Friday, December 14, 2012

Xmas Eve Aorere Goldfielding

No rides while in Totaranui, cept for around and about the campground with the boys. 

From Collingwood, drove in the Fiatissimo out Plain Rd and down past the Devil's Boots along for a while to the end, then backtracked and parked under a nice shady tree.

HOT AS...  Headed up the main entry, then hit the 4wd track on the right, through the ford and began the scorching climb.  Little if any shade in occasional spots, i took a right hand turn, just for an explore, thinking it might come back round to the main track.  It didnt, so after about 5 minutes i turned back, and continued my climb. 

Ended up climbing all the way past my 2nd turn off (to Bedstead Gully), and on up to the 387 trig, thinking there was a single track down, which petered out to nothing but overgrown-ness, so i climbed back up to 387 and headed back down to my usual, which i found different to my distant memory, but eventually ended where i needed to be.  Hit the trail to the dam, and climbed, steeply.  Met the other track, and climbed, steeply again, finally topping out and enjoying the descent to the dam where i plonked myself down in the shade of a tree overlooking the water. 

Sitting there, shirt off, thinking how damned hot it was, and suddenly there's someone else!  Hello...  chatted a bit and she took off onwards upwards, and i headed on down round the waterrace, past the caves, didnt bother to pop down to them, and then blazed on down the fantastic singletrack back to the bottom, and finally the car.

Rameka, tumeke...15th December, Saturday, 2012.

(written a couple days later, from Totaranui) After driving up from Chch through a hot hot day, stopped at the Canaan Downs Rd turn off and changed into my bike gear and hit the gravel road in, Jo taking over the driving of the Brava, carrying a sleeping H. 

5.27pm it was, hot as.  A couple of descents and climbs before the true climb, views for africa out over Tasman Bay back round Motueka through to Nelson.  Passed by a couple of dreaded hippies and their van parked up next to a heap of busy beehives, and then was passed by one car going in, met one coming out on my descent from the Canaan Saddle.  Through the Gathering site and when i got to the field we camped in that wet wet festival (G2000), i saw the sign,  "Rollercoaster (Canaan Loop)".  rode across the field and hit the steep wee climb, sheep scattering from my path, their excrement thankfully not sticking to my tires too much.  Rollercoaster it was, up, down, up, down, swoopy fun.  big ring the whole way with only one dab, round and into some bush and fantastic rolling flowing trail in absolutely ideal condition, eventually spitting me out, grinning, in the Harwood's Hole carpark.

Signed the book and clambered my way up to the Rameka track start.  Sat down for a well earned rest and chucked out a couple of txts, then into the trail, about an hour from when i entered the road.  And oh, what fun.  The driest i've ever seen it (in all the 3 or 4 times i've ridden it), supreme conditions.  Flowed, rode, wended, hopped, popped, shimmied my way around.  Loving the one or two wet sections for their back end squirrelling.  taking it carefully on one or two of the stream crossings, including the one i crashed on when the pfmtbc trip rode through.  Bombed down the steeps in the gorsey open section, with new detour, towards the end, then into the climb to the end. 

the Pack Track beckoned me with a nice sign and oh, my!  What a trail.  What a trail!!!  Fast, good visibility, tight in places, excellent grade, fantastic surface.  A new favourite, methinks.  Tempted to ride up just to ride down it again.  Took a couple of pics on the way through, had to stop, the view was so spectacular.  Then the Tomo, dropped a pebble down it just to see how deep.  Onwards, across the road, round over the ridge and down a couple switchbacks to cross over again and into Great Expectations. 

A bit overgrown with grass from above, blocking some of the view ahead and forcing a rather unique riding position.  Once in the forest, however, all was good.  Swoopy swoopy flowy flowy round the outer ridge and back in, views down into the valley of the devastation of last year's storm.  Back and forth across the regen slope, crossing over one or two little brooks a couple times, one of which had become a 2 metre deep 1 metre wide gut from the storm.  All the way down to the bottom of the valley, stepped across the creek and lead through to 2 Klick. 

down the Do option (left, steeper) of "Do or Die" then cleaning the riverbed section and eventually up onto the road to ride round to 1 klick which led me down to the bottom. 

Finally, gravel road top gear cruising out to the seal then down to the main(ish) road where i stopped and txted out to Steve at 7.38, basically having just had one hour of blissful descending singletrack all the way.

Hit the road and made Pohara at 8pm, in time for a burger and fries and a couple of well earned beers.  AWESOME.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday's Up up uppity up.

a work field trip checking out a bit of historic and recreational stuff had me at Godley Head, with my bike, so, once everyone else vanned off, i filled up with water and hit the trail about 3.40pm.  Hot sun, afternoon light, bit of an easterly behind me, all good.  Had a nice blast round to Breeze Col, then hit the climb up, straight up the 'fall line' rather than the zig and zag, then over and good blast down to Livingston, then the real climb began.  Proud to say i stayed in big (36t) ring all the way, never having to resort to granny.  Was a good climb.  Stopped at one stage to change out of merino t-shirt into my orange nzo trike one, much cooler.  Onwards up, all climbing nicely, first bridge, then boardwalk then the next then through across and round and along and finally hit some downhill, swooping and enjoying and relishing and blazing.

Evans Pass, checked the chiming of the messages and made a call out to hear the quote for the Fiat brakes, rang them and arranged, then onwards.  Hmmm...  4.05 or so, do i go up the road or up Greenwood??  Should be okay on Greenwood, so, off up i start the clamber...  Again, managing to stay in big ring the whole way, tho, a couple of dabs and one or two short walks due to total wiped-outness.  But, all in all, a nice climb, and definitely needed.  I'd told 'her indoors' that i'd be off the hill by 4.30 and home well before 5, but it just wasnt to be.  Made the road top of Greenwood at 4.30, and pushed hard up to Britten Reserve where i absolutely blazed down the 'new' singletrack, holla'ing at sheep to get the fuck out 'the way, and nearly totally overcooking the first hairpin.  Over the fence fast, down the road, down the wee reserve track (NOT skidding, which took some work) out onto the road, and flew down to Craigieburn Place and into the steps, trot trot trot, then back on and flying zig, zag, zig, zag, then rollllllling floating wafting squirrelling all through the fun wee track, watching out, careful like, on all the loose grass then absolutely flying down the last stretch, rocket speed, out onto the road and it was 4.40.  Time for the drudge.  At least there was a tail wind, ish, Pushed it hard all the way home and got in the door at 5.05, to a, thankfully, not unhappy girl.  W00t!

Monday, December 10, 2012

another no ride weekend.

disappointment.  Unable to get primed for joining the usual crew on a group ride, and thinking i'd get out a bit later in the day while the family was away in Hanmer, chores got the better of me and i didnt get out.  Didnt help that by the time i could have gotten out the heat was off putting. 

Bike related, however, i did get the disc brake installed on the Troll.  And in the evening, i took Jet (the dog) for a spin, riding the ghetto cruiser, we tootled round River Rd to Pomeroy's, where i got a rigger of NZAPA for a work do tonight, and then back round River Rd, over Swanns Rd Bridge onto Avonside, right round the wreckage to Dallington Bridge then back round the other side all the way home.  He had a great time.  I had a great time, 'cruising' all the rough stuff.  Man he's fast.  Good boy!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wednesday night Worzle Shenanigans

Nelson to mine after work and we parked up over in Croftfield Place, yet again, much as we had for my recent ill-fated Wednesday evening (five weeks ago now).  Following that ride very similarly, we cruised round Cashmere Stream Esplanade and then up the valley betwixt Worsley and Westmorland, taking what would be a sweet line if only someone wandered up it with a weedeater; long grass getting the better of us numerous times.  Back onto the skinny singletrack and then up the zig zags, the top ones making my legs hurt to the point of getting off.

Up the road, expecting Craig to catch us any time, him having left home a similar time to us entering the valley.  We didn't see him.  Got to the dirt bottom end of Worsley and started our clamber.  I went slow; something I found myself doing on every climb this evening.  My excuse being, legs tired from last night's ride, and also the Nor'waster sapping the energy with its heat, plus my fast (tailwind) ride home tonight, not to mention the head wind to work, and headwinds both ways yesterday (and probably the day before that too!).  We stopped where we often do, and spotted Craig powering up, so we got going again, and it wasnt til i was approaching the bottom of the body bag that he overtook - riding a Liteville 301(in black).  Sweet ride!  Quick chat, and we headed up the entrance to all the mcvicars trails.  I led off on the down, peeling left down the 'new' line and proceeding to bomb it pretty well, Craig sitting far enough off my tail and Nelson beyond that.  At a big rock I baulked, once i'd seen what the roll out wasnt, so they both got past me then, and i chased, struggling to keep up.  we peeled right into the F.C. and had a great blast, with Nelson bailing up on a corner and me slipping past, chasing Craig, all the way out the best (right hand) line to the bottom.  It's improved with all the riding that has obviously been occurring on it.

Up the 4wd access back up, struggling once again on the steep bit midway, to the top of  Dave's (or my AC Joint) and we zipped off down this, me taking the rear, on account of nervousness, perhaps, wary of an injurious trail.  Anyway.  not as fast as my last ride down here, and cleaned the bit i'd crashed on, and went on to clean the rest of it all the way down, chute and all.  SWEEEET.  Climb out was hard work, again, i was shitted.  Walked a bit after our creek crossing (which is still holding up really nice).  Caught the guys and off up the 4wd again.

Craig peeled off home from here, and Nelson and me continued back up the steep 4wd in the forest to the pylons where we turned around and rode back down our old favourite, discovering how short it was, but enjoying it nonetheless.  Then it was down and out, back down the road, and back down the zigs and zags and narrow narrow overgrown (a little) singletrack into the valley and back round the esplanade to the car.

Well earned souvlaki eats on Colombo St, and an even more well earned Tuatara A.P.A at Pom's finished off a damned good evening spent.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Tuesday night Pleasantries.

