Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last day of 2011, a ride of 2 rides more down than up.

Family drive to Akaroa for a look-see, so chucked the bike on the back, and they dropped me at the Okains/Robinson's/Summit intersection, where i coincidentally met Aaron and a couple of his mates all on their roadbikes up from Okains. We rode together up the Summit Rd a wee ways then i peeled off down an incredibly overgrown double fenceline into Robinsons. Started out with a longer bushy section than i remembered from dealing with it during a cold foggy wet Cyclic Saga in '99 with Paul DeSpa. I nearly went over the bars in here, cos of the long grass hiding the ruttedness, but quite fun, most of the grass at least as tall as my axles, some as high as my wheels, and the seedhead stalks higher than my bars! Quite slow going really, with intermittant clay-ey bits allowing a brief burst of velocity, and then got much better right near the bottom where the trail was nice dry clay surface, and some good rough speed could be enjoyed. Vastly different from my previous experience in '99 when i was belly on seat legs out like trimaran pontoons both wheels sliding in mucky greasy grass and mud...

Then it was onto narrow seal and more fast descending before the flat of the valley, then the main road, round the waterfront and up a small hill, overtaking a guy on a roady (who'd ridden from Papanui and was still to ride back(!)), then fast down into Takamatua, hung a right, and then a left up a wee gravel grunter which turned to steeeeeeep clay before meeting up with the main road again. Then it was across that and down the Old Coach Rd for a steep fast descent into Akaroa where i found a Cruiseship crowd added to the usual nutjobs that frequent Akaroa over New Years, and my family.

Interlude of play and buying fish, and fish and chips, and we escaped the loonybin and returned up Robinsons Bay Rd, left onto Summit and they dropped me at the View Hill farmtrack. Quite cool up there. Grass not so overgrown on account of some cattle, so shit needed to be avoided. Good climb to start with, but then it goes a bit messy with rocks and unrideable sections and a bit of walking eventually to a gate. I'd love to get across this top with a tool or two and strategically sculpt a rideable trail. After the gate, its a short steeep climb then onto the traversing semi-benched sheep track around the west face of View Hill. Before hitting the farm track i veered right and made my way across and onto the farm track which i took (granny most of the way) to the top. Great views, it being called View Hill for a very good reason. Then it was down down down down down. fun times. Forgot to check the time at the top, but at the gate to View Hill Rd proper (where we were just shy of couple days before), it was 15.10. Hit the trail, faster than 2 days prior because a vehicle had been up and down in between, so the grass was a little more pressed down, and i knew what to expect, and where the likely worst ruts were to watch out for. Excellent blat down the gravel, just insane speed then out onto the seal and a car coming from Longlookout gave way to me and i left them for dead in my tucked speedster coast into the valley. All heads turned as i whipped past the beach, then i huffed back up to the bach.

December 29th Pete and Teens View Hill nearly

Pete came over to the bay in the camper with teenaged Alistair and Nikau (Niko? Nico? Nicho?) and we headed out for a ride, in the morning after a bit of an evening prior, about 11.30 after the numerous girls got back from their morning constitutional. Headed round up past the church, Alistair grunting away on his singlespeed. Up up up the seal, then up the gravel and into the truly steep, then steeper. Al started walking impressively late, up under the macracarpas up the road from the crows nest.

At the top of the grovelly concreted strip (upon which i had to stop for a breather, while Pete managed to continue out the top of) we met a couple of guys on their way down. gudday gudday blah blah. they'd been to the top and asked after any similar rides about the place. i forgot to mention Mt Pearce.
The higher we went spits of rain got more and more spitty. And Alistair's hands were starting to blister from all the standing. Also, the grass got longer and longer, hiding any lurking ruts which are most common. Got just shy of the gate, and with the spits getting slightly spittier and the two boys totally stuffed, we pulled the plug and turned back down. Nice run down ensuing, gravity sucking us down the hill faster than you can say gravity sucking us down the hill faster than you can say gravity sucking us down the hill... tires picking up sticky dust, flicking it up, blinding both Al and me momentarily. I re-donned my sunnies under the big pines (it being a grey day i'd pocketted them earlier) and off we screamed downward again.

i took it pretty easy down the concrete strips cos i thought i might jump onto the off-piste stuff under the macs, and Al overtook me rocketting down ahead. I decided to stay on the gravel tho, and followed him on down. I managed a glance back and could see Pete and Nico screaming down behind us. We hit the seal and whooshed down to the church (bit of a look here), then hung a left into Lukes Rd and up and over and down and down to the back of the tennis courts, then over the fence and back up the paddock under the gum to ours.

