Monday, October 31, 2011

The Annual Trip, Westside - Denniston and Blacks Point

Woke up Thursday to drizzle and thought it'd be a crappy day up on Denniston, but figured we'd give it a go anyway. so. packed up and headed out of Westport and out of the cloud about 10 kms north. Pulled into Waimangaroa and followed an empty coal truck hauling ass up the road. Quite chilly breeze at the top, but a mix of blue skies and cloud around the place.

Headed off onto the same trails i'd ridden last time i was up here, ie, the Miners Track and the Drill Track. Vastly different conditions to then tho. Everyone enjoyed the blasts down, especially the tight single bit before the first Drill track climb. Got back round to Burnetts Face and headed up the road, with a bit of a play around the old School site. Then we headed out and did the Pig Route. this had some fun downhills but it all being semi-4wd track does not a singletrack make. at the road we started heading up, then realised only the two drivers needed to go up, so the rest of us coasted, at some awesome speeds, down til we got to the turn off for the walking track. imagine our disappointment when we saw on the mapboard how much of the old bridle track we'd missed... but, we can save that for next time, and we enjoyed the crap out of the fantastic, at times technical, downhill blast this trail is.

Back in the cars (after one of the best pies EVER (highly recommended, pies from the Waimangaroa Dairy)), and on the road for Reefton. Checked in to The Camp (run by The Old Nurses Hostel - highly recommended for our sized or bigger groups), then headed up the road to...

Steep little start up Murray's Creek track, on a nice wide good surfaced track, steeps interspersed with easier grades, up to Energetic Junction and on up to Waitahu Saddle. then on round and on up up and up to a fast downhill to Inglewood Junction.

Here we turned left on Ajax Track or Machine Track, and up a more rugged track which went up and up and up, then peeled round into a narrow wee singletrack that kept going up and up with some wet bits and we wondered where the hell we were going. at a top (where they used to use horses walking in circles to haul stuff up the hill) there was what looked like a ridge track, but there were no tire marks on it, and it looked like it petered out, so we headed down towards the Ajax Mine and Stamper Battery. some wickedly tight techy forest downhill, followed by swampy boggy crappy bits round and up, to another small saddle (where the previous ridge track would have probably gotten us).

This is where the true downhill began, finally, and we hit the what is one of the most fantastic sections of singletrack i've ever ridden. it was absolutely incredible. bits where you could just let go the brakes and fly, rooster tail of leaves out behind, followed by tight steeps with your arse being buffed by your back tire. awesome. eventually it steeped down into pines, and then switchback city for a bit, before eventually coming across the slope, a couple more switchies and you're at the car. a damned good work out for the brakepads, hands and arms...

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