Cool wee ride tonight.  Great to be back out on the bike.  Got to Pete's and we jetted to Upper Major Hornbrook to meet Steve and Robin, Wayne and Warren, Andy, and then Matt.  Up through Britten Reserve on the newish track, sweet climb, then round the old Britten trail to the road, fast descent through the cone chicane to Cavendish Saddle and onto the new trail climb.  Grunty wee climb, requiring good concentration, which takes your mind off the climbing itself.  Trail has had a bit more done to it since Nelson and me first came up here.  At Broadleaf, gravel, up through the gate to the towers, over a new stile, down round the new line and over another new stile and on down down down, twitchy to keep up with the track.

Onto Greenwood back out towards the Summit Rd start, Pete tight on my tail the whole way.  Turned around and rode back the way we'd come, me letting Pete go and him hoofing off away out front.  Took a squiz at the old gun emplacements on top, then back up the way we'd come down not long prior.  This climb keeping you focused on the riding not the climbing too, good gradient, a bit grunty, in places, and a little bit of walking on the steep rocks up top.  Past the towers again, and nor'west overspill rain started.  The trail back to Cavendish was tighter in places than the other side, but the last tack across the slope towards (yet another new stile) was awesome, wind behind, flowing across the slope and down, with a cool twisty just before the stile.

Back up the road through the 'cut' and back into the Brittens.  Sweet fast descent down the final stretch back to the cars by 8.15.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Up and Blat

Quick ride this afternoon, cos i really needed it, and to test the shoulder's durability.  Was good.  Tootled over to bottom of the hill in the car, and rode up Parklands Drive, then on up Huntsbury Ave.  Steeper than i remembered, this section before Aotea Tce.  Anyway, made the dirt, cranking the sounds for a good soundtrack to my clambering journey.  Uneventful climb, not going very fast.  At the top of Old Skool i just headed straight in, bombed it down to the first gate and met a guy there.  We chatted a bit, him saying he'd never been down here before, so i said "Follow Me!"  and proceeded to lead him down all the off piste bits between switchbacks...  He didn't manage to stay on my tail and rode pretty much the 4wd the whole way down.  The rough stuff i was on was a little over grown and i lost it a couple of times, having to walk a couple of the worst bits. 

Onto the singletrack, very tight with the long grass crowding out the track, and i got a flat before the stile.  The guy stopped and chatted again, then i left him behind again.  Hopefully he enjoyed his new track.  In the lower reaches i had a couple of annoying chain slippages.  Time to replace that drivetrain, finally, methinks.

Shoulder did well.  Would have been mad at myself if i'd crashed on it, but otherwise it was all good.  No tweaky, worst cases were probably lifting the bike over stiles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


So.  Since last i rode, i've been fixing.  Thursday I basically had to stay in bed all day.  Friday i was getting better, then over the weekend into the following week it sort of plateau'ed.  Dull ache with occasional tweaks of pain when i reached the wrong way.  Finally, got a Physio appt Friday last and now have a few stretches to go on with.  Followed up on Monday, and tomorrow am off to Fiordland where, off the bike, I will have more time to heal, hopefully with no slips or slides down banks grabbing out for supplejack and tweaking it again. 

Riding to work has been fine, except when trying to hop the back wheel up kerbs.  I can see myself back on the trails after i get back from Fiordland.  That will be nearly a month since the injury.

Also in the recent week, i put the first disk brake on the Surly, an Avid BB7 I bought a set of recently.  Much improved.  Now just have to get the centrelock thing sorted for the Alfine and I can say goodbye to rimbrakes!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Wednesday night eventualities

Nelson picked me up from home after work and we headed for the hills.  Parked in Croftfield Pl, off Penruddock, and proceeded around the Cashmere Stream Esplanade Reserve to wend our way up the Worsley Valley tracks eventually zigging our way onto Worsley's Rd and up to the end of the road.  A fair few cars parked up top there.

Up the dirt and straight into bottom of the singletrack to climb.  Originally thought we'd head straight into the new steepy off here, but reached it really quickly so decided we were feeling okay with the climbing and continued on up the steep ass little 4wd track, up past the usual singles and under the pylon.  Next came something we're not allowed to break the first rule of.  Down that, swooping and enjoying the hell out of, but instead of taking the high line to exit, we tried out the low line, which went across some open ground and was a bit of a disappointment.  Into the 4wd track and on up back to the corner and this time headed into the trees again past what used to be the sketchy wallride.

Dropped into what's apparently called Dave's Track, but i reckon should be called ACJoint, and i led off down having an excellent ride.  Was really on form, going quite quick in places, riding all the steeps and droppy swoopy bits well.  BUT, nearing the bottom, roughly even with the cliffs, on probably the third to last 'sketchy' bit, i clipped a pedal on a rocky lip, which threw my balance very slightly, making my front wheel wash out and i knew i was going down.  I left the bike and sort of began stumbling, thinking to myself, "this shouldn't be too bad, I'm not falling far, I'm not gonna hit a tree, sweet!"  My hand went out, slipped and I landed with all my force on my elbow, which transferred my falling energy into my shoulder, which went crunch.  And hurt.  Quite a bit.  Waves of nausea came and went and Nelson rode the next bit right down the chute out the bottom, while i struggled with my bike and very sore shoulder.

Got going on the climb and i didnt feel too bad, so long as i didnt try to do any tweaky power turns, sitting and climbing was okay.  Granny slog for a while, doing okay, but not handling any rough stuff.  Walked a section, rode more, then we crossed our nice little rock bridge which is holding up nicely, and I climbed the first bit out of the creek that i'd walked last week, but then walked a bunch up to the hairpin.  Got back on and fuck it hurt, so had to walk the last bit up to the 4wd track.  Riding up this was okay.  As we approached the top again, a couple of riders came flying up behind us.  As the first one passed i realised i knew him and we all stopped to chat at the gate.

We split here, Nelson headed on up Worsley to complete the ride we were going to do, while i took his keys and tentatively headed down to the car to drive round to pick him up.  He went up to top of Nun, down first half, having a crash of his own near the bottom, before heading round the road, down Kennedy's, Crocodile and out to me around 8.40, just as it was getting dark.

My ride down the bottom of Worsley's was painful.  Braking and negotiating rough stuff was the worst.  But once on the road, i found that if i locked my elbow straight, the shoulder didnt hurt, so getting down to the bottom was smooth and easy.  Before the final hairpin i stopped and headed down the bottom zigzag into the park, which was slow, then headed out Rushglen and Pentonville back to the car.  Getting the bike in the back of the car was excruciating.

Home, and i drove myself to the 24hr Surgery where just before 11pm got an Xray which thankfully showed no fractures, and was home about 12.20am...  Very busy in there last night.

Ironically, yesterday, a mate Dave at work was just talking to me about where i was on the curve of increasing confidence and cockiness leading up to the crash which plummets you back to the bottom of it again...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday East End Meanderings, plus bonus Bottle Ache

Lots of riding yesterday, i spent nearly 6 hours on the bike, and got a chaffed ass as a result.

Round to Pete's Sunday morning and we Linwood Aved to Ferrymead bridge where we found Steve, Wazza, Wayno, Tony, Andy and Marie.  Off round to McCormacks and up, cleaning first hairpin, but not the second, then blowing it on the little steep between the flaxes above the bridge, then on the top hairpins, Andy got them all, I missed one, and everyone else followed with varying degrees of less success...

Out onto Mt Pleasant Rd, and we slogged on up round to Upper Major Hornbrook, where we had a rest before hitting up the nice sidling singletrack to the top.  Everybody made a good effort to collect lots of poos on their tires for the relishing of later.  Hung a right on the road at the top and headed off up Broadleaf Lane, at the end of the tarseal i was pleased to see a "Please Keep Gate Shut" (as opposed to the usual Tresspassers will be Shot sign that could have resided there).  We ground up the gravel section into some cloud to the radio and cellphone antennae and masts.

Over the fence, past the mast, over the next fence and everyone's faces were a little perplexed cos there's no trail visible, just tussocks...  I led them off down onto the trail and away we flowed.  Nice wee blaze down the ridge and before we knew it we were on top of Greenwood.  Off down here we blasted.  I had an excellent jaunt down this, as I think most did.  A few others around; when we stopped just after the Gulch of Gloom, we could see a big posse just finishing off down at Evans.  They headed back up the road as we descended.  Near the bottom, at speed on the big sweeper around to that macracarpa tree my front tire got into some freshly exposed loose stuff on the inside of the turn and started to go - i envisaged myself going down hard, nearly did, got a foot out and catapulted myself back up to the vertical, finishing off the last bend down to the stile getting a little shakey...  phew!

Onto Godley, I cleaned the first section of the rocky start, but lost it part way through the solid rock exit, then cleaned up the rest of it.  Some good work done further along this track, with the pinch point half way along tidied now into something rideable.  Andy had received a call from Hubbster that they were working on Anaconda and did we want to ride it.  Most of us had other stuff on so didnt want so spare the time, but Marie was keen so she continued on her merry way onwards out Godley to assist.  The rest of us headed down the fenceline to the road and over down the sweet trail, at high speed, down to the Taylors Mistake Rd.  Then shunted our way up the seal and Pete and me decided to explore Nicholson to see what lay beyond the barriers...

Past the first barrier (at the Flowers Track turn off), and down to the next one...  hmmm.  no getting through there, so down the hill and our exit was in sight, but barriers abounded, so followed the fenceline behind an abandoned house for a bit, contemplating climbing down through its yard, but no, onwards along the fenceline and then carried up the hill back to the track and then on down Flowers, but riding out the Private Right Of Way out to the old driveway/road and bombed down the rest of Scarborough and round to Dot Com.  Coffee and bagel, and a tailwind home.

