Sunday, January 06, 2013

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.

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