December-twentyseventh menziesii.

Blogspot for 27th December, 2011
Christmas hols at Little Akalalaland, scorching hot day, hit the road to Menzies Bay in an attempt to exude some of the excess christmas cheer. Hefty wee climb to the top of the -over to Decanter, everytime i was tempted to go to a lower gear, i'd instead drop it down to a taller gear and stand up, a nice practice i figured might do me some good. From the top, hit the gravel down, with a shit-eating-grin dodging a farmer on his way up, i'da been over his bonnet if he'd not pulled to his left, yikes!, then through the bottom of Decanter and on up round and up and round and up and round-up, cooking, in the heat, talking to the cattle and watching a plane flying low and practising engine cut-outs, powering off, then revving up, repeat ad nauseum. At Rehutai's gates, just before the descent to Menzies, i stopped, checked out any messages, then turned back.

Nice long descent with no detours to any potential interestingnesses, tho there be many - little strips of animal singletrack meandering close-to or above the road... Rounding into Decanter Bay, dreaming about rockfalls and gravel-loss-of-controllers off heinous tumblings to rocks and sea below, and avoiding stray sheep doing's. Over the cattle stop near the bottom and i stopped for some reason. Adjusted something or other, and thought that if someone had been watching my progress they might have thought i'd crashed abruptly at the cattle stop, cos prior to disappearing behind their viewed trees i was flying, then would have failed to appear on the other side. Got going again avoiding leg-reaching onga-onga and rolled through the valleybottom hitting the climb back out. met an advertisingclad car suddenly but no others. Little sign of previous year's cape gooseberries, plants still in early growth stages. lots of lovely wild roses flowering and that smell-of-hops plant. it is resiny like hops too... tho prickly. I wonder how it'd flavour a beer. What is it, first? and, is it poisonous? (or any more poisonous than hops??).

Top of hill, into a tuck and down down down, so fast, whooshing down, standing up for air-brakes, then into a tuck for the acceleration out of a corner, finally massive airbrakes and disc brakes scrubbing enough speed off into the final hairpin and back into a tuck for the last leg down to the cattlestop.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday short croc.

Rode round to Pete's for 6pm and we plied the streets in the Falcon to meet all the others at the Quarry Park for a ride of much stoppedness. Wayne, Warren, Steve, Tony, Robin, Marie and Andy were all in attendance. We treadled our way up the main track to where we peeled off down and across the stepping stones where something bit Steve's tire and it started hissing fluid as we grunted up the short sharp straight after. We stopped. Steve fiddled a little and pumped a little and remembered that in these circumstances he just needs to put the hole to the bottom. Problem solved.

Up the left hand side of the Quarry and then round the grassy paddock and a few went steep and the rest took the easy low line to the gate and on up the gravelled switchbacks which for once everybody cleaned. Up the road to another stop at the gate, then finally onto the upper Croc, or New Tasty as it was once called. I believe i was the only one to 100% clean this :D. Another regroup before heading over Siberia for a nice descent, upon which Steve's dropper seatpost blew a seal, or something. Pete came to the rescue with some Duct Tape. Back up the way we'd come down, to another regroup.

Then it was off down, what fun. Blasted down always gaining on a couple guys in fluoro yellow, finally passing the hardtail one who'd bailed in the ruts on the last sweep. They let us lead off down the Croc proper and i put a good pace on railing the berms, one of which was pretty hairy carrying too much speed into. Down the straight-away through the cattlestop and drops, expecting the rock 'gap' and thinking to myself "am i in the right gear for this" and then finding a newly formed bypass, which allowed me to carry heaps of speed on down into the swoopy final switchbacks, but hell, it was getting overgrown down there and i started to baulk.

