Monday, April 15, 2013

Sunday Pleasant Green Gods

Nelson showed up to mine, and instead of wasting our tires on Linwood Ave, we drove to Ferrymead to meet the others.  I was tired after a rough night's sleep.  Passed Wayne on Humphrey's Drive, and then the three of us waited for the rest of the crew, composed of Pete, Steve, Tony, Andrew and Dallas.  Off up St Andrew's Hill we proceeded at a nice rate of knots, then Up Major through to Upper Major and onto the Britten Singletrack climb, around the top singletrack where we met a guy who borrowed a tool to tighten his cleats before we headed off down the road to Cavendish Saddle and into the grindy wee climb, which wasnt so bad.  Caught a group of old guys before the gate, regrouped, then hit the downhill, chasing Nelson, Pete on my tail down through.  Always easier to not be in 1st position on this descent, saves second guessing the whole time.  Great wee descent and pretty much straight into Greenwood, sitting on Nelson's tail the whole way down, Pete never too far behind.  Wrist was good on the descent, no pain, and obviously no need for a brace, which i'd tried 'in the parking lot' before the boys turned up and it was just too uncomfy.

At the start of the switchbacks Nelson thought his front end was washing around, and thought he'd let too much air out earlier, so stopped to pump it up.  When he'd finished, his back end started hissing and proceded to go flat-as.  So.  Tube change, and then Pete led off, me chasing, finding it hard to start with, but then he buttoned off a little and i gained on him around into the final straightaways down to the rocky pinches.  Pete mucked the first one up, allowing me past, and Nelson tight on my tail down the last blasts, was a fantastic run for me all the way down, felt like I nearly had everything in place.  Others were all complaining that they were off their games.

Onto Godley.  Nelson cleaned up the first lot, i screwed the pooch, as did all the followers.  Andy was probably the closest to getting it.  Good on the rest of it up, and a good fast roll round to the rocky knoll where we blatted down the slope towards the road, over the gate, down the hill to over the fence and stile and then down the walk track to Taylor's Rd, which was fun and smooth and entirely cleaned now that we take the hairpin properly. 

Clambered out of Taylors over and down Scarbro for coffee at .com and i needed to get home so Nelson and me rode before the others, pushing a momentous pace in top gear all the way, through redcliffs and out the causeway, only possible for me by slipstreaming behind him.  Saw Marie and then Mark around the Mt Pleasant Yacht Club heading out.

Home by 12.40

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday Dog Pond

Scored a new front tire for the singlist, a 2.25, bigger than the 2.1 i was rocking, but unfortunately not much... wish the shop had had the 2.5.  Anyway.  Installed it, chucked it on the car, chucked the dog in, and motored out to Bottle Lake.  Like a Jet, well, actually he is a Jet, down the first avenue and we headed in left.  Kept a good pace in just to warm up and it certainly wasn't too fast for him.  Stopped briefly at the pond that's in there and he had a good sniff about and i put more air in the back and a little out of the front, and we carried on.  Great blast through this next section but when we got to the end found a big blockage and Danger tape on the next section, bunch of trees dropped over the trail.  Thinning...  fuck it.  Nothing to do but go across the nearly 1km stretch of sand called Lima Rd up to Seventeenth Ave.  Rode some, but not much, way too sloppy.  Made me wish i had a Pugsley, and wonder how a Krampus would have done...  A right on 17th, and back down to the singletrack, Jet finally starting to slow a little...  Hung a right to head towards Spencer Park, and through this section i'd not been on for a while, then remembered i had my phone, and earplugs...  Got the sounds on, and it was a whole nother world.  Forest starting to get darker.  At the turn off for Spencer's a small rabbit appeared and Jet went after it.  I went after him, towards Spencers, but he came back over the first rise, so we headed back onwards.

