Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday, hottest day of the year, pretty much

Nelsie and me got out tonight.  I rode the Cotic to work and then got to his work at about 5 in the sweltering heat.  We drove to Redcliffs and parked up, then rode back round to McCormacks Bay and hit the dirt about 5.45.  Bloody hot, hard work getting up the grunts.  Cleaned the first hairpin, not the second, then due to the heat i blew a few other pinches, but got most of the upper 'pins.  Off up the road all the way to the Upper Major, then up the singletrack, wind picking up something wicked.  Hottest damned easterly i've ever felt, that's for sure.  At the top, in the shade, we decided to hit up Broadleaf Lane and climbed some more, grovelling up the gravel and through the gate and over the stiles and then it was down down down.  Wind pushing all the tussocks over, i followed Nelson down, and it sure is easier following someone than leading down here.  When you're leading you're always second guessing it, wondering which way it goes next, but following is sweet.

Into Greenwood, dust not too much of a problem cos of the wind, but couldn't follow too close or i couldn't see the trail.  I stuck pretty good to his tail til the climby bits after Gloomy Gulch, where my legs were struggling and he got away.  But once on the down again i managed to gain on him just a little.  He sure was haulin' ass tho.  The lower sections were okay, tho i blew the first rocky up, losing more ground from Nelson.  Lots of pain by the bottom, sore hands, sore feet, sore legs, sore arms.

Into Godley and i didnt have the balance nor the legs to clean the start.  Once past that tho we both clipped along at a good pace with no more issues at all.  Excellent blast round til the fenceline and i just had to rest and eat something.  Off down towards Livingston, Nelson handed the lead over to me and i fudged my way through the rutty-ness, sunshine and shadows making life difficult til finally onto the Teddington Shit section and i got my mojo back.  Excellent descent after the last wee wooden feature and a blazing descent to the col.  Gave the lead back to Nelson for the climb towards Breeze, and he left me for dead.  Then once the descent began again i couldn't even see him ahead anymore.  The wind, long grass and a rut got the better of me and i tumbled off.  Straight back on and got moving again, rounding the corner to see Nelson miles down below me just polishing off the PFMTBC Rock, which i then proceeded around the slope above then back down and over and then carefully speeding down avoiding dirt ridges, over the sheepstop and flying onto the road.

Headed out the lower trail towards the Heads.  Good times on the downs, but really struggling on my ups.  Legs drained, pained to push the cranks.  Final blast out to the end and three riders hanging out.  Lo and behold, another Cotic Soul!!!  W00t!  And Nick Singletrack on his Heckler.  Stopped for a good chat with them then we headed back towards Breeze, them on our tails for a start.  Got to Breeze and they weren't in sight but we stopped to rest and they turned up and more chatting ensued. 

Time to part our ways, they were heading back up top of Pleasant, and us down Th'anaconda.  Excellent blast, dust from Nelson obscuring my trail ahead, especially when we came round into the sun.  Nelson was going so fast he lost the trail and i sloped past and took the lead, him tight on my heels.  I dont think i slowed him too much, tho maybe he was just being polite.  Railed all the berms, yumped the yumps and we flowed down and down til we didnt flow anymore.  Slammed on the anchors to get round the first corner of the new section, then flowed briefly before having to brake hard again to get round one of the later ones.  They could have built it a bit more flowy!!  Straight into the 'tail and picked our ways over the boney rocks and out and down.

Legs, wiped.  Climb out of Taylors, hard.  Still, surprised myself and didn't resort to using my granny.  We made the top in pretty good time then tucked in for the blast down the road, catching a car at the bottom.

I'd thought of my friend Miranda as i'd been flying down the road, cos she lives in Sumner, then as we trundled along the waterfront,who should we bump into?  Stopped and chatted for a while before hauling our sorry asses around the road back to the car.  All up, with stops for chats and breaks, 3 hours.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Morning Ken Nun Club Line

Droved to Andy's and awaited the rest.  In short time Steve, Wazza, Wayne and Robin turned up, then the 6 of us headed round the foot of the hill to Halswell (that ends well) Quarry and up the C2, which i must say is a mighty fine wee section of track.  Good efforts, once again, Chch Singletrack Club.  The sun was sunny and the day had plenty of hotness in it and we clambered up in good style, with the worst of the heat being on the Crocodile proper, especially down in the valley steeps.  Once up on Kennedy's there was some respite in the form of a breeze or three. 