Bottle Ache
In the afternoon, with my sis visiting from Melbs, little H was keen to go for a ride at Bottle Lake, so the three(+dog) of us headed out there, me with the singlespeed, Sis on the old Schwinn/Extreme, and H on his blue singlespeed, and Jet the dog on 4 paws.  He had the best time, running the whole way round.  It's opened up through the middle again, with a nice new section through tight trees bypassing a mountain of rubble from the city.   H was amazing too.  Going hard the whole way.  Sometimes I'd watch him bombing down a hill, getting sketchy and saving it with absolute confidence.  He's an awesome wee rider.  Sis really enjoyed it too, and Jet was the star.  Flat-out, the whole way.  Drank from the stream of water from my backpack no worries too, and met lots of friendly dogs.  Good boy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday night further explorations

Great ride last night.  Nelson came to mine after work and we navigated the rush hour traffic in the 'rona across to Worsley's, parking up top.

I gasped for breath all the way up, on account of a bit of a cold i'm suffering with right now, tho, keeping Nelson in sight all the way, we eventually made the bottom of the Bodybag, having been passed on the way by a young fella'me'lad hauling ass up the hill on his full susser and ridiculously wide bars.  His mate followed up behind us, saying the first dude was an energiser bunny.

Off up the grunt track and into the single, looking for new beginnings i'd heard tell of...  Firstly, we spotted an old section of trail, followed it and found it to lead to the bottom of a super techy downhill coming from somewhere on high.  Followed it up a bit, but didnt go to the end cos we'd barely be able to ride it anyway, big drops over logs into more drops over logs on silly steepness...  back down and on down, spotting a trail off to the left that i'd noticed before but was definitely looking more cut up than the past.  It was going the wrong direction to what i was expecting so we continued on down to the big cliff, not finding anything else, so we headed back up to give it a try.  Below one of the steeper rocky sections, in front of a couple (the woman of which walked the rocks), my chain blew out, major slippage, and i garked my knee on the stem or crown, but didnt think much of it at the time.

Hit up the new trail, and it was fun, a few jumpies doable, and one or two not quite, but rollable.  It joined in with the usual trail lower down, above the pylons.  There was a group of riders heading up the 4wd track in there next to us.  We continued on down our usual route, blitzing left after the pylon gap and keeping right to take in the nice droppy section down and over down to the 4wd climb back out.  Where it meets the gate there were some dudes playing on the jump there, two did it as we approached. 

We then headed into the trail we'd walked back out of last time - this time committing ourselves to the end.  Wow.  what a wee trail.  Steeper.  Then steeper still.  All rideable, til the very last chute.  When my caked up front wheel started to slide i knew it'd beaten me.  The same as prior, or another, group of riders were negotiating the bottom chute as we approached, and rode off up valley ahead of us.  Never saw them again.  Chute ended up in a spectacular wee gully we'd never seen before, amazing cliffs above (that we'd just ridden down the side of), and a granny climb sort of sidling track up valley, all hidden in the trees.  Grannied uphill for a bit.

Here's Nelson taking time out to lounge around on the way up.

Got to an unrideable stream crossing halfway up, after the rock, and so we stopped and made it rideable by placing rocks strategically.
Nelson riding it (really, he wasn't travelling that quick...).

Continued on up - i walked a little - then a zig to the left and another clamber and we were on a 4wd track.

At some stage in here I looked down to notice blood on my bashguard, and when I looked at my knee I was surprised to see a nice trickle of blood running down my shin, from the gark previous.  Anyway...

At the 4wd, we thought, "wonder what's up here?" and headed left, for a look, up to the farmland, thought about potential trails just back to where we'd come, in the trees.  Bumpy ride back down, and on up the 4wd for a while til we found the bottom of a track, which turned out to be a couple of tracks.  Hmmmm... certainly looked interesting...  Up the 'least' steep looking one (which actually turned out to be the steepest) - carrying and pushing for fricking ages, the daylight diminishing rapidly, just to find out where it started; discovering a very sneaky entrance.  We decided bad light no good for a first try - it is fucking steep, and there were a few unrelenting rockgarden sections with not babyheads, but troll- or ogre- or giant-head sized rocks. 

Donned lights and headed on down the usual track, looking all the time out for the other trail (of the two), stopping on a couple of false leads, and eventually trying a line that looked right and finding it.  Sweeeet!  Excellently tracked newby which did everything we wanted it to, not too steep, curving back and forth, round and about, and eventually saw split for a low and a high line.  We decided to take the high line which I suspected would take us further, and we found some awesome sketchy off camber slope crossing trail with droppy corners and some cool challenges.  Rode out to the bottom - of the entrance we'd walked up prior.

Meandered back on up and round, passing the bottom of the previous 'low line' which has a sign Fight Club on it, and we all know what the first rule of Fight Club is...

Eventually on down the rest of the usuals and out to the car, feeling like we'd ridden a fair bit even tho we'd covered fuck all distance.  Some mint new trails that hopefully will stay mint.

Meanwhile, now i want one of these

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Trip, Overall Reflections

Been a couple of days now, and I noticed Steve had put a low ranking on his experience so I figured I'd chuck my oar in. 

Reckon this trip had me with the sorest legs I've had off a trip.  I blame 7 mile for that on our first Q.Town riding day, with all those steep little pinches. 

Partying definitely took a backseat this year, due to the tiredness everybody was experiencing, and also perhaps the larger group, the different levels of 'party-ability'.   But that's been sliding for the last few years.

Overall, I enjoyed most of the riding.  I would not agree with the 'consensus' that the Gondola and Zoots were the best.  To me, the Gondola was the least exciting riding of the whole trip.  It is a product.  A totally artificial form of mountainbiking.  Its not even 'downhill' because the trails are all so easy, lowest common denominator, which, it pretty much has to be.  Its potentially a good introduction to a form of mountainbiking.  But really, its just 'Entertainment' in the way Bungy Jumping or Jetboat rides are, which is what you'd expect from Queenstown.  Zoots, however, was fun, and definitely i'd say more interesting than Hammy's or Vertigo. 

But for me, the 'natural' tracks were the best.  The Skippers Packtrack, and the Moonlight - definitely highlights of my trip.  And of course, Sticky Forest - similar in concept to 7mile, but just done so much better and with so much more variety (and area).

Steve asks, will there be a next year?  Why not?  Is the organisation of it all just getting too much?  As a large group, are we now too disparate in our abilities/speeds/interests?  Do we need to break up?  Go our separate ways?  Or can we travel and stay as one group, but splinter off to do different rides?  We pretty much did that this year.  It's the only way it can stay interesting for all involved.  Will there be a next year?  Cant see why not.

I vote for Marlborough.  Wakamarina, Whites Bay, Waikakaho-Cullens, some of Queen Charlotte, Nydia, Wither Hills (if there's nothing better to do).  Thats several days riding right there, all of which I'd like to experience (or indeed, re-experience).  How 'bout it, guys???

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Trip, Part 5, Homeward Bound

Drove through to Wanaka and parked up at Sticky Forest.  Rode: In HoeDown, Easy St, Sesame St into Venus, Crankin Fine up, Bilantus to Crankin Fine again.  4G down back up Sickboy, Lower Peroxide into something Turns, back up Chairlift, Peroxides, CarrotCake, back up Chairlift, Peroxide and Hoe Down upper into Twin Towers out.  Awesomest trails of the whole trip, maybe.

The Trip, Part 4, Tuesday

Steve crookguts.  Left Warren's car at bottom of Zoots and drove to top of Skippers in rest of vehicles.  Way less snow than Sunday.  Headed down, Mark then Nelson then me then Pete, excellent trail, rutty up top section requiring 'skinnies' skills to avoide catching the edge of your tire and losing balance.  Lower down, splashy in places, with a few wee stream crossings and seeps and one big slump.  These lower stretches had a nice gradient.  Quite the spectacular landscape around and above us, a great bit of country.  Out the bottom down a 4wd bit, across a stream, with a wooden bridge provided, tho several negotiated the river crossing, all making it, albeit with wet feet.  Then ensued the massive ride back up the road to the top.  Taking Nelson, Pete and me 35mins, and the rest all straggling in in good times for the next 10-15 minutes or so.  We then blasted down Zoots, Pete leading, me chasing and unable to shake Andrew off my tail - all the way I could feel him breathing down my neck I felt like I was holding him up!  Back to Warren's car for drivers to return and all drive home.

Afternoon, lots of procrastination coupled with a bit of rainfall, allowing most to pike, but Pete, Nelson, Matt and me drove round to Arthur's Point and up McChesney to end of Moonlight Track (part of Moke Circuit).  This ended up being one of the best sections of awesome singletrack of the whole trip.  Scarily massive exposures in places, and a fair few bits of chuffing pushing up up.  Up and down, around.  Just before a big push, we stopped and Matt stopped to rest, while the other three of us carried on along the trail.  Eventually, after one or two more reasonable climbs and a sidle or descent or two, we could see a big descent we knew we didnt want to push back up, so we turned back and rode everything back to Matt (who'd had a wee wander on foot).  The ride back from here we rode all we'd previously pushed.  The last section after the creek crossing was blissful. 

The Trip, Part 3, Monday

Gondola Pass for a.m.  10 til 2.  Heaps of laps, mostly with Hubby.  Ripping down Hammys to get a feel for it all.  Then Vertigo, and "Singletrack" Sandwich into lower Original.  Hammys again, Vertigo again, Shit Sandwich again, repeat, numerous times, getting faster and faster.  slowly getting a sorer and sorer neck too...
Then finished last ride to top by 1.45, figured may not make it back in time for last ride up at 2ish (but probably would have), and met all for lunch.  Then off up (mistakenly) Ben Lomond Track.  past the no bikes sign, and on upwards, til finally deciding it wasnt going to join onto the track we could see waaaay across the valley, back down and found Fernhill trail off a lower corner of Hammys, so off up that, lots of walking and pushing up up up up up, finally catching the rest just before the 'top', and the track we could see.  around that, and more ups to the real top, not to mention the fallen trees to clamber over.  then down down down zigging and zagging then ploughing down fire trails finally coming out at Wynyard's Jumps Dream Area Park thingy.  down through that, and out then Mark says "up here", so Pete, Nels, Hubb, Mark and me head up, carrying.  Mark gives up.  We carry on, eventually find the track again, steep up up up, back onto Hammys and on down back to base.

