Saturday, December 21, 2013

Early Saturday pre Eczemass B Line Jet flushing.

Up early and so much stuff to do, so Jet and me left home in the Fiat about 6.40 and we were part way up lower Worsley, on the corner past the powerlines, by 7.05am, and less than 15minutes later were at the top of Tommy's Too, having cleaned every bit of everything on the way up.  Into the new-to-me Hang Loose, the right hand option at the top of Tommy's2.  Jet taking the lead and mostly staying out of the way.  Only one log-drop i bailed on (no chance of rolling it, but it wouldn't be a big ask to drop off it), enjoying the way the trail used so much of the hill, including a clearing I didn't know existed, and then after some rather steep corners, rolled into the bit Nelson and me had originally tracked out, the builders having hardly altered the route but having dug it out a heap.  Out the bottom onto the logging track and into the climb back up, less than 10 minutes since i was at the top, and back up to the Junction in well under 10.

Next, up the guts to the cliff top, three lady runners eventually catching us at the top, and into Wayne's World, Jet in behind, bomb bomb bomb, relishing the pump.  Into Fight Club and revelling in the pump-ability of this too.  Trail is getting a little blown out lower down, roots and rocks getting messier. Out the bottom and back into the climb again.  Back up to the Junction, and up the guts again, but this time only to the pylon clearing, then turned around and in to the left, across the guts track and down the old short chute blat down back to the climbing track and back up to the junction.

Down from the junction and checked out what turned out to be a new top half of Dave's track, including jumps and drops.  Couldn't be arsed climbing all the way back out from the bottom, so walked back up from part way down, back onto the main track and down past the tank and through and out, including a new wee sideline that skirts the gate, and back to the car about 8.15...  still nice and early, both Jet and me having had an awesome ride, flushing out some of the 'festive season's' excesses that have already started to pile up...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday Poms

Not really a ride, but got a lift with my bike in Nelson's truck to meet the rest of the pfmtb crew for to drink the beer at the Pomeroy's...  drank the beer then rode the Troll home.  a good night was had by all.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday eastern scorcher

Great ride this morning, but hot!  Drove the Fiat to Ferrymead bridge and Wayne turned up in his van, then Steve and Wazza showed on their bikes, and Andy and Tony drove past without seeing us, then finally Pete turned up having dropped the TFC van off.  We raced down the causeway and round into Sumner, met Marie, Andy and Tony, and headed up Richmond Hill.  Steep, and hot as, roasting up pretty quick, desperately seeking shade at every opportunity.  Straight up the farm track through gates and to the trees, then up the farmtrack entrance to Greenwood, a shady regroup above the ruins and straight in.  I started off a bit pingy in the rocks but gradually got my flow, til by the time I was lower down I was scorching down the trail.  Excellent descent.  Heaps of other riders around, including a group we saw repeatedly.

Into Godley and I cleaned the start again!  W00t!  Did it last time I rode it, which was on GuyFawkes day.  Onwards and cleaned the bit after that too.  Then into the rest of the climb, feeling pretty good, even with the heat.  Once I was up on the level, my balance was all squiffy, kept scrubbing edges of the trail and rocks, and feeling all off balance.  Quick regroup before heading down towards Livingston Col, I got smooth again, momentum my friend, and just flew.  Another regroup at the col and Steve tucked in front for the climb and kept a good pace.  I got past him again before the descent and rocketshipped down, swoopy swoop, round and across then back round and whoosh, over the PFMTBC rock, back wheel barely skipping over it as I flew off the end.  The rest came through and Tony did it for the first time (which surprised us greatly - not that he did it, but that it was his first time!).  Marie was slowed by soreness from a tumble on Greenwood, so she took a shortcut down Anaconda from Breeze Col, and we headed off into the climb around above the road. Grass was very long, making the narrow overgrown bit even moreso, then a blat descent to the end of the road and a quick regroup there before scorching around below the road back to Breeze.  Some other riders tucked into the Anaconda before us so we waited til they'd gone over the brow of the hill.  Slowly increased speed as we descended.  Finally the tailenders (Graham the trail maintenancer and friend) came into view and I was chasing, catching them at the end before the 'tail.  That nearly last corner still a bastard.  Into the tail and cruised on down, catching up to Graham's mate, stopping for a sec to gap him, then Graham turned up so we continued on.

Through the bottom of Taylor's and the heated climb began.  Just had to push on and get it over with, i went ahead and ended up catching up to Graham and friend again, cruising with them for a bit.  Found Marie at the top of the hill, and we all moseyed on down the hill, along the esplanade (above a very very busy beach) and into DotCom.  Then a jetship ride along the causeway and back to the car.  Home by 1.

Afternoon, went out to Nelson's, chainsawed a bunch, made a VERY full Fiat which I had to drive extremely slowly back to Nelson's, unloaded and split it all, making for a lovely stack to dry for winter.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday morning Wharfdale pre firewooding

Up early and off out to Nelson's place, with Pete's trailer in tow, stopping to grab a few pallets at Homebase first, got out there just after 8am.  Nelson took his truck and trailer and we parked it and my trailer up at the woodlot and headed through Oxford and for Wharfdale.  Made the trailhead about 9.  Good climb to start in and i was wheezing.  Bit of dampness about, and spitty rain now and then, and muggy as.  First blast downhill from the gate was good, but into the main climb, the odd bit of slick rootage caught us both out a couple times, having not ridden them for so long, both felt a little out of practice.  Great climb followed by a better cruising rolling descent.  Trail pretty clear of trees, but quite a few have fallen away, making holes in the track having lifted their root boles.  Bit of a climb and got to the rocky section, clambered up and we were about an hour in, so figured may as well turn back here.  Walked ahead tho, and checked out how the trees just past the steep creek bit had been cleared.  They had.

Turned back, rode the rocky droppy descent section then cruised and moseyed back, climbing the gentle climb.  Met a couple of (campervanning) Aussies, one from Melbs and one from Hobart.  They'd been touring around the south of the south, and were finishing off with the Wharfdale.  They seemed to be enjoying it.  We climbed on a little ways then the funnest descent began.  Heaps of good maneuvers, excellency at the handling, well and truly on form again.  Wet areas spraying up the muck, splecking me in the eye one time badly, nearly taking out my stereoscopy, and causing me no end of gyp the rest of the day.  Alas, all good things must end and the bottom arrived, and i just about slid out into the final corner trying to carry momentum into the climb.  Nelson jetted off, and i kept the pace for a bit then mellowed off and in no time was back up to the gate.  Then it was the final blast.  Eventually winding it up into top gear and really blasting, spraying ourselves with splecky spray, railing through the final throes of the track, high speed, back to the car 45 mins after we'd turned around, bikes and clothing covered in wet gritty muck.  

Drove back to the wood lot and proceeded to chainsaw for 2 hours.  Filled two trailers, killed one chainsaw...  (Nelson had brought the wrong fuel and hadn't realised til it was too late... :(  
Unloaded the wood back at his and i got home with time for a shower before T's fancy schmancy aunt and uncle came for afternoon tea at 3.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Tuesday evening Packing the Horse

Nelson and me de-wheeled our bikes to make room in the car and picked up Craig, cramming his retro classic fluoro rigid '91 Marin Muirwoods in with ours, and we ventured forth over the Dyers Pass and around the bays and up to Gebbies Pass.  Parked, reassembled our steeds, and headed up the gravel road.  Not long to get puffing, then into the singletrack with the rigidity slowing Craig down a bit, Nelson and me blasting down into the trees ahead and through, then the wee climb up to the stile and out into the paddock where the two others dropped me.  Gasping for breath I caught them at the next stile, then it was a wee blast down before heading into the sweet dark Douglas Fir forest, around and through the wetspot and up the zigzags, Nelson cleaning them all.  Next section across and up to the cool wee bach in there, and then more climbing.  I pretty much left them to it.  Craig yarning away the whole time, not slowing him one bit, I kept them in view for a while, but eventually lost sight of them and just plodded along left to my own devices.  Eventually, after much grunting and groaning I arrived at the end of the forest.  Great trail from here, interesting and not too grindy, around through the Dykes then onwards.  Craig toppling off soon after them on some rocks.  On around and up to the Hut.  Around an hour in.  Signed the book and Nelson took some pics and we headed back the way we'd come.

Nelson, then me, then Craig.  Soon left him behind, our 'modern' bikes so much smoother and the braking offering so much more control we flowed and cruised carefully back to the forest.  He wasn't far behind and had really enjoyed it.  Next bit, the drifty blasty goodness, nailing it down, swoopy swoopy, drifting round corners and nearly shoulder barging trees and all around having a great time.  No time flat and we were back to the bach and waited a second for Craig and he had a massive grin on his face.  First time for him on this track and he wondered why he'd never done it before.  Onwards down, meeting a couple of nice girls heading into the hut for the night, and on down dodging trees and into switchbacks and through the wetspot and douglas fir and blazing down, tucked right down and right on Nelson's tail.  Out to the end, climb began and my gears stalled and that made Craig stall and we walked a bit then ground on up.  over the stile, on up over the paddock hill and then blasted down down down to the next stile.  Back under the trees, along the barbedwire fence skimming at the elbows, finally to the last climb, grind grind grind, stall, walk walk, ride, walk riiiide out the top and over in the open, and back to the road and blast back to the car.  After 8, and the bikes a pain to unravel, so we headed home rather than Living Springs.

Noodle Canteen for dinner.  mmmmmm

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday Hunt Vern Witch Castle Cavendish Pleasant Green Thomas -ness

Three weeks off the mtnbike due to Fiordland field trip and then illness, leaving November's tally of rides pretty sad...

Got to Steve's at 9am and Wazza, Wayne and Andrew turned up.  No sign of Pete so we headed off across to and up Ramahana Aotea and Huntsbury, Steve getting word from an unknown number that they'd meet us up top.  Steve set a worthy pace up here and we all rolled in to the top.  Unknown number let him know that he was behind so we Vernon'd like rocketships down, letting uphill riders through at various points, but still rocketshipped our way to the Rapaki-top.  Then we saw Mark rolling down the road.

