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.