Bursts of speed through sections but it really was getting darker, so on Muddy Rd, aka 13th Ave, i stopped and set up my light.  It worked.  Next section of forest i found good, then next, and then open(ish) bit with crappy washouts, then into what used to be Andrew's favourite.  Near the end of this i stopped and turned off the light and rode in the dark for a bit.  Fun.  Barely visible ribbon of silver in the darkness.  As i came out to the 20th/Golf/Foxtrot intersection there was a couple of walkers that Jet and me stealthed up on and past and on into the forest, just with a "hi" to them (i think they were 'high', truth be told) then it started to really get too dark, so light back on (would have looked cool to them)...  On through and back to base, no lights on the return to the carpark.  All up, about an hour on the bike, i guess...  maybe less.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Saturday Craigie Luge Draco Hog Mission

Spectacular ride yesterday.  Drove the Fiat to Sheffield, overtaking the two marked carloads of the crew on the Old West Coast Rd (Steve, Marie and Robin, (in TFC) and Warren, Wayne, and Andy (Steel&Tube)), met Nelson and transferred to his car then on we drove, the others coffee-ing up in Springfield, us gassing up, then all continuing on to Castle Hill.  Gorgeous cool autumnal day in the hills.  From Castle Hill, transferred us each to their vehicles, leaving Nelson's car for the later shuttle, and drove through to Broken River carpark.  Marie headed in ahead of the rest of us, and once everyone else was ready, we headed straight into Sidle73.  Nice lung grabbing initial few switchbacks then, as the name suggests, a good sidle round to the Craigieburn Rd.  Easy grind to start with, eventually turning into the usual granny grind, with my now usual right calf giving me gyp.  Cooler and cooler it got as we climbed up towards the snow, which had dusted the tops overnight.  Nice and chilly at the skifield carpark, where we all layered or delayered or relayered accordingly.  Last wee grunt past the lodges and up to the lifts and we were ready for the descent.

Nelson and me out front, and most of the time, Warren following us, we rocked it and blazed it and cruised it and it was sweet.  Sweeter than I've remembered it before.  The first screes weren't bad at all, only dabbed coming into one, where straight out of the forest there was a loose climb, and of course the final one.  All the forest singletrack roots were slick but I only felt sketchy once or twice.  The climb to Lyndon Saddle was a steep little grunt as usual, and i had to get off at one point cos my legs just didn't have it in them.  Ground out the rest of it tho.  At the saddle, Nelson said, Up Helicopter Hill!.  I was the only taker, so we left the crew and hiked and pedalled and hiked to the top.  On the way up I was like, no way, and Nelson was like, hell yeah.  On the way down I was like, Hell YEAH!  Awesome views from the top and an awesome downhill, techy and sketchy and fun and fully rideable.

We got to the bottom and found our crew had changed into a smaller and totally different crew - who said ours had taken off already, so we headed straight in for the chase, tho, given that they were probably already at the bottom was kinda pointless...  Awesome descent of the Luge tho.  Tight and rooty as always, the 'modern' wide bars nearly getting the best of us both a couple times.  I was tight on Nelson's tail all the way down, having to consciously back off a bit so's to see enough trail.  This I found myself doing again and again later.  At the bottom, grins smeared across our faces, we found the crew, and we all headed off up the road towards Jack's Pass and the Dracophyllum Flat (out!) track.

Nelson led in, but after about 50m got a wasp sting on the leg, so I took the lead and blazed.  What a descent.  Different to what i remembered, it's been so long and details like the wee climb in the middle and the ever increasing steep bit near the end, and the off camber corner BEFORE the off camber corner at the end all gone from memory and having to be reinitiated.  Last blast down to a nice new bridge and another nasty wee grunty climb up to the ' Flat' ensued, giving my calf gyp again. Another regroup here and we got going ahead of the crew of 29er guys following us.  Nice blitz across the Draco flat, swoopy swoopy then through a forest bit, into more frost flats, and into the forest again.  In here the new climb switchbacked us up across the old sloggy rut that used to pass as the track, and spat us out slightly east of where the track used to take you across to the ice-rinks.

From here, another regroup, this time letting the, now interspersed with us, 29er dudes go ahead.  Blasted off, popping little jumps across the flat and into another forest section where the trail swooped and railed around down and through out across Texas Flat, with some really nice sections before railing round into a wee descent to a creek, where we found a couple of the 29ers walking through the creek.  Nelson powered through the stream splashing the other dudes.  I pulled up, changed down while they finished crossing, then rode through and out and up, past the other 2 then one of them on my tail made me nearly wanna puke on the climb.  On up along the terrace top and out onto the Cheeseman access road.