Into Witch Hill, cleaning it all nicely and enjoying the wee climb before the pin-balled descent.  Onto the road and a pleasant cruise round, first time for Wazza (ever, on this bike), the others having done it a week or so ago.  Into Castlerock, no stopping, I flew down here, it being a very familiar trail to me, enjoying it's dryness and lack of muck.  Still one or two wet spots, but nothing like winter's.  The last place Nelson and me worked could still do with a couple more large boulders, and it'd be set.  Finally, out to Bridle Path and a shady rest before tackling the climb none of us had ever done before.

Rideable in quite a few sections, only one or two rocks lower down that stumble you and further up, the steps kick in disabling the rideability.  But, not long after them you're popping out of the bushes (next to the No Bikes sign) and there was a bunch of people looking out a window of the Gondola building smiling and waving.  Hung a right, round the back of the building then into the ziggy zaggy trail down to Cavendish Saddle, riding very differently than at night.

Steve wasn't stopping so we hit straight into the climb, grovelling a bit in the steepest bits but getting the hang of it as it mellowed out and finally reaching out for the top, to find a heap of old walkers and vehicles and bikes and trail maintenance crew.  Off down the trail, with them grubbing or placing rock armour as we rode through.  Then over the stile and down round to Nick Singletrack and a quick chat before having to move before a small group of walkers got ahead of us again.  Swoopy swoopy, flow, stall, flow then some rapid descending ensued and flew down to the bottom.    Cruised down to the ruins and we stopped for a quick snack.

Off down Greenwood, initially i was all out of whack, but after a couple of smooth runs I got my groove on and started to bomb it.  Faster and faster I went, Warren not too far back, but then I'd gap him for a bit, then slow up on a flatter bit, and he'd close, then down and i'd gap him and then into the gulch I slowed up to rest a tad and I heard him closing as I headed into the downwardness again.  Again, faster and faster I went and flowed and grooved down through and around to where we saw Dave last time, and looking back I'd put a good gap in again.  Kept up the speed and fanged on down, back and forth and through and then screamed down through the two rocky ups and on out the bottom, allllll good.  Back, killing me, having to wait at the stile for a minute or two to regain the ability to lift the bike.

Into Capt Thomas, this time, Mark tight on my tail, and could I shake him?  Nup.  He kept the pressure on but I kept my end of the bargain, and even cleaned the bit I never used to clean, nooo worries - the cutting out of the steps has infinitely improved it.  A bit further down down, around through the next wee gully, I decided I was slowing him down so pulled up and let him through.  We rolled good from here down, through the next to tricky bits and then both just lost momentum in the wee climb, but the rest of it was smooth.  Fast down into the new switchies, nearly lost it on one outside corner, but man it was betterer lower down now that it's dry - dust even getting lifted by our speed.

The others all rolled in and we headed for DotCom for well earned liquids and solids before grunting round via the causeway, strange cross wind, bit of slipstreaming required.  Into the back of Ferrymead trails and round where we went our separate ways at the roundabout.  Weird side then tail-ish winds home, and utter utter exhaustion awaiting me upon my arrival.  pretty much only able to lie around most of the afternoon.  Too much too soon after the illness?, perhaps.  But, good to get out.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hot Bottlo

Bit of an overhang today, so didnt make it out with the boys, who did what Nelson and me did on Tuesday.  Instead, in the early afternoon, H, Jet and me went out to Bottle Ache for a spin.  I had the singlespeed.  Was short and slow, on account of H being 6.  Turned right and went out to the beach, and then came back in the shortest route, via the pond where Jet had a nice swim.  Hot diggity dog day.


meanwhile, check out this perfect game of Snake...

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Tuesday Guy Fawkes Eastern loop.

Nelson picked me up from Selwyn St and we negotiated the imbecilic rush hour across to Sumner, taking in the newly opened Causeway.  Dairy shut, Supermarket shut, grabbed something from the bakery then parked near Cave Rock, overlooking the beach.  Changed, and headed up the valley, into Sumnervale and the Captain Thomas.  Climb up here was dry dry dry, a far cry from the last few times we've tackled it.  met one rider on his way down on the lower section before the switchbacks and not a single other soul all the way up.  Usual rockies dabbed us out, and Nelson started putting a gap on me in the last stretch above the road hairpin.  My lungs and legs suffering in different ways.  At the road, we were Team Orange (both in orange tops) and there was a Team Green (all in green tops) of three heading onto the Godley.  Somehow at this point it was already 6.35pm...

Off up the road for a steady climb, bypassing the entrance to Greenwood at about 10-to, then on up round up Broadleaf, me falling straight down into granny on the gravel grovel, finally peaking out and resting.  While resting, up rides an old acquaintance Darryl, on a Nomad C with 180 floats, and carrying a full-face helmet on his bag.  Reason - practice for Dunedin and Cardrona Enduros, both of which require a full-face.  He donned the helmet and pads while we talked, and then a couple of riders with a Trail dog turned up, and i said "hah, trail dog" then the front rider said, "hi richard" and it was Tom and Matt, with Jake the dog.  Cool.  They'd come up Bridle Path from Lyttelton, over the Gondola and up, and were heading back down Chalmers Track.  Matt on a new bike to him, a Pivot.  Darryl took off and disappeared like a rocket, and Nelson and me headed off ahead of Jake, Tom and Matt, Tom staying pretty close all the way down, and me hot on Nelson's tail, following all his abrupt changes of direction and near-misses with rocks and tussocks.  They peeled off towards the gun emplacements for Chalmers, and we continued on down Greenwood, holding onto Nelson's tail reasonably well until rounding into Gloomy Gulch, when he started putting a larger and larger gap on me as i was getting sorer and sorer and slower and slower, til finally at our old rest stop i stopped and rested and he kept on blazing.  Once i got going again tho, i started to close.  Til i found him stopped just below where mad Dave was trackworking, and chat was had.  At this stage I could see Darryl finishing off his run into the bottom then changing out of the 'extreme' gear.  We got going again and I kept a good hold on Nelson til the rocky-ups, the first of which i juuuuust dabbed to keep balance, marginal momentum lost.  Flying down the swoopy bit after these rocky bits there was a guy coming up and he didnt quite get his back wheel up off the trail and i squeaked as i went past, juuust clipping his tire with my foot as i passed.  Rest of the way down was fast and fun, and i was sore and tired climbing the stile.

Across Evans and into Godley.  Crawled up the entrance and stopped to breathe and watch Nelson clean the rocky nightmare.  Then i tucked into it, and was juuuust about to fall/reach-out hand-dab, but didnt, and kept it moving and nearly lost it again, and made it out!  W00t!, first time in forever.  Continued on round and up to Nelsie and we carried on out, him gapping me more and more til eventually he was out of sight, me just toodling along struggling with tired legs (3rd ride in 4 days, no wonder!).  At the ridge/landing-strip(?) Nelson was waiting and took off as soon as i arrived, and it was INTO the wind along this section over the boardwalkies, and down into the wee valley then the fast section began and i was catching him and tight on his tail til he skid-scratched up a massive cloud of dust decimating my view of the trail for a second ploughing through and on down to Livingston.  I had to rest a sec here after the fence crossing and Nelson gapped me again, once again disappearing over the ridge ahead of me as i climbed.  He paused briefly before the descent which i was a bit sketchy on, til the final descent over PFMTBC Rock to Breeze.

7.55 here, as we entered Anaconda.  One of the best runs ever down here.  Super speed, superb control and blazing, swoopy swoop down and down, through and through.  In the tail i was getting sore again, and even had a near off, a rock throwing my front wheel up and me towards the bank, and me putting a foot out and my leg bending to halt me.  Got rolling again and this very bony trail bumped me every which way, then flying down into the paddock.

Attempted to get some water out of the drinking fountain, but was sweating faster than could drink, so got rolling up the hill.  Tired legs struggling, Nelson vanished from sight, so i just kept plodding on, then into the descent, aero-styles down to the hairpin and a car pulled out just as i was approaching.  I caught it up, had to wait a second then -pedal,pedal,pedal,pedal, flat out and over took it then back into aero-pos. and blasting down into the bottom corner, arse over the back for maximum brakeage, round and down to catch nelson outside Scarborough Fare.  Toodled along the water front taking in the attractive sunset and then being entertained by all the (soon-to-be) wasted youff on the beach for the Fireworks... 8.20.pm.  25mins, down Anaconda over to here, not bad.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sunday Hunts Verse Worsle B World Club

Nelson picked me up and we drove to Steve's, to save our tires.  Wazza, Wayne, Tony, Andrew were all already there, and Pete and Marie and a guy from across the street from Steve's, Nick, turned up after us.  Steve wasnt riding on account of a possible broken arm from his offs on the Canaan.

Off round Hansen's Park and up Ramahana Aotea and onwards, we all cruised well.  Up the dirt of Huntsbury Nelson made a break for it and topped out way ahead of everybody else.  Parked up with him and hung out til the rest showed, and then it was off round the traverse.  Good pace round here, tail wind assist.  Lot of people about, including some runners that nearly took out a few of our group towards Vic Park.  Rocketted through to the top and regrouped before dropping into the Thomsons.

Off up the road past the Flying Nun, all good and Worsley's top, blasting down the Body Bag before a group of walkers could clutter the place up.  It was here I discovered we'd lost Nick back at the Kiwi...  Up the entrance to B-Line-ville and Nelson led us all through the original/classic rendition, down to the clifftop. I led the way into Wayne's World and we bombed down here, providing some interesting flow to the group.  Brief regroup before blazing into Fight Club, which was soo much drier than yesterday and as a result, faster.  No time flat and we were at the bottom.  Everybody happy, and discovered it was Pete's first time!  Here we spotted also that Nelson and my extension from Tommy's2 is being used, and observed some guys riding down it, tho the builders have made another exit.

Because we were in the vicinity and Pete hadn't experienced it, after the climb to the Junction, Nelson and me led him down Dave's (or ACJoint in my cloud).  The others opted out of this (remembering their last (and only) time).  Turns out they did the wee short shoot from just up the 4wd track, then went back up and did Fight Club again.