The Trip, Part 2. Sunday

Sunday October 14th.

Woke to fine weather, drove round to 7 Mile, the carpark before (just after the Moke Lake turn off, so a km or so short).  Tech-ish mucky track from carpark along above the lake and up into the bike park area.  Rode up and down for a few hours.  probably did close to 700m alt.  Up and down, up and down.  Took in: Kachoong, Cool Runnings, Grin and Holla 1 and 2, Gravitron, Loop 7, Metolius, Bliss, Kachoong, Fruit Loops, Grin and Holla, Gravitron.

Back to base for lunch, then droved to Skippers Saddle.  There was a fair amount of snow on the top of the Packtrack and a stream running down it, so we decided to just stop and play on Zoots track.  Did several shuttles, with various members taking turns to drive the cars down.  Everybody enjoyed dialling in the track, getting to know it betterer and betterer each run.  Eventually, we'd had enough and headed home.

Meanwhile, Nelson and Mark had decided the snow may not be too bad and tackled the Skippers Packtrack.  They had a great time, I'm sure.  Marie drove back to pick up Mark from Arthur's Point; Nelson rode all the way.

The Trip, Part 1. Friday

Friday 12th Oct. 
Picked up by Nelson, drove to Pete's to leave Nelson's car, picked up Matt and met everybody at Cookie Time nearly ontime around 7.30.

In attendance, Drivers:  Steve, Warren, Andrew, Alister, and Pete.
Passengers (respectively): Mark and Marie, Wayne and Robin, Tony and Hubby, Nico, Matt and Nelson and me.

Drove to Raincliff Forest, Middle Valley Rd (between Geraldine and Fairlie, turned off a km or so after the Opuha River Bridge).  Very newly made (Hoare) track on the lower (north east) reaches which was boggy, soft and muddy.  Once on the more 4wd type tracks it was better going, but after a bit of a climb the climb got moreso and mucky as all get up.  Then a final quite steep 4wd up to the road and on up to the top of the forest for the lead in to the Mackay Track down.  This is tight and twisty with lots of roots and because it was so wet reasonably dodgy in places, with 2 wheel squirrels abounding.  The potential of the place is very good, and in the dry would be very fun.  But, it's a bit of a detour off the main drag for less than an hour's riding.

Drove on to Wanaka, bought some beer supplies from Wanaka Beerworks, then off over the Crown Range (a first time for me) to Q.Town, where we found ourselves in some very good (cheep cheep) accommodation (graciously organised by Steve).

On Saturday it rained, a fair amount, so we did no riding.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Sunday Wharfdale Adventurings

Bit of an epic today.  I'm certainly feeling like I've done something pretty huge.  Got out to Nelson's around 9a.m. and checked out his environs before we Grand Wagonned around through Oxford to View Hill and parked up.  Somehow it was like 10.30 as we were making our way up the start of the trail.

A perfect day, cool, with blue skies and sunshine.  As usual a bit of water around on the trail, and some really soggy sections.  Looks like there's been a lot of riders through it of late.  But the dry north facing stuff was nice and dry.

We were good trail pixies all the way through.  By the time we got to the saddle we'd cleared off 6 logs, with only a couple of major wind-throws we absolutely couldn't have budged. 

Seemed to make the saddle in no time, tho, I don't know how long it really too, maybe an hour?  possibly more, what with all the stopping.  Anyway, carried on over and headed down towards the Hut.  Fucking mucky along the top section, but then it got good, for a while.  Before the big historic slip, there was a big bunch of trees across the trail, requiring a bit of schlepping and scrabbling.  On down, I was getting more and more tired.  We stopped and cleared a few more logs before finally making the river, hoofed up the climb then negotiated a tricky descent (I rounded a corner to find Nelson's bike and him separated in a big pile on a corner) to the hut.  Checked out the river below the hut, wrote in the book and feasted on One Squares...

Then we hit the trail down towards where the Townshend Hut used to be.  What a fantastic wee section of trail.  Bit of a climb to start, but then it just flows wickedly.  And riding it back was surprisingly good too.  Tho, by this time I was feeling weaker and weaker.  From the Wharfdale hut we began our climb back.  Ugh.  Took as long as it took.  Most puddles, I'd pull a wee wheely over just in case they were deeper than expected.  Ever more tired, on the way up to the saddle I was crossing a puddle, and thought, "I'll just let it roll through."  Big mistake.  My front wheel stopped dead and I overbalanced and toppled straight over the bars into the muck.  D'oh!

From the saddle, the downs were spectacular.  So much fun, so much flow, so good.  The climbs seemed to get betterer too.  My legs were burned out, but what had been granny crawls became more and more middle ringed.  Second to last descent, with the bridges in it, was amazing.  I stuck right on Nelson's tail and we just flew.  Final descent was fast and loose.

Other users:  Met a guy on his way out, who told us the Hut had seen the Canty Uni Tramping Club's 'Bushball' overnight.  Met a guy on a bike with a climbing helmet and big pack, just come from the Bushball.  Then a girl walking, obviously the same.  There were a couple at the hut, who left while we were there, and later we passed them maybe 20mins from the end.  Met a guy and his son on bikes on their way down from the saddle negotiating the big wind-throw.  Rounding a corner I thought I was hallucinating, 4 or 5 sheep??  Nope, Huskies, and a guy, walking out.  They'd been to the snow up high.  Then one guy on a bike looking stunned as we flew past him, then a family of 4 near the end.  And a tonne of cars in the carpark when we got back, where their occupants were, who knows? 

New fork report, perhaps not as much small bump compliance as the Fox when it's tuned right, but it certainly felt good, and I think the 20mm axle really makes a difference.  Steering felt really precise.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Thursday Pleasant Green Explorations

Good ride tonight in the howlingly cold easterly with Nelson.  We droved to McCormacks Bay and parked up, Glenstrae up the trail.  Wheezing like nothing, I was, - thought i might perish for a while there.  Once up past the first of the switchbacks I got a little right but still struggled the rest.  We walked much of the top switchback section.  Then it was powering off up the road and up Clearview, through up to the new Britten trail. 

This puppy climbs nicely, tho steadily.  Nelson suggested it was steady like Salvation, but without the trees, and obviously a lot fewer corners.  Heaps of sheep and lambs were clearing out of our way near the top, stupid things, whaddayadoin' hanging out IN the wind!?  Where the original Britten track joined ours, just shy of the cattlestop we about-faced our directionality and proceeded on up that, 'round over the top and onwards along to its end.  Its pretty worn, obviously not seeing much rubber, lots of rocks and ruttiness.

At the road, we stopped and admired the views of the city and nearby rockfalls.  Then off we headed down the road past the climber's cars, and right past the dodgy looking van that'd just parked up at Cavendish Saddle, where we found a trail i'd heard tell of; a sidling climbing track leading to the top of Mt Pleasant and its wee antenna cluster.  It's reasonably well cut, kinda benched - making at least one of us wonder if it's merely the reinstatement of a much older trail; indeed, joke we did at the time that the Moriori or Picts had built it.  At times quite steep, too.  We rode it all til we basically lost it, mostly due to its barely developed state - picking our way where it should go to the gate for the aforementioned antennae.  Easy slug up to the trig, enjoying the view of Lyttelton and Harbour environs, and not the wind, then it was over a fence into another antenna's enclosure onto bit of a trail that chokes up a bit before another fence, over and off down the left a bit finding it and then following it very enjoyably, down down, icecream headache eating into my brain, i stopped and swapped do-rag for pfmtbc buff and back onto the trail, down, struggling to know where it's going next thanks to tussocks uncut, down, eventually coming out to a gate on the top end of the track that crosses Greenwood just before the 'ruins'.

Saw a 29r dude down there.  We headed down the 4wd track and into the single of Greenwood, passing the for some reason stalled dude, then on down, speed our companion over the bumps and cuttings.  It's even feeling worn since our last working bee up there.  Bit of a pause at the usual spot just after Gloomy Gulch and on down round, speedy speedy, down through all the new works, and there's Dave (b.a.s.i.c. mech) having a sandwich break from digging.  Nice one Dave!  He's currently responsible for the awesome carved berms all down that lower middle section.  Sweeeeeet!  Bit of a chat and onwards we rolled.  For the first time in ages i cleaned the first little rocky step up, and we roosted out the rest.  With relish!

At Evans we went and hit up the start of the Godley, just for a bit of practice.  First try for both of us? Fail.  Second try, both cleaned nicely, and went on to try out the newly cut line after the steep rocky section.  All good.  Turned around and bombed back through the saddle and got stuck into our relentless seemingly neverending climb back up to the top of Mt Pleasant Rd...

Eventually made the top, pulled up, hooked up and turned on our lights, and headed into Britten and the new trail down.  Very nice indeed.  Flowy, fun, ribbon of singletrack down.  All's needed is a couple of formed berms on the two switchbacks and it would flow even better.  At the fence we'd climbed on our way up we continued on past and when the 4wd track turned upwards, we started sidling off piste til eventually, under the pylon we hooked onto the usual down track and down through the gate and out to the road.

Fast blast down the road, into Craigieburn Pl and down to the steps.  Step, step, step, waaaay too dodgy to ride, what with a nice warratah at the bottom, straight on the bikes and zig and zag and down down down down down, swooping through bushes, avoiding the worst ruts, bailing up blind corners, over the bridge and on down, over and down, finally hurtling the long straight to the end.  Arriving at the car, kinda finally warmed up...

