Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Blown Out

Daylight savings this morning and I totally forgot about it.  Tom rang at what i thought was 6.35 asking about the ride, and I said, yeah, get to mine for 8.  I got on the rain radar to check what was up with the rain and then saw the time!  7.37! YIKES.  Scrabbled to get ready, and Pete was early, but no matter, got ready and Tom arrived and we set sail to the Palms and the others (in two cars - Wazza, Wayne, Tony, Marie, Steve, Andy) arrived and off out thru Rangoon and sLoburn we cruised, finding Nelson awaiting us at the end of the road and the rain we'd been driving through just stopped.  Over a year since last was up here (with Nelson, Matt and Tom) and just about 2 years since riding it with Nelson and Pete.

Granny grunt start, climbing away, everybody getting into it, nice and fresh, soft trail in places and rut city down the bottom, we meandered our way up and regrouped at the mud wallow, which Nelson got his shovel out for and dug a drain, relieving it of a fair bit of water by the time we'd returned.  Then, as usual, the first walking began.  And a shit load followed it.  As usual, with a few riding bits between.  The really steep stuff was really steep, and the first timers were probably wondering how it was gonna be down hill.

A few regroups on the way up.  Marie was struggling I think and left her bike behind thinking she'd walk the rest of the way, but we convinced her that riding further was worth it, and Nelson ran down after it, and she rode a good deal further.  Regroup and snack in the open area before the main downhill.  Then down and climbing re-engaged, up and up, up and down, up up and ever onwards up.  Into the cloud enshrouded tops we struggled, Marie leaving her bike behind finally further up, and walking the same pace as the rest of us to the top.  Pretty mucky in places, with water running down the track.  We stopped at the Mt Richardson sign and a walker guy and his dog cruised through, surprised (and not very happy) to see us, then it was the final push to the top.  Quick feed and jacket on at the top then off down.

Just after the Mt Richardson sign, i was out the front, and i noticed something going thuck thuck thuck on my back wheel then BANG! it blew.  My tire had split next to the rim and was rendered useless.  Bugger, i thought, and was about to start walking when Tom pointed out he had a spare tire...  phew!  a little 2.1 Ritchey, which was hard to get on, but did the trick real good.  The others had all gone ahead, with Nelson and Pete hanging back with me, and we put on a chase now.  Catching them just before Marie got to her bike at which they were all waiting.  From here it was in the open, mostly down until the steep shute-y climb, which at this point was very hard work walking up...

Bit more climbing and into the forest again, for a good downhill til the next climb, which wasnt long, then finally the long ridge section before the steeeeeep downhill.  In here you're dropping a couple hundred metres within about a km and a half.  I baulked on the steepest shute, just getting out of the way in time for Tom and Pete to get by, then had to walk a little before being able to get back on.  Made good chase now and when it leveled off again we all regrouped not long later.  Another rapid downhill stretch and we stop where Nelson is puzzling over the back end of his bike...  damn, his rear derailleur has caught something and snapped in two.  Once again, the others took off ahead, but this time 4 of us stayed to help Nelson get his chain apart (which was very difficult) and off for him to ride chainless.  Tom managed the previously impossible of splitting the chain.

Awesome blast down the last sections, relishing the rapid acceleration experienced upon release of brakes, Tom close on my tail all the way down to the (now quite a bit lower) mud pug.  Nelson had a couple of bits he had to run but mostly it was a coast for him.  Eyes splecked like crazy, half blind, on the last open ruttsville section back to the cars and a bunch of very mucky puppies we all were.  a grand total of just under 1000 metres total climbing (and descending) under our belts.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday night stealth pixies

Nelson met at mine after work and around 6 we were heading for the hills.  Parked up top of Huntsbury Hill we ground our ways up the trail, no lights, setting a good pace.  Across the road and up Scott's Knob trail to the highest point where we turned round, lights on, and fanged it back down.  Much tighter this way than i'd thought it would be.

Back onto the road, up onto and around Vernon, picking up speed as we progressed before finally bailing off onto the side to let a bunch of climbers clamber past.  Back into gear and down the last switchbacks and through the top of Rapaki straight into the Witch Hill, techy rocky grunty wee climb round, cleaning it all sweetly, then swoopy fun down to the road.  Cruised up here, lights off, freaking out a couple of runners cos of our stealth mode, meeting them at the gate below the Tors.

