Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Rich Green God Snake and Trailwerks

Small posse this week, just Pete, Wayne, Marie and myself. We met at Slotcom Dumbner and headed up the shaken Richmond Hill, knowing that somewhere up there there would be trail pixies with whom we'd join. Usually an email would have done the rounds, but Graham had issues with his Outlook and so i'd only noticed this last night. Peaked to Summit Rd and big trees, via the gravelled farm road on the upper half, then up road to Greenwood entrance.

Cruisy lead off into Greenwood, just kinda idling along nicely, nothing tweaky nothing jazzin' just moseying. Grubbers were collected from the trails intersection above the ruins and we tentatively rolled down to where Graham and one other were playing with rocks and dirt. We parked our steeds here and started to walk, mainly just cleaning the square edges off bermy corners, and also adding in or augmenting drains on low points. Made pretty good progress down the trail because its been worked well in recent years and is holding up pretty good. Put in maybe an hour and then decided we'd done enough and walked back up to our bikes to try out our efforts. Rolling through them they're barely noticeable, but they'll add to the future of the track.

Good bomb down Greenwood, Marie had headed down waaay ahead of us and i only caught sight of her as i rounded into a slippery gloomy gulch. Caught her up further down, then proceeded to notice (see and feel) a wasp or bee fly into one of my helmet vents. Pulled over and removed the offending headgear to find nothing, thankfully no stings neither. Chased and caught Marie again, and then had a ripper of a trip down the next wee while til i wrong geared the rocky up, allowing Pete to catch up, and we roared down the rest of the blissful singletrack to the road.

Across the deserted Evans Pass and onto Godley. Made it up the steepest first bit, but then my balance pulled me left and nearly into the old holey rocky mess, so i dab-number-oned it there, but got pedalling exactly where i'd dabbed and cleaned out the top of it, then the next bit i was nearly out the top of the worst offender and 2 rock bumps stopped both wheels at once dab-number-twoing me. Bit of a pause and regroup here before heading up the rest, which i cleaned up all good, except that annoying hard left hander with a rock in the wrong place, underneath the cliff up where the trail starts allowing a higher gear.

Stopped at the previously stopped at (twice now) spot, sort of the highest point, and scoffed muesli bars and watched a big fire on South Brighton Spit. The distant sounds of sirens subtly making their way up to us. Onwards, flying round and down, then, on the last descent to Livingston Col, i peeled right as i came through the wee gap in the fence, and found myself on a reasonably well trod trail across, above the actual track, missing the zig zags they tried to instate in there a couple years back, and then eventually came down on a final section of the walkway to the Col, meeting Pete and the other two eventually there. Last bit up and over to Breeze, with a call from Matt interrupting it briefly.

Anda the anaconda. Excellent blast down here today. Absolutely flying. railed all the raily bits and yumped all the yumpy bits, all of us had excellent descents. Finally out the tail, just picking our ways along this easily, over the fence and time for the climb. I ground off ahead and just pushed myself up to get it over and done with. At the top, waited for the others and got my breath back, then we headed on down thinking to give Nicholson Park a blast, down to a big arse fence where the Flowers Track met our usual, so, off down this. Hairpins and steps. not overly rideable, but kinda fun, and nothing heinous. Was a long ride with the track work in the middle, and it was nearly 1pm when we got back to Dotcom. Pete and me bailed, things to do, while Marie and Wayne stayed for coffees...

42 tomorrow...

Saturday Bottle Single

With the boy, O. We first did some pumps at Northcote Rd then had a short round of Burwood. South to start, he made it pretty much all the way up to the pagoda, go him! then he loved the downhill from there and we meandered out towards the coast along some routes never taken before, then he decided to go on rather than turn back and further on had a wee melt down but we persevered and shortcutted right across 17th and he loved the return to the car.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday, turd verse, same as the first

Goodish sized posse assembled at Steve's, being myself, Tony, Pete, Marie, Wayne and Andy. We toodled around to Ramahana and proceeded to pretty much follow exactly, but not quite, the ride that Nelson, Becs and me rode Wednesday, and nearly precisely the same ride as this group had ridden last Sunday.

Road work was fine, as was the dirt, felt pretty good most of the way up, and everybody else seemed to cope quite nicely too. Massive groups of riders all over the place once we hit the top. Proceeded off round the Traverse ahead of a few, and quickly caught, and was stuck behind some other guys for a bit, but eventually they let us past and we rocketshipped the whole way round due to the awesome tail wind.

Into the Thompsons and lots of riders to start with, lower section was fine, then it was another regroup at Kiwi and off up the road, joking, yet again, with some other riders at the location of the previous week's fisticuffs.

