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...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Arvo Jetting the B-liners

Jet and me headed up to top of Worsley's Rd and boy was he keen to get out of the car as i got myself sorted.  Once out, off he went ahead of me, 4.05pm.  Pretty mucky across the flat bit at the start, but beyond that lines were manageable up the first few stretches, Jet running about with a wee sheepdog for a minute before the watertank, then following on after me. Once up to the corner we often used to rest at, the trail got really bad.  Basically, there's a few unrideable sections in there now, rocks too big, holes too deep.  Very messy.  Walked a little then rode for a while then had to walk a couple of clay holes, and so on up to the body bag, where we headed left and up into the B-line territory for 4.25pm...

Off down the original 'B-line', off to the right, with Jet in behind like a good boy, following me all way down and through, hanging a right into Fight Club and bookin' down here, swoopy swoop, cleaning all the interesting techies, ruts forming in a few sections, and polishing off the very final drop that impaled my knee that other time, 4.45...

Jet led the way up the 4wd section and we had a short rest at the gate, then onwards up round up and at 'the junction' we headed left up the guts, steeeeeeeep little bastardo climbing up through the pylon gap and onwards past some other riders and onwards up to the cliff top gap, and onwards up all of it to where the other B-line heads down.  Jet in behind again and off we went down Tommy's (not #2) and headed all the way through, suddenly bottoming out my fork a few times, when i got out to the pylon gap, i discovered it wound all the way down.  What the ???  Had it wound itself down??  Had i been riding all the time with it down?  With more travel, we continued down first left then across right and down the droppies and through back down onto the climb back up to the Junction, and then down the finale past the soaking wet dribbled from the tank and on out, blasting to the car for 5.18 as i drove down the road...  Niiice.

Sitting here with a very tired wee doggy on the floor.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Night Captain Greenwood Up and Back

Back to Aucks from Raro yesterday, and home this morning, Nelson picked me up after 5 and we cruised out to Sumnervale.  Departed the car roughly 6.30pm, headed up past the horse paddocks, over the bridge, up the steps, and onto the trail.  Slightly less mucky than the first time in here, but mucky nonetheless.  We slipped and slopped up through the valley and up onto the new switchbacks, me cleaning all but the end.  Then off onwards up, Nelson ever pushing onwards.  I was off-form, pretty much from the start, balance out, oomph factor on low, and total lack of condition.  Clambered up the usuals, and then some.  Muckiness in the same spots as last time.

Out the top and onto the road for a bit of a rest, then we hit up Greenwood, doof doof heads below us on the road. Left them behind and meandered our way up the trail, Nelson soon increasing the gap on me as I struggled, stallingly on every rock I came to.  Later I decided the 30psi i put in the tires before leaving home might have been the culprit...  25-27 is optimum, methinks.  anywhoo, struggled all the way to the ruins, where we stopped for a rest, then onwards upwards doing a little better, but still having a hard time.  Up through the tussocks, up through the rocks, which seemed harder and harder.  At the stile we stopped, finally.  Had a rest, relieved my tires of some air, and off we shot.

Down down down down down down, finally getting my game back on for a bit after the ruins, seemingly wafting weightless over the rocks in the top section, but by gloomy gulch my i was getting tired and sore, shoulders, lower back, neck.  Stopped for a bit of a stretch then kept going, Nelson now a fair way ahead, but me closing again, til i got to the cattle/sheep stop in the fence, and the mucky bit after that, where i slowed right down.  Til i got round over the creek then it was on again, excellent control down the trail to the two rocky ups, juuust cleaning the first, and no worries through the second, and into the final swoopy finish, lots of pain as i lifted the bike over the stile.

Captain Thomas, down...  too sore, too careful.  Nelson pretty much cleaned everything.  I walked my usual one, and then walked a couple more i'd normally ride.  Rest of the way was okay, but half way down before the switchbacks, KEEP LEFT!  big hole in the track that if you keep left you're fine.  Nicely swooping down the switchbacks and then into the muck, splecky splatty squagmire and we were done, 2 hours after we'd started, ~500m altitude gained and lost..

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Sunny day return to Thomas, God Snake

Great day to get out.  Drove to Sumner for a 9.15 meet with Steve, Pete, Warren, all who'd ridden out (i think?), and Andy and Tony who'd vanned (i think?).  We headed up the valley and found our way through to the newly reopened upper half of Captain Thomas, closed since the Feb Quake.  New access from Sumnervale, a very boggy bottom, leading up to a nice series of 6% grade switchbacks up onto the old track, just out of the waterfall gully.  Good easy ramble from there, the usual rock outcrop dismounts and a fair bit of mud around.  Great to revisit an old favourite.