Thai, 8wired and a good chat to finish.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tuesday roond toon bruined

Treadled over to Steve's on the Troll and there were Warren and Wayne and Steve and Robin, and Pete arrived after me on grandad.  Steve rode his cruiser with the fat tires.  Warren and Wayne were on their old mounties.  We backstreeted our way to Somerfield Park where we met up with Tony and Andy and Marie, Andy on his singlistic marin and Marie on her townie.  We backstreeted in pretty much a straight line up to Hagley Park and near the hospital found Hubbster (also on his singlistic marin).

Around Hagley Park all the way with a lot of speed gained on the river path to the Armagh Bridge.  From here, through town, Tuam, Madras then over vacant lot, wrong way on Barbadoes and Chester alley way to Pomeroy's where we drank some beer.  I enjoyed a Parrotdog IPA, a Hud a wah and a Her Majesty's...  All good.  Matt turned up there too.  Decisions were made about the trip and eventually people dribbed and drabbed away, with a stolid core of four venturing forth to my abode for a little more frivolity before turning into pumpkins at midnight.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday morning solo meanderings

Got out on my ownsome this morning.  Most of the others did the flat ride to planting Saturday.  I headed out the door at 10am with headphones hooked up to my phone full of excellent sounds and wandered the streets towards the hill not really knowing what i was going to ride up.  Eventually made the decision to head up Bowenvale, something i'd not ridden up for a long while.  What a steep mothah she is.  Dabbed once or twice, walked not much lower down, but a bunch of sections on the 4wd zigzags up top.  Met one 29r heading down on the singletrack, and a group up top heading in.  Was toasted with the lack of wind and beating sun, and struggled out the top of Huntsbury to the meeting of the singletrack and road.

Very short rest, then hit the Traverse towards Vic.  Took me a minute to wind up but once i was rolling i felt okay.  Passed a few around the way.  The dipper is reinstated, but i didnt get to try it cos on the approach my pedal smacked a rock nearly throwing me off (and down into the dip), thankfully i managed to squirrel my way out of it and around the hole to continue.  Then it was straight into the Thomsons, meeting a couple guys near the end, not enjoying the splatter on the second half. 

Up the road to top of Worsley, getting passed by several Nun shuttler vehicles, and seeing them at the top.  Stopped under the pine tree for snackage, watching a group of fella's struggling their ways up the top of the Bodybag.  Most were walking.  Wind was howling at this point, but only here, no where else.  Hit the dirt and bombed down the 'bag, rapidly picking up speed.  then bailed up the last nasty climb of the day to top of the "Hidden" or B-line track.  Lovely in here in the forest.  swooped the berms and over the features i missed the other night. Passed a couple of rude little grom XC geeks on flash new plastic 29rs near the top, they were on their way up.  then had a sweet run down, one very close call where my front wheel dug in a little too much on a loose needly corner.  Kept right after the pylon and bombed my favourite drops and bumps.

Clambered back up to find a posse and one guy holla "nice bike!", to which i said "Thanks" and kept riding so they chased me out the bottom and he started talking friendly like.  He has one too.  We rode the rest of the way down the hill chatting, then i peeled off over the stile into the zig zag drop into the valley and down that piece of singletrack, a little more formed now, and surfaced lower down, then climbed back up to the final Worsley hairpin and blasted down for the town ride home, along the river to Colombo then the rest.  Home on 12.30...  pretty toasted.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Up down up down up down

Rode the Cotic to work, and after skedaddled down Blenheim Rd to Nelson's work and off we Corona'd to the top of Worsley Road.  Off up the dirt, me wheezing away, struggling with the climbing as I did all evening.  Kept it in my big (36t) ring all the way to the Bodybag when i finally succumbed to the granny.  I died on the final section, Nelson, as usual just powered on up.  As i was cresting the top some whippet on a carbon Niner full suss thing hauled past.

Followed Nelson into the Nun, we blazed on down, but i just wasnt in the zone.  My sunnies were slipping down my nose and putting me off, and also my tires were too hard from the ride across town this morning.  So, at the top wooden bridge, stopped and adjusted pressure and pocketed the shades.  Ah, much better.  Sped on down, to find Nels waiting for me at the middle carpark.  Set off again, this time me tight on his tail, and staying there.  No stopping, took the low road onto the Old Dyers track, and blasted down the top section, still a favourite, high speed, barely able to see the trail in front of me and loving every second.  The next section, where it sort of widens out a bit, we flew down, both catching soggy lines a couple of spots, and then finally the 4wd down then up to the road, jumping puddles where we found them.

Cross the road and painful climbing again, to the road and down next to the dogpark and round under the big microwave pylon and down behind Amherst Place houses, hurtling down the last bit under the gum trees and then down the road to meet the fella's at the Takahe.  Steve, Robin, Wayne, Wazza and of course Pete on his new rocketship.  Very impressive.

Off back up the way we'd come down.  Once again, climbing painful...  Managed to keep a lead with Nelson most of the way but just below the Kiwi i gave it up and handed over 2nd position to Pete - fresh and lightweight, right?  Regroup and on up the road to the top of the Nun, all of us giving a good nudge to the top.

This time down, i hit the lead, Nelson chasing.  Kept a damned fine pace down, much better this time, and under lights too.  We took a quick break at the carpark spot to let the other catch up and off we shot again, gapping them again (hee hee), and generally hauling ass.  Departures made here, Nelson and me back up top of Worsleys and the rest off up into Vic to get back down to their cars.

Our adventure down Worsley started with a Bodybag blast, then into the forest.  Its gotten a bit ridden!  smooth and well tracked, but some bloody stupid common denominator lines missing some awesome features, like the big piles of rocks...  damnit.  anyway.  no real events.  Nelson crashed off over that pesky rock below the clifftop.  We gave it a couple of goes, then onwards and downwards, loving a new line before the pylons, then taking the good line and over below and down down down the bestest section there is.  Then back up the track to the rest of it, and after that old sketchy wallride attempt we hung a right down a trail wondering if it would take us across lower down to meet up with the stuff below the water tank, to no avail, it kept on descending - steeply with some cool drop overs.  Awesome trail, except it just kept going down down and down...  And our car was suddenly up.  So, vowed to return sometime when there isnt a car at the top, and try it out to wherever it goes.  Climbed back up, pushing and burning our calves.  Steep.

Back onto the usual trails and down past the tank and on out to the car, swooping and railing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday night eastern chill

Nelson and me caught a lift with Pete to top of Scarborough Hill.  Pete had the Chameleon, new bike imminent.  Parked up and first Robin then Wayne and Wazza turned up.  Unfortunately for him, no Steve cos he was illin'. 

Off up the steep Godley Drive, singlespeed stylez, the three hardtails playing on the vacant lot briefly then Robin opened up the gate (after trying most of the locks).  Gravel coasting building up speed then climbing again to the next gate.  Unlocked, through, and up to next gate.  From here the washed out drifts of gravel made for hard going, but we all survived and made the road for a right hand turn towards Evans.

Nelson and me took the lefthander up off the road, while the rest continued along the seal - Pete would have joined us but was saving his lungs after a brief lurgy.  Nelson put the power on and dropped me on the climb, then with his new light warming the track, led off towards Evans.  Wind behind us, mostly down hill, it was a sweet singletrack buzz, all the way down, popping, hopping and flowing nicely.  Found the others all waiting near the bottom, Pete still coming up, trying out a new line.  While standing and talking, some dipshit was shining a green laser at us from Sumner, really bright wavering around the hillside.  Once our lights were all off they stopped.

Turned around and back up Godley.  Nelson dabbed out of the way so i took the lead and dabbed a bunch, screwing stupid stuff up, but put in reasonable effort and got going nice and quick out.  We regrouped before the descent.  Then kept it going round, through the rutty narrows, over the boardwalk and into the descent which was pretty smooth and fun, pausing to regroup again on the little stepdown boardwalk bridge in the valley.  Off down the scooped trail, juuuust managing not to catch a tire, then into the lovely swoopy left and right left and right descent, curves in all the right places before Livingston col where we had another regroup in the lee of the big rock.  The easterly was blowing cold tonight.

On up and over the next bit, remembering Hubb had mentioned nasty holes around Breeze Col, but as the trail unfolded not really finding any.  Down over the PFMTBC rock feature and then down the semi-rutty slope into the cattle stop, upon which i duly started to slide sideways, which threw me nearly off into the raupo growing on the left of the exit.  SO close...

Next up off round the trail below the road.  Duck under the low hanging wire that someone's now painted with fluoro orange, then the first of Hubby's holes, a rock in the bottom of it, then another, still a good clay bridge next to it, both easily avoidable, but then, woooah, i pulled up short of a massive wheel eater, with a tricky-ish bypass. On round and up to the highest point on the trail where we turned round and back down.  Good speed and avoiding the holes nicely. 

Up round the sealed road ever climbing to top of Scarborough, and down the nice singletrack back to Taylor's Rd.  A first time down for Nelson on this trail.  Wetter in spots than last time.  all followed finally by the road climb back to the cars.  All up a good ride, home at 9.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday river wreckage to Travis Planting.

Early start from Steve's, 8.20 we had to be there.  We, being Warren, Tony, Wayne, Steve and myself.  Radley St to the end, and through the cemeteries, connecting them with a park, then Ruru Rd, and then down the back of the sewage treatment station, and Bridge St broken bridge and from there along the river on the, at first not bad, track which later deteriorated.  Some interesting views of the redzone, man, what a mess.

