Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday McCormacks Greenwood Richmond Britten figure of 8 with tails

Nelson met at mine after work and we got word from Warren that everybody had piked... So. We joined traffic and eventually parked up under the leaning tower of Ferrymead and treadled round into McCormacks Bay and up the grunty singletrack. Nelson was way fitter looking than me, who struggled my way upwards breathing laboriously and dying in the heat. Just after the bridge we explored the right hand track finding its end, and shooting back down along it then on up the rest of the trail. Blew a couple of the switchbacks then died and walked the last couple.

Up the road next, all the way to the top of the road, a brief gudday to a couple of riding guys and off down to Greenwood. Grass a bit drier now, therefore slightly slipperier than last week. Snack above the ruins, and then we were off. Good blast, just taking it pretty cruisy mostly, wafting and roosting. But then, below gloomy gulch, after the steep rocky section and the swoopy bit and come back round to the left and into a few switchbacks, a couple of times i felt hard whacks out the back end, and not long after the back wheel got squirrelly then sure enough, fssssssssss and nothing but tire and rim. Flipped the bike into the long grass and sat me down to fix.
Snake Bite!

Nelson turned up complaining of noisy rotors so he flipped his steed over too and replaced his front pads.
Our "Yard Sale"

Off again, giving Nelson a big gap so he could stop and photograph, i rode down, through the cattlestop, over the yump, round into the valley, then down past him and into the rocky up. Stopped there, got my phone out and photographed the trail just after he'd ridden through. He rode ahead again, i blasted down behind him and realised what he was doing so rode back up a bit then blazed past him again, and again stopped for his photo, this time it worked.

Onto the road and we troddled our way up to the big pines, the nor west wind starting to really blow hard. Fun blast down to the lone pine, windblown grass leaning across the singletrack. Over the stile and another fun blast down to the new bit of track. Good run down here, over the next little stile, then the cool benched track down down down to the rooty stuff and stopped at the next stile. Turned back, and rode up the way we'd just come down. Me, once again, struggling.

At the road again, decided to ride up the 4wd track back up to the Greenwood track, and then back up the top section. This was a horrid little climb. longer than it looks and full of little steps that suck at your progress most insidiously. Gasping, i followed Nelson onto the singletrack, a few wee downs, but mostly up. At one point, over the top, there's a couple of spots where the trail has two short options. On one of these, i decided to take the right hand option, but my front wheel decided it liked the look of the left hand option so the rut lip threw me down. As soon as i landed my right calf cramped. YOWCH. tiny scratch on the knee, my wrists and right shoulder and knees took the brunt of the fall. I'm gonna hurt tomorrow and Thursday. Got straight back on the bike and kept on riding, catching Nelson on the road.

Up to Britten, onto the singletrack, then down down down. At the bottom of this, the sunset and norwest arch were just TOO much, so we stopped and Nelson took a bunch of pics, as it changed and got more and more spectacular, lighting the sides of the ranges to the north, and right round to the Waipara foot hills and it was just stunning, glowing bright bright orange and yellow hues over the rest of the port hills and dust storms lifting from the Rakaia gorge and virga rain falling from the dark arch. spec-fucking-tac-ular.

Next up, light getting pretty dim now, blasted down the road, hung our right into Craigieburn Pl and (quick walk) down the steps, then into switchback after switchback, then flight mode down the lovely singletrack. Near the bottom we explored the left hander into the wee patch of pines. Too steep, too many rocks, too many steps, and no flow... out the bottom of this, and on round back to the car.

Awesome times.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Shorty half-Rapaki

Well! I'm so proud. Had talked to O about riding up the hill, and now that Rapaki is open again we agreed to go out. So. Drove to end of road, and we tootled up. It was hillclimb time, and we were passed constantly by the climbers, heading both up and down, but that was cool. Otherwise a quiet-ish night out there. He did really well, when he rode he hooned, but then had to stop pretty regularly. First off i said, there's this tree. We'll get to there and see how you feel.

Well, as you can see the tree was no problem. (not that he looks very happy)... Cool thing was we met some other smalls out there, a girl aged 10, and a slightly older boy who flew past us.

We made it all the way up to the flat area, rode under the pylons to the top of that, then turned back down. Coming down he was pretty tentative to start with, really riding the brakes, but by the time the gate by the trees was in sight he was really starting to let go of them for longer and longer periods, getting quicker and quicker, and between the gates he was flying! Awesome.