Dave's track was obviously very little used.  Pine needles everywhere, barely any sign of the track, Nelson leading the way, then me, and even then Pete had trouble finding the lines.  We all managed pretty much the whole trail barely any dabs, no offs, and a great run down the final chutes.  Granny gear engaged and the climb out started.  All good and some of the crap has been cleared in the clearing, but the steep digger track is still too steep on the long run.  Bit of a walk then rode on out, hearing, and then seeing the others up on Fight Club, we waited for them, and we all rode up and out together.  Blasting down the road, onto the wee sideline track, and on down for a coffee and Zeroes with all the crabon fibre sporting roadies, and split for home.  Great ride.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Saturday a.m. Party On! Excellent!

Quick one this morning with Jet.  Parked up top of Worsley's Rd and hit the climb about 8.30a.m.  Clambered up the trail, riding the tops of the slippery clay ridges all the way up.  One section my whole left side got drenched by last night's rain in the flowering broom bushes, as the was no where to escape to - a half metre deep rut keeping me from veering away from it to the right.  Met a few runners at various points, and there was plausible evidence of a previous bike through this morning.  Too slick to clean everything, but got a fair few bits i wondered about.  Tires picked up a fair bit of clay.  It's 11 days out from the trip, and all i've done is ride to work, so the legs felt pretty good; no gyp given. 

Seemed like no time and i was up the top of B-Line, as we call it, and heading very mellowly down through, assessing the slip, of which there was a fair bit;  roots, rocks and wet loam, a juicy mix.  Jet somehow knew which way I was intending on going, taking the right-hander into the 'classic' version.  Rolled down here, still taking it pretty easy, just kinda wafting along, boosting once or twice but really cruising.  Out onto the cliff top and stopped for the view.  Beautiful morning, mild, sunny.  Got moving off, over the bedrock into the trees, and just around the first corner, over the jumpy rock, and I notice a new looking trail off to the left.  Passed it by and got further down round the bend when I thought, no, I've gotta give it a look.  Back up the hill and into it, hmmm, a sign - "Waynes World".  I'm sensing a theme here - formative 90's movie titles, anyone?  Party on!  Excellent!

Starts out with an interesting, kinda rock garden, then flows off down getting near the internal 4wd track then edging round the hill under the classic.  Steep and slick in first shutes below the rocks, but then getting into the usual flow of off-camber goodness these hillside forests are renowned for.  A few pumpies over tree roots and eventually crossing the classic line and venturing into untapped slope.  A couple of nice long(ish) sections, one or two corners and features to keep you on your toes, and then you're into Fight Club, not far from it's start.  W00t!  Terrain becoming more familiar and this area's conditions slightly drier, speed increased.  New line above the fallen tree from last time and the rest of it was sweet, even the exit was super easy and smooth.  I think Nelson riding has improved my steep descending skills... hmm, i wonder how?  haha.

Into the climb and still just cruising, no real pain or effort to perform.  Jet happily trotting along too.  Into granny - 3 for the corner and then - 2 for the first bit up to that hole, then down a couple for the rest past the old exit and on up.  At the Junction, I raised my seat a smidge and headed up the internal 4wd track with another lap in mind.  Under the pylon met 3 riders resting, including one of those ASP bikes (not sure if it was the maker, Rich, on it).  Continued my granny slog up, all the way back up to the cliff top.  Legs felt awesome, not struggling on anything.

Out on the cliff top and back into it again.  This time saying hey to the guys as i was hussing past after the 'wrock garden' and flowing on down, Jet in behind for all of this, getting along at a nice speed, buttoning off for the expected sketchy bits, and coasting or roosting back up to speed, til the tiny climb after the fallen tree Jet took the lead and then proceeded to just about get in my way the rest of the way down.

Final climb, still easy, txt from Steve at the corner re: tomorrow's ride, and on up and out, down, finding a tree across an old line, and another new line taking you further out for a direct shot through clear of the watertank thereby missing that mucky section, and down through the final swoops before hitting back out down the main drag to the car, somewhere around 9.40a.m., perfect timing for the rest of the day.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Top of the South, Final, homeward bound, Day: Browning, (can ya) Hackett?

Wednesday 23rd, packed up and hit the road, most continuing on to Chch, with our car (Nelson, Pete and me), Mark and Marie, and The Boyz, cruising the 12kms up Aniseed Valley Rd, to the Hackett Picnic area.  Great swimming holes, and easy trail in to a big swing bridge then up through some rocky-ass Mineral Belt and trail getting more interesting climbing, with some massive exposures to the gorge below, to an intersection - left for Browning, right for Hackett.  Marie went for the right, the rest of us off up the trail towards Browning Hut.  Some good bits, clean river crossings, sweet sweet singletrack, more rivercrossing - sluiced out mess of a river with boulders the size of houses, rooms and cars that'd been tumbled about by the floods of months previous, then rideable and unrideable steepness, roots, rocks, and much interestingness.  Eventually, the hut was gained, at 480 m. Food was eaten, and sweat squeezed from doo-rags.

Descent.  I headed off first, just wanting to get moving, and had a great time.  Roots, rocks, all rideable down; shutes, blazing trails, took absolutely no time whatsoever to get down, first to the sluiced out riverbed, bit of a climb out of this, then onwards down.  Sweet.

Took the left towards Hacket, forming a triangle of trails, and a grunty wee climb led to a wee saddle, with sweet descent to a gravel filled streambed, then loads of pig rooted ground and eventually to the hut.  A couple of hunters in residence, brief chat, then onwards chasing Marie.  Bit of trail re-arrangements in here, due to slippage and sluicing of rivers, through a strangely placed block of douglas fir.  Back onto the trail we'd climbed and on down, blasting all the way.  Lovely.  Met Marie in the mineral belt zone, riding back up towards us cos she'd enjoyed that section of the trail so much.  From here it was an easy blast back to the bridge then the open trails back to the car.

Into the river and cold water working on worn out legs was gooooood.   On the road about 2pm, and home to the flatland smaug city by 7.

Top of the South, Day 5: 629, rain, Codgers

Txting with Ian who'd taken me up top of 629 last time (then up Sunshine and down Peaking), we arranged to meet at the bottom Tuesday 22nd, at 9.30.  Only a few takers for this trail, which Ian assured me had changed somewhat and wasnt as bad as it used to be...  The takers were, Pete, Nelson, Mark, Alistair, Nico and me.  The rest of the crew went off up Sharlands Rd, and down R&R etc.  We saw Stu riding into Sharlands as we passed.

Ian took us up the track we'd finished on the day before, which was a nice gentle climb and around the pipeline track to the first forestry road off up to the right.  This immediately kicked in as granny steep then walking, around a corner, a little riding then more walking, Nelson pretty much cleaning it all.  Alistair was struggling with the weighty Diablo.  Up and up we went, a few pinches, a few ridings til we got to Bob Taylor Rd where Nelson was waiting for us and we had  good rest.  A few spits of rain were starting to threaten, but they held off for a while anyway.  On up through the forest (a section very similar to the steep in McVicars), and onto the fire break.  Nelson cleaned the first bit, i got a fair bit, Pete did pretty good.  Nico put in a damned fine effort.  Otherwise we walked some, then some more further up.  Eventually we made the top of this bit, quick descent then up the last bit to top of hill, 629m above sea level.  We'd started at about 100.

Into the descent, first Ian, then Nelson, Pete, Mark, me, and Nico.  All good to start, steep and rooty, no worries.  Following Mark and seeing the others ahead cleaning everything made it all possible.  A couple of sections came up that were just so steep, even Mark hesitated, which put me off and to stay safe, i walked down them.  Cleaned up heaps more tho.  Then the last bit before the road had a heinous rocky drop, with a rideable line but i only saw the drop, and had major trouble even walking down it...  Ian warned us about the entry to the next section, and sure it was steep, but we all rode in and cleaned it nicely.  Down into the bush, more steepness, then out into the recently logged and replanted open area.  Ian warned us of "a series of three switchbacks" which were actually like a squiggly bit down a cliff...  anyway, i walked these, then cleaned up heaps more with only one or two more walky corners.  the rest of the trail rode really well, and was much fun.  Nelson somehow crashed off a couple times.  Lower down it got back into bush and was awesome.  then crossed the main track and shot down briefly below and then out across the bottom and onto the road.  All up, about 2 and a half hours?  2 of which were climbing.

We drove down the valley and passed the others' cars and txts were sent as we went to Sprig and Fern on Milton St for beers and takeouts from next door.  The rain set in good and proper by now too, pishing down for the afternoon.

In the evening the rain stopped in time, so a good sized group of us, minus Steve, Robin, Mark and Marie, and the boyz, met Norm and some other locals in town for a quick blast up in the Codgers area.  Rode up Codgers, Pipeline, Jack's.  then up to top of Sharland's Hill, and down Firball, which was a hoot.  quite greasy in places, from the rain, then across and down P51, and down and out.  then to Sprig and Fern Hardy St for a couple beers.  I picked up Noodle Canteen on way home and feasted.

Top of the South, Day 4: Copperminding our P's & Q's

Monday 21st dawned fine and sunny, AGAIN, and it was a slowish start, i think roughly 9.30ish departure, riding through to and up the Brook then into the Codgers area around and up to Tantragee and on up round the Dun Mountain track.  Gentle and easy going it is and we made the 300 odd metre picnic table in pretty good time.  Onwards again and eventually getting to the Third House.  I was quite tired by this stage, feeling the effects of 3 solid rides and lack of resting or eating.  Arse and feet and hands had been getting numb(ish) on the way too.  Eventually the rest of the crew cruised in and we rested and talked smack for a while.  Nice hot day, lots of sun.