At Evans we gave directions to some newbies who asked, then headed onto Godley, the rocky start getting the better of everybody, and Pete dabbing more than anybody for some weird reason.  I had a great run, minimal dabbage.  The old 'gale in exposed places' certainly applied along the open sections of most of this ride, pushing us all over the place at often inopportune times, scrubbing wheels on rut edges or tussocks, causing feet down where normally none would be required.  The blast down to Livingston was a tail wind rocket ride, tho somehow i took a high line near the bottom and ended up missing the switchback at the end.  Onwards, and the flat weavy section before the climb was the first time I've ever seen it so wet, puddles of probably sheep's piss and who knows what where there's never been wetness before.  Climb was good, seemed the easiest I've found it in years, possibly the tail/cross wind assist.  Once on top the tailwind kicked in as motor and we absolutely flew down the new, nicely bedded, chip, railing around onto the sidling traverse before rounding onto PFMTBC Rock and then down into sogsville.  I cut my speed to minimise splattage, and Pete came flying up behind me and just pipped me onto the cattle stop, whereupon he got some massive sideways movement, very nearly taking him out.  Whooah!  Breeze Col's name an misnomer today; Gale Col would have been more apt.

From here, headed up above the road and onto the tight little number, wind still plaguing us with its pushing and shoving, then finally a massive boost down to the road-end.  Across the road and onto the singletrack back, into the wind, which was surprisingly not as bad as I'd expected.  Had a sweet run back to Breeze and met the newbies again, giving them more tips on the trails, before heading off down Anaconda, which said Closed.  Figured it couldnt be that bad having been open only days before and no serious rain of late.  Turned out we weren't wrong, pretty dry all the way til lower down, usual damp spots heinously rutted by imbeciles riding the tracks when they're closed!  Came upon Ranger Nick Singletrack, so stopped and apologised in person, and having a good yarn.  He was fine with it, really!  Onwards down away from the worst of it, swooping through the new berm then hitting the Tail out to the end and then enduring the climb out of Taylors.

Final aero blast down Scarborough, into the final hairpin at the bottom, I was on the brakes, could hear my rear tire nearly letting go, but instinctual ABS kicking in, railed around the bend, knowing Pete was not far off my tail, then as I was heading to do some yumpies on the garage levels on the left I heard a clatter behind, turned to look and saw Pete's bike coming to a standstill in the wrong lane, him picking himself up.  Oh No!  His front wheel had washed in the corner and he'd gone down, some very nice roadrash to show for it, knee(s), elbow(s), and hip.  YOWCH. 

Coffee and eats at DotCom and the others all rode home in Andy's van, I ferried a stinging Pete home. 

Friday, July 05, 2013

Friday night meanderations

Came out of work to find a flat rear tire, so got started on it while I waited on Selwyn St for Nelson to pick me up.  Tube out and he showed up so while we drove I patched the snakebite that was in my spare.  Top of Huntsbury I sorted out the tube, tire and air, changed, and we hit it.  5.50pm or so by the time we'd passed the pylons, on up making good time to the top, we crossed the road and headed right, over the walking track, from which someone has very courteously removed the red strip from the bicycle on the sign, leaving it fair game in our eyes.  Neat wee trail, tight as to start with, all overgrown with conifers, but further over some rocky rooty stuff then some steps just to keep it interesting.  Into the next section, still above the road, too mucky and steep to ride for a start, much better further up.  Some real technicalities and dabulations on the descent, a few bits that got me out pretty good.  Finally, the last bump, in the open towards Sugarloaf, over a stile, couple steps, across the road and we were where we used to often stop for a break.

A guy rode past as we were climbing the fence, so we let him have a really good head start (well past the pond) then we chased.  Good pace back round towards Vernon, closing the gap slowly but surely on the guy til he was less than 50m ahead by the time we reached the end of the line.  He turned back towards Cashmere while we continued our merry way over Vernon for a very fast, at times loose and sketchy, blast down towards Rapaki.  Nelson misjudged corners a couple of times and ended up taking ridiculous lines back on track, no dabs.  Cattle all over the trail after the cattlestop, getting out of our ways pretty heftily.

Into Witch Hill, great trail this, rocky, interesting, keeps you on your toes, clambered round, my back just starting to give me gyp.  Road climb past the rock piles below the Tors and on up to Castle Rock where i had a good stretch and received a txt, 6.50 it was here, and then led off into the trail.  Minty fresh, mucky in places, but all good.  Not far down the first stretch I hauled on the anchors to pass a boulder in the middle of the trail.  Nelson carefully manipulated it off the trail, not letting it go far, so's it wouldn't hurtle down and kill a sheep or something.  Onwards again, my balance was off camber a few times.  After the second switchback the wetspots got a bit stupid, so we added our version of drainage to a couple, using rocks or tires, then continued on up and across to the Bridle Path top.  Back up the road from here, through the barrier, and a wee ways up before spotting the singletrack below, climbing down, over the fence, and down, to ride onwards back up the way we'd come earlier.  Both lost forward momentum on the last pinchy top bit, but rode the final corner.