Quick Tuesday Greenwood

Car load of Pete and myself with three yoof (Alistair, Nico and Brandon), met up with Steve, Marie and Tony, Robin, Wayne, and Warren (who'd ridden up, good on him), at top of Mt Pleasant Rd. We tootled off down onto Greenwood, the yoof ahead. Pretty quickly over took Brandon and Nico, and caught Alistair before a regroup at the downhill start before the ruins and again the yoof headed off ahead. This time we gave them a much bigger gap.

Greenwood has been mown. This isnt necessarily a good thing as now instead of finding your way through long grass, you're wondering where the hell all the rocks are under the straw cushioning all over them... Quite a concentrating experience, having to stay fully focussed as to where you're pointing your front wheel, balance caught off guard regularly by hidden lips and bites of rocky teeth. Personally, i didnt think it was slippery at all, just hard to find the good lines.

Still, managed to get a good flow on and catch up and pass first Brandon then Nico and eventually caught up with Alistair on the side of the track, his bike parked upside down. "You got a flat?" "Nah, thats how it ended up." LOLz. I led off with Alistair chasing and somehow managed to drop him, and had a great run the rest of the way down, except for both rocky ups where i juuuuust wrong geared it and couldnt quite momentumise myself over them requiring a single foot dab to push off again. Got to the bottom and (surprised to see) Pete, then Alistair, then the rest of them, rolled in.

Once again, the yoof headed off first while us oldies stood around and chatted. then we headed up, Pete and me riding quite hard, which was killing me, still worn out from Sunday. At the Richmond Pines we the boys had stopped, and we talked a bit more there then headed on up the road still, for a blat of the Britten Reserve singletrack. I ran out of steam on the first climb, but was okay after that. pretty tight singletrack and i dont remember ever doing it in that direction more than once or twice in a distant past. Was quite good. Regroup at the end, then we headed back, with a splinter group of Warren, Alistair, myself and the other two yoof heading down through Britten Reserve, a fast and wicked descent with a few surprise rock drops and near misses, then i led them down Major Hornbrook, through the park to Cannon Hill then down an alley way that spat us onto Te Awakura Tce and St Andrews Hill Rd, then we headed across the Ferrymead bridge to await our magic carpet that is the Falcon. Took us WAAAY less time to get down the hill than the cars, and eventually Wayne drove past and pointed back saying Pete was back before the bridge, then Robin, then Steve all saying the same thing... Txts were sent and Pete came loaded us up.

Monday, January 23, 2012


and this!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Coopers Wharf soaking wet dale

Forecast looked none too hot with a couple of southerly blasts expected, but figured we should just ride anyway, so got me out to Nelsons just after 8.30 and we headed round to Mountain Rd in Coopers Creek to ride to the Wharfdale track.

Drizzle was pretty well set in when we headed out and we were pretty much drenched within a few minutes. Along the river for a little with a couple of weird ups and downs, then lots of up. Largely rideable for starters except where it was too steep. Further in there was lots of gnarly rooty sections and the odd mudpug. Quite a cool track, every now and then there's little marker label things telling you what species of tree its next to. Kinda weird considering if you were walking the first one would be like an hour in...

We jokingly estimated the percentage rideable on the way in was maybe 72.6%. Anyway, eventually, after much trudging and climbing and a couple of descents (one quite steep but all rideable) we made the end of the 'link' track, which is the Wharfdale Track. Total altitude climbed around 360 m.

Whew we thought, now it'll be a bit easier. And it was! The Wharfdale's like a highway in comparison. Not far in, after the bridges, Nelson got a flat tire, so he replaced the tube with a 'race' tube (thin, light). I was getting really cold, so changed out the longsleeve lycra for a fleece. Some walkers cruised past just as we were heading off and said, "You're insane riding this". We said "you should have seen the trail we just rode up!"

Not much further on we stopped at that clay-ey corner and had a snack, and while we sat there we could hear a sssssssssssing. Yep, his back tire again. So he put in my tube, and we were off again.

Met another walking couple just before the switchbacks and not far later hit the saddle. Rain was infintessimally lighter here, sky too. Ate more OSM, and a couple of germanic runners passed by while we sat there, and we met another just after we'd set off down the way we'd come. Half way down my front brake started sounding like the spring on rotor, so we stopped at that rocky drop (after the unrideable climb from a creek) and i swapped in my new ones. My rear brake was dodgey-as too.