Back into the forest and onwards up, not too far, only a few kms to the opening out of the mineral belt, and on up to a very windy aptly named Windy Point.  Cooling us down nicely.  Great spin round from here to Coppermine Saddle for another rest in the sun.  I'd had enough of sitting around, so got going, figuring if anyone was gonna catch me up the could.  Nelson dropped in behind me and seemed happy enough to hang in there for a while.  Quite a blast this downhill.  Cant really let it all hang out because of traction issues in the corners, and not really knowing what's coming up next.  But, still, a good speed on and down we went.  At about the 10 minute mark, my hands were getting sore, and my back was aching, so i pulled up for a bit of a rest and stretch.  Not long after we stopped Alistair and Nico turned up, with Nico in agony, having only about 50mms of useable travel and crappy brakes he was having to hang on hard to.  Nelson led off and i followed, with Alistair on my tail.  He seemed happy enough there.  From the sounds of it, Nico held back for a good while, til the others turned up.  Nelson set a good pace, and Alistair and me held on, letting him set the speed, which grew and grew and grew as we entered the taller scrub, then forest.  Massive blast down here, eventually through a couple of fast tight corners onto a boardwalk into a corner for a bridge, then super fast blast down the walking track from here.  At one point, with Nelson a safe distance ahead, i came over a jumpy rise and he'd disappeared!  I thought, "where the fuck is he?" "oh, there he is" his smiling face off to the right of the trail.  He'd hit the air, and ended up off the track, braking hard through the ferns.  Not much further down here we left the forest onto an open 4wd track and pulled up for the regroup.  A few minutes went by and the others started rolling in, Pete first i think, then most of the rest in reasonably quick succession.

From here, it's a blast down the 4wd trail, past the bottom of Peaking Ridge, then through a creek, climb out of that, then past Bob Taylor Rd onto the singletrack again, with a small section reminiscent of Cullens, then past the bridge and onwards along the pipeline track.  But, Mark and Marie went ahead, as did the boys, but Pete had had a blow out further back so Nelson and me cruised back to see what was up.  All good got rolling again and the last blast round the Pipeline then down the new section that wasnt finished last time i'd been round here, which was awesome.  Nice finishing blast through pines and then into the bush at the bottom of 629.

Finished with road, then Maitai bikepath all the way back to town.  Nelson and me went for a feed at Akbaba's and then joined the others at Sprig and Fern on Hardy St, bikes all hung out front.  Couple of pints easing the weariness in our limbs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Top of the South, Day 3: Invol(untary Evol)utions

We weren't convinced that the logging had finished in the Barnicoat, so Sunday, 20th Oct, morning we ventured forth.  7.5kms from camp, via Railway Reserve, Bishopdale hill and the Ridgeway and up the Marsden Valley to the start of a very very very long hot climb...  Normal people ride up the forestry roads on the righthand side (true left) of the valley.  Indeed, Stu and i did that last time i rode this.  it took an hour, in granny, to reach the top.  We, under guidance from Mark and Marie, and due to the hotness of the sun, openness of the forestry roads, and shade provided by the bush, decided to ride UP the Involution trail.  Granted, it is officially a 2 way track...  but riding up it?  Anyway.  We made it.  There were only a few corners we didnt clean.  Some cleaned nearly all of the track, indeed, i wonder if Nelson and Mark did actually clean it all...  So, a couple and a half hours after we started, numerous regroups, snacks, breaks, we were at the top.

The top section reminded me of sections of Wakamarina, lots of roots, quite steep.  But once you're down into the forest it's totally different.  Lots of exposure lower down.  Had an awesome run down.  Couldnt believe how fast familiar bits came back to us.  When i'd ridden it with Stu originally, i'd felt like the descent took ages cos nothing was familiar and i never really knew how much further to go.  But it seemed a lot shorter this time because of recognising all the places we'd stopped, or that log across the trail, or there - where we'd moved the log off the trail, etc.  So with one brief stop about a third from the bottom to give the hands a rest from the brake control, away we sped on down and in about the 4th to last corner i was soooo close to losing i really thought i had, til a miniscule weight shift got me back on track.  Nico apparently had at one stage looked down to shift gears and looked up to find himself off the end of a hairpin...

bit of a regroup at the bottom of the main section and most of us blasted off into the lower section, only to be grabbed by the helmets or backpacks by a fallen manuka.  then a couple of wee creek crossings later out to the road.  Blast down, my back tire on a slow deflate.  Stopped about 5 times to pump it up on the way back to base.

Top of the South, Day 2: Canaan Rameka'd

Early departure from camp at Marahau, Saturday 19th, and we convoyed up KaWhaka Hill, with a small issue with Alistair's car, that Pete took over the driving off to test and was actually fine.  At Canaan turn off we pulled up and found Norm, Keith (and i think that other guy who's name i didn't catch).  Then 4 vehicles, driven by Nelson, Pete, Andrew and myself, hooned down the other side into Takaka to meet the shuttle.  Introductions made and bikes loaded, a few locals filling up the seats, and up we headed, and in the Canaan Rd to the saddle and onwards down the hill, over the cattlestop and parked up where the grasslands begin.  The four of us were chasing so we left our hosts and headed onwards, staying on the road right through to Harwoods, i think about 30-45 mins behind the gang.  Met Alistair and Nico here at the carpark - they were just going to do the short loop, and they told us the others were doing half the long loop, back via the 2nd half of the short.  So, off we climbed.

Ground up to the Rameka turn off and onwards, not really remembering this from '09 when we did it on the soaking Golden Bay trip.  Climb got really grindy, for a bit, but all pinches were cleaned before the descent (which had held onto Steve's front wheel earlier), which at times was interesting to say the least.  Just prior to a wee creek crossing I heard a clicky clicky from my drive train and didnt think too much of it, but as i put the power on out of the creek >SNAP<...   bah.  Chain tool jobby couldnt fix it so Pete donated a quicklink which got me going again, albeit, from here on out not giving my chain quite so much torque.  About 5 minutes later Nelson flatted so we stopped for that too.  Then the chase was on, as we hit the saddle we could see some of our group ahead.  Reeled them in, on some fun trails, one or two sections across this face were the best bits there was, neat wee gnarl swooping through forest, into a few wee creek crossings, so well made.  One or two of the climbs out of some of the creeks along here i missed, but cleaned all the creeks themselves.  Just before the detour to the log drop jump I reeled in Keith, and immediately before the 'rock-gap' we caught the others lounging, waiting.

From here, tight trail up to the rock gap which most of our handlebars failed to negotiate, and then a sweet chute down to a sheep/cattle-stop then it was out across open lands, weaving in and out of the boneyards of past forest, and across a long slope the raised trail where they've lain logs together and filled the gaps with trail material.  a couple of places the trail material has eroded out, making you ride on the log itself.  Along here Steve had an off.  Nelson and me caught Marie not long after this and we all hung a right, down to a gate, then down to the first crossing of Gold Creek.  Along a whiles and another crossing and then the nice climb on chipped marble/quartz gravel, now stained brown where forest tannin water runs over it, up through a goblin forest, a fun descent then out into the open again for more swoopy descending across and into another forest section with a small climb then blast out and back to the car park.  Found Alistair and Nico here again, and the others all rolled in in dribs and drabs and we all settled for some snackage with the robins.

Clambered off up to Rameka turn off again, another quick regroup, camera transferred from Warren's to Nelson's bike, and I led off with Nelson tight on my tail.  Pushing hard, this trail section is actually quite hard work.  There's not a lot of downwardsness to it, it sticking with the 800m contour for the first couple of kms, then only losing the next 100m over the next couple, so you're really pumping it to keep any interesting speed on.  Conditions were awesome, very little moisture about.  Some of the creek crossings have tricky exits, making for dabbage and occasional dismounting.  Wended our way through the forest, pushing, ever pushing.  Finally, you turn that right hander down to the left hander hairpin and the real descending begins, crossing the 700 contour you're propelled into a techy rocky fun time.  I actually just about dropped Nelson through here, then you're through the Dozer zone, peeling left into the really tight twisty section, across to the otherside of the Dozer trail and back out for the final clay rutsville corner before heading out in the open gorse country and blazing through some erosion features and finally down to an intersection of trails.  We waited here for a while, and then a bit longer, then the others turned up (apparently having regrouped just up the trail a smidge...)

Next section is a blast hurtling down into a gully then climbing that rocky ledge, of which i dabbed the smallest bit i've ever dabbed through here, then rocky rocky and back into a wee bit of bush descent down to top of Pack Track.  Another regroup and speed set in.  This is possibly the best of all trails, near the top of my list.  The speed, the flow, the ease of which it comes at you.  Some insane piles of rocks getting thrown at your frame by your tires, the Tomo - we paused and dropped a rock down it... - then a couple of big bermy wall ridey things and then across the road and whoooah, my rear tire is feeling all washy, gotta take it easy, slowing up those on my tail through the jumpy swoopy bermy end before the road.  Another regroup and tube replaced.

Into Great Expectations and the grin-factor is just dripping.  Flying down here, careful on the off camber outside edge corners but railing the right handers.  Into the forest across and around and oh my that IS a long way down (still to descend!) and back into the forest and back and forth and in and out of the edge of the forest and then out into the regenerating bush and absolutely flying.  Super careful not to lose front wheels off bridges and scrubbing off speed for some of the corners.  Somewhere up here Pete got onto my tail and i was having trouble shaking him, and finally, down to the creek crossing and sploosh through, dropped my back wheel into a hole and stopped...  clamber clamber out and Nelson comes barrelling through cleaning it.  Then Pete, small dab, but mostly cleaning it.  I think everyone else walked it.

2 Klicks next.  The fun continued.  I led Nelson through the Do section, Pete and Alistair took the Die.  I think i like the Do, you stay higher and there's cool features near the end, whereas the Die (i rode a couple years back) you drop straight in then you're grovelling along he bottom.  Then into the river bed section, pinging across the tops of the rocks and out up to the road.  Regroup.  Blast.  into 1 Klick.  Again, lots of fun. cool jumps, not game for the first even tho it had a ramp on the back side of it - next time.  Awesome tight blast down through here, more riverbeddy type stuff, and then eventually a couple of interludes on the road and back into singletrack and finally out and down gravel, seal, mainroad, back to Takaka.

Drove to Nelson.

Total drive train replacement for me in this afternoon.  Chain, cluster, front (36t) ring.  One of the chainring bolts was made of cheese, so i had to use a ziptie to hold the retainer in place.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Top of the South, Day 1. Kaiteriteri

The Stalkers assembled at Owen Posse park in Woodend early on Friday 18th and proceeded to drive, pretty much in convoy, to Marahau, stopping en route a couple few times and arriving there at 2pm ish.  Shit was organised and we all drove round to Kaiteriteri, where Steve, our resident regular, led the way.  PFMTBC members were by vehicle: Nelson, Pete and me; Andy, Tony and Wayne; Steve, Warren and Robin; Marie and Mark; and Alistair and Nico.  Tagalongers from Nelson were Norm, Keith and someone else who's name i didnt catch...  We rode round stuff like Sidewinder and Swamp Monster, then down Shady Lady, and Revelation, then up Ziggy and Corkscrew.  the latter two new to me and most enjoyable -  Corkscrew in particular, in both directions, but especially down.  On the way down Steve insisted we shoot down Dive which was also fun.  Then it was briefly up Big Airs and then across on Skullduggery, which was cool but a little too climby...  Great to check out new trails in there and what a place to play.  Bombed down Bay View and into Tank and around and back to base for well earned beers and bbq.  Nom nom.