Rest, change, eats, and off down the road, dodging boulders, then round to the Witch again me slowing down a bit now in the climbing department.  Couple of sketchy moments, and weird chain droppage, but a great finale back to the road.  Past the cattle, and back onto the track climbing climbing climbing round Vernon along and down to the road.  Across, back on Summit Traverse, blasting along, then down, dodging tussocks, following and not following sheep trails.  Onto the landing strip, to the end, over a fence, and more tussocks, lots more, and sheep trails, over the top and down, through a gate then followed the jumpy trail down beside the main Huntsbury all the way down past the gate and along the fence line til finally over the fence and back to the car.  Done.  Home by about 8.30.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Tuesday night on freshly drying hills

Yay, so good to get out tonight, and to finally test my new back wheel, which i got on the bike last night.  Nelson picked me up and we headed for the upper reaches of Mt Pleasant, the suburb, not the hill, where we parked up the top of Clearview Lane, and rode up to meet the others on Upper Major Hornbrook.  We found Wazza and Wayno in residence, soon to be followed by Pete (who we probably should have carpooled with) and then Stevo, Tones and Robin arrived in the van.  A good posse.  The others (other than Steve) admiring all the new lights Nelson, Pete and me had.

Off up John Britten reserve track, a little soggy in places, and becoming quite the U shape in sections, but firm enough and a good route up.  Bit of a regroup before heading around towards Cavendish, then Nelson came up with the idea to mash it up a bit and we headed up Broadleaf Lane to take the singletrack downwards to Cavenish Saddle.  Great run down here, really fun wee blast, getting to know it a little more, and in good nick.  until you're on the teddington, where it's sketchy and half of us (not me tho) missed the final bend before the stile, nearly losing it over handlebars etc...

On down to the saddle and then into a new-to-the-others track, switchbacking and forthing up towards the Gondola building.  Quite a grunty wee climb, got the better of me in a couple of spots, even walking one short bit, but it gets better as you get higher, til a nice gentle finish.  Large regroup up top, with some of us doing a lap of the building, and Robin following up the rear via a totally different route.  Back off we headed down, quite a blast switchbacking our way back down to another regroup before heading back up Mt Pleasant.

Climb, grinding away to start, once off the tedd'chip it got a lot better, smoother and quieter and nicer.  Another regroup at the gate and a snack for some, then up we went under the pylon, having lost Robin somewhere (he'd headed back to the cars), and the descent began.  I sat on Nelson's tail and Pete was on mine and it was fun watching Nelson's wheel skittering around the place on the rocks, and having him guide me down the trail, him having all the surprises and me having the 'flow' other than where Nelson led me off piste.  Me in turn, leading Pete off piste a few times too, not staying close enough on my tail, perhaps.  Everyone had fun down this section, and at the bottom we parted ways, the group splitting in two. 

Steve, Wazz, Wayne and Tony headed back round the top of Greenwood, while Nelson, Pete and me, the 'manic' ones..., headed for the bottom.  I led the whole way, holding my own pretty good, considering their flash bikes and my dirty old hardtail...  Anyway, Nelson got pinballed on the narrow rock gap below the top switchbacks, otherwise was all good til the usual wet spots just after that. Gloopy gulch was pretty good, having seen some lovin' on the weekend, but much lower down, after the cattlestop near the final valley, i could see the glistening dirt of the track and thought "uh oh!". Soggy. As. in the dips of the usually pumpy section before the creek, which was flowing, followed by a couple more wetspots, especially the slip i crashed in once upon a time, then the rest was awesome.  Juuuust making it through the first rocky up, having a single dab-push to keep moving, but not stopping, and then blazing down the rest of it. 

Then we started out easy up the road, slowly getting faster and faster it seemed, legs starting to burn the higher we got, talking the whole way too.  At the top, really feeling it, and into the blast down John Britten - sweet as, loose as in places with the sketchy softness, but gooooood.  Said our goodbyes to Pete and roared down the pavement to our car, clearing off most of the loose mud really well, mouth's firmly closed and eyes at the ready, soft dirt flecking and splecking up around us.

Verdict on new back wheel.  REALLY nice actually having a true wheel.  wideness makes tire noticeably grippier, especially in tonight's riding conditions.  and since, lifting bike in and out of its perch in my garage, noticeably lighter.  i think its has less rotating weight even tho it's only slightly lighter than the previous cheepy.