Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday hill chuff, Rapaki Witch Traverse Nun Vic

Nelson and Chris assembled at mine and we headed across to Milton St in Nels's car some time near 7 (he had something to do at the old flat). rode through town to Rapaki and on up, starting with a hiss and a bang, and then having to layer off at the 2nd gate. Chris took off ahead, after a guy that'd passed us as we layered off. i didnt have anything left in my legs after Tuesday's ride, and a long townie to dinner on Wednesday, so i struggled horribly all the way up, and Nelson had ridden once in 10 weeks, so was pretty off form (still quicker than no-power me). eventually made the top, i oiled my chain, and we hit up Witch Hill, Chris bailing on a rocky section and ending up down the bank. there and back, Nelson had a good chat to a lamb. wheels pinging and slipping off slippery rocks.

up Vernon, Teddington Sog sapping power on first climb, the other two leaving me for dead, tho i took the shortcut between hairpins and nearly got up to them again.

Traverse, Chris leading off, me next, good blast all the way round, the ups slowing me, but the flats and down i was in pretty good form. then i led down Thomsons, lovely wee blast through the trees. nelson pointed out that it'd be cool if there was a track just like it that went on for a few kms, tight and flowy... (McVicars sometime?). Second half of Thomsons was drier at the bottom than last time.

heaved our ways up the road from Kiwi to Marley's. me lagging seriously on the last steeps, and frost on the lead-in chilling down the feet a lot. munched and layered up at top, then i led off down the Nun. pretty good blast down here, tho i was getting a bit tired, and my hands never seemed to be holding the bars tight enough. some of the improvements done down here have certainly evened up the plan. sweet as. regrouped below middle carpark, and Chris led off down the lower half. i had a couple of really close calls near the bottom, barely staying in control.

up road to Vic, all of us feeling the cold and tiredness now. took off down the first path, steep and rocky, then down all three over the seesaw, first coupla Brakefree jumps then across the mucky flat to the rocks into the gums. great run down here, nelson leading, taking it all the way down and onto the singletrack that takes ya down to the gate. bit messy in there, few ruts at the start.

back up road to Skidder, nelson aghast at the waste of money on the new picnic area, and off into Dazza's, me leading. nice blitz. Brents, highline this time, just moseying, out to flow, where i lost it at the top of rut-city, frontwheel sliding out from under me, and taking a nice lowspeed stack onto a tussock or two. the other two got past me here, and i struggled my way down the actual ruts, then took the lead into the new bits, guiding the way down, less mucky than Tuesday, tho still bad at the bottom.

then, out the bottom, through the disgusting cowshit muckfest and a blast down the final to the road and back to the car around 10.30.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday opened trail muckiness

treadled across to Steve's with Pete who was on grandad. there, were RacerRex, Tones, Andy, followed shortly after us by Wazzah and Wahayno. Steve emerged from his house with Cruiser, and it was decided they'd all do a townride, and Rex and me'd head up cRapaki.

i gasped my way up the track with Rex barely breaking a sweat. millions of runners coming down the hill towards us, seemingly the whole way up... past a whole bunch of riders at middle gate, i raised my seat and felt a tonne better the rest of the way up, pushing it good (again, i think Rex was just being nice sitting with me...).

Rex led off up Vernon, the first Teddington'd section being pretty soggy. he baulked a bit on the rocks, but kept the lead, powering nicely on the smoother bits. Rocky section up top got him and he let me take over the lead. couple dabs here and there, but mostly pretty good.

onto the Traverse. all good except for the nasty wet bit before the first cattlestop, blazed our ways round there. trail all good. usual damp bits below Sugarloaf, then on round to Vic.

...into the trees, squirrelling through bits of soft dirt, past the seesaw, then down towards the gums across an extremely soggy flat. into the rocks which were okay, but once under the trees, i dont think i've ever seen the ground so wet in there. not for years anyway. bypassed a couple of nasty ruts in same spot as last time next to Sesame St, on round sidling over jump and back to Skidder, then met up with a random orange-lighted-halogen guy, who didnt really know his way around, so followed us down Dazza's, which was all good, then Brents which too was all good, tho has some bad braking holes, and cross the swiftly flowing creek onto a slightly messy Flow, which got pretty bad towards the end with its own Rut-City, and then onto the 'new' exit from bridges...

sorta follows the Hi-line, but a cool switchback chucks you back across Bridges then below with more corners, risers and good flow, and even some ups (which'll put off the DHers). Bottom of this was unfinished and extremely MUCKY. then down the 4wd to usuals, squirrelly and mucky mucky mucky, and the Cows were really trashing the private bit (my bike smells of shit now), before a good blast out the bottom

Rex headed back to his car at Steve's. i txtd the boys, and met them at Pomeroys for a couple nice beers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday sloppy Wharfdale goodness

Got word on Saturday that a couple guys i know were gonna do Wharfdale on Sunday. i's keen as mustard, so did a little prep on the bike, regreased headset and nicely oiled up the chain. Also, chucked on a new tire i'd got. Ritchey ZM Premonition i'd picked up from Torp7 a couple days before.

