Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday not Mt Grey, try Mt Cass vicinity...

Why are there so many...

Intentions were for Mt Grey, early start. Willis was out due to concerns for the weather, and then got a cancellation txt from Nelson first thing - crook neck from awkward lifting last night. Leaving just Bex and me. I hit the road, 8.10, picked up Bex, and we headed north, Mt Grey with looming stormy dark clouds building from the westerly behind. We took the left after Salt Water Creek across through Balcairn, all the while watching the darkness escalating but all the while hoping for the best. Turned onto Comptons Bush Rd and headed in, onto the gravel, marvelling at the rainbow(s), and then the rain hit. Downpour; Mt Grey completely obscured from view and looking pretty set in... Damn...

Quick U-turn and we contemplated our options as we headed for Amblesville. One was the Leithfield trails, flat and possibly a little boring, one was exploring around Mt Cass, i'd heard there was some potential riding up there, and the other (hindsight is always 20/20) was head into Amblesville for a coffee. We chose option 2: Mt Cass vicinity. Headed to Waipara, struggling to shake the rain, but then into sunshine there and hung a right. Mt Cass Walkway 3kms, Tirimoana Walkway 8kms. Pulled into Mt Cass and the sign said No Cycles or Motorcycles... oh well, so headed further to the latter. Again with the No Cycles of Motorcycles. What up with that? Surreptitiously ignoring said notice we hit the trail. A loop. Pretty much all 4wd or quad trail, farm tracks. Numerous steep stepladder stiles. Their reason for lack of access to Mountain Bikes or Horses is due to "conflict with other users"... What other users? We were the only ones in the area. This place is PERFECT for bikers, they really need to open their eyes and get with the programme. The potential for purpose built singletrack in this area is huge.

Started out at around 280-300m alt, dropping 80 m over around half a km to an intersection of the loop, with a weird little square 'person' gate hanging in the middle of the deer fence that we figured would be tricky for bikes so we continued along the clockwise version of the loop, along a ridge, maybe 40 or 50m climb then lots of descent, zipping along, rolling, cruising nicely, into some sweet singletrack that zigged and zagged through some forestry, then again open country, mostly descending down down, past a portaloo in the middle of nowhere on the way down to a turn off for the beach, nearly all of the 300odd m lost. Over a stile at Kate Ford, and down the singletrack following the creek, crossing it a couple of times. The first crossing, i popped my front wheel over, then over-popped my back wheel and proceeded to go straight over the handlebars, landing with a whumpf and a giggle from behind. Brushed myself off, crossed the creek a couple more times, and there was the surf.

Me approaching the Beach

Looking northwards, nice spot.

Looking south, here comes the rain.

Rain started as we left the beach, back up the creek gulch, successful crossings of the stream this time, and left at the ford, straight into steepness. Lots of steepness followed, with views of rainbows, and more steepness. Eventually a sidle, more rain, a couple of increasingly wet descents, one to a cool lookout into a gulley, another steepness, another longer descent, longer, down to the flatlands with picturesque ponds and swampland. I'm dubious tho, cos its all leachate treatment area from the giant 'super' dump, just upstream.

Across the boggy flats, and back into climbing, again, steep, eventually back to the weird little square gate we now had to go through. Bikes passed over the fence, a little tricky, and then climb climb climb back to the car. Starting at 300m, down to sealevel, and climbing back, with ups and downs in between, adds up to roughly 500m of climbing total.

All up, a couple hours, and when we drove back over the hill, overlooking picturesque north canterbury, there's Mt Grey, basking in the sunshine, gloating at us. If only the coffee in Amblesville had been our choice, we likely would have gotten up there. It was only 11.30 and i was almost tempted to head over there, but, things to do etc headed home.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday climby swoopy Worsley Nunning

Rode the Soul to work, and after my day of deskdriving got my ass to Nelson's work. We waded through traffic in the 'Rona parking up the top of Worsleys Road where Nelson proceeded to get dogshit on his shoe which i smelt whenever i followed him up the hill. We made a pretty steady pace up, with a 6.23pm Kiwi goal to meet the peeps. Got up top, me having to stop at the top of body bag for fear of puking. Walked it off then got back on again.

Passing under the tree at the top of Worsley was like passing into an entirely different world. Where it was clear sky and dry on the track up, suddenly it was overcast, damp, misty. The short climb to the top of the Nun took us into fog, difficult visibility from our glaring lights. Roughly 6pm? The fog lasted the first few corners then we dropped under it and it was sweet riding from there on down. Got to the bottom with plenty of time to spare so we headed back to the halfway and blasted the lower half again.