I led off down the nun, and fairly caned it. Seemed to be very much on form, tho there was one moment when i thought i was gonna drop a wheel into a drainage ditch, balance issues, and the adrenalin that kicked in nearly gave me the shakes. Lower section was at warp speed.

Up the road past the Thompsons and into Vic park, back and forth on Coffeebreak, then i went over the seesaw and popped a few of the Brakefreedom before peeling across to the rockgarden into the gummies where i zigged right out then back and hung that quick left down the cool wee trail with the funky corner in it. It felt really bright in there today. proceeded on round over the wee log jump and then blatted the final back into the Skidder site. We had a long regroup here and chatted with Ranger Nick Singletrack who was working on the new pump track up there.

Next it was into Shazza's Dazza's and a swift descent into Brents where Pete, Andy and me paused and waited. And waited. and eventually heard the others. No idea where they'd gotten to. Anyway, off into the Flow and Bridges, fantastic riding being done, before the final blast down the rocky valley track, and into the HiddenValleyPylonLink up to Oldskool which was just as shitty as last time, but oh boy was the riding nice. being able to see in broaddaylight was definitely better than darkness.

Finally, out Bowenvale valley and round to the gardencentrecafe for a well earned coffeeeee. I was home just a smidge after 1.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday Evening Marauders.

Good spin for Nelson, Bex, and me last night. We met at the bottom of Ramahana just after 5.30, to see a million nightlight helmetted people heading for Rapaki. We headed up Ramahana, Aotea, Huntsbury bitumen to the dirt and on up, clambering away as you do. From the dirt we could see a million nightlights traversing the Vernon trails and as we approached the top gate a million more across the Traverse.

We hit the traverse, me with my original DX handlebar mounted, and the new tightspotty DX helmet mounted, providing more than ample sufficiency of trail view ahead. Blatted round the trail, lights working reasonably well to start with. Later on, the handlebar mounted one started to play up, cutting out over rough stuff, leaving me with just the helmet light. I could turn it back on and it would go until the next rough section. Later in the ride, it would cut out, and cut back on randomly... dodgy connections i guess? Good blast round the Traverse, a couple of jumps i was wondering when i was going to land again. Finally, up to top of Vic and we paused for Bex to catch up and then hit Thomson and Thompson out to the Kiwi.

From here it was up the road, grinding away to top of Nun where we met a couple of other riders and made jokes about the recent hilarity and how we'd chase them down and ask 'politely' if they'd move etc etc leading to their fisticuffs with us. They took off and we had a brief food stop, sharing our bars with Becca, then i led off with my intermittent lighting excellence detracting slightly from my bliss... Blazed on down, pausing for a regroup at the halfway mark, then blazing on down to the Kiwi exit. Then it was off down Old Dyers, floating on a cloud down the first flowy bit, then getting a bit of a pounding on the lower rougher bits and a cruise to the road again.

Across and up, thighs starting to burn a little to the 19th, then singletrack to skidder, into ShaDazza's wondering which way to go its got so many options now, seemed to flow the usual route tho, then out and across to Brent's, nearly taking out a possum. Waited here for a little til we were all together again and Nelson led off down, taking the left hand route. Down the 'easy' end across the bridge and into Flow, a loonnnng time since i'd been down here, well over a year, looking back it was December 2010. i took the high line and nelson took the low line and i had a much better time of it, but he reached scotland afore me. Into Bridges, taking the high line and then the fun pumpy 'new' bit (not so new anymore), down into the the valley and then down to Hiddenvalley/Link track for to climb one last time. We were on this when Becs came down, and she decided time was running short for her and bailed on us here, heading down the valley while we climbed on up, burning thighs, to the pylons from where we could see her light down on Bowenvale Ave.

Round into OldSkool, as long since i'd been down that too, first half was covered in sheep, and what do sheep do? they shit... made for at least one interesting rock, and cos of the overgrownness of the trail, it was hairy in places, and cos its not fresh in the memory a couple of corners nearly took me out. Over the stile and things improved, no shit, and we had a good run down here, one or two boulders out of place i noticed. Finally, out the bottom and my body was stiff and sore from the descending position.

Cruised back round to the car by about 8.30, and headed for the Casbah, souvlakis eaten at mine.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hoki's A.O.K.

13th April, Friday, 2012 - 
Blue Spur.
Easter and first week of school days found us with 10 days at Mahinapua. What a spot! Choice of paddling the Canadian on the glorious scenery or riding about with the kids on the local shortwalks. Sweeeeet!

After a couple of non-starts of riding with local Liam (- a rained out lunchtime then a too-tired-to-ride night), I managed to finally get out for a 'me' ride on Friday the 13th - a morning drive up to Hoki, up Hau Hau Rd to the Blue Spur trails, thanks to Liam for the map. Twas mint.

