Monday, May 27, 2013

Sunday Bottle Lake shorty

Took O, H and Jet out to the pond in the afternoon and we Jetted around the inside.  The section that was blocked up last time i was in there was open again, making for a much more pleasant ride through.  Dog had a great time.  O had a great time, H, not so much.  Little guy struggles on the 20inch machine, clipping pedals and not having the grunt or momentum to make it up the bigger hills.  Started to complain a bit by the time we got to the wide open section 3/4ths of the way round.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lack, thereof...

Since Craigieburn, a meeting on Tuesday night followed by bad weather since has put a stop to any rides, with few chances in the coming week looking particularly promising, forecast-wise. 

Last week did see a lot of tooling about town however.  Monday, errands took me an extra 10km around town to usual, Tuesday I added an extra 20 or so, and then another 10 or so on Wednesday.  Saturday night i biked across town (13km total) for frivolities at Chez deSpa.  Not to mention all the running of the dog around the river loops of a morning or four - that chucks in another 6 to 8 kms unaccounted for also.

Yesterday should have seen us doing a short ride to Charlesworth Reserve to plant some Trees for Canterbury, but alas, postponed to next Sunday.

On Monday night last I took the 1.5/1.75 slicks off the Troll and put a 2.35 Larson TT on the front, and a 2.3 Kenda K-rad on the back.  Balloon-stylez.  PHAT AS.  Far more sureity of footing in the dodgy conditions of late, with the main reason for it being the crap roads in my neighbourhood.  I've largely gotten used to them now, and figure if i'm pushing harder, it's making up for not riding the 20kms a day to and from Sockburn.  Dont seem to be pushing that much harder tho.  Am keen to eventually buy some purpose built slicks along the lines of the Big Apples.

Hopefully a ride of sorts can be cobbled together tomorrow or Thursday...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saturday Muddy Mountain Madness

Another mission out to Craigieburn and the Hogsback today.  Tom was at mine just on 8 and we headed for Sheffield to arrive at the pre-specified time of 8.40something.  Met Nelson for transference to his car and the onwards drive to Castle Hill.  Pete and Steve were in the Falcon and Warren, Wayne and Tony were in Steel&Tube.  And so we met and left Nelson's car and transferred bikes and headed round to Broken River, nice clear day and a good hard frost.

Into Sidle 73, Nelson and me at the front riding crunchy ice around to the road and the endless climb to the snow.  Grind grind grind, meeting a bit of snow before the hairpin at the top, progressively getting deeper til the top where there was maybe an inch or two well deposited.  Regroup and layer changes here, sitting on tussocks, then off down the Edge...

Bit wet in places but mostly pretty good, all the scree faces were good to go, bit of snow on the first few.  Then Tom got a flat in the middle of one, fixed that and on we rolled.  Getting some pretty good speed up for a while, through the forest, when suddenly it was all anchors as we bailed up for the log.  Over this and on again, faster and faster, down, through where they've rerouted the trail, Nelson flying down the rooty drops and losing it on the bottom corner.  Next up it was some tight edges, then the last scree and into the climb for the saddle.  Ugh, this climb always gets me.  One section of steeper roots seems to always get me, walked it, and then got going again, getting to Nelson and Tom at the saddle, and waiting a shortish time for Pete and the rest of the crew to roll up.  Bit of a break for some kai and a chat.

I led the way into the Luge.  I was feeling pretty good, letting it roll nicely flowing down the way, opening up the throttle occasionally and not seemingly bothered by the slick roots.  I felt like i'd dropped the rest of them, and at one stage looked back and there was Nelson a wee ways back.  In the lower section, after the seat, it gets a fair bit rootier and that was when i felt the pressure building behind me, with Nelson and Tom both audible behind, but i offered Nelson the lead and he didn't mind.  Got to the bottom eventually, amped, and so everyone else rolled in, amped.  What a descent!  What a trail!

Climbing again, up to Jack's Pass to the Dracophyllum Flat Tack Track.  Some hesitation as to who was to lead, so Pete jumped in front and I chase in on his tail.  Was keeping him on a leash for a while, wondering about some of his dubious lines over the roots, til one of the roots got my back tire.  Nelson noticed it first - thought he heard hissing and commented but then thought it was something else, but then I noticed the wallowing rear and pulled up...  Nelson and Tom stopped to keep me company while the crew all bombed on past chasing Pete.  Once re-assembled we three got blazing, me leading down to the bridge, then the shitty little climb hit us and I let them pass then got completely dropped.  Made Draco flat and could just see Tom disappearing down through the scrub, no sign of Nelson, and so began the mudfest.  Fleck fleck splecking up and around all over everything and barely any control, barely needing to steer...  Into the bush, out of the bush again, back into the bush and climbing again, i was gasping, legs burning, struggling, tail end Charlie.  Finally out of the bush at the top and two women parked up and then across to the radio antenna tower and the crew all scarfing down some eats.  Another break here...