Dabbed on the wee pinch above the pond then pretty well cleared the rest.  Waited to close the gate, then piece by piece we ventured over Siberia and regrouped down there ready for the climb.  Not bad, picked my 'new favourite' gear, granny and 3rd, mostly and just trundled on upwards.  couple stops before the final grind.  Surprised myself and actually cleaned it, something i'd not done for a long while.  We regrouped again and then cruised the last to the road, and on up top of Marley's.  Robin was feeling the heat so wandered off to shelter under the big pine, while the rest of us rocketshipped off over the Nun.  Had a good run down here, leaping very nicely most of the way, even overtaking a dude part way down, in the rocky section.  Back up the road to the top.

Rested in the nice cool wind and ate some OneSquare and the others all were scared of the wind so bombed off down, so i chased, and met them again at the top of B-Line/Hidden/FightClub...  I led the way, Steve having only ridden it once before, and enjoyed the tech challenge of it a little bit greasy.  Kept you on your toes.  Got all the way through the worst rocky section, only to have a stick thrust itself between frame and rear tire, very effectively putting the brakes on.  Onwards down and decided to bail on the lower section, if the previous dampness and sketchiness was anything to go by, and bombed on down the old usual, off first to the left, then the right, swooping down through the dips and woops out to the wee climb back up and out the finish.

Final blast down the road, me peeling off and taking the somewhat overgrown dirt sideline, allowing the boys to get well ahead before catching them and all stopping back at Andy's for a coffee. 

Almost exactly a year since i was last on Kennedy's proper (down, not up)...  crikey.  and 4 and a half years since i climbed it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Quick Monday evening Taylors catchment circuit

Found myself over at the Taylors bach for the evening, so hit up the road, randomly finding my dog coming out of someone elses driveway, so ran him back to the bach and they'd lost him...  headed up the road again, and onto the walking track up.  Clean clean clean, not a dab, a couple of wee breather rest stops but the lower range of gears had it good for me the whole way.  Over the top stile and up the gravel, even easier, over the gate, with heaps of flyingmen wafting around, checked them out briefly before going round the road to the gate and up up up to the Godley trail.

Downhill now, minding the edges of the ruts, just think of it as a skinny board, no wavering, roll roll roll, a fast bike's a stable bike, 'n all that, onwards down, finally picking up some more flowy speed on the teddington shit section, boogying over the last woodfeature then railing it down to the fence gap.  Tried out the upper line but it just doesnt go anywhere, found the old attempts at making a zigzag track in there, they're certainly not getting ridden, so back onto the main track for the funky wavy back and forth down to finally Livinston Col.

Clambered around and up out of there and over towards Breeze, long grass keeping the track oh so narrow and tight, again with the ruttiness, til finally branching round and back over the PFMTBC rock and on down, minding the tire-catchers, over the cattlestop and onto the road.

Next up, down from Breeze, again with the overgrown lonnnng grass heads, clipping handlebars, trail a distant grey dirt thing below, slowly building speed round, through over a washout and round finally into the Snake.  Lots of speed, bumpitty bump, jump or two, railing, trailing, never flailing, eventually into the new section, oh dear, not as flowy as further up, gonna take a little to get the hang of, and then yay, into the tail, still very long dry dry grass heads, back starting to play up, soreness aching its way into my ride, making the last descent to the bottom quite excruciating.

Rolled through the carparks and struggled back up to the car.  Back to the house, togs on, down to the beach with the dog and straight into the surf.  Fantastic!  What a way to ease out the lactic and relax into an evening of a couple of good beers and some nice wine.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday's sun daze early shorty

To avoid the heat of the forthcoming day, Andy arranged an early start, four of us meeting at top of Worsley Rd at 8.30 - being Andy, Warren, Dallas and myself.  We got going up the track, Dallas having a couple of tumbles (one Andrew cut him off), moseying all the way up to bottom of Bodybag then heading off up for the BCDEF-lines.  Took the lefthand, "F-Line" down, me stopping a wee ways down wondering if the others had gone the old way, taking off my sunnies at the same time it being so dark in the forest.  They'd also done the same and soon got down to me, and we headed off again.  On down, grooving all the grooviness, then peeling right, across into the Club de Fight, loving the crap out of it all the way out to the bottom.

Back up the nice climb to the mains again and i led them down my ACJoint / Dave's Track steep bugger that it is.  A couple of sections baulked me this time, but i managed my crashpoint, tho not the next bit before the final chute.  Andy got most of the steeps, but Warren and Dallas need a little practice.  Otherwise a great steep bugger of a downhill, followed by a grunty crunchy climb out, me cleaning it grannywise for the first time with no walking.  Andy rode it pretty much all too, alas the other two didnt quite have enough in the tank.  No worries guys, first time i've managed to ride up it all!