Cruisey climb up to top of Castle Rock and we chilled out here, no wind here, for a few minutes before droppin' in.  I led the way, and was a bit pinbally to start, but got into the groove and got on down the trail nicely, flying into the first hairpin, on round down, wet spot from last time not so bad, and round the next hairpin and down over our cool rocky armoured section just before the wee wooden bridge before the climb up through the next usually wet spot, drained nicely, and on up.  At the next big mucky quagmire we stopped for about half an hour and messed about moving rocks, some huge, building it up and making two armoured bits which we rode back and forth on then continued our way out to the Bridle Path.

Turned around, and headed on back up and over the first section, cleaning our armoured repair, and then descended down through to our other armour, then the real climbing began, up round the first hairpin, across, and i dabbed through the second, but got pretty much all the rest of the climb til the last rocky grind near the top.  Onto the road down past the Tors, my back wheel had some squirrelly throbbing in it.  Flipped the bike at the gate and decided that it wasn't the rim, just the tire - not seated quite right...  oh well, onwards down the road, into Witch Hill and an excellent pace right in and through til a quick scoot-dab and then over down and around.

Through the top of Rapaki again, and back onto Vernon and up through the switchbacks, Nelson stomping on the gas, me just plodding on up at a steady pace, really feeling it in the legs on the last vestiges of climb.  Blatted down to the road, not quite as fast as normal cos my lights were both on dim.  Some comment from the boyracers missed, then onwards round the traverse til we dropped down the quick way onto Huntsbury, speeding down the gravel (after first running out of singletrack), then finally down the yumpy wee side track and back to the car.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mucky Sunday Bottle Jet Lake

Rain came in from the north scuppering our chances of doing the Blowhard track as planned, so the decision was made to postpone to next week. I wasnt up for the wet ride across to Steve's on the off chance of not getting up the hill, so i chucked Jet in the car, the singlespeed on the back, and we headed out to Bottle Lake listening to the 9am news on the way.  Pretty wet, not much rain from above, but soaking-as tracks allowing for plenty of spleck from below, causing all sorts of issues for my eyes the rest of the day.  We both got nice and mucky and had a right old time.  He ran and ran and ran, i spun and spun and spun, overtaking the occasional person i met, like maybe 3 (not many people out there today).  Annoyingly, tyre rub on frame every time i stood up and kranked it hard...  worst bit was climbing up to the gazebo.  Took an hour or so, right round the outside and we were back to the carpark, hosed off the sand and mud and back in the car home by 10.30.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Evening Easternisation

Nelson turned up at mine after work and we Corona'd across to the Pleasant Mount and proceeded to the top of the hillside suburbanisation.  There was a bitter wind blowing up there, so once we'd set up our bikes and had a wee we got back in the car to await the others.  Warren had turned up while we were sorting, and sat to wait in his car too. Andy and Tony turned up next; then Steve and Robin; then Pete.  Then, we hit up the trail.  About a third of the way up i was finally warming up, and by the top felt sweet (and sweat).  Good cruise up, with Steve setting the pace at the front and us all toeing in behind, tight on each other's rear tires.  Most of us got the top corner into the original John Britten trail, then it was around to the gate, over and up Broadleaf, really warming up and having a good regroup at the start of the trail over down towards Cavendish Saddle.  Nicely out of the wind up here, and so we yarned a bit before turning the lights on and hitting the singletrack.  Nelson in the lead, me next, followed by Pete, and the rest.  Good wee blast down, the tussocks making us react, not flow.  Tho, groove was gotten the further we got.  The last couple of corners before the first long stretch across the slope always get me, expecting the long stretch across the slope to be this one, but no, another corner, maybe this next one, no, another corner, aaah, this one...  The final chipped bit down, loose and sketchy, always expecting that final nasty corner that everyone seems to miss and ride over, just before the stile.  Over and down, nearly losing it before the bottom.

Next up, up the back and forth trail to the Gondola, cleaning it all this time, first time i havent blown one of the lower corners, and then around the Gondola building for most of us, and another regroup on top, then back down, looking spectacular from the otherside, if only we were filming.  All enjoying the down.  Then it's up the way we'd come down before, steep to start, and a little loose, but then leveling off, and on round to the first corner back across and up, steadily on and on up, and over, regroup on top again, and then off up the rest of Broadleaf to the top and the excellence that was to ensue.