Then, Tom in the lead, followed by me, Nelson, Pete, blasting off down the hill into the forest and swooping.  Tom SO close to losing it in the first forest section, pushing across the not quite so muddy open land and in and out of forest in a long swooping section before turning round and heading down for the stream crossing.  Splish splash and through, the steep getting me letting Nelson past to chase Tom, Pete holla'ing he was stopping to film the others. Walked a few metres then got rolling again, round and up to the carpark, past the two women and on up the nearly greasy climb, mudweight adding pounds to the bike.  Wee walk due to lack of traction and lungs, and back on bike to top where we rested til all arrived. 

Next it was the hogsback switchbacks climb and out and up and up and up, bikes heavier and heavier with muck, trail with less and less traction as tires carried it all away with us.  Picnic Rock, greasy disgusting mucky mud and the descent began.  Not so bad in the moonscape, different spleck sounds at least, then a very greasy exit.  I saw Tom nearly lose it and thought 'what?  that doesnt look that bad?' then proceeded to lose it myself, greasy two wheel drift round a bend and onwards down.  Nice forest run for a bit then out in the open spleckings again and forest and bridge and long open greasy downhill some good jumps even, then around through forest and eventually creek crossing and climb to catch Nelson, and the women just taking off.

Bit of a regroup before the final traverse of some nice terrain, scree-gravel-creek-fan lack of mud being the highlight, and the final climb which started cramping my hamstring.  i stopped by the big dead tree to stretch and Pete went by and then I got moving again and the downhill started off slowly but accelerated til eventually dropping into the trees and had an excellent run down through them, into an open grease fest, then back into forest and eventually rapidly catching up to the pink woman and getting stuck behind her for the last 100 metres or so of trail.  At last, down the road to the car and a much needed rest.

Once again, lots of photos on PFMTBCblog, courtesy Stevo

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Thursday Highway to Technicalia

Nelson picked me up and we noticed it was 7 as we approached Scarborough Hill heading to park at Taylors.  Riding around in the carpark my gears were behaving strangely which at the time I thought nothing of.  Leaving the carpark, Nelson was reaching up to turn on his light just as he caught a rut, heading straight over the bars onto the grass.  We laughed.  Then, up the first steep of the 'tail, snap goes my chain.  Note to self:  Heed those gears-behaving-strangely...  I removed the offending link and replaced the hole in the chain with a quicky, and on our merry way we continued...

Steve had raved about the new highway so gave it a look.  What a highway.  Zipped out to Boulder Bay on it and layered off on the first hairpin there, enjoying the view of the lights on the water and the glow from the sky.  Gruntsville, but not as grunty as it used to be, upwards, switchbacking once or twice then took a look and rode upon the first gun emplacement, then down and zig zag up again to the stile and barbed wire fence.  Thru the gate we popped down to the big guns and had a look around.  Nelson didnt think he'd ever been there before.  I was disappointed the underground ammo-store bit wasnt open anymore - its got some pretty freaky cracks in it.

Back onto the trail and we were surprised by the descending switchbacks down to the look out - seemed like a fair bit of altitudinal droppage, then up some steps and on up to the barracks and on up to the carpark.  Straight across, over the stile and on up the hill we proceeded to the Breeze Col track, around the Lyttelton side...  Not far in we shuffled some big rocks to make a really big rock rideable, then continued onwards down and around the technicalia.  Rocks and trail on this southface slicker and sketchier as we went.  At the flax we both were off, careful to pick our ways, then on the final grassy downhill both pretty slow cos of the overgrowth.  Both of us freaked out possums down here too.

