Monday, October 31, 2011

The Annual Trip, Westside - Kirwans and Waiuta

Warren and Dallas arrived Thursday Night, and the weather was looking good for Friday, so Warren made contact with the Chopper pilot and arranged for a 9 am pick up.

Friday morning opened foggy, but it was a shortlived fog and lifted by 8.30, and chopper confirmed we headed round to Boatmans Rd and up to the end. All the bikes stacked up ready for the strop,

Chopper came in, and promptly blew them all over as he almost landed on them. Ropes through all the front triangles, and Mark and me got in the back, Marie in the front - her first time in a chopper, and off we flew. Awesome flight, and so quick. bikes swinging back and forth under us. Then he set them down nice and gently, releasing the ropes then setting us down.

Hope those blades arent really that curved!

Back in twice more, we paids our moneys and off he went home, leaving us in the peace and tranquility next to the cool hut. Techy steep wee track down to the main track, and we peeled left to go look at the proper tops. nice views all round, interesting low forest with lots of moss to ride through. back along this track and onto the downhill proper...

Helluva blast, with Mark leading me, then Pete then the rest of them. fast, rooty, rocky, occasionally muddy, descent. sometimes stopped by biiig fallen trees, zigging and zagging now and then, down and down and down. Dallas had a bit of a crash, garking his knee, and getting a flat, whereupon this photo was taken.
Roots, and the crew, Dallas fixing a flat

On down and down, then a wee up, and we stopped for a snack.
My view down the trail on this rest.

Then on down, and the trail got more and more technical, and eventually started following the river a bit more closely, with more ups and downs, the occasional massive slip or washout, the odd carry, more roots, etc. Definitely an 'advanced' or 'expert' track, and not to be taken lightly. Injuries in here would be bad, with a mission to get out back into cellphone coverage.

crossed the river a couple of times on smaller bridges, then eventually got to a swingbridge, which proved quite a challenge to get a bike over, with each of us having our own techniques. at the end of the swingbridge, a short tunnel, and this little creek...
Picturesque little waterfall pool just past the tunnel.

Then a bit of a climb and suddenly there's a nice wide (similar to lower sections of Lyell) benched track which we proceeded to fly down, and out to another, this time rideable (bar the steps at each end) swingbridge, down across farmland back to the cars. rougly 2-3 hours of descending.

Back to base, lunch and a bit of a rest and bike maintenance, and all but Marie tootled round to Waiuta. Headed up the Big River track up the wide 4wd start, then the gravelled quadbike bit into the forest and finally onto the nice benched singletrack that is so rife in this part of the country. Quite a wee climb for a while, with interesting roots to keep you keen, and that sapping sucky mud in spots, but mostly good riding. Track levels off after maybe half an hour, and we continued for a while longer wondering if we'd get much more height. eventually at 5.55 we decided we'd had enough and turned back. Warren and Dallas had turned back a bit earlier.

Not far down, i decided my front tire was getting low, and stopped to pump it up. the others all got miles ahead and i began the chase. finally caught Tony, overtook him and caught Wayne, overtook him and caught Andrew, then raced on ahead, now on the steeper down, hauling ass, thinking Mark and Pete must be doing a similar clip to me so there'd be no way i'd catch them, but finally i spotted Dallas ahead, and just ahead of him was Pete and Mark, and them Warren. Awesome. and just around the corner, the 'gate' (motorbike discourager), and a nice open clip i chased Mark down to the end, then the cruisy 4wd section to the cars.

Mark and I decided we'd ride the road out, and so we did. The gravel road is just about ALL down hill, and fast, and grippy, and scenic, and was super fun. Got to the seal and just coasted cruised slowly down the road til eventually we saw Warren's car, then Andy's van, who stopped and loaded Mark, and then Pete and Wayne showed and grabbed me. Home for dinner around 7.

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