Tom and Matt picked me up at 8 and we headed out the Tram Rd. Left Chch's dreary grey and headed into blue skies and sunshine. First car in the carpark, tho some walkers (and dog) arrived while we were getting ready. Somewhere on the road there, something must have been flicked up by the back wheel of the car, slashing Tom's front tire, totally slicing through tire and tube. no spare tires on board, so we cut up the old tube, folded it several times, inserted between new tube and tire, and pumped her up. kinda bulged a bit, but wasnt too bad, but just to be safe, we put a random ziptie (that i just happened to have in my bag) around the tire, which held it quite nicely.

hit the trail. pretty good knick. excellent muckiness, lovely slippery roots. hit first pile of snow at about the 3rd bridge. counted somewhere between 6 to 10 tree falls. wonderful flowy section half way in, love that groove. fair bit of snow and extreme muckiness up towards the switchbacks, and the saddle. Tom figured his tire was gonna blow out, by the saddle the ziptie had gone, so he turned back, while Matt and i headed down for the hut. first 50m or so was messy snow, but beyond that was good, mostly. lots of snowloaded branches down, all of which we cleared off the track, and quite a lot of ice down this side. very cold, and cool eerie mists kinda hanging around.

made the river, got across without too much bother, and then this heinous climb kicked in. i didnt remember this from last time (years ago!) i'd been to the hut... anyway, got to the hut, signed in, had a One Square. brrrr, got moving again, back up and over, then the long slog back to the saddle. one off at a creek when my front wheel dropped and i leaped over the bars and stayed on my feet. at Midday, Matt replaced his front pads.

made the saddle, and the down began. for a bit anyway. not bad, bit splecky. on the climbs my legs were really starting to burn. the second to last descent (the one with the bridges in it), i think would have to be one of my favourites. its when everything comes together, all your skills honed to perfection, cept for feeling utterly shattered having not had a good long inclement ride like this for a lonnnng time.

the climb to the gate nearly killed me. but the final descent made everything better, getting faster and faster, briefly slowing for that metal pipe and following little creek, then on down to car park. sweeeeeet!!

Tom had made it back just as the bulge eminating from his tire was starting to rub the fork arch. he'd been waiting a fair while for us... Lots of cars in car park now too. We'd seen a couple of couples runners en route.

Meanwhile, my new tire worked very nicely thanks. was predictable. a nice size, good and big for a 2.25. didnt hook up as much as some mud specific tires would, but never gave me any issues of spinning out. should be a good tire to go on with. expecting another newby soon too, a Schwalbe Muddy Mary. chuck that on the front for a while methinks.

home 3ish.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Frosty Sunday hill jaunt

COLD start, hard frost, Chris showed at mine and we got our frozen extremities across to Steve's. Up showed Tony, then Andrew, Wayne, Pete and Mark (on a wacky rearbrakeonly 69r carbon 3speed..). so. the 8 of us tootled round and up Rapaki. pretty standard cruise up here, warming up nicely by the first gate.

Took the road round the top towards Vic. with a short jaunt on a frozen solid Traverse trail... Icey patches in the shade. At Vic we hooked onto Thomsons, which was good and the second half of it was bad at the lowest point.

Down more ice to the kiwi, and on up to top of Worsleys. usual boyracers doing their dipshit stuff at the top, and we all kitted back up for the descent. interesting to say the least. first (bodybag) section was a bit hairy, not a lot of traction, if you hit your brakes too hard either one would lock up. at the gate was a big sloppy hole with some broken ice, and beyond that was in the shade, which was nice and icey, frozen ruts, frozen churned up earth. FUN down through here. minty fresh fun. lots of washed-outness, couldnt believe the holes that've formed since last i's up there. met a few hardy souls on their ways up.

Just before the gate, kitted up even more, then blasted down the seal. just before the last descent, we got offroad onto a new side track. nice wee fall-line track parallelling the road, waaay more interesting than the road. at the bottom took the cracroft track round then on round river saying goodbye to Tones and then on to St Martins cafe, coffee, and off home.

All up, quite a fun ride, even with the noticeable lack of real Singletrack.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tuesday into the drizzly technicality

bit of a mucky one tonight. Nelson picked me up in his new car and we cruised across parking up on Centaurus. both huffed up Hunts, Ramahana, Aotea to the top. Drizzle kicked in now and then and dirt was a bit slick in places. Hit Mt Vernon, and it splecked and splooged about the place, but no worse than Marley's was on Sunday. difficult to control places, so easy it was taken. the Teddingtonshit before Rapaki was very very bad. naughty us, maybe.

Witch hill was much better, rocks slick tho, so slippy-slidey'd our way round there, me chasing a possum for a hundred or more metres on the descent. then on up the road, the drizzle worsening the close we got to the Castle.