Down from Mt Pleasant, sketchyish rocks to start and then picking your way, reacting to what is just round that tussock.  Second or third place always good, following the leader's mistakes.  At the bottom of this trail we split.  the usual three off down, the rest of them back out top of Greenwood and over back to their cars.  Nelson, Pete and me off down, I off-pisted down to the trail and so had a good lead on them, which i largely kept, with the occasional gain, and loss, and gain, by them.  Awesome blast down Greenwood for me tonight.  Very few mistakes, i floated and pumped as necessary all the way.  Cleaned everything including the usual little mistake-makers, and ended up at the bottom with a big grin, and a bit of a sore lower back (as usual).

Finally, really good pace, all of us just pumping away up the road, grinding out the kms and metres altitude, steady as she goes, all the while knowing it was building base stamina and strength the others need, but we always seem to get.  Eventually we made the top of the Britten trail.  Nelson pulled up and adjusted suspension, so i ducked into the trail and got a nice lead on them both, which Nelson slowly wound in on the way down.  Good flowy blast down here. Ruts wobbling me a couple times, but the tires and wide rims just carry you straight out of the wobble.  No wind at the cars this time.  Bit of a chat then our separate ways back to the same neighbourhood.

Getting my bike out of the car, the blood lid dropped on my head as i was coming up and in to get the bike and YOWCH!  Blood started pissing out of the wound and so i needed help sorting out my shit.  No stitches needed, thankfully.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Arvo Worsley Jet ride.

Left home at five to 4 with Jet in the car and headed up Worsley's, parking at the top of the road.  Jet chomping at the bit, we got going straight up the main track.  Passed a couple guys just after the powerlines, having seen them struggling on the ruts from when i was lower down.  Up round the corner, into major rocky ruttsville, no worse than last time a month or so ago with Nelson, but our rock placements had been somewhat wrecked, and that was the only place i blew in that section.  Cleaned up everything else, until, as we got up near the turn off to B-line-ville Jet was through the fence and i was calling him over and heading across towards him i had a weird crash.  My front wheel stopped suddenly on the edge of a rut and my positioning was all out of whack and i ended up ON the handlebars, balanced, on my chest, for a second, legs out behind me in the air, hovering, then toppled back (almost back onto my seat), never hitting the ground.  bloody hurt the chest, and smacked my knee on something too, then, when i'd righted myself again i had stars in my eyes, and took a minute to get my breath back...

Off up the entry to B-lineage, and off down the Original to the right.  taking it slowly to start, gradually getting into the flow and picking up speed as i headed down.  By-passed Fightclub and headed through the pylon clearing on down, clearing a piece of windthrow on the trail, then off down to the right down the old favourite and out the bottom.  Straight back up and up the middle steep bastard forestry trail, all the way back up to the clifftop, then on up the way i'd come down to the top where Tommy's peels off and down here, taking the trickier line to the right about 2/3rds of the way down, where a log was down and a new line had formed steep and into the rockgardens that are in there.  Then it was Fightclub, fantastic, really feeling on form, pumping and roosting, til lower down where a tree has landed ON the track.   A dabby scooting line above it then off down the final deeper forest section, steeper stuff, and nice lines all the way out to the bottom.

Then, finally, back up the access track, passing a couple guys, one with no chain (walking), and then up to the junction and off back down to the car via the normal route.  Happy dog, and happy me, 1 and quarter hours riding total.  All up an very slightly different format of this ride just over a month ago even the timing was similar.

AND, just this week, Cotic turns 10 years old.  Happy Birthday, Cotic.  I've been a Cotic owner for 5 years now.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday Night TFC Meeting

only writing cos the ride home from the pub after our TFC meeting last night was so insane...  while we were there the gale force norwesters kicked in, blowing up dust storms along Garlands Rd.  Pete and me struggled into it all the way home.  it was like riding up a very steep hill.  So full on, with grit being thrown up into our eyes the whole way, rubbish bins and roadworks signs and cones all lying down and branches off trees.  Tin was flapping in the red zone, and a couple of trees were down both sides of the river just down river from where i cut through to my place.  spec tac u lar.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sunday's Planting, Otukaikino / Omaka