Up first was Andrew, then Steve, Robin and Tony, and then Warren. Hit up the road to the top and second time down for Nelson and me was definitely better. Possibly my best run of the night, everything familiar. Only Nelson and me went all the way to the bottom, so we hauled it up the road and caught the rest of them before the turn off, back up the top and round number 3.

This time I got skittery in a couple of corners, not quite as on form as the previous run. Andrew, Tony and Warren pulled out halfway for to go back up for another loop, and Robin and Steve came all the way down to finish due to Robin's shoulder. Watched lots of lights coming down the trail. Tuesday nights, everyone's out! Nelson chatted with Brendan who'd turned up with a posse, then we headed back up the road talking to a dude on a shagged out Ventana with brandnew marzocchis. The three of us kept a good pace up, overtaking a few others, and he peeled off for another blast of the Nun while we passed some more riders just about to head down Worsleys and we blitzed it. Nelson commented on how fast it was when we got to the bottom.

Granny clamber up to the top of the socalled B Line Hidden track, Forest Track, what-have-you. Nelson's rear Crossmark tire giving him no traction in the soft wet dirt, whereas my Moto was gripping like a grippything. I led off into the singletrack and was it ever sweet in there under the trees, good flow, over the rocks, railing the berms. Out on the clifftop there smack in the middle of the trail was a 4wd with a bunch of hicks in it enjoying the view(?). We peeled round in front of them and ended up rolling further to the right, across the rocks all the way along the top of the face. Nelson had a wee near miss tumble before we headed back into the trees, rejoining the usual line. Back and forth, round and over, and over that tricky rock, i kinda hauled up, and Nelson was right on my tail, but he lost flow and i jetted off down, thinking he was there, but really he had nose wheelied and then toppled onto the rocks. Then, further down his foot jumped out of his pedal and he low-sided it, bollocking himself in the process. Meanwhile, i'd flowed on down and was nearly out under the pylons and stopped to wonder where the hell he was. Headed up the 4wd track and finally saw his light. Plus the other rider's lights. They flowed on down while he assessed his damage.

Then we took off again, and after the pylons hung left into the trees, i kept right and piled across the trail and down through all the sweet drops and dips and again, no Nelson on my tail... Rode up the exit track and he was waiting, then we finished off down to the watertank round it and out the bottom new trails.

Only 8.13 as we drove across town. a mostly pretty good ride, my legs feeling stronger since my Saturday ride.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Inclement Saturday Morning howler

Out on my own this morning. Battled a howling southerly across town, the length of Wilsons Rd, injecting myself into the bottom of the hills, and up the Farm Track. At the Crescent-top gate i changed down to one Icebroke layer and my dhb jacket and plugged my ears into my randomsound track to climb by. Surprisingly, considering i havent climbed the farmtrack for aeons (ie, 2009!), i cleaned it all, bar 1 dab and 1 re-establishment of direction, howling gale pushing me from the side, and throughout the journey up several showers of drizzly rain coming in at me horizontally. Barely anyone around. Passing one walking lady near the bottom with whom i shared a "What the fuck is that?!?" moment. As i approached her, both of us beheadphoned, a chopper noise resonated through the valley, startling me at least into wondering if any rocks were going to tumble down on us. Passed two more older women walkers at the top too, the usual "Great day for it!!" exchanged.

Headed up onto the heinously 'cleaned', lowest common-denominated Vernon singletrack, climbing it steadily, no difficulties as it used to have. All the interesting technical rocky sections gone, nothing left to challenge anybody, barely even the noobs. oh well.

Onto the Traverse and round into the wind. A fair bit of sitting water, oops, but no damage (i checked, honest!), splattering me all the way. Met one other bikeloony enjoying the trail like me - he had the wind behind him. The stretch down towards the pond was probably the worst, with the rain and wind right in the face. In the lee of Sugarloaf was sweet, balmy in comparison.

Then it was into Vic Park, and dry as a bone under the trees. Mint! Elsewhere not so much, so avoided the seesaw and bypassed brakefree, picking my way carefully into rockgarden then nice and dry again under the gums. I took my usual little favourite lefty swooping through the corners back and forth, then round over the wee log jump then back round to the skiddersite.