Under the Anzac Bridge was inaccessible, too much water on the bike path, so crossed and continued right around to Avondale bridge/ roundabout and on around to Horseshoe Lake reserve where we headed in for a look at what has become of the track in there.  Not good.  got a ways in and then we were stopped by fallen willows and sunken, underwater, track.  Back we rolled, then into Liggins St, left into Queensbury and right into Goodman through the carnage to Broomfield Tce, past the dog park and tucked into the grass track that overlooks what used to be cool walking (and nighttime riding) tracks, all underwater too...  right round Horseshoe lake all the way to Carlsen, up Burwood, right into Travis, dodging traffic across and all the way along to Clarevale Loop Walkway, ignoring the "No Bikes Please" sign and riding around, onto the main outside Wetland Walkway, stopping for a clamber on the tower, blown away by the plants we planted years ago as we went on round to the main Ranger Station Info Centre area where the planting was.

Hour and a half, 60 odd people and 2000 plants in the ground, lots of digging and schluffing.  Good shit.  BBQ saussies and back on the bikes, This time going through the middle on Wetland Walkway, impressed once again by the growth of all the plants.  Sweeeet as.

Now, back down Travis Rd and Burwood Rd, then followed the river all the way to my place.  What a wreck the place has become.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Little Little Ak Single

Not much doing this weekend.  Took the singlist to the bach and Saturday morning I got out and headed up the hill to Chorlton, riding a little way up the gravelled View Hill Rd, but before the steepest stuff there were a few ewes and lambs hanging out on the verge i didnt wanna disturb, so i just turned it round and headed back down.  Tucked in jet flight down the road, then out to the wharf and back up to the house.  Short, well under an hour, and sweet.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Wednesday night Spring Living

Trudged the Cotic to work then skedaddled down Blenheim Rd to Nelson's work from whence we trafficjammed our way to Dyers Pass Rd and over the hill.

Parked at Allandale and had a wee explore round the waterfront all the way back round to the Gov's Bay wharf, which was disappointingly closed "due to earthquake".  bah.  looked fine to me.  Been years since i'd been out there.  Anyway, rode back round the waterfront, nicely warmed up thanks.  Headed up through the new entry to the Farm Park, on up, progressively getting less new, and wetter and wetter.  Not boding well.

Finally up and we saw that the usual paddock climb to the Pines was chock full of lambs and ewes, and cattle, and we wondered, is the place closed for lambing???  So, we made our way round to the Bamford Rd gate and found no signs, plus saw no sheep in between, so we figured, we'd just stay out of that one paddock, and slogged our way up 'mississippi', peeling off to the right across and up a big open area, then climbing a fence into the top half of the Pines.  Up we rode through here, pollen wafting through our fields of view, up into Rhymes with Orange.  Then decided to turn back and head down the Pines.

Great descent, flowy fun, all good for a long while down, then in the lower end Nelson ahead of me and he just smacked flat down on his left on the entry to a hairpin.  I arrived and the look on his face made me think it was bad.  He lay there for a while, taking stock, and thankfully received for his troubles nothing but a big haemotoma on the elbow and a couple of small leaks on his leg (one of which was a reopening from last week's Oldskool crash).  On the ground you could see where his front tire side knobs had gone straight ahead.  Front wheel right out from under him on the invisible lack of traction.  We got going again and wended our way, both a little more warily, to the bottom where we found a few cattle that'd pushed a gate open and gotten themselves where they shouldna, so, herded them out and locked the gate and turned and headed back up the track.

Largely an awesome climb, but I struggled a bit in a couple of spots.  Found the steeper stuff really hard.  Anyway, after what seemed a while we stopped up on RhymesWith and rested and OneSquared and then i led the way round under the Outdoor centre  and back into the Missississippippi manuka forest.  A fair bit of sheepshit, but the sheep messed up the dirt a bit providing a little bit of traction.  back and forth we meandered, out of the forest, round back into the forest, round back out of the forest, repeat.

Then a bit of a climb and up into Zanes.  W00t!  Excellent descent down here, traction mildly dodgy the whole way, keeping it exciting and interesting.  Sketchy, but all in good enough nick.  Out the bottom at Bamfords Rd gate we decided to pull the plug and headed down the road, back to the car.

Debated whether to stop and lap the nun, but Nelson was feeling a bit sore.

Monday, September 03, 2012


Another "No Ride" weekend.  Tho, on Saturday i did get out to Bottle Ache with little H on his sweet wee sportster, and we moseyed out the the beach and back.  But the ride i thought I'd get on Sunday didnt pan out.  More's the pity.

Hard to believe, tomorrow its 2 years since our world was shaken to bits.  2 years and way more than 10,000 aftershocks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday night, just about like the old days.

Nelson met at mine after work and after providing much needed oil to my Cotic chain (having not used it a whole month(!)) we droveded over to Centaurus Rd wherefore to park.  Just on dark it was, and we headed round and for the first time (for me) since January (with O) (and according to this blog's records, not since July 2010 for Nelson) headed up Rapaki, the dreaded grovel of a graveled highway.  It was precisely as we remembered it.  We pushed it pretty hard all the way, wondering what we ever saw in it, and wondering why people would be riding down it, and wondering where all the other people we were passing were going or what they were doing.  Made the top entirely under moonlight, without once turning on our lights (unlike the aforementioned 'others' who seemed oblivious to La Luna generous offerings).

Got straight to it on the singletrack up around Vernon.  Good wee grunt, managing to still not resort to granny.  On round, lamenting the lack of technical challenge, tho, secretly thanking it for not sapping energy.  Nelson took off a layer after we crossed the road while i provided the tussocks with some dilute uric acid derived nitrogen water.

I led off round the Traverse.  Not a bad blast, not overly fast, then strangely, around about at the pond, i started experiencing a weird slipping feeling under pressure on the drive train.  "Hmmm," i thoughts, so flipped the bike up at our regular break point where the sign used to be and lo and behold there was my quicklink broken, one side actually broken in two.  Lucky i caught it or i could have spun off somewhere crucial.  Poked about in my bag and found one half then another of a whole nother unit. Yippeee!  So, slipped that into the chain and we got going again.  Moseyed around, slightly better pace, and discovered that the dipper is gone burger.  Its full of slump, and the trail has been rerouted around over it.  R.I.P the dip.  The only other slightly altered bit is on the fast descent to that nice wee jump. 

Onto the Thompson and Thomson, cant say i like the new 'feature' on the exit and approach ramps...  bloody pain in the speed sucking ass.  Otherwise, the lower section has a wee stream on it.

Nelson topped up with water at Kiwi and we had a snack break at the nun's exit.  Then off up the road in the light of the moon, watching a big posse zigging and zagging their ways down the nun above us.

Into the Nun and flow just flowed.  I had an excellent run down, no major shifts since last time a month ago  i was up, so everything was pretty fresh in the memory.  Apart from the rocky not very flowy middle section, i seemed to get faster and faster all the way down.  Was gooood.

Then it was into Old Dyers, wondering what was in store for us.  Well.  Spring, and perhaps a lack of riders, has hit it - the grass is encroaching on the singletrack, hiding the odd obstacle.  Lower down, the usually very wet sections werent necessarily as wet as i've known them.  A couple of streams flowing down the singlerut, but otherwise pretty firm.  The weather of the past week or so has done it good.  Got pretty sketchy where it meets the wide pylon/forestry track section, though.  And the pollen!  Trail and puddles were green with it nearly.  Hayfever season is upon me.

Straight across the road and up through Vic to the skidder.  Into Spazza's, lots of work done on berms in here, nicely nicely, then over to Brent's, taking the right hand options into the bottom of Rad^sickly then aunty Flo and Bridges all going pretty good.  Bit of slop at the bottom of NuBridges, where it had been an issue originally.

The creek to cross for the Hidden Valley Link track had obviously been pretty high back in that rainspell we had couple weeks back.  Evidence was all there.  Up this, granny for the first time this evening.  Cleaned it up until we got to the two switchbacks up in the pines.  walked them.  Rode the rest tho.  over the fence, and off up round and down the Old Skool.  Nicely nicely...  Nelson blew out on the highline before the stile, so i took the lead and pinballed my way down.  A few nice slips under cutting the track before too long, then lower down, after the wee digger track section, there's been some major rock work over a slip on the corner.  More slippages and reconfigured lines all in that lower section.  Whoever's been doing the work has done good shit.  Thankyou trail pixies.  I nearly kinda sorta did just about crash right near the bottom, trying to loft over this slip hole and planted a brake lever into the dirt.  Then rolled out, down the road and back to the car for dead on 9.  Excellent to get out of an evening.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sunny Saturday eastern hills

A jaunty wee number today.  Singlepun to Steve's, seeing Tony and Andy at Ensors/Opawa in the blue van, spinning on to see Pete rolling chameleonware in just ahead of me meeting everybody else: Marie, Wayne, Dallas, and of course the indefatigable Steve.

We travailed Woolstonia along streets and the effluent-trap they call the Heathcote Cut til the more enjoyable Devil's Elbow back-of-Ferrymead Towpath, with only Pete and me taking the dirttrack way catching the pikers on the Bridge approach. Then it was time for the hill, St Andrew's to be precise.  I just tucked into my only ratio and stood and pushed and got myself to each of the breaks/breathers/rests, mantra-ing "it can only make me stronger, right?".  The pain didn't really get me til once we'd got to pretty much the top of Major Hornbrook.

Te posse, very top of Clearview.
Up a new path through Britten, which I'd clean on the single in the dry...  today however, a bit of walking involved.  Chilli chocolate coffee beans break up top, then over onto Greenwood. 

It was a trifle damp, but not too damaging we can only hope.  The wagonwheel front end definitely smoothed up the ride compared to previous adventures in rigidity.  Bigger tire and I'm set! - roll on Krampus trickledown!  Pretty awesome flight down here.  A few mudholes and damp dirt, but all in all she's in pretty good knick, one or two interesting moments where slips have laid slurry over the track. 