The Slogs Back...  Tired legs grinding, calf muscle screaming, on the zag after the zig I walked about 20 metres, then got rolling again and struggled up to meet Nelson on the corner.  Here we sat, and watched, as first the 29ers then finally, what? Steve, then Marie, and Robin were visible then climbed on up to us.  But where were the other three?  Finally they turned up, new pads being slipped in by Wazza at the creek crossing.  Supposedly at the top, we then climbed a couple short sharp switchies in a wee patch of bush then out into the open top, bit more climb, relief of descent, then yet more climb to Picnic Rock Lookout...  Another regroup before the best descent of the day, ripping down through a moonscape then into and long edge of forest ever sidling and descending, somewhere a bridge, then more descending fast and furious, back into forest, shredding!  Another creek crossing, with walkers, "you're doing well" they said(?).  Pinchy climb, then across a few scree washouts and the final climb of the day up to a big dead tree.  Nelson roosted, i sat, and we watched til the others came into sight, and then it was Warren and Steve the first to get to us, so as they were the drivers we all continued on and we ripped it up down the long open pedally ridge before blasting down through the last patch of forest out to the end, lots of neat jumps and near misses with trees...

An exhausted pile of bikers eventually rolling in, while the three drivers went off to get the cars...

Steve's posted on PFMTBC, with lots of pics taken by Robin's camera!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Thursday evening Reskooling some Old Skool...

Great ride tonight.  Nelson picked me up from work and we parked up Bowenvale Ave.  Rode round and up Major Aitken, listening to my back tire wearing down all the way up, and on up Huntsbury track, the top of Old Skool we met Craig, who'd ridden his 1989 Marin Muirwoods fully classic fully rigid up to meet us.  On up to the top and Craig suggested we head up over Vernon...  Walked a bit near the top, then messed up lots of the switchbacks down the burned out area, and rode out to the top of Rapaki...  Thru the fence and on round Witch Hill, something we've not ridden since December 2010.  Singletrack looks well used, is in mint riding condition, and there's only two big boulders that had come down.

On round the road and up under the ominous looking Tors, lots of rocks parked on the side of the road, and their dents, but only for a very short section.  Half way up this stretch, Nelson and Craig took off at a mental pace, while i just slogged away, getting there in the end...  Bit of a chat here and i led off down Castle Rock. Last time down here was on the rigid singlist in Feb 2011, a sweltering ride riddled with punctures...  It. Was. SWEET.  Great being on it again, really missed it and it is riding beautifully.  Not a rock out of place, all how i remembered it as it rolled under the tires.  At the end we hit the road back up the hill, over and down under Tors again, over the fence and onto the walkway.  Good technical roll round here, dodging cowshit and onga-onga, clambering back up and over back onto Witch hill which rode even better in this direction, sun very low in our eyes.

Onto Vernon, regular gravel track up and round, Craig blitzing off ahead, Nelson sitting half way between the ever increasing distance back to me.  At Huntsbury we hit the singletrack round, then picked our merry way down between the tussocks onto Old Skool descent.  Nelson ripping it up down the top section, Craig rattling down the rocky sections.  I got through first under the pylon and ripped on into the singletrack, enjoying it all down to the stile.  Nelson took over here and bombed it over the rest of it.  Right down the bottom in the second to last switchback my back tire went down...  bah.  couldnt be arsed changing it so close to the car, so walked it out, and walked most of the way down Bowenvale before Nelson got back up to me in the car, 2 hours after we'd met Craig at top of hill.  

Daylight Savings is off this weekend, so next week, lights will be required.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Monday More Fool on me

Well, didn't manage a last March ride, but today got on the switchback single69r and struggled up the hill.  Ground my way up to Chorlton, then on up View Hill Rd, walking a good stretch before crawling up above the old house up there.  Got to almost precisely the 500m altitude level, couldnae be arsed going any further so turned and rattled down again.  Probably just over an hour up and about 10 minutes down.