Into Twazza's, not overly dry in there in spots, meandering back and forth, then hung a right at the 40, up to an entrance to Rad^Silly, getting off that before anything too much for me, into Brents, taking the right hand downslope option, slipping into a sweeping bend near the bottom of Rad, finishing off with a nice sidle before crossing the crick and into Flow, annoying puddle off the bridge, then in the open but still plenty of traction, transitioning into nice dry Nubridges, pumping thru, out the bottom, pausing to decide against the Link to OldSkool, blitzing it down valley meeting, again, a single female jogger. Where were all the men?

Tailwind down Bowenvale, and across town. Starting with Eastern - completing a loop at the deceased Waltham Pool lacing back into the noose; the Wilson's, Nursery and Stanmore junket to my door rolled a cold, wet and muddied rider. Coulda stopped, put on warmer layers, but the urge to just get home and save it til then kept me pushing.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another Thursday Conda Godley spin

Met Pete's, Nelson turned up and changed in the street and we jaunted to Taylors wherefore to meet with Warren, Wayne and Robin. Was fixing to be a bloody chilly one in town, but it was SO mild in Taylors...

The six of us toodled up the snake's tail and because Nelson, then myself, and then Pete peaked Breeze Col so soon Warren txted that they were waiting for Robin and for us to go on. So, what we figured we'd do is ride to Evans, then ride up Greenwood til we saw them get to Evans and we'd turn back down and catch them somewhere on Godley. this is not how it was to pan out. as we were cruising round the road in the dark i looked back to see their lights way off in the distance (surprised me at the time how far it looked) heading out the singletrack below the road, towards Godley Head. Figured about then that they must have something else planned, so at bottom of Greenwood we decided we'd just head back out Godley and txt's were traded that said as much and so we hit up Godley.

Both Nelson and me blew the first rocky section, so with Nelson's impetus we both tried it again and both cleaned it good. Pete was struggling with the concept of Lights having not partaken of so many night rides this season so far, and therefore wasnt on his best form. From the tricky bits out Nelson put distance on me and i put distance on Pete, but we all got there in the end. Once across the kinda landing strip area, where you head round to the more southerly facing usually wet slopes with the two boardwalk sections, i took the lead all the way down to Livingston Col, with Nelson close on my tail to start with, but the Teddington Shit section always gets him and i jetted ahead, only to have him inch back some gain on me somewhat by the bottom.

We traded the lead at Livingston and he gapped me again on the climb. The blitz down the final descents to Breeze were sweet, with long grass and tussocks making it pretty tricky to know what the trail was gonna do next. I was careful where i crashed two weeks ago, and then got some nasty squirrel, dew wet tires on smooth steel pipes, on the cattlestop exiting out to the road.

Finally, down the reptilian slithery thing. Nelson first, then me muppetting it along some sections and finally getting it together for most of the down. Found Robin half way down the lower section, he was a bit lost, and then finally at the bottom Wazz'n'Wayne were reclining comfortably in the grass, the sea view lapping below, stars sparkling in the firmament, wondering where on earth Robin had got to. We all sat for a bit there, it was indeed a nice spot, then i led off down the last section, Nelson hot on my tail, cleaning all the rocky bits and enjoying it, before bopping down over the fence and across back to the cars. Good night for it, good ride.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday Quickie

Quick spin for me and Nelson tonight. we trundled up Huntsbury, me gasping a bit with low energy. Spotted a couple of lights on Rapaki, and it got me thinking why we're still not venturing up that anymore. Basically, its boring. I'd rather ride up the tarmac zig zags of Huntsbury, the newly gravelled (and "improved") lower reaches of dirt, then the gentling off of the slope allowing some respite before the final gravelled climb, its just mildly more interesting than the lowest common denominator that is Rapaki... As we climbed the last of Huntsbury the two lights cruised across the Traverse above us.

Onto the Traverse ourselves i took the lead and all the climby bits i felt Nelson gaining on me but all the descendy bits i dropped him. I felt pretty good riding round here but really noticed tonight the easy-ness of the trail. kinda, like, ridiculously so, but, no matter, still some fun to be had. We kept at it all the way round, no breaks. Then straight into top of Vic swooping down through the trees and as i came round to the see-saw i baulked. It looked slippery and i just wasnt quite in the 'zone' for it... We climbed and walked our way over the fence, and proceeded to do a few BrakeFrees before peeling left and over into the gummies.