AND!  swtchbckr's 600th Post!  Happy century-post swtchy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2's-dee Ebening last before trip

Quick get together for a few riders last night, namely Nelson, Steve, Robin, Andy and Tones.   Nelson collected me and we met the others up Upper Major Hornbroke, whereupon into the bitter easterly we rode up the singletrackage.  I wheeeeezed all the way up - legs still rather tired from Sunday's mission; Nelson powered off ahead on his hardtail; while the others all made their own time, seemingly chuffing a lot less than me.  Round the top, the rocks in long grass proving interesting and Nelson putting the pressure on some guy who'd ducked in ahead of us, making him make mistakes.  Regrouped on the road then rolllled down to Cavendish Saddle and knuckled in for the grind up Mt Pleasant.  Again, wheeezing my way up and around, Andrew staying pretty close on my tail, and another regroup up top top.

Into the descent, and I felt good.  One near miss in the top section's rocks, but kept it rolling and then over the stile and my flow was ON.  First time I feel like I've ever really 'gotten' this track smoothly.  In the past there's always been pauses and baulks and fart-arounds, but last night it just cruised.  Swoopy swoopy and blasted the lower half, only wanting to turn right on a left-hander once and skidding back into control as a result.  Most of us regrouped at the bottom near the gun-emplacement turn-off and waited for Robin to appear.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Finally Nelson headed up the track towards him and the rest of us waited a good long while before he finally appeared like a rocketship over the brow followed by Robin, - his back wheel had fallen out resulting in a bent derailleur hanger and gears not shifting right.  Nelson had helped him put it together and get rolling again.

Next up was down here and into the top of Greenwood.  Totally not used to riding it this way, enjoyed it but felt the pressure on from Nelson (til he missed a rocky corner) then again further towards the top.  Lastly, up the road, everybody keeping a good pace on then into Britten descent.  Again, felt totally on my game, flowing and rolling and swooping my way to the bottom.  Feeling pretty good for the trip come Friday.

After, we all met, including Pete, Alistair, Wayne, Warren and Marie, at Cassells for a couple beers and discussion of trip plans...  early Friday - to Nelson!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Three Peaks on the way home from the bach

Missed last weekend due to T being away and the rest of us being at the bach helping my Dad with stuff.  Then most of week away and then over to bach again Thursday night for the last weekend of the holidays.  So, packed up and left the bach and i got out at Pettigrews Rd, hitting the trail at 3pm.  First ride for my new shoes, some Shimano's...

Made reasonable time up through Whatarangi and on up Sinclair, walking a bit before peaking out 45mins in, descent beginning, and up here i plugged my music in.  Fair bit of wind around in places, seemingly every time i descended.  Whereas all the climby bits earlier on were calm as.  Good progress up the back of Fitzgerald, with a good walk up the grovelly bit, then up onto the ridge an a surprising section of granny climb.  Stopped for a bit of a snack up top here then tucked into the massive downhill, bombing it down to the gate then through the tricky section and then bombed down to the next saddle.  Someone's been playing with a Komatsu D31 up here, and a new track has been carved in for the next climb.  i rode some of it, and some of the original singletrack, and then some of the new up.  Another stile, number umpteen, across the graveyard tops, another stile, then down the blast, into the wind, to Waipuna Saddle.  over another stile, upwards, another stile, and on walking up up up til riding again, and the blasty descent down to Port Levy Saddle.

Climbed on out, seeing for the first time other bike tire tracks, two i think, not that old - likely this weekend.  Decided later that they were travelling the other direction to me, because on the steep back of Herbert when i was walking they seemed to be ridden not walked.  Grovelly climb up to Kaituna Reserve, then awesome downhill down and across into the start of the nearly final climb, which i managed to ride heaps of til Monument Track peels off to the right.  I started along it, but then realised it would be a big effort, and i might as well just climb up the back like usual, so, pushed up to the ridge and hooked onto the steep bastard.  Carried the bike some, wheeled it on the back wheel ahead of me, and pushed it, a bunch.  Wind quite strong all the way up here.  Met a bit of snow up here, just shady patches.  Body starting to get pretty tired.  Mandarin here, and donned my orange G.Effect top too.

Down the ridgeline between sub-Herbert (913) and Herbert was a fun descent, popping off the drops.  Once the climb hit i slowed right up and walked a bunch more.  Rode a bit, missed the walkway and clambered across to it and on up to the top of Herbert finally (919).  Bunch of txts flooded in, including Tracey wanting a progress report.  18.21 i replied i should make the 7 oclock sailing.  And off i headed down.  Nearly over the bars up here, and a big old hunka snow right in the middle of the trail, north facing(!) too, making everything wet-as below it.  Steep singletrack led me to the slightly less steep 4wd track down.  More stiles, steep, fast descent, dropping hundreds of metres in minutes.  Lambs galore down here and lower.  Finally down into the wee valley and climbing another stile my hamstring cramped something wicked.  Yow!!! had to drop the bike and streetttttch.  Managed to continue, seemingly running out of time.  it was gonna be close.  More stiles, and more wet bits, splatting me up a bunch - something i'd avoided all the way til here, and tonnes more lambs...  Fiiinally, over the very last stile and there's the sign...  Track Closed for Lambing, til Oct 16th...  oooops, only 3 days out. oh well.  Kinda no wonder i saw not a single other person my entire travels.

Across the road, and having to hurry now, couple steps, stile, then down, creek higher than i'd ever seen it before,  flowy singletrack with a few interesting techy bits, and yay at last the road!  Stood and climbed and had pain and had to sit, no, had to stretch, and tried to stand and ride again, but no, had to stretch again, but only 5 minutes left, had to push on through til the descent, blasting past where the pub used to be and down the zigzag road to the wharf and the Ferry was 100m out, on its way in.  Phew...  Pretty hot and bothered by this stage cos twas way warmer at sea level than at 900m, so stood in the breeze all the way across.

Rode off the ferry, and up towards the tunnel, parking myself in time for T and the boys to pick me up.  So.  a 4 hour trip this time.  I'm getting slow.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Thursday evening no skool like the Old Skool

riding the BFe to work, was having issues with my front bearings, so, was wondering whether i'd get to ride or not, but Nelson picked me up on Selwyn St and we made our way to Bowenvale Ave, parking up the end.  He had his hardtail on account of not having replaced his rear derailleur yet (it's ordered...).  Seemed to sort out the bearings, not really by doing anything, and we headed on up the valley.  Stuck to the valley floor track, up to Hidden Valley track, blowing the creek crossing, but pretty much getting the rest of it.  I was surprised how good i did considering how crapola i'd felt all day on account of a certain visitor last night and beer and 4 different singlemalts.  pure seed.

got a bit of air into the lungs on the climb and then onwards around the Old Skool, barrelling down, me leading.  Seemed to ping about a bit, but held a pretty good speed most of the way.  Lower down, in the lower switchbacks we met Craig on his classic fluoro rigid 1988-9 Marin, who'd been been in touch and we expected.  He turned around and continued back down with us, and then we all headed up valley for round number 2.  Repeated, the same, climb climb, Craig nattering away, which is good for keeping him at our speed.  Top of Hidden we chatted a fair bit to a dude who rode through for his first ever time, then metres later we rode past him making a repair, and then half way down, Nelson got a flat, which him and Craig worked together to fix in no time, chatting to the dude again as he stopped on his way down, and then we put chase to him and i reeled him in a little.  While waiting for them to fix the tire, i was sure a rider below us was Steve, and it turns out it was!  At the bottom again, we decided we had enough daylight for another run, so back up the valley, meeting tonnes of DHers coming down way too fast.  Back up the grindy Hidden Valley trail, and back round and back down, and out back to the car by 7.30.  so, three laps in all of approximately 140m altitude, just like climbing to the top of Mt Vernon and back.

And to top it all off, here we are a week after Daylight Savings, checking back, the last time we rode Old Skool was the week before Daylight Savings, meaning we've had the whole winter off it.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Blown Out

Daylight savings this morning and I totally forgot about it.  Tom rang at what i thought was 6.35 asking about the ride, and I said, yeah, get to mine for 8.  I got on the rain radar to check what was up with the rain and then saw the time!  7.37! YIKES.  Scrabbled to get ready, and Pete was early, but no matter, got ready and Tom arrived and we set sail to the Palms and the others (in two cars - Wazza, Wayne, Tony, Marie, Steve, Andy) arrived and off out thru Rangoon and sLoburn we cruised, finding Nelson awaiting us at the end of the road and the rain we'd been driving through just stopped.  Over a year since last was up here (with Nelson, Matt and Tom) and just about 2 years since riding it with Nelson and Pete.

Granny grunt start, climbing away, everybody getting into it, nice and fresh, soft trail in places and rut city down the bottom, we meandered our way up and regrouped at the mud wallow, which Nelson got his shovel out for and dug a drain, relieving it of a fair bit of water by the time we'd returned.  Then, as usual, the first walking began.  And a shit load followed it.  As usual, with a few riding bits between.  The really steep stuff was really steep, and the first timers were probably wondering how it was gonna be down hill.

A few regroups on the way up.  Marie was struggling I think and left her bike behind thinking she'd walk the rest of the way, but we convinced her that riding further was worth it, and Nelson ran down after it, and she rode a good deal further.  Regroup and snack in the open area before the main downhill.  Then down and climbing re-engaged, up and up, up and down, up up and ever onwards up.  Into the cloud enshrouded tops we struggled, Marie leaving her bike behind finally further up, and walking the same pace as the rest of us to the top.  Pretty mucky in places, with water running down the track.  We stopped at the Mt Richardson sign and a walker guy and his dog cruised through, surprised (and not very happy) to see us, then it was the final push to the top.  Quick feed and jacket on at the top then off down.