Juuuuust cleaned the grovelly climb up and out of the valley, and we had another big regroup, watching everyone following down the zags and zigs. The final section next, and it was good. couple very nice wee jumps in them there trees, and switchied down and out and nice leaps on the longer jumps out and another regroup and then back down to the vehicles.

Short, but good, ride.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday east end huff and puff

Was gonna ride to Steve's but went to Pete's instead and we cruised Linwood Ave to Ferrymead where we caught the posse of Steve, Andy, Tony, Wazza, Dallas and Marie. The 8 of us then headed up McCormacks, steep little fucker that it is in bits. I spun out at one point and used some dogshit as an excuse, flicking it off the track so's the others wouldn't encounter it as first Pete then Andy rode on past. On today's ride Andy astounded me with his climbing prowess. Several times he just kept on chuffing when everybody else, including me, had spun or gasped their last out. This was the first occasion. A brief regroup above the 2nd hairpin (which nobody got), and on up through more steepness and a number of sodden clay bits, cleaning most.

Into the top hairpins and Pete and me (and Andy) gave them all a damned good go, with, i think, Andy getting the most, but Pete and me doing pretty good too. Varied results for the rest of the crew, but thats fine, Xmas is nearly on our doorsteps and the chelibrations are already piling their insidiousness upon our insides... Out the top, up the road and on up Longridge to John Britten Reserve. Brief stop and then as i headed onto the singletrack i realised my rear tire was nearly flat, so, a quick change of tube ensued as all but Andy and Pete headed on up.

The three of us followed on up, gasping for air and struggling with traction to catch the others. Once again, Andy methodically plugged away at it and cleaned bits no one else did. Marie put in a good effort too, and by and by we all got to the top via various digressions, regrouped and relayered before enjoying a newly trailed alternative line that rides above the previously rutted version of the trail, to the road, and to Greenwood (which had a big fat OPEN sign). Top section of this was great, catching and passing a group of 3, two of which were running inappropriately tyre'd bikes (well, one had a slick on the back, the other was on a hybrid-commuter-29r-cyclocross bike with Rohloff).

Discussion was held, and several werent keen on all the way, but Warren, Marie and me were on a roll and keen to continue that roll, so we blazed on down Greenwood while the others pampered themselves off down Richmond. Greenwood was excellent. Trail in perfect knick, way overgrown in places, but firm and good traction, with a single puddle down below that jump before the valley in the bottom third. We had an excellent run, all of us overtaking at least the two inappropriately tyre'd guys (before gloomy gulch), Warren and me taking the other dude too in the lower, hella overgrown, switchbacks.

Then, off up the road, good plod, and down Richmond, taking in the new G.Effect trail which bypasses the top steep rooty bit very nicely, then down and across to Richmond on REALLY overgrown track.

Blast down road, Dot Com, then home. Excellent sunday ride and much needed to combat the excesses of this time of year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday Morning Pugsley Testride

Twas to be a 'normal' sunday ride with the posse (Steve, Andy, Wayne, Tony, Lance), and i'd finally picked up a Pugsley off Dave from velo-ideale. His personal machine, it was an extra large, in gunmetal grey, and came with Surly Open Bars (like i've got on the commuter), and running singlespeed, but with 2 ratio options, a 35:16 for town, and 30:21 for hill. a very manual shifter, ie, flip bike, loosen hub bolts, shift chain from cog to cog, straighten wheel, tighten chain, tighten bolts.
XL, Phat tyred...

Town gear was good on the flat, i had a bit of a play around my street and tried out different tire pressures. When i got it off him the pressure was pretty low, so low in fact that it didnt register on my floorpump... so, with tires set to 20psi i spun across to Steve's for the 'normal' ride on a very abnormal bike. Once up and rolling it spun along quite nicely, the tires humming away, but not feeling that hard work. Seat was too low, which i adjusted once i was at Steves.