I took it slow leading into the rockgarden and gums cos Nelson was a ways back, and i waited for him briefly in order to lead off down our nice little lefthander, an option he'd never taken before. My favourite bit of Vic Park at the moment, i love the way it zigs and zags through the tight forest. All the way down even the final couple switchies before climbing back up to the Skidder site.

Hadn't done Cool Runnings for an absolute age (3 days after the first Quake (with Chris)) so headed up over there. The entrance was a very nasty eaten out rutfest, but once past the wooden jump things tidied up and there's been a heap of work done down here, with mega jumps and lots of granny lines for the likes of us. We flowed down through granny line past jump and G out til we joined the bottom of Rad^Sick, out to Flow and bridges and the newer bit back and forth til the bottom run.

Up the punishment pre-reward, losing myself on more than one corner, then into the OldSkool. Nelson out front, a good flight down, tho on the exit of one of the corners my front wheel bit something and dropped and my stomach dropped too and from then on i was nervy, tho got my shit together by the end. Out round the road back to car, then off to Pom's for a nice Conehead followed up by a Tuatara Imperial IPA

Monday, May 07, 2012

Sunday to Styx some trees in the ground

Townie yesterday. Steve, Tony, Andrew, Wayne, Pete and myself met at Pete's and we Woodhammed, Avonsided, Kilmored, Manchestered and Peterboroughed through to Hagley Park, then Kilmarnocked and Rail-pathed it up north to Tuckers then up to Styx Mill Reserve where we ignored the No Bikes signs and respectfully rode slowly through to the Husseys Rd entrance to meet the Ranger and Robin. We planted a buttload of Trees for Canterbury. Enjoying a few saussie sizzled saussies and hashbrowns after.

On the way home i detoured from the group to Pushbikes (top of Pap Rd) to get some brakeshoes, afterwhich it took me all the way to Kilmarnock, flat tack, to catch them back up again. Tony peeled off and we rode on together across Hagley then Salisbury St at the end of which i peeled the usual route home.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Thursday Snake moonlit Road Greenwood Godley Snake

Good ride with Nelson last night. We droveded to Taylor's and with my newer DX light on the handlebars (cos my old one on the bars kept cutting out last time), and my old DX light on the helment we climbed the Snake. i found with both lights on dim to be the perfect climbing light. Brights was actually too much. Bit of a chuff up the snake, me keeping it under the wheeze-level, which meant Nelson ploughed on ahead of me.

Then it was up the road, no lights, just the moon which was sitting on 3 days off full. A persistent wee number that road, just steadily climbs you without you realising except for the amount of effort required for seemingly minimal gain. Was a lovely still night, but pretty chilly. We met 3 bikers riding down the road (?why on earth?) before we peaked the highest point before the descent to Evans, with their lights on, so i turned mine on for a minute til they'd gone. Then it was a blast on the downhill to Evans, thankfully the divets in the road made by flying boulders have all had nice little white circles painted round them. Flying down through Evans pass, nice not to have to look for cars, and the climbing resumed. Heaps of massive boulders lying around on the road from here on, results of blasting work undertaken over the last month. Still no lights required, moon sufficiently bright. No other signs of any other riders around. Stopped at top of Greenwood for a stretch and i had my cake and ate it too.

Onto the singletrack and oh what fun. Tried it without lights to start, but the rocks got the better of me, so i submitted and turned them on. Again, both on dim seemed the best for the meandering climbing sections to start. Once at the road crossing it was onto full and off we went, down through the work I'd participated in on Sunday. I had pretty good flow right down the top section, enjoying it all, railing and blazing as per usual. Nelson was not having such the time of it and was apparently blowing perfectly good lines and catching every rock.

Onto the Godley, and Nelson's run of bad form was still running, tho we both cleaned the first section, the second little bit got us both. From there the next few hundred metres with rocky bits on it were hard on Nelson, and not so great on me, tho i got more. Once we were further up tho, Nelson's form returned and mine fell off, with a bad back starting to hurt heading down to Livingston Col. I would have stopped here but Nelson had continued so i struggled onwards upwards and eventually longgrassrutted and crashrolled getting back on line after the PFMTBC rock feature. No harm done tho, certainly nothing sore today.

Next up, Nelson led down the 'conda, me on his tail occasionally. He had an excellent run down here back on form, i had a not so excellent run down, tho enjoyable, it was...

rolled back into town about 9.

AND A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THIS BLOG!!! 7 YEARS i've been waffling on about my rides!!!!