I led off down the Castle. damp in places, mud not too bad, but rocks all slick-as, pinging your wheels independently, keeping it well interesting and technical goodness. fair few dabs for safety. very bad spot just after the second switchback, but the climb out was good.

all the singletracking had been interesting, technical, fun, but quite slow, and kinda dirty, splecky mud around the place, so we rode the road back to Rapaki and blazed down there. deliberately gettting into the deepest of the untracked gravel on the top section, just to keep it interesting. then pretty quick down the bottom half and half blinded in the pines at the bottom. back round to the car by about 8.30, and home via a chinese takeaway. yummo.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sunday, the Return of the Singletrack

Sweeeeet ride today. weather's been fine enough for the singletracks (west of the bridle path) to have finally dried out enough to be reopened.
fantastic day, frosty start, chilly riding across to Steve's, meeting Tony there, then up showed Warren and Wayno. the 5 of us headed round, and up Rapaki. took it pretty easy, cruised on up, one or two of us pushing a bit harder than the struggling lurgy'd one.

at the top, hit Witch Hill, first time on here for ages, really enjoyed popping and hopping up the rocks, cleaning them all and blasting round to the end. Tony got a leak in his rear and we met him on our way back up coming at the highest point. blasted down to rapaki-top and up Vernon. ages since i'd been up here too. was still soft in places, the spongey teddingtonshit being quite power sapping. but mostly good, got up and round and cleaned up all the rocks, feeling a fellow steelrider breathing down my neck, then wondering where the hell he was when i got out the end.

onto the Traverse, quick chat with (the fellow steelrider) a singlespeeding voodoo rider, and then we hit the trail. all good, round to vic, surprisingly not that many other riders out and about. trails all firm and dry, very few puddles, and drier than i'd seen on Thursday night.

big chat with some non-snobs at the top of vic, then off down the bit of frost at top of Thomsons, into the trees, sweet flowing, onto the road, back into it, flying down, some walkers i didnt see at all having leapt behind a tree to let us by. steve losing his chain in here baulking him before the wee up.

kiwi breather then up road. worsley, annnd, the nun... veeerrry sticky on the approach, a harbinger of things to come... into the first corner, nicely dropping down the rocky berm (which caught steve out after he'd just been boasting how easy it was...), then flowing round through the plantings, and into the second corner, both wheels scootching all over the place, drifting totally out of control, bloody surprising i stayed on, but got round and onwards. sections of this were just nasty, no control whatsoever. i think, if one trail should have stayed shut,'s probably this one... not much damage done, but diabolical - numerous places of nasty slickness, and then some nice flow in between. steve had dropped it in the top rock corner and had a rather sore pinky finger... second half of nun all good, cept for one puddle that splecked my eye nearly crashing me.
kiwi to top of Vic again, i took the second half of Thomsons while the rest took the road. all chose different lines down, i did the seesaw then it was off down across to the Gummies. nice rip through here, cept for lower down, nasty rut made me dab, then peeled round, jump, berm back out to skidder site. then off down Dazzas, all good, and then out down K2, figuring Brents, Flow and bridges'd probably be a bit dodge.

home across town in the sun by one.

all up a nice spin. bloody good to be on singletrack again.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Turdsdy night solo hill single

belly full of fish and chips and no one willing to brave the chilly evening, i dragged the singlespeed across town on the back of the car, realising as i approached the hills that i'd left my helmet (and light) behind, so, turned back, considered leaving the car at home and spinning blottle ache, but thankfully decided against that and continued on my merry way back to said hills.

getting ready to ride who should jog up but abbasteve. bit of a yarn with him and off i chuffed, making good grind up rapaki road, then onto the dirt feeling surprisingly good. unzipped, vest off, and on up. a few stops for breath to settle down, but no walking. was catching someone ahead on last bit, but had to stop several times and a guy with gears passed me one of those times. bloody hard yakka workin' that beast up that hill in that gear. anyway, made the top and tootled off round the slummit road towards vic park. cursing the Traverse for not being open when i could see it the whole way round being utterly fine. come on Nick, it could at least be 'Avoid', so that munters like me can make up our own minds, instead of feeling too guilty to get down on it.

got to top of Vic and considered my options, one of which was Worsleys, but the thought of the seal from kiwi to top put me off, so, spun the cranks back round the top and blasted down rapaki again, tears streaming from my eyes either in lament of the eminently more interesting track that the crapaki once was, or maybe from the cold air blasting into them. my front end took on a horrible trait of the steering kinda locking up when braking hard. something to do with the fork being compressed and the headset seizing due to the pressure... very dodgy.

good to get out, great work out on the old single, awesome night and very warm and pleasant up on the hills, as usual.

Oh, and last night, installed the new cranks and bb on the Cotic. Chris came round with his tools, and we had a beer. looking forward to trying it out.