Just after the Mt Richardson sign, i was out the front, and i noticed something going thuck thuck thuck on my back wheel then BANG! it blew.  My tire had split next to the rim and was rendered useless.  Bugger, i thought, and was about to start walking when Tom pointed out he had a spare tire...  phew!  a little 2.1 Ritchey, which was hard to get on, but did the trick real good.  The others had all gone ahead, with Nelson and Pete hanging back with me, and we put on a chase now.  Catching them just before Marie got to her bike at which they were all waiting.  From here it was in the open, mostly down until the steep shute-y climb, which at this point was very hard work walking up...

Bit more climbing and into the forest again, for a good downhill til the next climb, which wasnt long, then finally the long ridge section before the steeeeeep downhill.  In here you're dropping a couple hundred metres within about a km and a half.  I baulked on the steepest shute, just getting out of the way in time for Tom and Pete to get by, then had to walk a little before being able to get back on.  Made good chase now and when it leveled off again we all regrouped not long later.  Another rapid downhill stretch and we stop where Nelson is puzzling over the back end of his bike...  damn, his rear derailleur has caught something and snapped in two.  Once again, the others took off ahead, but this time 4 of us stayed to help Nelson get his chain apart (which was very difficult) and off for him to ride chainless.  Tom managed the previously impossible of splitting the chain.

Awesome blast down the last sections, relishing the rapid acceleration experienced upon release of brakes, Tom close on my tail all the way down to the (now quite a bit lower) mud pug.  Nelson had a couple of bits he had to run but mostly it was a coast for him.  Eyes splecked like crazy, half blind, on the last open ruttsville section back to the cars and a bunch of very mucky puppies we all were.  a grand total of just under 1000 metres total climbing (and descending) under our belts.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday night stealth pixies

Nelson met at mine after work and around 6 we were heading for the hills.  Parked up top of Huntsbury Hill we ground our ways up the trail, no lights, setting a good pace.  Across the road and up Scott's Knob trail to the highest point where we turned round, lights on, and fanged it back down.  Much tighter this way than i'd thought it would be.

Back onto the road, up onto and around Vernon, picking up speed as we progressed before finally bailing off onto the side to let a bunch of climbers clamber past.  Back into gear and down the last switchbacks and through the top of Rapaki straight into the Witch Hill, techy rocky grunty wee climb round, cleaning it all sweetly, then swoopy fun down to the road.  Cruised up here, lights off, freaking out a couple of runners cos of our stealth mode, meeting them at the gate below the Tors.

Cruisey climb up to top of Castle Rock and we chilled out here, no wind here, for a few minutes before droppin' in.  I led the way, and was a bit pinbally to start, but got into the groove and got on down the trail nicely, flying into the first hairpin, on round down, wet spot from last time not so bad, and round the next hairpin and down over our cool rocky armoured section just before the wee wooden bridge before the climb up through the next usually wet spot, drained nicely, and on up.  At the next big mucky quagmire we stopped for about half an hour and messed about moving rocks, some huge, building it up and making two armoured bits which we rode back and forth on then continued our way out to the Bridle Path.

Turned around, and headed on back up and over the first section, cleaning our armoured repair, and then descended down through to our other armour, then the real climbing began, up round the first hairpin, across, and i dabbed through the second, but got pretty much all the rest of the climb til the last rocky grind near the top.  Onto the road down past the Tors, my back wheel had some squirrelly throbbing in it.  Flipped the bike at the gate and decided that it wasn't the rim, just the tire - not seated quite right...  oh well, onwards down the road, into Witch Hill and an excellent pace right in and through til a quick scoot-dab and then over down and around.

Through the top of Rapaki again, and back onto Vernon and up through the switchbacks, Nelson stomping on the gas, me just plodding on up at a steady pace, really feeling it in the legs on the last vestiges of climb.  Blatted down to the road, not quite as fast as normal cos my lights were both on dim.  Some comment from the boyracers missed, then onwards round the traverse til we dropped down the quick way onto Huntsbury, speeding down the gravel (after first running out of singletrack), then finally down the yumpy wee side track and back to the car.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mucky Sunday Bottle Jet Lake

Rain came in from the north scuppering our chances of doing the Blowhard track as planned, so the decision was made to postpone to next week. I wasnt up for the wet ride across to Steve's on the off chance of not getting up the hill, so i chucked Jet in the car, the singlespeed on the back, and we headed out to Bottle Lake listening to the 9am news on the way.  Pretty wet, not much rain from above, but soaking-as tracks allowing for plenty of spleck from below, causing all sorts of issues for my eyes the rest of the day.  We both got nice and mucky and had a right old time.  He ran and ran and ran, i spun and spun and spun, overtaking the occasional person i met, like maybe 3 (not many people out there today).  Annoyingly, tyre rub on frame every time i stood up and kranked it hard...  worst bit was climbing up to the gazebo.  Took an hour or so, right round the outside and we were back to the carpark, hosed off the sand and mud and back in the car home by 10.30.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Evening Easternisation

Nelson turned up at mine after work and we Corona'd across to the Pleasant Mount and proceeded to the top of the hillside suburbanisation.  There was a bitter wind blowing up there, so once we'd set up our bikes and had a wee we got back in the car to await the others.  Warren had turned up while we were sorting, and sat to wait in his car too. Andy and Tony turned up next; then Steve and Robin; then Pete.  Then, we hit up the trail.  About a third of the way up i was finally warming up, and by the top felt sweet (and sweat).  Good cruise up, with Steve setting the pace at the front and us all toeing in behind, tight on each other's rear tires.  Most of us got the top corner into the original John Britten trail, then it was around to the gate, over and up Broadleaf, really warming up and having a good regroup at the start of the trail over down towards Cavendish Saddle.  Nicely out of the wind up here, and so we yarned a bit before turning the lights on and hitting the singletrack.  Nelson in the lead, me next, followed by Pete, and the rest.  Good wee blast down, the tussocks making us react, not flow.  Tho, groove was gotten the further we got.  The last couple of corners before the first long stretch across the slope always get me, expecting the long stretch across the slope to be this one, but no, another corner, maybe this next one, no, another corner, aaah, this one...  The final chipped bit down, loose and sketchy, always expecting that final nasty corner that everyone seems to miss and ride over, just before the stile.  Over and down, nearly losing it before the bottom.

Next up, up the back and forth trail to the Gondola, cleaning it all this time, first time i havent blown one of the lower corners, and then around the Gondola building for most of us, and another regroup on top, then back down, looking spectacular from the otherside, if only we were filming.  All enjoying the down.  Then it's up the way we'd come down before, steep to start, and a little loose, but then leveling off, and on round to the first corner back across and up, steadily on and on up, and over, regroup on top again, and then off up the rest of Broadleaf to the top and the excellence that was to ensue.

Down from Mt Pleasant, sketchyish rocks to start and then picking your way, reacting to what is just round that tussock.  Second or third place always good, following the leader's mistakes.  At the bottom of this trail we split.  the usual three off down, the rest of them back out top of Greenwood and over back to their cars.  Nelson, Pete and me off down, I off-pisted down to the trail and so had a good lead on them, which i largely kept, with the occasional gain, and loss, and gain, by them.  Awesome blast down Greenwood for me tonight.  Very few mistakes, i floated and pumped as necessary all the way.  Cleaned everything including the usual little mistake-makers, and ended up at the bottom with a big grin, and a bit of a sore lower back (as usual).

Finally, really good pace, all of us just pumping away up the road, grinding out the kms and metres altitude, steady as she goes, all the while knowing it was building base stamina and strength the others need, but we always seem to get.  Eventually we made the top of the Britten trail.  Nelson pulled up and adjusted suspension, so i ducked into the trail and got a nice lead on them both, which Nelson slowly wound in on the way down.  Good flowy blast down here. Ruts wobbling me a couple times, but the tires and wide rims just carry you straight out of the wobble.  No wind at the cars this time.  Bit of a chat then our separate ways back to the same neighbourhood.

Getting my bike out of the car, the blood lid dropped on my head as i was coming up and in to get the bike and YOWCH!  Blood started pissing out of the wound and so i needed help sorting out my shit.  No stitches needed, thankfully.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Arvo Worsley Jet ride.

Left home at five to 4 with Jet in the car and headed up Worsley's, parking at the top of the road.  Jet chomping at the bit, we got going straight up the main track.  Passed a couple guys just after the powerlines, having seen them struggling on the ruts from when i was lower down.  Up round the corner, into major rocky ruttsville, no worse than last time a month or so ago with Nelson, but our rock placements had been somewhat wrecked, and that was the only place i blew in that section.  Cleaned up everything else, until, as we got up near the turn off to B-line-ville Jet was through the fence and i was calling him over and heading across towards him i had a weird crash.  My front wheel stopped suddenly on the edge of a rut and my positioning was all out of whack and i ended up ON the handlebars, balanced, on my chest, for a second, legs out behind me in the air, hovering, then toppled back (almost back onto my seat), never hitting the ground.  bloody hurt the chest, and smacked my knee on something too, then, when i'd righted myself again i had stars in my eyes, and took a minute to get my breath back...

Off up the entry to B-lineage, and off down the Original to the right.  taking it slowly to start, gradually getting into the flow and picking up speed as i headed down.  By-passed Fightclub and headed through the pylon clearing on down, clearing a piece of windthrow on the trail, then off down to the right down the old favourite and out the bottom.  Straight back up and up the middle steep bastard forestry trail, all the way back up to the clifftop, then on up the way i'd come down to the top where Tommy's peels off and down here, taking the trickier line to the right about 2/3rds of the way down, where a log was down and a new line had formed steep and into the rockgardens that are in there.  Then it was Fightclub, fantastic, really feeling on form, pumping and roosting, til lower down where a tree has landed ON the track.   A dabby scooting line above it then off down the final deeper forest section, steeper stuff, and nice lines all the way out to the bottom.

Then, finally, back up the access track, passing a couple guys, one with no chain (walking), and then up to the junction and off back down to the car via the normal route.  Happy dog, and happy me, 1 and quarter hours riding total.  All up an very slightly different format of this ride just over a month ago even the timing was similar.