Nelson had a few wee moments, when his shoes wouldn't unclip, crashing a few times. Didnt stop him flying off on the main descent away from me. I was experiencing physical wreckedness most of the ride, my neck really sore from lugging hay bales on Saturday maybe, pretty uncomfortable, so was taking it easy, and i wasnt enjoying water and grit induced blindness when at speed. Eventually caught him at a treefall just at the start of the final climb, and we headed back up to the gate and track junction.

Hung our left down our track which starts off rooty and mucky, but largley, rideable, followed by a really nice section which seemed to go for a while. There are a few awesome blasts down through this track, a reasonable climb (ie, steep enough to have to walk) in the middle, and more really nice sections, all interspersed with nasty bits, heinous bog holes and unrideable slippery roots. In the dry you might clean some of them, but many were just too big and poorly spaced. Some hail, and thunder, and more rain kept us in check.

I came a cropper on one such section when my front wheel just went out from under me and threw me off to the bank side of the track. My handlebars spun too, leaving, for some reason, my rear brake with no action, ie, lever went right to the grip with no effect. So, hung the bike on a tree, removed the rear wheel and swapped out the worn out pads for some spare used ones that still had half left i had in my bag. the wee spacer spring had worn out too, so i had to run them sans spring. They still worked much better from here on out giving me a little more confidence, tho i was still struggling with the eyespleck.

After my brake change we were on pretty much the main final long descent, towards the end of which you leave DOC land and there's an open bit after some young macrocarpas with some rock outcropage, where i caught up to Nelson, just picking himself up after bouncing down the steps and off the track.

Some final steep down from here, couple tight switchbacks, over a couple of stiles, more steep down, then back onto the flat, passing a couple of walkers on the weird uppy-downy bits, and back to the car just as my hands were starting to get shooting nerve pain on the grips, frozen solid and wet through. i was SO glad to be back and into dry clothes and warm(ish) car. Pies consumed by both from Oxford dairy... Back to Nelsons to warm up some more.

Total kilometreage, roughly 14 kms each way. I'd ridden this route once before... i think i now remember why at the time i chose not to go back down the Coopers Creek track... Tho, under nice conditions, it really wouldnt be that bad but still a fair bit of getting off and pushing... We estimated about as much total effort as doing the usual View Hill Carpark right through to the Townsend and back.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday night scorching ramble

At a loose-end so took my Soul in the car to work. Left work in a slight kerfuffle and as i accelerated out of the Sockburn Roundabout i noticed a shadow fall in my rearview mirror (thinking to myself, "big low flying bird?") then double-took and saw MY SHOES! ON the ROAD! FUCK!!! Managed to pull over just before the Sockburn Overbridge, on the bikelane, hazard lights on and ran back, in the howling nor'west wind, watching cars and full truck and trailer units running them over... my socks, which had been stuffed inside one shoe had blown backwards, thanks to the nor'wester one was in the gutter the other on the berm. I rescued them then grabbed my chance to get the shoes just before more trucks ran them over... pure luck on my side, neither was scathed, requiring just the heels to be sort of unfolded... far. out.

Drove from there, without event, to Halswell Quarry Park carpark on Cashmere Rd, parked as near to the shade as possible and got myself ready. Took off, up the road towards Westmorland and beyond, and before i'd reached the top of the first rise realised i'd left a banana on the top of the car this time. What the fuck is it with me and leaving shit on the top of the car today!? turned back, grabbed it and finally my ride could begin. Back on the road and round the foots of the hills, mostly with the NW'er pushing me. Following much the same pattern as this ride with Chris, into Happy Home Rd, round and up, down through the park, left down to Cashmere Stream, right, along briefly to cross poncy Penruddock, and onwards down Stream on tight singletrack sneaking along til it widens out and you're in the backyards of Holbrook Way. Then up that and through a reserve, crossing Hadleigh and up into the main reserve with the valley,and cool wee track up. the heat was really getting to me once i started climbing, walking all the steepest bastards. Once up on the zigzags that lead to Worsleys i was warming up and managed all of it. Over the stile, and up the road, another rider in close pursuit.

