Ground Effect's new premises then to WAC for a (very good) coffee and bickies/sausage rolls as appropriate.

the others headed back to vehicles at Steve's, i split down Linwood Ave home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday's Ache of that Bottle .

chris turned up at mine before 6 and we pedalled whatever singletrack respites in the urban fray we could find, river, Banks Ave, Kingsley, the edge of Horseshoe to suburbia followed roundabouts and more suburbia til we hit the Sandpit...
legs, severely lacking oomph after lastnight's ride, aching and burning and majorly lacking power on the ups.
bottle lake... a spin round our nth favourite municipal pine plantation (there are how many(?) better ones elsewhere...). felt like forever since i'd treadled my carcass round there, saving it in recent years for those winter singlespeed outings...
geared, and worn out, i'm really not so sure.
in so many respects, is it not boring, painful, and annoying? but then i guess perhaps there's a certain fondness for the poor deluded, denuded land. its bumps, its hollows, its gravel, its trees, its sections of sand. and the memories! how many years have i ridden those ribbons of trail? the where's, why's and wherefore's the trail has squirrelled over the years. we're lucky, aren't we, us punters of the ccc, to have that place. uh huh? hah, damned sight better than sitting in front of the tv i spose.
the thing thats lacking, though, at bottle lake, is the reward. you do all that pedalling but there's no real reward, no nice long flowing trail, winding its way down around the contours, allowing you to rest your climbing muscles and finally use your holding-on-steering, -leaning and -braking muscles. you put all that effort in and all you've managed is a few metres of altitude occasionally followed by a brief squirt of down. no true gain to extinguish with braking.
if could get its shit together to have the equivalent of bottle lake's trail infrastructure (and SO MUCH more) applied to (say...) the McVicar Block, fuck it'd rock! a network of well built weather-proof hilled pine and fir plantation singletrack trail added to the great (but complaining) network that's already on the hills. take the pressure off the existing trails by having so many options. whakarewarewa of the south... if only, eh?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday, Muntsbury Slummit Nun Scummit Lavaflowage

sweet ride tonight.
cruised to Chris's, and we headed across town towards the hills. after all the rain last night and this morning, and with the singletrack statuses at Avoid, we figured we'd ride up and see what was up, ride the road and down Worsley's if trails were too wet. Chris had a chain issue, which we stopped to fix (splicing into a SRAM chain a link of Shimano chain) before the dirt, then we chuffed it to the summit road.

on the way up Huntsbury, it was evident that there wasnt gonna be much to worry about. earlier in the day i'd checked several weather stations (Westmorland 7mm, St Albans 10mm, Airport 9mm)) and it is amazing how ~10mm of rain can be run straight off dry hills as well as be evaporated by an afternoon of sunshine and strong winds. lots of other riders around, and you could see that the Traverse was dry as, so he hit it. trail was fine. there were one or two puddles, but no softness at all. good chase ensued with a group of other riders, and we continued on when they stopped at the sign below Sugarloaf. and we blasted the rest of the way round to Vic. bit wet under the trees, but Thomson's was fine and we blazed down its two sections to the Kiwi.

Figured we'd give Marley's a look, and if it didnt look good, head on down Worsley. on the way up we caught up with two guys who'd just ridden down it, and their bikes were cleaner than ours(!), and they said it was dry as. they carried on to head down Kennedy's and we hung a right up top of Marley's. For a change, i led off, hitting it as hard as i could, and i think i did okay. chris was on my tail the whole way tho. then i bailed at the carpark thinking we'd head down Worsles, but Chris talked me round, and we carried on down the 'Nun. good blast down there too.

then up road to top of Vic, and hit the summit trail back round, bumping into a couple of old mates, then on round and down Lava Flow... i had trepidations, but i cleaned a bunch of bits i didnt the first time and enjoyed others. one tumble bail, and down near the bottom i dropped a wheel into a stinky sloppy hole, impaling my thigh on my seatclamp lever... carried on, really getting the hang of this trail. then we blasted down the valley, not taking Hidden Valley up to Oldskool, on account that the dirt up there wouldnt have liked our attention...

Bottom of the trail Chris's chain issue occurred again, this time two links. then, round the river, he did a silly jump over a puddle pinch flatting on the gutter. so. without mechanicals, we'd have been half an hour quicker... no matter. good ride anyway, and i'm over my dumb fear of the Lava Flow...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Friday Night, Wharfdale in the wet

glorious ride last night. Chris and me drove out through downpouring rain along the Tram Rd to meet up with Nelson and the Rally Bongo, within which we plied the byways and fords and sideways drifting of the road to Wharfdale. parked up, couple of hunters just heading in, and another bike car parked up, low cloud, bit of drizzle in the air, and i'd left my helmet at home! luckily, Nelson's street one was in the van, and it fits me! yay..

trail was reasonably wet, with a small flow of water along it, but otherwise not too bad. we had a good spin in, enjoying the slippery roots and eye-splecking goodness of the dripping bush. played a bit of a game at the suggestion of Nelson, where, whoever was in the lead, if they baulked or screwed up, dabbed basically, they went to the back and the next guy got the lead til they fucked up too. sometimes you'd hold the lead for ages, sometimes you'd hold it for 10 metres. was good, and gave all of us a chance to lead. the other rule was, if the leader had baulked, the other two didnt have to clean the section either, tho sometimes we did. anyway, that kept it interesting, altho it was excellently interesting anyway. no one had any offs, and we made the saddle in damned good time.

hail started falling on the approach to the saddle. brrr... bit of a munch at the saddle and we layered up in the few extra bits we had (ie, not enough), and got moving asap. nice flow down for a while, each having their time in the spotlight. fingers slowly numbing. funny, i felt like i was cleaning stuff i'd never have cleaned in the past, and Nelson reckoned it was cos we just wanted to hold onto the lead...