Parked up at Stations 'boutique' accommodation/restaurant/bar, and headed straight across the road and up the backbone of the trails up there; a 4wd road. Steady climb to start gaining 75 metres in no time, evidence of a couple of motorised trail bikes having braaaped their way up recently. I checked on the map a couple of times to get a feel for its scale.

None of the trails i was about to ride were muddy, as such. They were a little slick at times, and there was the very occasional puddle, only really on the 4wd stuff tho, all thanks to the veritable drought breaker on Tuesday (Liam's monday ride was even dusty, so he said). Surrounded by young pines and scrub these trails should be in here for a while yet, and only getting better, or neglected if not enough people ride them.

I peeled left onto a track called See Saw. Straight away i knew i was in for a good time. A couple of rooty drops into the start of it, then sweet narrowish benched singletrack meandering down,
not losing too much altitude but all the while heading down reasonably quick, able to open up now and then (and if you knew them well you'd cane it), the odd steep corner, a wee jump or two, finishing with a sweet steep section, a coupla switchies, a banked ply wallride corner, and finishing off with a pretty sweet steep drop down with a run out finishing with a wee bridge crossing a creek.

Onto the Valley Link, a 4wd track (that had indeed had a 4wd up it recently), mostly up, softish, longish wet grass, with 4(?) fords,
two of which i steppingstoned, and the last two of which i rode realising i could have ridden the earlier ones.

The end of Valley Link leads you across the creek and up the aptly named Elevator - a steep, rocky, forestry 4wd. Into granny for the first time i just couldnt get my climb on, then i thought i had a flat, pulled the wheel, tire, tube, pumped that up big and no leaks. My fricking (brandnew) rimtape havin slipped again, exposing 3 spoke holes, which as we all know is trouble brewing... Anyway, chucked in my spare tube and pumped everything back together and got climbing again, riding out the top.

Here it was back onto (and up) the original spine 4wd from earlier, up to the top of first Bad Boys, then up steeper (but all ridden) to Stags Drop. What i'd seen from Elevator of Rehab Ridge (just up further) told me i didnt need to look, and any further up the spine road didnt appear to be much, so, I hung a hard left into Stag's Drop.

This was another like See Saw, hand crafted, flowing, with a few interesting features, including what i assume is "Stag's" Drop, a rocky feature that had me second thinking but rolled on down and had no problems. Pumped on down and back to the road.

Next up Bad Boys. Minimal climb (i think?) to start then again with the sweet rolling singletrack, interesting grip, occasionally camberless sides, but also beautifully cambered corners in places, flowing and rolling for quite a while, around back to the road.

Here i made a boo boo, having gotten cocky and not consulting the map, i thought i was seeing the end not the start of the next trail, so headed off down the road, eventually finding The Cutting, riding under the trail above, then cornering round to that trail and seeing that it came in from above, so realised my mistake and headed back down to and up the 4wd road again, to the start. A wee climb for starters, then around and up and down a little and swoopy and nice and fun times had, 'flow' well intact, then crossing over my previous entry and flowing on down further, on and on before spitting me back onto the road.

Slow Girls finish was just along here, its one i decided to miss out, figuring i'd had long enough up here and wanted to get down Tunnels before climbing back to the car and maybe heading for Kaniere Water Race.

So. headed on down the 4wd road a bit back to where i'd initially peeled off to See Saw, and entered Tunnels via Shorty's Drop. Definitely left the best to last. Started off sweet enough then got a bit stroppy. Slightly greasy clay, steep, rutted, rocky in places, fun fun fun, down bends and twists galore then into bush (at least, the secondary stuff that gets into the gulleys amongst these youngish pines, lusher in the gulleys, dryer on the ridges),
i thought, could this be why they call it tunnels. Beautiful flowy singletrack, round bend, over rise, down drop, round bend, over creek, on and on, a sign saying Rollercoaster Ridge along here somewhere, then

ah, now i see why its called Tunnels. Options: Disappearing Sands or Do Duck In, and do you have to duck? yep. scrape scrape, my elbow wore the clay for a couple hours til i got a shower, and my handlebars were ALMOST too wide, (and they're only 720s(?)).

Out the end
From there the trail was fast and awesome, ripped down the hill for seemingly ages, finally finishing with a cool wee jump over a creek then a couple more drops to flat further along and a longish smooth run out to a gravel road where I hung a right and in no time another right onto Hau Hau Rd (at the Pumphouse), then climbing round a couple corners (past another tunnel), up to the sealed road and right to the car.