Hit the dirt and headed straight into the singletrack, figuring it might be nicer in the shade. found some of the tight pinches a bit painful so bailed back onto the main drag at the corner with the gate. Climbed slowly and blew it numerous times in the rutzones, the heat really brain-fading and befuddling me. And as for the body bag? Barely made it to the steepest bit near the top before i got off and walked. Just. Too. Hot.

Gasping, i managed the climb to top of the Nun where i sat down and ate my banana, cooling off and resting goooooood. Hit the trail and had a sweeeeeeeeeeeet run. Trail fresh in my head from Tuesday, everything just pieced together really nicely, and i flew down the hill, all the way to the bottom, jumping everything and flowing beautifully. Turned up the road and treadled my way round and up and over to Kennedys, taking a sneaky detour before reaching it.

Kennedys top blew me away. Its overgrown so much, what used to be a wide 4wd/farm track at the start is now a tight ribbon of singletrack wending through overgrown broom and the odd gorse plant. Kinda better. It widens up before the first stile, and is as i remembered from there on. The steep top section is as rocky and rutty as i remember, and i flew down this towards the first gate and two girls walking up nearly losing it right next to them in a rocky rut whilst avoiding them and the abundant belted galloways. On down it smoothes up a little, tho is still pretty bumpy, but fast!

As i crested one of the rises half way down i stopped to look at a fire raging out Prebbleton way (turns out it was the mushroom factory there). I'd spotted the smoke earlier, from top of Worsley, but now i could actually see the flames. Massive fire. On down, blasting down the last straight towards the Siberia gate, having to change ruts due to some dumb-arse rider coming up.

Rode over Siberia singletrack and hit the fun swoopy down hill, yielding to a couple of uphillers, and blazed on down, singletrack tight and awesome, grass just the right height. Into the Crocodile and the music in my ears was perfect, railing berms, pumping each riser, flow, flow, flow. Blew out the climb, but continued my merry way down the squiggles and out into the open. Towards the bottom i peeled a quick right and up to another little singletrack that took me to the car.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Tuesday, similar to the last

Massive posse assembled itself at the whim of Steve at the 19th Battalion Memorial in Vic Park, with... Pete (and two not-so-smalls - who proceeded without us), Nelson and Me, Marie, Matt and Lance, Wayne, Andy, Steve and Tony and Robin in attendance. We tootled off up the singletrack to the skidder then huffed and chuffed our ways up the Latters Spur (or main drag) then up past the see saw and up the coffee break climb and round to top of Vic / Thomsons. Big regroup here with lance (and Nelson) lining up Hauraki Radio on their dials...

Then a nice blast down Thomson and Thompson to the Kiwi and another bit of a regroup while people filled and emptied water and on up road to top of Worsley's where Lance was chatting with a crew and a van telling them where the riding was. the rest of us chuffed up to top of nun where there were already one or two (including Mel(? who Mark and Marie know)) on her homebuilt internally geared machine followed shortly by Rich(? connected with Mel) on his crabon fibre homebuilt internally alfined machine too. him and friend took off first, then of our posse I was first off, down the Nun, having myself an excellent wee blast flowing nicely and carving and yumping and gliding and pumping loving mostly all of it - except for the fact that my back end seemed to be squirrelling all over the place, on account of the pressure being perhaps a little low. Myself, Nelson and Pete continued the full descent down to te Kiwi where the rest pulled out half way (cant understand it myself, its not like the climb back to that point is particularly hefty...?), anyway, i flipped my Soul over and proceeded to increase the airpressure contained within, then we treadled hard to attempt, in vain, to catch the others...

huff huff huff and we got to the top pretty shortly after the rest of them, with Robin slow and steady not far behind us. Again, i took the lead and this time dabbed within the first few metres, nearly ploughing myself into the side of the trail and screwing myself thereafter of a smooth ride down. Every thing i could fuck up I just about fucked up. my entire game was OFF. but, somehow managed to keep it together, albeit maybe slower than previously, and was just getting back into the groove on the lower reaches.

At the Kiwi end we struck up conversation with a nice young lady from Auckland (we found out) who was travelling with another young lady who's entered in the Nationals DH at Mt Hutt this weekend. These were who Lance had been talking to at Worsley top. Andrew and Matt werent showing, on account of Andrew fixing (yet) another flat, so Pete accompanied Nelson and me on up the start of another loop, bailing at half way while we continued up for go number 3. The others bailed down Old Dyers and i'm sure they had a wicked ride.