eventually, ran into the hunters again, nelson in the lead and his brakes squawking letting them know he was coming. Chris had a clickity mystery shifting chain, so we caught up to Nelsie, pulled up and he repaired the culprit, a slightly botched job from his repair in the BrakeFree zone the other night. whilst standing there, the rain suddenly got heavier, downpouring and wind shaking more out of the canopies. then we heard voices and a couple of other mad bastard bikers showed up. then two more. (obviously the owners of the other bikecar at the trailhead), they'd been down to the hut and back. their tailender (a certain (ex?) local dmr distributor...) fell off when he got to us, and stayed clipped in as he stumbled over the bank. offered help and a laugh, but he righted himself okay and got going. i led off chasing him and his mate, and keeping them in sight for a long while, thinking i could have gone faster, but didnt need to as they were clipping a pretty good pace anyway. then i baulked on something, so chris took the lead, but cos he couldnt see for shit, nelson stealth passed him and dropped us. i followed the blind Chris til i made it past him somewhere around the bridges and then it was the last climb and then the drifty flat tack eyesplecking good time descent to the cars... wicked.

friendly other bikers musta felt sorry for us not having any dry gear as they all changed into theirs, so handed over a beer each, which was nearly warm compared to our frozen selves. rally bongoed ahead of them leaving the gates for them to shut. no stock anywhere, so no worries...

All up an awesome time. wet, rooty, cold, just as you can expect on the Wharfie. i reckon 70 % of the times i've ridden it its been at least drizzling if not wetter.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuesday evening, OldSkool, HiddenValley, K2, OldDyers, Marleys return.

Back to town.

Picked up Chris around 6 i guess, parked up in Bowenvale Ave. we rode up Old Skool, cleaning it all, gruntingly, of course. then took the Hidden Valley track down for the first time (since its reestablishment), fun little bomb with no big surprises. into Vic...

Grunted up K2, nasty nasty little steep bastard of a climb that it is. got the better of me, but Chris made it after an early dis- and re-mount. removing shirts due to heat. cleaned up the rest of the old Nats track up under the pylon then to bottom of Dazza's. decided against continuing up K2 and took the zig and zag out to the left (looking up) instead. arriving at the skidder site we took the wee singletrack down and round out to gate, across road and bombed down down down to Dyers, across and onto the Old Dyers. hoofed it up here, re-donning shirts half way up, and then on up to kiwi, huffing and chuffing. up road into a bit of scudding cloud, and much cooler climes, to top of Marleys.

Excellent blast down the 'nun, me on Chris's tail all the way til the rocky piss-me-off everytime corner half(ish) way down, then i slowly reeled him in in the lower reaches back to the kiwi. loving the new bash/tensioner setup with NO chain loss in any of the rough stuff, and hauling ass with good measure.

Chris re-watered, then up road to top of Vic. chatted for a long time with a couple guys up there, then dropped straight into descent, chris riding seesaw and me chickening out at the last second. brake-free'd yumpity yump then Chris's chain snapped. managed to find the two parts of his quicklink, removed the twist, reassembled and off down Sesame St we shot. i got majorly bailed up on a wee drop just after the wall-ride. gave me quite a fright, lost a foot out, but somehow held it together, and off down Dazza's we shot, then across Pono's, down Old Nats, 23footer section, off camber, doubledrop/washout, and back into Hidden Valley, up up up, and screamed down Old Skool. feeling pumped and amped at the bottom.

L. Ak Meanderings to Menzies.

glorious weather, headed up the Decanter Bay Rd, steep wee grovel in places, but not too high (just under 200m), then good gravel bomb down to Decanter, then up road towards Menzies Bay, pulling off to let a sheep truck down, then onwards, forgetting how far it was, peaking at [airstrip] about 260m and careening down towards Menzies Bay. Didnt bother going all the way down, stopping in the pines (around 10km mark), taking in the view, and heading back up. weather was looking threatening on the tops the whole ride, with a few spots of rain getting me but nothing to dampen the dust.

then turned around and rode all the way back, meeting the sheep truck again just as it was pulling up into Rehutai (by the airstrip). nice bomb all the way down and round back to Decanter, then the clamber back out of there and fast sealed descent back into Little Ak. all up 20 kms, total of 750m of climbing and the same descending.

New Years Eve Eve, Banks Pen: Mt Pearce, View Hill.

Holidayed at Little Akaloa from Boxing Day til yesterday. Took my bits and pieces over and replaced entire drivetrain, cassette, chain, derailleurs, cables, shifters, middle ring (new 36t), and new bashguard and tensioner...

30th December, 2009, me Sis and partner were heading to Akaroa in our car, so i grabbed a lift to the top of the hill with them (saving me a 45 minute granny-grovel). from summit rd (540m), i headed up track to top of Mt Pearce (737m). a few gates, a few steeps, with great views, and a nice cool southerly blowing across the tops. turned around and bombed it back down to summit road.

then tootled around Summit Rd towards Okains, peeling off below Duvauchelle Peak, hitting the ridge (571) to View Hill. across the ridge, walking bits and pieces upto the sidle round to the paper road, and on up the zigs to the very top (762m). helluva gale up there, but views extraordinaire. looked at watch: 12.00. and headed down. down, off piste a bit, then onto the paper road officialis, bombed, shook, shuddered, hoofed, huffed, pushed by wind up bits normally pedalled, bombed (again), hooned, full noise down the last gravel, onto the seal at Chorlton, then back round into the wind for the descent into the bay, pedalling to keep the speed up into the wind, then awesome speed down to church and on down past beach, up road, up drive to house, 12.15... choice, nearly 800m altitude, 8kms (4kms and more than 500m alt. of which was off road), 15mins...