The boys all had to have a quick turn on it, all of them oohing and aahing at the somewhat preposterousness of it, but also at its total coolness. And all expressing surprise at the apparent lack of weight.

Off round Hansons and up Ramahana we went. I managed to stay on top of the town gear to the first corner, where i flipped her over and made the shift. From here up, much nice riding, cleaning everything except a sizeable portion of the very top piece of seal, then the gravelly bit before the second gate. Oh, and a bit of the gravelly bit right up near the top. Steve was feeling crooked so turned back before we even made the dirt.

At the summit i let a little air out of the tires, and off we hooned round the Traverse. Felt pretty good, grip on rocks was spectacular. I overcooked a couple of corners, i think due to the 29r nature of the tiresize more than anything. but soon got the hang of it and enjoyed the trip round the trail, particular enjoying getting a bit of speed up on the nice downhill bit towards the pond. Was probably travelling slightly slower than normal, 2 reasons for this, firstly not wanting to over-cook myself, but also inability to pedal any faster than flat out in such a low gear.

The dipper was cool, cos as i came up the other side the rear tire left the ground, and when it hit the ground again i was travelling slower than it was spinning so it actually gave me a nice wee kick up and over the crest. Rest of the ride round the bike just stuck to the trail, no wash, no slip, and flew into round and into the forest, me really getting the hang of it.

Down Thompsons was a blast, me juuuust making it round the first hairpin. Final section great grip.

Kiwi up road to Nun was okay, sitting for most of it, the 30:21 a great gear, the tires really not that sucky, gasping the last half of Worsley's Rd to the dirt, then clambering up it pretty good.
So good.

Does my butt look big in this?

Top of the Nun, raring to go.

Little bit more air out of the tires and down i went. possibly still too much air, but, and i still wasnt overly confident of my handling skills, so took every bunny route, but it was still really good. flew down, enjoying the traction and boingy-ness. Pulled out half way, as did the others, but Andrew never showed. We could see him waaay up on one of the first straights so waited a bit, then Lance and me took off down the rest of the trail and the pug sang its way down this section. Awesomeness! Then back up to the others and still no Andrew. Eventually we saw him rolling and then we all headed back up to top of Worsley again. Off down the bodybag, a few riders on their way up drove me into a gravelly rut which the big fat tires just boinged me on through.

Tight wee clamber up to the Hidden and this is where Pugsley really found its place. the loose dirt, pine needles and odd rock feature were just eaten up under the high volume tires. Absolutely fantastic. At the bottom we rolled where Nelson and i had days previous, below the tank (through a little muck), only to find someone else has treaded in a line from just after the tank, down to the same line Nelson and I coifferred on Thursday.

At the gate i flipped the Pug on its back again, changed gears to 'town mode' and put some more air back in the tires, then we headed down the road, me taking as much sidetrack as possible, and down thru the nasty long grass down the lower road section then out past Cracroft and home into a blasting easterly gale.

Will i buy a Pugsley? Almost definitely, eventually. It was insanely cool, but probably not this time round. I'd go for a smaller size frame, obviously. The 29r factor would take a little getting used to, and that's where a 24inch based rim with 4inch tires might fill a 26r based niche. But the sheer possibilities of the Pugsley attract me. I can see it being an awesome all season rider in Hanmer, or Craigieburn - anywhere in the hills really. and a fun ride at the beach, off piste Bottle Lake meanderings. I'd love to try it down the Craigieburn Luge in mid winter on a snow base. or a winter tour up the Poulter. There's deifinitely a space for it in my quiver one day. I told my son they can buy me one in 3 years for my birthday... :)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Terrsday night gloopage

rid the Cotic to work in full mtnbike regalia then at 4.30 worked my way down Blenheim Rd to Nelson's work where we chucked it in the 'Rona boot and headed for the same place i parked up on Sunday.

up the dirt we headed chatting away, finding the lines in the long grass and generally pushing our ways up the hill over rocky sections and up the ridgy faces presented to us. We hit the body bag debating very briefly a quick left and loop but i figured there was gonna be no way we'd be happy with the bodybag after a decent phat descent, so on up the nastiness we cruised til the dreaded top section. this time, with nelson ahead of me grinding away astoundingly in his middle ring, i held on for dear life and ground my way up. Granny, 24:32, as low as i can get and in the state i was in - usual sitting around all day, barely any recent riding - i felt like absolute shit and got pretty bloody close to puking. But, managed to get my body through that bag, working the fucker up that top section. I'd failed it last time, so forced myself to once again conquer it for posterity's sake.