At Breeze we headed up the trail above the road, taking the new left onto the tight narrow trail, which, when we reached the end of we turned around and rode it back to the original trail, and then turned around and rode the tight one again, faster this 2nd time. Then it was the speedy descent to the road again, the whole time me thinking, "hope the light doesnt go out".  Onto the singletrack below the road and blitzed it round here, with my light cutting out about 2/3rds of the way along.  Disconnect, reconnect, and run on low the rest of the way, constantly worrying its gonna cut out again, making Anaconda a bit slow and painful, truth be told.  Nelson had a good run, even getting some sketch out of the damp dirt, something i totally missed.  Out down the tail, again, me picking my way in the dimness, and him blazing out front.  All in all a good ride.  Roll on Saturday morning in the hills.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

swtchbckr, 8. Sunday morning View Hill struggle, mountain walking.

This Blog, 8 years old, today... like sweet singletrack, 's been a long and ever wending journey

Took the Singlespeed over to the bach Friday, thinking i'd be riding on my own at some stage and figuring it's good for me to work it.  On Saturday, Tom, Lisa and Tane came over, so Sunday morning Tom and me headed out.  I knew i was in trouble as soon as the climb started.  Tom powered away with his gears, and i struggled away behind, getting all the way up to Chorlton eventually, then on up the gravel.  As soon as the real steepness started i had to get off and walk.  And walk.  And walk and walk and walk...  Rode occasionally when it flattened out now and then but sure walked a bunch.  Including bits i've ridden the singlespeed on before.

View from the top was, as usual, spectacular.  and then the descent began.  Rigid steel under me pinging away, providing a damned good work out, while not being too rough.  Picked up some good speed on the smoother gravel lower down, then we aero-styled it the rest of the way down into the bay.  Couple hours all up.  shame about the walking...

Once back at the bach, we took the boys and the dogs down to the beach, and had a bit of a dip in the sea.  VERY cold, but was bloody good for the legs - standing there chucking a stick for the dogs to swim after.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Wednesday Night Stealth Protocol

Bit of an explore tonight, first night light hill ride, for Nelson and me.  Picked me up after work and we parked up very top of Major Hornbrook, not Upper.  Rode up to Upper and onto Britten, climbing away like two climbing things, puff getting right up before we hit the trail.  Settled down into a steady slog to top, then round top of Britten, rocks slick as pigshit under dampened tires.  Nelson was struggling all evening with his tires pinging about the place.  Mine, not so much. 

At Cavendish Saddle we headed up the switchbacky trail to the top of the Gondola.  This section is a good wee climb and well worth the effort, for a there and back, in future.  All fully legal too...  unlike what we did next.  From the gondola we followed round under the building to the Lyttelton side, and ended up riding right round it...  hmmm, then found the trail down, wondering where to go for a bit, then deciding on the Track Closed trail down the ridge towards the Bridle Path.  Some slippery steps, slick rocks, and then some sweet flowy bits, followed by a couple of walked bits and more riding.  I had an OTB near the bottom, nothing hurt.  then it was true stealthmode, up the road, no lights, to top of Castle Rock track. 

I led down this, excellent run, quite slow, but flowy.  Nelson, not so much.  On the climb out i had one wee dab, but otherwise all good.  At top of Bridle Path, we kinda couldn't be bothered riding back up the ridge to Cavendish, tho, it probably wouldn't be that bad.  So, we decided to see what all the fuss was about...  headed round the road.  Kinda freaky.  amazing how the trail weaving and wending through the rocks is all on relatively pristine tarmac, surrounded by mad mad rocks.  But, where the blasting has been done, round the corner, into the wind, walking bikes over massive piles of rocks with yet more above and below was just a bit nervous making.  Definitely not something I'll do again.  At the big fuck-you chainlink and razor wire gate/fence we clambered through the side and i was relieved to be out.  Then, once over the final gate, illegality was passed and everything was ok again. 

At the saddle we stopped in the lee of a flax and had some Onesquare then headed on up the trail to the top.  Not a bad climb, tho i was getting puffed and weavy near the top, and annoyingly the gear i wanted, ie, granny on front, 3rd down on back, slipped, so i was either spinning fast traveling slow or grinding slow and hard for the right speed.  Dunno what's up with that?  Onwards to the top, then due to Nelson's pingy-ness on the slickrocks I led off down the hill, my light starting to cut out now and then, which pretty much made Nelson have to stay behind me for extra lighting.  Eventually, once on the top of Greenwood back towards the top, and my light cutting out a heap more times, realised it was due to, not only a bad connection, but also the light binning out trying to draw more current than was left in the battery.  So, put it on low, and it never cut out again, all the last of the Greenwood then all the rest of the way down Britten, bypassing the gate and taking the 4wd tracks across the hill onto the downhill walking track, then zipping down the car.