Back up round the rest of the climbs back to the top again and we headed off down back to the cars.  All in all a good ride, short, but sweet.  Back to Andy's for coffee.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Tuesday night quicky

Nelson to mine from work, and we 'rona'd to Hillsborough Tce.  He had his old bike cos the new one had rearwheelbearing issues and was at the shop.  Had word from Andrew the others would be meeting at Kaizuku (or whatever its called) to ride up Huntsbury.  Nelson and me had other plans, but as our routes were similar, kinda expected to meet up with them.  Up Hillsborough, up The Crescent (noting, on the way to the gate, that the brown wooden place on the right, at the top, is for rent, $225 a week, seems pretty reasonable for a cool ass location!), and onto the Farm Track. 

Grunt began and at the first rise i needed to layer off.  Much better, off up we continued, grind grind grind, mostly in 2nd, sometimes granny, sometimes 3rd.  Nelson, of course, powered off ahead and we didn't meet til the top.  I cleaned it all, for a change, not burning out except for once.

At the top we sidled round the fence and met the small gate i'd never noticed before, crossed the road and up onto the groom-assed track that is now Mt Vernon which we continued our climb over to cross the road again and stopped for a nibble amongst a couple of posses of other riders, including Daryl who we had a bit of a chat to.

Got going, me out front, and bombed it, tail wind speedsters, feeling good.  Nelson caught me on the wee climb and then again after the pond, and at the usual break point i gave him the lead.  Weird fuck up at the dipper, i slammed on the brakes cos i remembered it had washed out all that time ago, but no, it was fully rideable, which, if memory serves correctly it may have been last time i was through.  Anyway.  around after the next cattlestop Nelson nearly lost it because some other riders parked on the side of the trail distracted him momentarily.  Fun descent past them, over the wee yumpies and then blast round into Vic, dark trees, and up to top. 

Here, we decided to keep it a short ride and not go do a lap of the 'Nun, and so headed straight down to the see-saw, a few BrakeFree's and then across to the rockgarden, into the Gummies, the gum leaves on the little left hander track all slippery and interesting, then finally all the way down and back up onto the skidder site.  Nelson continued all the way down the rest of the single track and rode back up the road to the skidder site.  Here, i checked out the jump Bex had cased a few weeks ago.  She'll be out of Burwood Brain Injury Rehab Ward soon, i hope.

Next up it was me first into Shagga's, nicely cleaned up, berms all tidy like, and then on down Brents, keeping right and getting in on the last breaths of Rad^Sick, then Bridges, Flow, New Bridges, blaze blaze pump pump, over hanging grasses nearly getting me near the bottom, then the blast down the 4wd to the hard right, change down, through the creek, and...  stall!  Bugger.  Nelson out front for the climb and grind grind for the two and a half minutes to the top.

Around onto Old Skool and oh what fun.  Good wind action, getting rid of dust quickly, i sat tight on Nelson's tail all the way down, hopping and pumping all the same spots.  Was really fun.  Finally, through the rutty end, and rolling down the gravel to the road.  Riding back to the car we spotted Andrew's and the other's vehicles parked up at Kaizuka's.

Good ride, short, 1 hour 50 mins, taking it reasonably easy.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Wakamarina, the hard way... 5th Jan 2013

Second ride of the year was with Nelson, who drove up specially.

We took two cars out of The Grove, heading to Havelock and then up to Canvastown where we left his.  Back round through Havelock and on down to the North Bank Rd and round into the Onamalutu road... Up this past the Onamalutu reserve and into the gravel and onwards up, finding a fucking sign saying ROAD CLOSED - Access to Wakamarina Track CLOSED...  DAMN.  Considered parking up and riding anyway, but it seemed pretty serious, so we drove back, all the way to Canvastown then all the way up the Wakamarina Rd to the end to ride.  Was about 11 by the time we made it up there, a good couple of hours after having left Queen Charlotte.  Ugh.

The ride to ensue was possibly the most draining ride i've ever completed.  We rode up the 4wd track for a start, which becomes the track proper a km or two in.  Open and hot and dry to start, it enters lovely shady cool forest and is a nice gradient, mostly up.

At the Doom Creek turn off we decided to take a look at this.  Wow.  What a trail.  Awesome benched, ex water-race, trail, into these spectacular gorges, some small, waterfally ferny bushy gulches, and a couple of sizeable water crossings nigh on impossible to keep feet dry.  Some insane exposures, big drops off the side into gigantic-boulder strewn gulleys.  Good final descent, rough and ready, down to the main track, and on up this we cruised.

Mostly climbs, but a surprising number of descents, usually into small to medium sized creek crossings, most of which not rideable.  Eventually making the Devil's Hut.  Dropped down for a look, and filled in the intentions book just for the hell of it.