Here's Pete, top of Greenwood

Practically had a party at Evans.  Pete found one of his tire knobs was actually a bulbation of tube, so he proceeded to find a couple more holes and patched them from the inside whilst we all stood aside for non-communicative cyclisti as they moseyed past.  Pete, change your tires before the next ride!!! :)

 We all took off and I lined up and hauled myself up onto the singletrack, and was surprised to see Steve, and others, ride on along the road.  Apparently I missed the memo, thinking we were all gonna stick to the singletrack.  Anyway, i managed to convince Pete, Marie and Wayne that the others we being nambypambies and we proceeded our merry way along the wettest Godley I've ever seen.  Ooops!  It did say "Open" at the start tho.  Anyway, plenty others have been riding it and its holding together fine.  Should have avoided for a bit longer.

The beast at our end of Godley - thats not perspective.

Met the others back at the road then and we took the off road line down to the stile we were heading for.  Then, for some reason we decided to check out another little bit of singletrack.  Oh dear, following my mis-read  aerial photos and misaligned map-in-the-head again.  Neat little descent with a bit of greasiness in places that lead to nowhere.  I tried to scope it out but what had looked like a singletrack was a trodden cattle path over private land.  Looking at Google now the track seems clear as day.  However, back we went, adding to the final wear.  Back down the way we were originally intending a nice bit of flow to the Taylor's Rd, whereupon another grunt ensued, followed by a jetpack ride down to a double-truck induced traffic jam at the bottom.

Coffees and I skedaddled early, spinning spinning spinning the miles home.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday, mostly sealed, and a couple new bikes...

Another short but worthy wee spin today. All sealed, pretty much. We assembled at Steve's: Pete, Robin, myself, Tony, Andrew and Marie. Prior to departure I was discussing my new front wheel, test ridden for the first time, the 29inches of largess, when Andrew said, "I've got a new front wheel too." I wandered over to admire it, noticing the juicy looking Nobby Nic onboard, when, hang on! Fork, Fox, white. Frame, metallic grey and red, reading Bergamont!!! Not only a new front wheel, a whole new bike with it! Awesome! Well done, congratulations and all that, Andrew!

 Off we headed, streets, river path, behind Ferrymead industrial, then into the climb, Sint Ahndrooh's Hyill. Chug chug chug, up we moseyed, taking breaks as necessary, layering off not far in, on up, up up Major Hornbrooks. Then into the Longridge Clearview cluster of Close's and the Upper Major, checking out and deciding against a very wet trail before continuing up the main road into fog to the top. Layers for the descent and bladder relief, tried for the first time my chilli chocolate coated coffee beans (Bushfire Hot!) and off we headed.

A big mother of a gate blocking our path, easily opened and on down the road we headed. Greenwood was unrideable, so on we shot. Eventually we rounded a corner from where we could see "Car Crash Corner" on the Sumner-Evans Rd, where they blasted last week. Pulled up and ooh'd and aah'd over the volume of rocks. Also noticeable everywhere on the hills were the slumps and slips from the last week's month's worth of rain.

Marie, Steve and me took off and bombed it down to Evans, passing where a massive slip had slumped earlier in the week.  Hmmm... The others hadn't followed, but Robin caught us and said Pete's broken his bike. Phone call, Pete's walking to get picked up by Alister. Non-drive chainstay snapped by the drop out, AND the carbon pivot-thing snapped on the seatstay... fucked.

 We awaited the others and carried on our Godley Head road, climbing then down the Scarborough track, top section heavily rutted. Steve opening the gates and we were through. Down for coffee, and on home, event free...  29r front wheel, on what little off-road it saw, proved to be much smoother than 26.  Think I'll stick with it.

So, Andrew's got a new bike, and Pete soon will do too.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sunday's Planting Orton Bradley

T and me top-tubed the boys in to town before 8am to watch the ZB building implode.  All fun and games, with a good crowd turnout.  Being on the bikes was great for a smooth exit through the milling throng, and we were home by 8.15.  I then grabbed the Switchback and spun round to Pete's wherefore to travel speedily in his car to Lyttelton arriving in plenty of time for the 8.50 sailing, meeting Wazza, Wahayno and Stevo on the jetty.

Off the boat, we ground up the hill to the main road then climbed and descended lots to Charteris Bay and up into Orton Bradley Park.  Found a few plants next to holes a ways in and got them in the ground before heading back down to meet the starters for ten, grabbing spades and getting into it.  Andy showed, and J9 and Grace.  We planted a bunch of plants and were done in no time.

Morning tea ensued and then we hit the road back to Diamond Harbour, up, up and down.  Passed by the turn-off to what was Godley House, and headed round to the fun wee Cliff edge.  Excellent wee trail that, always a thoroughly enjoyable wee section.  Short, but longer than expected, and interesting.  One close shave for me, descended a little too vigorously with a brief rear wheel lock up sending a pulse of adrenalin upon seeing where it could have tipped me, waaay down a pineneedled cliff top.  Final fun rooty descent followed by juddery steps and we were back at the wharf with 15mins to spare for the ferry back to the cars.

Short, but worthy wee ride...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday Blowhard push

Tom and Matt picked me up at 9 and we cruised out through Rangoon and on up through a mighty hard frost through the Slowburn to Maori Reserve Rd, expecting to meet Nelson there.  We waited.  Waited a bit more then I rode a little way up the trail to get reception and rang him.  "Where are you?" "Waiting for you."  "Where, Wharfdale?" "At home." Oh...  Whoops.  We got the ill communication.  So.  Tom and Matt headed on up and I milled about waiting for Nels to turn up.  All told, they got about a 35 minute head start.  Making time on this track is nigh on impossible.

Started off too damned steep for too damned long.  Granny-chuff, til it settled down a bit and it was greasy.  Icey or greasy.  Couple of kereru spotted on the more settled bit - good to see!  From the big pool the up gets steeper than steep and walk is all we could do.  Walk walk walk, ride a bit, walk a bit, ride a bunch, walk a bit, ride more, then finally descend, wicked descent on crunchy snow.  What a spectacular day it was, sun shining, bugger all wind, not cold.  Fantastic.  Climbing again, up and ever up.  Met a couple of runner women, climbed some more.  Met an old woman walking.  Climbed some more. And more, legs getting pretty tired by now.  More and more snow encountered as we climbed higher, the other two's tire treads ever present.  Nearly at the top we encountered a group of hunters with a small piggy on one of their packs.  Then finally we were on the last stretch to the summit of Richardson, finding the other two guys awaiting, and having had been there for 35 or 40 minutes...  all up 2 hours, steady going to the top.

Ate some, changed layers, admired the insanely perfect day and incredible view, then it was time for the descent.  And what a descent.  Landmarks just came back to us soooo quickly.  In no time flat you're 'there', then 'there', then that place where it seemed like ages from the top.  So fast.  Awesome sketchiness in places, brilliant.  I had one close call on a wee rut, no biggie.  The final couple climbs killed our legs, then it was the final descent.  On the way up, Nelson had moved a big hanging hunk of lawyer out of the way.  On my way down i rode straight into it.  Thankfully I was going fast enough that it didn't get a hold of me.  What a blast.  So fast, and down so quick, it seemed.  At the muddy pool, practically at the bottom, when I stopped I thought I could smell a fire somewhere nearby, like a campfire.  Then we realised it was the hotness of our brakes. but finally out the bottom, after taking it pretty easy on the final lower stretches, it was an hour since we'd left the top, pretty much.

All up, an excellent ride.  Perfectly finished, post shower and feed, with a couple of O for Awesomes and a Hopwired with my lovely lady at Pomeroys.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Easterned, out of, into, and out of the fog

Got the early txt from Pete saying he wasn't riding so organised me a lift with Steve and Andy.  Jumped on the singlespeed and spun my way through the mist to Steve's to squeeze into the van for the bumpy ride to the Slum -ner.  We rolled out of the fog across the causeway.  Met up with the two W's outside the 'Com and headed around to and up Richmond Hill Rd.

The grind begun, I pulled ahead in my only gear, managing to stay on top of it til around the second main bend and a wee ways up the steeper straight, from whence I began my walk of shame.  Climbed aboard a couple times but couldn't sustain momentum without exploding a lung and so walked some more.  At Sanscrit Place I managed to ride again, stopping at the next intersection to wait, Steve being the first to arrive, the others losing layers lower down.  Cold wind blowing down the hill, once on the grass the grade got heinous again and so back into 'low' i went, shanks-pony for the next little while.  An easy gradient zig zag singletrack wouldn't go amiss on this hill, and the sheep have done a pretty good job of starting it.  Exploration time soon to suss something out, methinks.

Out the top of the farm park, onto the summit, into the cold misty fog and on up to a slightly skittery greasy-ish Greenwood.  I managed to maintain a lead, skittering my way down through the mist, the trail pretty dry most of the way, just the slightly damp rocks allowing tires to pick up slightly damp dirt and messing with traction.  A few dabs, then a regroup under the worst rockfall danger before jetting off down again, through the cleaned up stuff, excellent berms in places, smooth sailing for my rigid bike.  Down out of the fog, then out the bottom, and watched the others, followed by another guy crashing up on that corner in the wee valley.  He said once he got to us he'd 'just stepped off'.

Next up it was Godley, all of us blowing the initial 'gunbarrel', me walking right from its start.  Cleaned surprising amounts of the next section, then had a great run round, a brief section of more fog which didn't last too long.  Whilst in the fog, we heard the Tsunami warning sirens being tested, sounded loud enough from up on the hills... Cold stops, so we continued down, peeling left down the farmtrack we came up last time.  Onto the road briefly, then I saw a track taking us directly to where we wanted to go rather than down the gravelled road.  (A left turn here would lead down to a singletrack that heads down to the hairpin on Scarborough Rd, will explore next time...)  Over the fence, stile, then down the singletrack heading for the Taylor's Rd.  Excellent downhill track, good traction, fun (and longer than expected) track.