Lower end of Kaniere Water Race...
Parked at the bottom and rode up the road, it was a bit drizzly, 8 years since i'd ridden down it on the annual trip in the days-before-blog, all those years ago. It had changed from my memory. Up a steep 4wd track for a bit, then at the level of the race it followed below it for a while til a saddle the race went across all leaky wooden boarded which i remembered, and then it hit the good native forest single track. following an old race the trail was smooth for a while, weaving back and forth with the contour of the hill, nice forest all around, and of course, in the rougher sections, roots.
not long after these, the trail headed down, with steps in places, and i looked at my watch, and it was after 12, so figured, cut my losses, and turn back. climbed back up all the steps i'd headed down, then relished the spin back round the trail, a very mild downhill gradient, just enough to help slightly with the push, but all too short, and i was back to the raised wooden race bit, and back onto the wide open 4wd track, which i blasted, then thoroughly enjoyed the speedy gravel descent back to the creek valley and the road back down to the car.

Mahinapua Walkway...
family ride on Saturday 14th, afternoon, after a morning on the lake in the canoe..., with H not so keen on putting in the effort, and O absolutely caning it, T just cruising as she knows how and me with major frictional drivetrain (that'll be requiring some work). we got about 2/3rds of the way and decided they'd continue and i'd spin back to the car, then drive right round to get them. thereby me missing the most attractive part of the trail :(. Not that many kms, i hauled it on the downhill bits on the way back, the main impedence in places being the old tramway railway sleeper equivalent bumping everything up. back to the car and a fair time at 110+ on the straight south past the pub and our driveway, round and back up the other side of the lake. arrived at the family just as they pulled up, both boys reckoning the approaching car was me...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Tuesday nearly repeat of Thursday prior

Nelson and me 'rona'd to the top of Worsley's again, landing about 20 odd minutes before the others were due. We hit the trail straight up, huffing and chuffing our way up to the bottom of the body bag, track getting slightly greasier as we climbed. i was dying, again, with a wheeze i couldn't shake. Hung a left and up to top of the sweet trail, and headed down. Very greasy in patches, and dry as a bone in others. Nice cruise down, stopping for a chat with an old friend of Nelson's who was walking in training for a hunting trip in Fiordland. On down we went, catching a rider who'd passed us whilst chatting. Passed him around that big rock that doesnt have a nice flow over anymore, and on we went, dropping him. Above the pylons we could hear voices and engines revving down on the main track. Hung the left just after the pylon clearing and flowed down the next section and out to the gate (as opposed to the fun droppy bit). I rang Steve and learned they were up just above the pylons, so we skedaddled up to them for the second climb.

Caught most of them (Steve, Andy, Tony and Marie) at two 4wds driven by some youngsters. We headed on up, catching Warren a little further on. On upwards and met Nelson's friend again, stopping to chat while each of the team rode past us. Caught them all again and reassembled at the trail junction again. Nelson headed on up the body bag and the others declared they were just doing the B-line, so we parted ways and i chased Nelson, failing the top of the 'bag again.

We headed to the top of Nun and hit it. It was greasy in places. Our tires picked up a bit of greasy dirt, and the rocks were all coated in greasy dirt from tires, and so whenever they contacted each other they slipped. Technical, and a couple of times scary, especially the top droppy corner. i baulked out of it, turned back and took the pussy route. Wasn't game on crashing on it. The rest was okay, slightly tacky in a couple places, but the rocky sections were pretty sketchy.

Lower section, with the jumps, i'm following Nelson at a distance, come round a bend, and his light is shining back at me, from beyond one of the jumps, off the side of the track, he's lying there, his bike on the track. hmmm... he'd cased it, smacked his head a bit. but not too bad, a sore neck i think. and his stem had turned a little. We rode out and he fixed that and we headed back up the road, deciding not to do another lap of the Nun.

Top of Worsley, body bag was pretty good, not as greasy as we'd expected, then into Bline, second time round, and a much better run. Again, greasy in spots, sliding about a bit, a few both wheel slides. This time we took the fun droppy lower section, chugged back up from there then down through to the water tank and beyond, exploring a little below there too. There are oodles of trails in there, but they seem to go all up and down and weird. One day they'll be good to explore.

Finally, out to the car about 8, and headed for home via a Number 3 and a Number 7 at Noodle Canteen which we ate at my place.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Friday on the way home from work...

No mountain bike rides this weekend, unfrotudinatously, But, on Friday after work, i gave the Surly its first test up the hill (and down on Sunday). Rode up to my folks place (above the Takahe) on it after work on Friday to collect a car to borrow for the weekend. 1st gear was perfect for the steeper sections of Hackthorne Rd. with 2nd, 3rd AND 4th being used at various stages on the way up. Was a good go.

On Sunday, dropped car off and rode it down. Fun and fast. Brakes could do with a tweak tho for any more prolonged descents. I guess i've gotten so used to disc brakes that rubber on metal just doesnt feel like its going to last or cut the mustard anymore...