AND, just this week, Cotic turns 10 years old.  Happy Birthday, Cotic.  I've been a Cotic owner for 5 years now.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday Night TFC Meeting

only writing cos the ride home from the pub after our TFC meeting last night was so insane...  while we were there the gale force norwesters kicked in, blowing up dust storms along Garlands Rd.  Pete and me struggled into it all the way home.  it was like riding up a very steep hill.  So full on, with grit being thrown up into our eyes the whole way, rubbish bins and roadworks signs and cones all lying down and branches off trees.  Tin was flapping in the red zone, and a couple of trees were down both sides of the river just down river from where i cut through to my place.  spec tac u lar.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sunday's Planting, Otukaikino / Omaka

Jumped on the Troll and got over to Pete's by 9, the others (Steve, Warren and Wayne) turning up not long after, and we all rode Avonside - Kilmore right across town to the park and through to Kilmarnock for to meet the railway path and Andrew and Tony, who'd very lazily driven there.  From here it was northbound, freight-training ourselves to the end of the line, Tuckers.  Onto Cavendish, Styx Mill, Gardiners, past the Crematorium and across to somewhere I hadnt been for 30 odd years, the entrance to Omaka Scout Camp.  Up the drive and along to the planting where we put in a shitload of natives alongside a path alongside the river/creek that flows on down into the Groynes.  Plant plant plant, scoff multiple sausages, and then it was back on the bikes, muchly a reverse our plantward journey, once again freighttraining hauling ass down the later stages of the railtrail, then through the park, taking Armagh through town, Steve peeling off at Barbadoes, and Pete and me sneaking off to Pom's for a quick pint, a delicious Liberty Sauvignon Bomb, a perfect way to finish the 35 odd kms under our belts... 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Friday Night Eastern figure 8

Usual pick up from work and we drove the clogged city arteries right through to Taylor's Mistake.  Parked up and headed up the road to the walking track  which was rather greasy to start, but not so bad once over the fence.  Took a new zig and zag through new lambs and mothers and proceeded to grunt up to the deer fence and alongside it I lost the grip on my breath, walking a section I've not walked in past ventures up this trail.  Over the stile and off up the gravel road, a little soft, and draggy, but not so bad.

Onto the seal and the 0 to 220m in under one kilometre as the crow flies, it really is a rapid ascent.  Round the road, Nelson saving his tires by riding the margin, then the coasting down to Evans Pass, faster and faster and faster, through the saddle and up the Summit Rd, taking it easy, and not seeing a single car or another soul the whole way up, lights still not used, all the further 220m up to where the Greenwood heads off.

Lights on, and into the singletrack, sheep and lambs scattering, their lovely deposits strategically placed at intervals in the middle of the track, cruising round to the ruins where we stopped for a OneSquare then I took the lead off down the trail.  Easy at first, screwing up a couple times, but slowly putting on the speed.  Not many wet spots, just some of the usuals.  On round into the gloom, taking it easy on the entry, boardwalk, through the guts, and out the other side, then straight on and down, down, down, swoopy, swoopy, cruising round into the last valley, with the silly dips, round over the wee creek then the blast down to the rocky ups, cleaning them both, and finally down through the swoopy bends, water in one of them, and round over above the road below the macracarpa down to the end, and REALLY sore feet, especially the left, and sore hands...  My left shoe has given up, split just behind the cleat, hence the sore foot.

Next up, Godley.  Both of us buggered up the first rocky section, but everything from there on up was sweet.  Nice climb, tho was starting to get tired towards the end, not quite enough grunt in me...  Off down the new chip, flying faster and faster, greasing through the section they've not done yet, then back on it, faster and faster, til it ended, then bouncing around a bit, but maintaining a fair bit of speed through to Livingston.  The clamber up the next bit got me a ways behind Nelson, but i'd gained on him again through just before the PFMTBC rock, and then i eased myself down the yucky greasy splecky paddock down to the gate, finally at Breeze Col.  We decided we still had some ride in us so we took the trail above the road, little grunt, then twisty tight round and highspeed rocketship ride down to the end of the road, and onto the singletrack on the downhill side, nice cruise round here, the last (gentle) climb back to Breeze Col half killing me.

Nelson led off down the Anaconda, and we had a good run down, me tight on his tail most of the way.  Ingenious treatment of the trail in what used to be the sloppiest bits down in the valley, well done Ranger Singletrack!  finally through the last couple corners and onto the Tail, where we hauled, - me thinking to myself how scenic it all was, lights reflecting in the sea, waves breaking on the beach, (normally sun drenched) grassy hillside and ribbon of singletrack skirting the hillside, - pumping through the wee dips and risers, then bailing up on the puddle before the final cattlestop into Briden's Bush, and the run round above and behind the baches and speed back to the car.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Wednesday night mucky nutters

Too damned long between rides, with every excuse under the sun (and rain) to ruin my opportunities to get out on the bike...  anyway, finally, i'd been in Hamilton for a couple days, and landed around 6pm, got home and Nelson was there and we changed and took separate cars (me with the dog and the BFe) and headed out to Mcleans Island.  A good southerly stoush had washed through so things were pretty wet, and puddly.  Set a good pace and Jet ran out front then between us then behind us and taking turns in those positions.  Nelson led most of the way, i took one short turn out front.  Bikes and asses got super mucky and grindy.  Took the extra 5km loop out and back as well as the main and were done in maybe an hour.  Good for the aerobic fitness, and great for Jet, he had fun.  A very mucky wet dog with mud on his face and a big grin on his chops.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Eastern Sunny Fun Day.

Plan was to leave Steve's at 8.45 or DotCom at 9.15.  I opted for the latter, and so made my way across there in the Subie, spotting Wayne parked up as I rounded McCormack's Bay, so, parked with him and found my tire flat.  Changed the tube and the others, Steve, Andy and Tony, arrived and we rode on round to Sumner, knowing Marie would be ahead of us up Richmond Hill, up which we duly pedalled.  Layers off at 2nd hairpin and on ever upwards, then up off road, Steve led me up the garden path and the others on the main track were faster and Steve and me suffered slightly.  Marie was spotted on the ridge yonder, so we treadled on upwards to her, meeting her on the gravel near the shearing shed. 

Out up to the trees, then over the road and up the 4wd track that crosses Greenwood, it seemingly never ending, tho not as horridible as I'd remembered it.  On past the track crossing and up to the fence for a short rest while we regrouped.  I led the way up the next section, tussocks much easier to see round at climbing speed, and feeling really good, getting everything further than ever before, before finally dabbing, losing balance, stumbling, dabbing and generally being quite un-co.  Ground up the last bit to the stile and another well earned regroup.  Off again and cleaned it all, including basically falling off the track and somehow riding it out.  Massive group under the antennae, awaiting our arrival.

Off again, down, ripping down the gravel, and through the off camber onto the dirt then weaving and ducking, rolling and pumping our ways round and down to the bottom where we thought we might head up to the gondola but then decided we wouldnt.  A group of the hardcore Gov's bay crew, who obviously hadnt been out this way for a while, asked about the trail we'd just come down, not having known of its existence.  Told them it was good to go, and then saw them a couple times later.

Off up the road now, then onto John Britten, sidling around, taking the low line at the rocky up and then meandering across back on track and over and round and regrouping to roll down the road and into Greenwood.  Lots of work done through the first section, which was definitely showing the wear and tear of winter, and is now supremely good, armouring in most of the right places, and tight bits really opened up.  blazed on round and had a bite to eat at the ruins.  Saw the Gov'sBay guys up the hill, heading over to the gun emplacements. 

I led the way off down Greenwood, straight away putting on the pace and really feeling pretty good.  Riding lightly over the rocky sections, I made good time round to the 'gulch, where i paused til the others were coming through, then off again, fast again, bike, trail and me in a zen state of oneness, back and forth, slow through the wet bits to avoid excessive splecking, then after the wee creek I paused again til i saw the others round the corner and dip through the holey dips.  Off again, faster and floatier than before, one of my favourite sections, truth be told, and changed at just the right moment to roll and pedal through the rocky up, then no worries through the second and it was wafty swoopy out the rest.  Once we'd regrouped, the Gov's bay crew arrived, having had come down the old ridge trail...  They headed off down the Captain ahead of us, and Marie (who took the road down - tired and didnt want to crash) said they cleaned every single bit.

We headed off down the Captain, and walked the first usual, then in the doublewhammy, i got the first one but as i lined up the second I started heading in the wrong direction so bailed and walked it, and then Andrew following took a line i'd never seen before, and cleaned it down no worries.  He got in front then, and proceeded to clean a couple other climby bits and got well ahead til the end of the old and start of the new, where we stopped and regrouped, yet again.  Off down the zigs and zags, rolling nicely through the hairpins and then slowly (again) through all the mud, which was still bad, but less so than last couple times.  Cleaned the creek nicely, no splashy splashy, but then wronggeared on the climb and stalled.  Andrew splashy splashied...  Finally, out, and up the road and then the speed down the last of Evan's Pass Rd got all the mud off the tires, and all over my glasses, my beard, my shirt...  Passed the Gov's guys alongside the container wall, and headed in for a coffee at DotCom.

Final neck of the ride, well paced road haul round to McCormacks.  Feelin' good.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Toosday inappropriate bike night to trip meeting

Nelson picked me up from mine and we drove to Marie's house, him with his townie superslicked singlespeed and me with my townie Troll, just for a laff...  we skedaddled over to Steve's to meet the others, arriving just as Warren and Robin were sneaking round the back of the roadblocked church on the corner, and just as Pete arrived, and so we merrily clusterfucked Ainsley Tce round to the bottom of CrapHappy.  First time up here for whole year, the gearing on the Troll just right.

Right from the start, Nelson just jetted off on his tall gear ahead.  I ground away, feeling the extra weight of the Troll, but still managing a good pace.  Gate at top of trees Pete and me stopped and waited for Wazza and Robin to regroup then we took off and I never saw them again til the top, Nelson long gone.  Full moon rose and set and rose and set on the hill all the way up, providing good light in places, making for small (rack mounted) light necessary only when idiots were riding down the hill towards us.  Quite a few other riders out, and i managed to pass a fair number of them, probably surprising them with my full 'guards and racks.  Bloody strong (b)easterly blowing, pushing us up the hill but then cooling it right down up top for the wait.  Nelson had been there forever.