Finally, onto the road for the grunting climb out and over blasting down Scarborough (seeing Miranda at the bottom!), then round the waterfront to coffeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday Night Travails

Good, tho tiring, jaunt last night.  Nelson and me got over to Pete's just on time and we Falc-hooned up to the Kiwi where to find Steve, Robin, Warren and Wayne awaiting our growly presence.

First up, we headed up to top of Vic Park, Nelson and me being the only two to dally on Thompson's part 2 to finish, while the others took the road.  Next, it was into the blast round the Traverse.  Not so much fun this direction, with it's predominant climbing, and I was getting hungrier by the metre.  Nelson led the first half but blew himself out and allowed me the front for the second half round to the end.  More puddles than anybody was expecting, too.

Then it was onto an incredibly dumbed down Vernon, smooth sailing all the first half, tho, Nelson and me took the old line above the switchbacks and Pete managed to under cut us, getting a wee ways ahead of me and giving me someone to chase.  Several riders on their ways up the trail, who all politely, surprisingly, parked aside for us to pass.  I had a good chase after Pete, gaining on him very slightly all the way down and ending up right on his tail right at the end.  Had some pretty sketchy moments in my pursuit, i must say.  Looking back, we watched all the other lights parsing the hillside through their courses as the others rolled in for the regroup. Thankfully Nelson had a whole OneSquare and shared one with me.  Very helpful.

Up the road, Nelson, Pete and me all rolled 3 abreast the whole way keeping a good pace on up to the Traverse again, other (keener) riders all up on the trail above.  Another regroup at the trail head and I led off with Nelson in hot pursuit.  I lost him on a few bits but he always gained me on the climby bits with his mad cadence power.  Multiple party members commented on the puddle just before the jumpy rock before the pond and how wet tires landing on rock played skittery games with their control.  A regroup at the old sign spot and some dude muscled past us "on ya right".  We let him get a wee ways ahead but the next posse were encroaching so we set chase and i just managed to catch him before we hit the pines.  From here it was through Thomson and Thompson back to the Kiwi.

Here, Steve and Robin went their merry way and the rest of us headed up the road for the Nun.  Clamber clamber we went to the top, my legs screaming for mercy.  I led off down and had a pretty damned good go, popping lots of the new air, and rolling over some of the new tabletops, nosing it up bigtime on the usual then slowing accordingly through the rocky bits that always hang me up.  A few puddles along the way.  The lower section, I paused to await the next light then hit it and flew, railing everything, popping the yumps and cruising up the last little grunt out, legs just about dying.  Nelson turning up straight after Pete, telling tales of a wicked crash.

Back at the Kiwi Nelson and me said 'cheers for the lift up' to Pete and headed back up to top of Vic Park, on the road this time, struggling with the climb.  Back then forth in the pines, over the see-saw, couple of brakefree jumps then across and down into the gums, hurtling through my favourite section, back and forth, very little trace of anyone else having ridden it for ages.  Eventually, back out onto the skidder site and straight into a refurbished Spazza's, off down and straight into Brents taking a right hand line and joining into the bottom of Sad to the Rick, into sloppy Bridges, then into the pines and a dry(ish) nuFlow expecting grease at every turn but not getting it, then into the valley bottom and pulling up for the stream crossing.

The HiddenValleyLink track got me.  I ended up walking the 2nd hairpin, then walking the steepest bit in the pines.  Once we were on Old Skool my light started cutting out, making me glad of my handlebar mounted one, which I ended up relying on most of the way down.  Out the bottom, shattered.  We knuckled in for the long haul down Bowenvale, Eastern, Wilsons, Nursery and Stanmore home.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday three pronged east end

Got to Pete's for a lift with him and Bernie(visiting from Waikato) to Slumner, where we met a good sized posse of Wayne, Warren, Andrew, Steve, Dallas and Marie (and Mark who was not riding having only had new-artificial-disc-in-the-neck surgery on Tuesday).  Off along the waterfront, Pete and me stopping for him to oil his squeaky jockey wheels and pump his tire, then we headed on to chase the rest up Scarred-borough, not catching them til the very top at the intersection of Godley Drive. 

Regrouped, we treadled together up this surprisingly steep street to the very top of it and a rather large locked gate, to which Steve had a key.  Gravel road, climbed to the next gate-requiring-key, off the private land strip onto Council owned and on up to the road, passing where we came out a few weeks back.  Around the road a little then up the wee grunt of an access track to the mtnbike track.  Here, a rider turned up and said "there's about 7 more to come", so our posse waited while their posse accumulated, then it was into the singletrack bliss zone.  Pete, Andy and myself all blitzed it nearly all the way to Evans, stopping just shy of the GunBarrel, damp dirt covered tires skittering damp dirt covered rocks all the way there.  Here we turned back and had an excellent climb back to meet the others who'd stopped midway down (so's to avoid all the nasty climbing back).  Good cruise back to where we'd begun our singletrack thereby completing the first of the three prongs.

Descent began in soft dirt ruts, not sloppy, just soft, over the boardwalkythings then onto the Teddington Chip which was living up to its Shit name, the top layer just sticky, caution required.  The U shaped channel of the rest of the way down to Livingston was railed and I had one of my best runs down here in a long time.  Another regroup at Livingston and we got going again, me noticing a bit too much sponginess in my rear tire so stopped to re-tube.  Pete stopped with me while the rest continued on.  Quick change and off we went again, blazing up the hill and down again to meet the rest at Breeze.

Off round the sweet dry trail below the road to Godley end, prong number 2, out and back, thinking to myself on this section how much I've enjoyed it lately, and harking back to riding it when it was the first or second purpose built trail ever.  Back to the start of Anaconda and confronted with a big DOC fence, which we duly bypassed and bombed on down, popping some sweet air then desperately trying to avoid the sloppy mess in those lower ruts between the big berms...  Out the bottom, climbing round another DOC sign and into the valley, ready for the nasty climb up the road. 

I powered on ahead, needing to work the legs and lungs after so long off the bike, and keen to get a message out to T before too late.  Managed to get it sent in time for the others to catch up and we rocketted down the Scarborough Rd (thereby completing Prong #3) and along the waterfront back to DotCom. 

I snarfed a well earned feed and T came picked me up with the boys and we droved back over to Taylor's for a spa...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Raro, so here's a solution to writer's Block

gratuitous and non bike, but faaark...

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Mt Grey Sundae.

Just about a year since my last time up there; a great ride today.  Early start, leaving mine at 8ish to meet Nelson in Geisha Rd in a hard frost, outside temp reading -2 as I passed through Woodend and Waikuku.  Parked up; he turned up; we left the 'rona in situ as we headed north over the Salt Water -up Broad to Balcairn for the blat through to the fast-packed gravel approach Rds to Grey...  Passed by a couple cars parked up at Janet, down the solid frozen road, seeing some hunters en route, to the bottom end of our singletrack, parking near a Skins car, flash roof-rack bikers, obviously waaay ahead of us seeing as we hadn't seen sign of them on our road down from Janet (seeing their 'sign' later on the climb - along with some nice fresh deer prints in the frost-on-ice beside the Tower).

15 minutes basically got us the 3.5km / couple hundred metres altitude back up to Janet, then it was the usual 500m odd climb the rest of the way up Mt Grey.  We just clambered on up, ice an ever constant presence, it being pretty darned cold up there.  At about 700m there was remnants of snow about and a much much harder frost coating every blade of tussock and dusting the ground.  Puddles and seeps on the road were slick as.

Some spec views to be had on the way up.  We detoured briefly to the old fire lookout and this is what we saw. 
Nelson fiddling with his phone

Christchurch looking dirty out there. 

And Alps looking very ski-able (Thomas in the fore, Torlesse and the rest way the hell off in the distance). (- the Puketerakis looked pretty damned good today too)

The higher we got the colder it got, with a wicked wind kicking in up round 900m, a hoare frost sitting on everything in sight: tussocks, rocks, shrubs, the works.  SOOO cold.  

Just before we set off for our descent i grabbed this shot.  brrrrrrrrrr.

Descent began as a crunchy singletrack between the two peaks.  Lovely grippy greywacke chips and frost.  Evidence of the previous bikers through in their line choices left in evidence in the frost.  We left our own and hit the sidling singletrack below the peak.  Maybe 2 patches of snow and it was cool runnings.  All the usual seeps and soaks that're usually muddy little mutha's were frozen solid and not a problem in the least.

Here's a shot from not too far down, looking back up, Nelson just visible(?) there, and pylon ever present.

Tucked down the switchbacks and into the forest for more.  Cleaned a bunch more than previous efforts, even if occasionally dab-assisted; still much faster than earlier visits.

Met several walkers on their ways up, including a woman from work who had mentioned she was planning on walking it this weekend and i'd said to her "you wont see me" and lo she did...  Friendly hellos to each and every walker on account of our dubious entitlement of travel. What a fantastic descent tho, possibly one of my best set of conditions.  Even with the switchbacks, there is so much sublimely perfect singletrack in there it is just all worth it.  Total buzz, flying through gorgeous beech forest on the most perfect trail materials, it doesn't get any better, not within that drive from Chch at this time of year. 

Before the middle multi-switchbacked section I smacked a branch with my hand, grazing through the glove and giving quite the bruise, right on my left ring finger.  Yowch!

The lower sections were longer than my memory served, but any previously sloppy bits in the open were frozen solid enough to be nothing but sweet sweet traction, and fast!  Much lower down, back into the forest, things were a little sloppier, and as a result our bikes got quite mucky.  Approximately 2 hours after we set out, we got back to our start point, mid-day-ish, stuff still frozen solid in the shade, or not even.

Weird thing about Mt Grey.  Altho there's only evidence of it a few times on this blog, I feel like it's always a 'presence' in my mtnbike life.  I've ridden it a few times since very early on, (probably, similarly, only once every year or two), but it has always had a place in my riding and it always feels like i've ridden it more often than i actually have.  Every time too, my switchbacks get quicker.