Jumped on the Troll and got over to Pete's by 9, the others (Steve, Warren and Wayne) turning up not long after, and we all rode Avonside - Kilmore right across town to the park and through to Kilmarnock for to meet the railway path and Andrew and Tony, who'd very lazily driven there.  From here it was northbound, freight-training ourselves to the end of the line, Tuckers.  Onto Cavendish, Styx Mill, Gardiners, past the Crematorium and across to somewhere I hadnt been for 30 odd years, the entrance to Omaka Scout Camp.  Up the drive and along to the planting where we put in a shitload of natives alongside a path alongside the river/creek that flows on down into the Groynes.  Plant plant plant, scoff multiple sausages, and then it was back on the bikes, muchly a reverse our plantward journey, once again freighttraining hauling ass down the later stages of the railtrail, then through the park, taking Armagh through town, Steve peeling off at Barbadoes, and Pete and me sneaking off to Pom's for a quick pint, a delicious Liberty Sauvignon Bomb, a perfect way to finish the 35 odd kms under our belts... 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Friday Night Eastern figure 8

Usual pick up from work and we drove the clogged city arteries right through to Taylor's Mistake.  Parked up and headed up the road to the walking track  which was rather greasy to start, but not so bad once over the fence.  Took a new zig and zag through new lambs and mothers and proceeded to grunt up to the deer fence and alongside it I lost the grip on my breath, walking a section I've not walked in past ventures up this trail.  Over the stile and off up the gravel road, a little soft, and draggy, but not so bad.

Onto the seal and the 0 to 220m in under one kilometre as the crow flies, it really is a rapid ascent.  Round the road, Nelson saving his tires by riding the margin, then the coasting down to Evans Pass, faster and faster and faster, through the saddle and up the Summit Rd, taking it easy, and not seeing a single car or another soul the whole way up, lights still not used, all the further 220m up to where the Greenwood heads off.

Lights on, and into the singletrack, sheep and lambs scattering, their lovely deposits strategically placed at intervals in the middle of the track, cruising round to the ruins where we stopped for a OneSquare then I took the lead off down the trail.  Easy at first, screwing up a couple times, but slowly putting on the speed.  Not many wet spots, just some of the usuals.  On round into the gloom, taking it easy on the entry, boardwalk, through the guts, and out the other side, then straight on and down, down, down, swoopy, swoopy, cruising round into the last valley, with the silly dips, round over the wee creek then the blast down to the rocky ups, cleaning them both, and finally down through the swoopy bends, water in one of them, and round over above the road below the macracarpa down to the end, and REALLY sore feet, especially the left, and sore hands...  My left shoe has given up, split just behind the cleat, hence the sore foot.

Next up, Godley.  Both of us buggered up the first rocky section, but everything from there on up was sweet.  Nice climb, tho was starting to get tired towards the end, not quite enough grunt in me...  Off down the new chip, flying faster and faster, greasing through the section they've not done yet, then back on it, faster and faster, til it ended, then bouncing around a bit, but maintaining a fair bit of speed through to Livingston.  The clamber up the next bit got me a ways behind Nelson, but i'd gained on him again through just before the PFMTBC rock, and then i eased myself down the yucky greasy splecky paddock down to the gate, finally at Breeze Col.  We decided we still had some ride in us so we took the trail above the road, little grunt, then twisty tight round and highspeed rocketship ride down to the end of the road, and onto the singletrack on the downhill side, nice cruise round here, the last (gentle) climb back to Breeze Col half killing me.

Nelson led off down the Anaconda, and we had a good run down, me tight on his tail most of the way.  Ingenious treatment of the trail in what used to be the sloppiest bits down in the valley, well done Ranger Singletrack!  finally through the last couple corners and onto the Tail, where we hauled, - me thinking to myself how scenic it all was, lights reflecting in the sea, waves breaking on the beach, (normally sun drenched) grassy hillside and ribbon of singletrack skirting the hillside, - pumping through the wee dips and risers, then bailing up on the puddle before the final cattlestop into Briden's Bush, and the run round above and behind the baches and speed back to the car.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Wednesday night mucky nutters

Too damned long between rides, with every excuse under the sun (and rain) to ruin my opportunities to get out on the bike...  anyway, finally, i'd been in Hamilton for a couple days, and landed around 6pm, got home and Nelson was there and we changed and took separate cars (me with the dog and the BFe) and headed out to Mcleans Island.  A good southerly stoush had washed through so things were pretty wet, and puddly.  Set a good pace and Jet ran out front then between us then behind us and taking turns in those positions.  Nelson led most of the way, i took one short turn out front.  Bikes and asses got super mucky and grindy.  Took the extra 5km loop out and back as well as the main and were done in maybe an hour.  Good for the aerobic fitness, and great for Jet, he had fun.  A very mucky wet dog with mud on his face and a big grin on his chops.