Go number 3 was better than attempt number two. This time at the top conversation was enjoyed with the owner of the Black Sheep i've met up there a number of times before heading down. This time i was much more attuned to myself and the trail. Nelson and I stopped and examined a couple of bits that we'd not really looked at before, trying them once or twice for good measure, then blasted on down having a splendid trip.

Onto Old Dyers trail and really getting the flow out of the first bits, thankfully this time i avoided a bite from the Lawyer, Nelson wasnt so lucky. Juddered down the fast bits onto the 4wd bits and then grunted back up to the car where we met Pete again, him having just been up to meet his "smalls" who he would pick up at the bottom of Bowenvale.

Home via Indian and a wicked hot Vindaloo for me enjoyed with an Owld Speckled Un.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday evening port hills back and forthers

Nelson and me corona'd up past the Takahe and parked up on one of the laybys, treadling up the road from there to the Old Dyers track. This was in good knick and we climbed it pretty quickly, him seemingly effortlessly and me dragging my chain a bit but surviving and making it in the end. we were passed by a few riders on their ways down.

Up the road taking a look over into the Gov's bay trails, still closed, and round up over the Nun. Muggy and humid and warm, excellent night. Misty cloud lingering around the tops. Lovely blast down here, really cruisy taking it pretty easy gliding and flowing and mostly keeping a reasonable pace. the lower half definitely smoother now.

Then it was up the Summit to top of Vic and we hit the Traverse round. Nice blast round here again me dragging and struggling to keep up with the jackrabbit Nelson. Up over Vernon was sweet and the descent really fun with the rough rocks and dodgy sketchy ballbearing gravel near the bottom. Turned around and headed up the road back round to the Traverse where we hauled some ass good, great run round back to Vic and then it was a sweet blast down the two Thomsons.

A pause at the Kiwi where Nelson got some water and we scoffed down a couple of OneSquares between us, then it was off back up the slummit road to top of the Nun for a final blast. Finally Nelson was tiring and my stamina kept me up or even maybe a little ahead of him on the final off-road climb to the top. 2nd time round was waaaay better, we blazed down the trail, yumping everything really nicely, with only a brief hangup in the rocky middle section, otherwise an awesome blast down, then into the Dyers trail and the bit below the steep just below the Kiwi has become my favouritest flowiest little section right now. beautiful the way it just sucks you through it like being on a magic carpet. Round the rocky bend and some lawyer ripped at my arm "OW!!!" i holla'd and Nelson got it too, 'cept his arm didnt bleed. my blood mixed with sweat reddened my arm something wicked. On downwards, what's usually rough as guts and rutty was a sweet flow, meeting a couple of walkers and blasting brakefree down heaps of it. then the last 4wd section was nice too, and finally a cruise down the road back to the car.

A couple and a bit hours of very nice riding, dusty, punishing, muchly enjoyable.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Saturday 7th Jan. first ride of 2012.

3pm hit the road up the hill. non eventful climb. thinking about how cool it would be if there was a singletrack route up. a few cars up and down. a sheep truck. otherwise just plodding away in granny or next down, plus one stint standing for a while 4 down.

3.45 reached the summit. took a look up top of Piper's valley stock route, considered trespassing up the paddock farmtracks above, but thought better of it and headed round Summit Road and instead trespassed across the back flank of View Hill. Fun sidling stock trail singletracks with little actual riding, then good route up the rocky ridge to gate. bit of a breather rest here lying in the shade of a tree, dreaming of what to say to a farmer who hits you up for this socalled Trespassing ie "I'm not doing any harm. Not disturbing stock, leaving gates and fences alone, just out enjoying the views and the riding of my bike. No harm no foul. And i know there's a paper road across here, but I'm also aware the the track doesn't follow it to the letter."

4.30 left the gate rest, headed round the 95% rideable sheep singletracks meandering nicely always dropping a little but sidling up to stay on nice flow round eventually to View Hill Rd top gate, 4.40. over the gate and off down down down speeeeeeeeed floooowww on off on off on off brakes controlling speed on the concrete cos of sheep below then letting it all go and roaring 80odd past the crow's nest on down to chorlton then into the wind tucked down, lukes road, back of tennis court, over fence, calf singletrack, fence gate up drive. settled on deck with T and it was 4.55. a well spent 2 hours, i reckon.