Next up, the climb.  Ugh.  I had no memory of most of the track.  Nelson and me did this about 10 years ago.  We couldnt even remember the bikes we were riding.  Anyway, it was too steep to ride, all the way up.  We probably pushed for about 1.5-2 hours, up up up.  Cleared two big windfalls on the way, which was good.  Also opened up a rotten log so's to be rideable.  Midway we bumped into two separate walking parties, first off a dad and two sons, then a couple.  Nearing the top we ran into two solo riders, and then a group of 4 from Nelson (turned out they knew Stu), one of them on a Fatbike (cool!).  (They'd all entered the proper way via the alternative access, Bartlett's Rd, apparently a 45minute detour from the usual Kiwi Rd).  We continued upwards, finally making the 1066m top.  I was dead.  This was about 3pm or so, i think.

At least it was (kinda) all down hill from here...  The descent is crazy.  Starts out really rooty, bumpy, you can hardly take your eyes off the ground to see where the orange triangles are and where the trail's going.  Around where we'd met the group there is a mad practically vertical face of roots which there was no way i was gonna ride.  Dont think Nelson did it either...  Then it was pretty much good to go from there on down.  One or two bits i think i had to get off, but i cleaned waaay more switchbacks than i did all those years ago, my skills having been honed over the years, and a better bike i guess.  there was less than a handful that i had to stop on to turn the bike.  All big giant red beech and rimu, blechnum ferns, open and lush forest, very Lord of the Rings-esque.

And it all just came back at us so damned quickly, steep, interesting, challenging, and bloody hard work.  I think it was about a half hour from leaving the top to making the hut again.  Topped up water here and then headed on down the rest.  The climbs getting harder and harder, and the heat increasing the lower down we got.  Eventually stopped at one of the creeks and i could have climbed in.  Good dunking of the head and washing arms etc sure helped out.  The steep ass rocky switchback descent to Doom Creek was a challenge, the top corner getting me spooked, but cleaned the rest and then died walking out up the steep dry hot switchbacks leading out.  Once back in the shady forest again tho, it was mostly downhill, past the 4wd end and on down the open section back to the car.  Skulled a Poweraid i wish i'd taken with me and then we headed on back, after first stopping at the end of the road campground and having another dunk, this time, walking into the river to cool the leg muscles.

Got back home to The Grove around 6-6.30.  A LONG day.

Cullens Up, over, bit of Waikakaho and back - 2nd Jan

Hip happy new year, y'all.

Left the bach at The Grove and rode the road to Linkwater, then up Cullensville Rd to the end.  Howling northerly blaring away, nice tailwind up to the end of the gravel.  Checked out a little of the history of the place and headed on up the trail.  Excellent benched track built between 1888 and 1893 by the goldminers, makes for a sweet ascent.  Some of the exposure is pretty heinous, but the views get better and better as you climb.  At the end of the good miner's track, the zig zags begin, and are just steep enough to require lowest granny and are unsustainable effort-wise in the long run, making you have to resort to walking.  Walk walk walk, zig, zag, zig, zag...  up, up, up, up, finally entering the native bush high up.  More climbing, clambering over rooty roughness and the trail starts sidling.  Little riding, mostly walking bike or carrying, til finally a couple of stretches of riding before finally hitting the saddle. 

Descent into Waikakaho is steep and rocky.  Excellent track tho.  Lost altitude very quickly, meeting some walkers high up, and a kaka, i rode down past the old town site and on down to around 500m alt, when the trail heads mainly down quite a dry ridge, tui going OFF in the red-flowering rata.  Decided here to turn back and head up.  A fair bit of riding, and a bit of walking, took a hell of a lot longer than the ride down.  Met some more walkers (who i'd somehow missed previously) at the old town site and headed on up.  Eventually got to the top again and trundled up the rideable bits, and scooted (one foot clipped in, sort of a prolonged dab) more than i had in the other direction.  Along this top bit, wind was more of a gale than it'd been previously, and i bumped into another rider, turning out to be a friend of Al's (Paul)...

Once at the sign to Private Land, rode all the stuff i'd walked up, down down down fast wee blips, switchback, fast wee blip, switchback, back and forth, down down down.  Eventually, made the miner's cliffcut track.  Some sections as i approached corners the wind was roaring and i'd come round the corner and almost be driven to a halt.  One of these, i rode round and not far up the trail were the first walkers i'd encountered earlier.  Rode on by and lower down met a family of lots of kids and one parent.

Down, out, into the (now stronger) wind to Linkwater, occasional gusts on the gravel road whipping up massive dust clouds into my face.  Well earned Powerade at Linkwater and off along the tarmac i headed...

Arrived back the the bach 5 and a half hours after i'd left... knackered.