Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blowing Hard

Picked up Chris after he'd finished work today and we jetted out the Tram Rd to Nelson's place. Loaded him up and we gravelled and tarmacked our way round past Ashley Gorge to Maori Reserve Rd and parked up. Was 6.20pm I think, so not a helluva lot of light for us to mission, but got going and made good progress up the Blowhard Track, into the cloud. Called the Blowhard for a couple of reasons - it usually blows really hard up the top, and going up it you blow bloody hard yourself. This is one steep mother of a hill. Starts around 300m, and we got to around 800m.

We all put in pretty good efforts climbing, first section not bad, 100% rideable, was pretty soggy in places. but once you get to what's obviously a 4x4 turnaround (and mudbath), it gets seriously uphill. Rutty, rocky, greasy up. We walked some. And rode some, and walked. And rode a little, then walked. And walked. And probably rode a little before walking again. Sometimes we rode a bit, but usually these chutes would make us walk. And all the while, we're kinda thinking, "this looks really greasy", "and loose", "and its gonna be hairy coming down this bit", and "fuck, that's steep".

Gradually we got into the cloud. Bush all dripping around us. Bush seemed to get pretty small at for a bit, and we stopped for a feed break at a natural stopping point, before heading down a bit, then up. And probably walked a little then rode. Another down, and then up again, maybe less walking, and a bit more down. Then we broke out of the forest and were greeted with a stunning cloud and mist and bushclad hillscape. Very cool.

Then, I mounted my light on my helmet (Chris's was on his bars, and Nelson's was already on his his helmet), and we headed back up the trail for the first bit of descending. Chris first, then me, then Nelson (who'd not been on the bike for like 9 months!!!). The downs were certainly fast - and fun. Light was VERY low, dim as, but I held back on turning on the light for as long as possible. Eventually I just had to, and it was a revelation.

The ups on the way back down were all short and nice, keep it in a high gear and stand to work it over the brow. And the super greasy loose-ass technical sections? Absolutely AWESOME. Rubber gripping wickedly, control, steerability, balance, finesse, excellence. So much fun. Then, at the top of a particularly gnarly section, Chris was stopped. His light didn't work! So. He followed me. I held back for a start, and Nelson stayed on his tail, and shone from behind, and we made it down at a reasonable pace, Chris following my lines, or not. All good. And it was SO much fun. All the stuff we'd had doubts about on the way up were easy as, and technically fun.

Ploughed down the last section, with the Earthquake (yeah, right) moon shining down on us, back to the car in no time flat. Wicked.

Three rides in 5 days is almost a record, and if i ride with the usuals tomorrow morning, even better...

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