Missed last weekend due to T being away and the rest of us being at the bach helping my Dad with stuff. Then most of week away and then over to bach again Thursday night for the last weekend of the holidays. So, packed up and left the bach and i got out at Pettigrews Rd, hitting the trail at 3pm. First ride for my new shoes, some Shimano's...
Made reasonable time up through Whatarangi and on up Sinclair, walking a bit before peaking out 45mins in, descent beginning, and up here i plugged my music in. Fair bit of wind around in places, seemingly every time i descended. Whereas all the climby bits earlier on were calm as. Good progress up the back of Fitzgerald, with a good walk up the grovelly bit, then up onto the ridge an a surprising section of granny climb. Stopped for a bit of a snack up top here then tucked into the massive downhill, bombing it down to the gate then through the tricky section and then bombed down to the next saddle. Someone's been playing with a Komatsu D31 up here, and a new track has been carved in for the next climb. i rode some of it, and some of the original singletrack, and then some of the new up. Another stile, number umpteen, across the graveyard tops, another stile, then down the blast, into the wind, to Waipuna Saddle. over another stile, upwards, another stile, and on walking up up up til riding again, and the blasty descent down to Port Levy Saddle.
Climbed on out, seeing for the first time other bike tire tracks, two i think, not that old - likely this weekend. Decided later that they were travelling the other direction to me, because on the steep back of Herbert when i was walking they seemed to be ridden not walked. Grovelly climb up to Kaituna Reserve, then awesome downhill down and across into the start of the nearly final climb, which i managed to ride heaps of til Monument Track peels off to the right. I started along it, but then realised it would be a big effort, and i might as well just climb up the back like usual, so, pushed up to the ridge and hooked onto the steep bastard. Carried the bike some, wheeled it on the back wheel ahead of me, and pushed it, a bunch. Wind quite strong all the way up here. Met a bit of snow up here, just shady patches. Body starting to get pretty tired. Mandarin here, and donned my orange G.Effect top too.
Down the ridgeline between sub-Herbert (913) and Herbert was a fun descent, popping off the drops. Once the climb hit i slowed right up and walked a bunch more. Rode a bit, missed the walkway and clambered across to it and on up to the top of Herbert finally (919). Bunch of txts flooded in, including Tracey wanting a progress report. 18.21 i replied i should make the 7 oclock sailing. And off i headed down. Nearly over the bars up here, and a big old hunka snow right in the middle of the trail, north facing(!) too, making everything wet-as below it. Steep singletrack led me to the slightly less steep 4wd track down. More stiles, steep, fast descent, dropping hundreds of metres in minutes. Lambs galore down here and lower. Finally down into the wee valley and climbing another stile my hamstring cramped something wicked. Yow!!! had to drop the bike and streetttttch. Managed to continue, seemingly running out of time. it was gonna be close. More stiles, and more wet bits, splatting me up a bunch - something i'd avoided all the way til here, and tonnes more lambs... Fiiinally, over the very last stile and there's the sign... Track Closed for Lambing, til Oct 16th... oooops, only 3 days out. oh well. Kinda no wonder i saw not a single other person my entire travels.
Across the road, and having to hurry now, couple steps, stile, then down, creek higher than i'd ever seen it before, flowy singletrack with a few interesting techy bits, and yay at last the road! Stood and climbed and had pain and had to sit, no, had to stretch, and tried to stand and ride again, but no, had to stretch again, but only 5 minutes left, had to push on through til the descent, blasting past where the pub used to be and down the zigzag road to the wharf and the Ferry was 100m out, on its way in. Phew... Pretty hot and bothered by this stage cos twas way warmer at sea level than at 900m, so stood in the breeze all the way across.
Rode off the ferry, and up towards the tunnel, parking myself in time for T and the boys to pick me up. So. a 4 hour trip this time. I'm getting slow.