Much breath was caught at the top. Then the little climb to top of nun and into the fun. First round, other than being a great descent, we both seemed to ping off rocks all over the place, generally not having the most comfortable rides tho holla'ing a merry "Thank yoouuuuu" as we passed the awe-inspiring track builder. When we reached the bottom i remembered i'd pumped my tires to over 40 for riding to work and beyond. Nelson realised his were a little hard too. So. figuring we'd deflate at the top, filled water at the Kiwi, hit the climb.

At the top there was woman in blue stopped, busy tweaking her suspension - for she had full, and us on lowly hardtails(!). We deflated some air, and hit the trail, 2nd time round, ahead of her, both having a MUCH better trip. Not just for having the just-done-the-trail feeling but also the smoother and far more grippy rides engendered to us by the lower airpressures. This time round tho, on the first of the really big uphill sweeper left handers, round round round , i ended up off balance and stalling up on the grass just at the top of the corner...

Anyway, good ride down, much better with good tire pressure. Quick chat to Te Builder, lots of thanks given. Back up the road, round, and over, meeting the girl from the top again (discussion was made re her speed overtaking us without being seen - she'd cut out half way...). And off we headed down the Bodybag - at an insane speed.

Hauled up and hit the low gears to climbed the gorsebone graveyard to the goodvibes. Some motorbikes had been through ahead of us, leaving the trail loose and a little messed up. More pushbikes through will fix it, with the motos forming our berms for us... great ride down - if a little slow and cruisy and not full-on hard-out noise. Into the great final bit, getting finally softer and looser over the drop and into that nice tight lefthander that drops you over into the steepest little wickedness of a corner, and finally across the slope down the drop to the wee climb out. Back up at the top we met some guys riding up our next descent. Sweet flow down that to the tank and out. Decided to seek further forested singletrack, so got back in to the tank, headed to it's right, and assisted in the potentials for connective flow into the next sections (that were already in there - thanks to moto's!).

finally, out the maintrack and down to the car. then to some mackers and onto Pomeroy's, where we met Steve, Warren, Robin, Pete, Andrew, Tony and Mark(of the abacus, and now the New Parent status). Epic beers were mostly consumed and Ms Swtchbckr was on the scene, on her Switchback no less!

The dregs headed to our home and more fun ensued, with Noir, Ardbeg and Highland Park. A good night had by all, I believe.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sunday night Quicky

Got out and had a nice wee ride tonight. left home in the car about 6.30 and parked up top of Worsleys Rd, end of the seal. Was feeling pretty shite but gave it a good go and just cruised on up the trail, taking the odd break to get some air. failed the bodybag, first time for a while, walked about 10m near the top, but managed to pedal out the worst.

Shifted down a few gears and plodded up to top of the Nun. Nice cruisy flowy trip down here. Not really pushing it, just focusing on the flow. Really enjoyed it, railing the berms, popping some nice air. Passed a couple of stopped riders at the carpark, then had an excellent blast down the lower flat-out wide-open section.

Then it was back up the road, over the top and back down the Body Bag at a ridiculous speed, then ducked up into B-Line and enjoyed this profusely, loving the rock features, washing out on the odd berm, taking it all the way down, including over the steepy droppy lowest section, back up the short climb to the dodgey ex-wallride, then into the final little bit to the tank and back onto the main drag, meeting a couple more riders on their way up as i blasted down the final ruts and back to the car. All up, a little over an hour car to car - choice loop.