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...

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