Off up round Vernon, me thinking maybe the gear wouldn't suit, but it was sweet, following Warren and chatting all the way up.  Even the two small pinches were (Al)fine.  And traction, with the balloon tires was totally fine all the way up and around too.

Onto the Traversii and traction was good again, Nelson pinging his way around in the rocky sections, me very wary, but we kept a good tailwind clip all the way round, Pete backing off under Sugarloaf and then hauling me in to the end, and the welcome shelter of the trees.  Regrouped here and then headed off down Coffeebreak and then i went the 4wd trail, not trusting the cumbersome nigh-on-gripless Troll through the gums, while the others hit the start of Sesame St and then peeled into the gums.  On the steep 4wd section before the skidder my brakes weren't actually holding me back, and even under full pressure i was still accellerating - disconcerting!  I readjusted them at the skidder site, knowing i'd be needing them on the roads below.  It definitely helped.

At the 19th Batt. War Memorial we met Andrew, who'd toodled up wondering whether he'd meet us, and we all blazed down the road, down Hackthorne, Dyers and round into Marie's house.  Steve was here and Alister turned up and we discussed the October Nelson Trip over one or two beers, and fantastic pizza creations of Marie's.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday night Gauntlet pixies

Usual pick up from work, traffic jammin' across town and up Major Aitken and on up to the top.  Changed and on up the trail, taking the dirt rather than the gravel, wending our way up under the pylons and on upwards.  Nelson was reveling in how smooth his climbing was, so i took a go at it, but my weight compresses his suspension so much i could only feel the smooth, but not the 'easier' climbing...  Swapped back pretty quick and continued to the top.  Too many walkers and runners around for a repeat of our recent friday night excursion, so we headed up over Vernon and bombed it round and down, traction a bit random at times, to top of Rapaki.

Explosions have been happening on Witch Hill recently, and so signage was up to stay out, but they'd finished today, apparently, and it was dark, and night time, so we climbed the plastic tape and headed round.  Good wee climb, rocky technical interestingness, one rock getting the better of me, then it was detouring past the sign at the other end and onto the road.  Nice and easy up round and up and through an easily opened gate set up below the Tors, and on up, a few new rocks on the road, from the blasting and loosening that's been going on.  Finally, the top of Castlerock track and a bit of a bite to eat.

Off down the trail we headed, me in the lead, feeling pretty on form all the way down to the first hairpin, only one or two damp spots, tho, a bit of livestock damage.  But, round the first hairpin and half way along, the old wetspot, mucky as, then round the second hairpin, more cattle damage hoof holes and then bad wet bits, bridge, climb started and wet spot we worked on years ago.  Stopped here and Nelson got his spade out and dug and cleared, then back to the next wetspot and we moved a bunch of rocks and built an armoured section, under which was a wee spring, then back up to between the hairpins and dug a few drains but not much else we could do.  After this we were done with maintenance so climb up, we did.  Clamber clamber clamber, did really well, cleaning everything til near the top just outright lost my balance, let Nelson past and onwards up, the last usual rocky steep getting both of us.

Off down the road, crap (literally, crap) flying off our wheels, through the gate, onwards down the road and back onto the Witch Hill trail, better in this direction, short climb then nice rolly return.  Across the top of Rapaki, couple of lights heading up, and straight into the singletrack climb, good pace, big ring the whole way up, finally crossing the road and heading into the singletrack again, blazing across then dropping down the offpistes, sheep trails in the tussocks then down the gravel, then at last, the jumpy (and rutty) trail down and back to the car.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Mcleans spin

H had a friend's birthday party at Orana Park, so O and me took him out there, with Jet and our bikes, and we went for a spin around the forest park.  Jet was great, running running running all the while, happily sniffing and looking and waiting all good boy material.  O was good too, put his seat up early in and it made it heaps better for him.  Annoyingly, my singlespeed rear wheel rubs the frame when i'm standing and cranking for the power.  Not sure what to do about that.  Oh well.  Anyway, Mcleans was as groomed and smooth as ever, but good to spin about with the boy.  And the dog loved it too.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Wednesday Night, Worsley Vicinity Pixies

another week another ride.  Fork service, and new front wheel bearings and new (2nd hand) front derailleur (no more rattle!) all completed last week, bike raring to go!

Collected from Selwyn St by Nelson we battled the traffic across to Worsley's, parking up top.  Nelson packed his folding spade and we headed on up.  Lots of pollen around, a little early this year perhaps?  gorse in flower too, adding to the motes under lights.  Didn't need our lights to start with, up under the power lines and around the corner and into where the washouts are worst, we stopped to move a few rocks in the hope of making it more rideable through this bit.  While we worked, it got a bit darker and lights were needed once we rode the previously unrideable bit and onwards to the next bit that needed some work - this time a small stream of water and diverting it to dry the track taken by us bikers.  Then on up, a cleaning more than last time, except for once or twice and we were at the turn off, gasping wheeze'n'cough.

Off up the grunt and turned off to the newby, Tommy's2, climbing a bunch more, me walking a short bit, Nelson cleaning the lot, and finally to the top.  Nelson leading off and we swooped and twisted our way down down down and down.  Cleaned all the bits I'd botched last time, but one tricky corner with roots caught me out, other than that cleaned it all good.  Our turn off turned up, doesn't look like anyone else has recognised it as a turn off, so we took it anyway, and cruised out the rest of it and out to the forestry track.  Climbing back up to the junction, bit of a rest, and then on back up the main Worsley track, cleaning all the bits we'd fixed earlier, and then stopping for Nelson to carve off a couple of lumps on a particularly bad piece of clay, which made another previously unrideable section rideable.  Good work.  Another wee tweak above it and it was all good, onwards up and off back up to top of B-line trails.

I led in, took the left hand turn and we bombed it, swoop swoop, jumpy, swoop, good run then around and into Fight Club, still in the lead, and really enjoying it, serviced fork performing superbly, getting me through the worst of the rutty sections lower down.  Out the bottom we stopped and had a look at the bottom of Tommy's2, then continued out and back upwards, 2nd time up here for the evening.  As we climbed this time we saw lights of another, then further up when he was climbing behind us, there was lots of noisy lights up on Fight Club, and a guy waiting at the bottom of the singletrack that ends out on this track.  At the Junction we headed over into Dave's/ACJoint/Deliverance, Nelson taking the lead and we skidded (it was really skiddy!) and slid our way down this insanely steep trail.  swooping it all, drops and drops, cleaning it all.  Finally when we made it over where i did my shoulder around the bend and there's a tree across the track.  Climbed up over it and spotted where we could bypass it so did some work on the route, climbed (fuck it's steep!) back up the trail a ways for the run in and cleaned the new line bypassing the tree and then into the final tricky corner and into the gunbarrel finish.  Big slump across exit trail...

Grovelly grunty granny climb out, a couple trees over the trail, carry, lift, and back on, then walking steep rutted washed out skidder tracks.  Nelson put in a good effort and rode heaps, but no one could manage the last corner...  Back up the forestry track, past the bottom of FightClub and for the 3rd time climb climb back up to the junction and then out the bottom section.  All up a good ride.  Fight Club's my favourite bit in there at the moment, for sure.  Dave's/Deliverance is pretty good just for it's shear on-the-edge -ness...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday night First Time Northbank Waimak

The BFe is in the shop getting a front end service, so got the Singlist out and Nelson, Jet and me headed in two cars (so's Nelson could continue his merry way home afterwards) out over the old Waimak bridge and parked up about 6.30pm out next to the petrol station, the gate supposedly closing at 7pm. 

Headed in, over the stopbank rise, Jet eager as,  heading west we found the singletrack just before the motorway bridges and headed onto it, under them.  Trail here is a nice packed gravel, reasonably narrow, but smooth, and pretty straight for long stretches.  Low misty fog came and went, clouding our vision a bit along here too, the Waimakariri all the while on the left just on the other side of the willows, never far away.  Nice pace, taking it easy but pumping along, Jet running ahead, falling behind, catching up, overtaking, having a great time, and never faltering, never slowing the whole ride.  One brief (possibly) wrong turn took us onto the river side of the trees, riding ex-4wd silty trails that nearly bogged us down, but didnt quite, then it was back onto the better stuff.  A long stretch alongside an open grassy area, then into a short section of willow forest, across a road and into more willow forest, interesting stretch, ducking and diving through more willow forest.  All easy grade, a few little twists and turns and ups and downs.  Far more natural than Mcleans.

Next we came to "Smith's Creek Loop", which isnt really a loop, next to a 'creek' (which Jet fell into not expecting it to be so deep while he got a drink).  This track had a mucky section in the middle, and finished on a stop bank track, which made the loop back...  So, instead of the stopbank (straight and smooth), we rode back along the Smiths track and back to the returning main track eastwards again, this one slightly further away from the river, closer to the stopbank.  In here, the trail started throwing big smelly deep pools of water at us, all of which rode through, or alongside, Jet bounding through having a great time.  A little slower going on account of the pools, but eventually we got to a cross track and our track went into an obviously much deeper stretch of water, so we took a right and got back out to the roadside park that cuts through the middle of the whole area.  Followed alongside between the willows and this road looking for ways back in to the singletrack but seeing only more pools of standing water, dubbing them the Bayou.

Finally back at the motorway bridges, back on the track and heading eastwards now, some slightly cool bits of trail east of the old waimak bridge heading along, well drained, firm river silt and dirt under tall willow forest, eventually into a big open area, couple of long puddled/pool sections, and eventually up onto the stopbank, a view to the north, of Kaiapoi.  Took the stopbank west, along behind Woodford Glen, then a Trailer Park, and then back down a road, finding the singletrack again and back towards the road bridges towards the exit.  All up, total distance about 14kms, taking about an hour and a smidge.  Just as we were finished and reading the info thing near the exit, the guys were there closing the gate, 7.30ish.

Be a great place to take kids, and dog...  Probably wont do it again as a ride, cept maybe with my boys, tho I much prefer Bottle Lake, and that's closer to home.  But, was worth the checking out...