Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday Pearcing the clouds, paper roading

Mark and Marie came to visit at the bach. So, on Sunday, we headed out on our bikes. Mark Heckling, Marie 140ing and me the Soul brother. We headed up Little Akaloa Rd. It starts out nice and gentle, but about 10 minutes up it starts to bite. From here, its roughly 30 minutes of granny. I was always sure it was 1 hour to the top, with 45 of granny from Misty Hills, but today proved that a mis-memory. We ground away, me peering into the undergrowth on both sides above and below the road dreaming of Living Springs styled, but rougher, trails therein. Passed by one or two cars coming down, but none heading up. At one stage a farmer on a quad came down the road, giving us that smile with a trace of "what are you, crazy?" look in his eyes.

Near the summit we got into the clouds, enshrouding us for a good portion of the ride. Top of the road, we headed up the access track up Mt Pearce to the radio tower. Nice climb, only one or two really steep bits. At the summit road it was quite chilly, with the cloud and easterly conspiring against warmth, but as we climbed, it got brighter and warmer, and by the top we were blessed with patches of sunshine and it was very lovely and warm. Mark was partially zapped by the gate at the top which was either electrified, or it was picking up on ambient radiation from the microwave/radio tower??? So, munched on muesli bars on the downhill side of the gate, then hit the trail down. Periods of speed, chatting and rolling. Through the couple of gates and down. At the DOC Mt Pearce Reserve sign we were greeted with an amazing clear view of Akaroa Harbour bathed in sunshine. Spectacular. Nice flight down from here, back into the cooler cloud, getting thicker as we got back down to the Summit Rd.

From here we felt our way around the Summit Rd towards Okains. At the cross over between Little Ak and Okains catchments we hit the ridgeline. Officially there's a paper road across here, where exactly you'd need a gps for. We felt our way across the paddock, riding farmtrack and sheeptrails up rocky interesting sections to a fence, over this and up a bit where we were greeted by a half and half landscape

Sunshine bathing Okains valley, and a wall of fog/cloud over Little Ak. Fun singletrack-ish trails around here towards the View Hill Rd which we flew down to being sprayed by the wet grass undertread.

Through the gate and the down the track to where i rode to last week and into sunshine. Mad. Views out to Long Lookout and a beautiful day out there. We bombed down here, much damper, and in a couple of places, greasy, compared to the dryness of Monday prior.

Blatted on down, and then I pulled up a little way above the twin concrete bit, wicked view down into Raupo where the family was unseen on the beach. Then, there's a guy on a bike grunting his way up to us. Had a chat and continued on our mutually exclusive ways. From here, we picked the off-piste play lines, to the right of the road mostly, firstly on grass and rocks, and some clay, then onto clay and roots under the big macracarpas, quite fun. Then the final gravel burst down, Mark taking in some off-road off-piste bits before our speedy gravity powered blast down the sealed road back into the bay.

All up, roughly 3 and a half hours, of good honest grunt. 737m to start with, then a few extras before the 650m odd descent off the flanks of View Hill. Nicely nicely.

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