Nelson picked me up from Selwyn St and we negotiated the imbecilic rush hour across to Sumner, taking in the newly opened Causeway. Dairy shut, Supermarket shut, grabbed something from the bakery then parked near Cave Rock, overlooking the beach. Changed, and headed up the valley, into Sumnervale and the Captain Thomas. Climb up here was dry dry dry, a far cry from the last few times we've tackled it. met one rider on his way down on the lower section before the switchbacks and not a single other soul all the way up. Usual rockies dabbed us out, and Nelson started putting a gap on me in the last stretch above the road hairpin. My lungs and legs suffering in different ways. At the road, we were Team Orange (both in orange tops) and there was a Team Green (all in green tops) of three heading onto the Godley. Somehow at this point it was already 6.35pm...
Off up the road for a steady climb, bypassing the entrance to Greenwood at about 10-to, then on up round up Broadleaf, me falling straight down into granny on the gravel grovel, finally peaking out and resting. While resting, up rides an old acquaintance Darryl, on a Nomad C with 180 floats, and carrying a full-face helmet on his bag. Reason - practice for Dunedin and Cardrona Enduros, both of which require a full-face. He donned the helmet and pads while we talked, and then a couple of riders with a Trail dog turned up, and i said "hah, trail dog" then the front rider said, "hi richard" and it was Tom and Matt, with Jake the dog. Cool. They'd come up Bridle Path from Lyttelton, over the Gondola and up, and were heading back down Chalmers Track. Matt on a new bike to him, a Pivot. Darryl took off and disappeared like a rocket, and Nelson and me headed off ahead of Jake, Tom and Matt, Tom staying pretty close all the way down, and me hot on Nelson's tail, following all his abrupt changes of direction and near-misses with rocks and tussocks. They peeled off towards the gun emplacements for Chalmers, and we continued on down Greenwood, holding onto Nelson's tail reasonably well until rounding into Gloomy Gulch, when he started putting a larger and larger gap on me as i was getting sorer and sorer and slower and slower, til finally at our old rest stop i stopped and rested and he kept on blazing. Once i got going again tho, i started to close. Til i found him stopped just below where mad Dave was trackworking, and chat was had. At this stage I could see Darryl finishing off his run into the bottom then changing out of the 'extreme' gear. We got going again and I kept a good hold on Nelson til the rocky-ups, the first of which i juuuuust dabbed to keep balance, marginal momentum lost. Flying down the swoopy bit after these rocky bits there was a guy coming up and he didnt quite get his back wheel up off the trail and i squeaked as i went past, juuust clipping his tire with my foot as i passed. Rest of the way down was fast and fun, and i was sore and tired climbing the stile.
Across Evans and into Godley. Crawled up the entrance and stopped to breathe and watch Nelson clean the rocky nightmare. Then i tucked into it, and was juuuust about to fall/reach-out hand-dab, but didnt, and kept it moving and nearly lost it again, and made it out! W00t!, first time in forever. Continued on round and up to Nelsie and we carried on out, him gapping me more and more til eventually he was out of sight, me just toodling along struggling with tired legs (3rd ride in 4 days, no wonder!). At the ridge/landing-strip(?) Nelson was waiting and took off as soon as i arrived, and it was INTO the wind along this section over the boardwalkies, and down into the wee valley then the fast section began and i was catching him and tight on his tail til he skid-scratched up a massive cloud of dust decimating my view of the trail for a second ploughing through and on down to Livingston. I had to rest a sec here after the fence crossing and Nelson gapped me again, once again disappearing over the ridge ahead of me as i climbed. He paused briefly before the descent which i was a bit sketchy on, til the final descent over PFMTBC Rock to Breeze.
7.55 here, as we entered Anaconda. One of the best runs ever down here. Super speed, superb control and blazing, swoopy swoop down and down, through and through. In the tail i was getting sore again, and even had a near off, a rock throwing my front wheel up and me towards the bank, and me putting a foot out and my leg bending to halt me. Got rolling again and this very bony trail bumped me every which way, then flying down into the paddock.
Attempted to get some water out of the drinking fountain, but was sweating faster than could drink, so got rolling up the hill. Tired legs struggling, Nelson vanished from sight, so i just kept plodding on, then into the descent, aero-styles down to the hairpin and a car pulled out just as i was approaching. I caught it up, had to wait a second then -pedal,pedal,pedal,pedal, flat out and over took it then back into aero-pos. and blasting down into the bottom corner, arse over the back for maximum brakeage, round and down to catch nelson outside Scarborough Fare. Toodled along the water front taking in the attractive sunset and then being entertained by all the (soon-to-be) wasted youff on the beach for the Fireworks... 8.20.pm. 25mins, down Anaconda over to here, not bad.