Monday, December 22, 2014


No rides here, just never really got round to going over to Awaroa and back.  Lots of swimming and snorkling and paddling the canoe on the lagoon and in the sea and also at Awaroa Inlet.  Whilst walking one day over to Anapai we spotted about 6 bikers coming out of Gibbs Hill Track, which is meant to be closed to biking except during the same season as the Heaphy.  So, one morning, O and me got on our bikes and poked our noses up this, just for a look.  We probably only climbed about 50m and then conscience got the better of me and so we turned back and bombed down.  It was kinda good training for him, cos he's never climbed anything that steep before, and was good for him on the brakes coming down too.  It appears to be very much a DOC quadbike track.

Saturday Rameka

So, Nelson and me headed in Canaan Rd, leaving his car in the carpark up there (locked at night) and my car being driven down by Jo.  The family (and Jo) had driven in to walk Harwoods Hole, so we saw the car (and canoe) there while they were in the bush.  We hit the Canaan Loop Rollercoaster section, with it's tidied new climb and rolled and whooped through there with the bush section being really nice down to the carpark.  Bit of cleaning and tweaking of drivetrains and off we set, up the climb to the entrance.  One rider, at least, ahead of us.
Into the Rameka proper and it was wet from the torrential rain overnight.  Roots were pretty greasy and some of the puddles mucky but mostly pretty good riding.  Stopped a few times for photos, and once we were out of the National Park (2/3rds way along this section?) we found a few large tracts of windthrow from the Easter 2014 storms.  Some massive trees down, but the trail is clear to ride.  Finally into the couple of corners before dropping down into the Dozer section, in the tight left hand section the roots were treacherous, and I caught my shorts on my seat and ripped the arse out of them.  Took them off and a lone woman rider turned up.  Down from here and out of the forest and down into the marble cut climb, marble slick as a slick thing. 

Into the Packtrack, Nelson blasting down ahead, me not so much, and I couldn't believe the near carnage he was getting, pinging and flicking all over the place in the greasy marble rocky sections.  Just about crashed a couple times, but somehow he kept it together.  A couple times we stopped, and the woman was never that far behind, but we'd leave her behind each time we took off again.  Into Rameka Project.  Awesome blast down here, forest was pretty slick, but once out of it the traverses back and forth across the hill were dry enough, if a little over grown.  Finally down to the creek crossing, in seemingly no time, and straight through it and a well earned rest.  Heard the woman up the hill away, again a little surprised by how close behind she was, and she walked through the ford and then headed off down the first Klick.  Good roll down this, neat new boardwalk/raised 'bridge' skirting around a rock, floating above the rocky creek bed, past the woman again who was struggling on the riverbed boulders.  And we rode up off the trail onto the road and bombed down this.

Into 2Klicks and I took Do while Nelson took Die.  I had to slow where they rejoined each other or we'd have collided and I followed him down the blasty section towards the wooden jumpies.  The one that has a backside to it he flew over catching mad high air and I did something dumb here, not sure what, baulked at the wrong moment or something, but launched into the air, badly positioned or did something stupid in the air, and landed with my arse out the back of the bike badly balanced and *I think* my left inside thigh hit the tire and my left ribs hit the back of my seat, and I kinda ragdoll-bounced off the bike and flew through the air and landed in the scrub on the right hand side of the trail, a spike impaling my stomach for good measure.  Ugh.  Picked up my bike, nothing broken on it so got chasing again, before I'd had a chance to worry about all the pain I was in.  Caught up to Nelson at the road, him having heard my yelp.  Couple of last sections of trail off the side of the road, with me taking Jazz and Nelson taking Rock'n'Roll.

Then it was gravel road blast to the seal and out to the main road.  Stopped here to cover my indecent bike-undies  with my ripped shorts and the woman rode past on her way to Takaka.  We headed for Pohara, taking turns at slipstreaming, and being passed by my family at Clifton.  Well earned swim and beers in Pohara.  Until I was in the water, my ribs weren't really giving me any gyp, but then it felt like a weird twinge and the pain increased to a level that hasn't changed much since.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Evening Kaiteriteri

[Initially written on my phone so was short but is now embellishmented]. Nelson & me hit the road from Mot via Hop Federation about 6.25 and rolled into Kaiteri parking on the beach. Rode round and into the park. Up the EasyRider and around Cruise Control, Glade Runner, Revelation, a bit of swoopy fun.  Then it was up Ziggy and CorkScrew to top, with a bit of a feed part way up Corky as it was super muggy and we were both pretty worn out from the drive up country in the day. From the view at the top we headed down into the new one, Jaws, which was lots of fun, lots of whoops and crazy wide banks and berms, then blasted briefly (tho longer than I'd expected) down Velocity (above Big Airs) to Skullduggery, across this, completely different to what I'd remembered, which I remember thinking last time I'd done it!  (there was an altered bit in a dark little wet creeky area, but that doesn't explain how different it seemed) then from the RockFace intersection we continued on down Skullduggery's continuance (recognising where the tools had been (and it'd finished) last time) peeling off into Scoot, into Swish and back along the EasyRider, across into that last drop Half Pipe and back along road to beach. Straight into sea, awesome swim, and a Rakau IPA from HopFed. 9ish by the time we got back to Mot

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday muppety shorty followed by meeeeeting

Nelson picked me up outside work at 4.45ish and the Corona jettisoned us through the traffic to the top of Huntsbury Hill in reasonably short shrift.  We needed to be at Wazza's for 7pm...  Parked up, we changed and got riding, (b)easterly blustering it's wearisomeness upon our freshly clothed selves, very cool I was to start and for quite a while after, 5.20 as we passed under the pylons.  Up we treadled against the gravity, friction of rock and tire, and slope - all which worked against our organic and inorganic machinations.  Top of Huntsbury was made in good time and up there was a car with a guy getting screamed at by his lady (who was in the driver's seat), and he'd been wailed OUT of the car  He was also randomly calling for a dog we couldn't see anywhere.  Dumb-ugly domestics, and the dude was all aggressive saying shit like "what are you staring at?" to some of the other bikers around the place, minding their own business like ourselves.  We rode on, and in fact, I lead the charge down the pea-gravel LCD shit-track that is Vernon.  Bursts of speed, but also wary and feeling like a muppet.  Didn't trust the gravel and my balance was plain weird and the shadows and tussocks all conspired to make many sections annoying.  Lost my chain once (REALLY need to do something about that, obviously!).  Had flow occasionally tho, and Nelson said I wasn't going that slow, so I don't know.

Anyway.  Into and across Rapaki Top and Nelson took the climbing lead and I muppetted and he rocketted and then I got going okay and did alright by the end.  Rolled around into the wind and up the hill to Castle-top and chatted to some runner dude here.  Into the trail and for a start Nelson's dust and the rocks and the tussocks made a muppet of me again, but as I got going I got going faster and smoother and on the long straight(ish) approach to the first hairpin I was railing, catching Nelson fast, right on his tail through the hairpin and then hopping and popping through to the next hairpin.  Down, over the rocks and through where we built that rock pile on that leaking spring that time juuust before the well-built wooden structure, pinchflat for Nelson...  Stopped, parked up, very nice spot in the slip-gully out of the wind, nice and calm.  He fixed, two riders rode past, on their ways up.  6.20 here, got rolling back up the trail.  Cleaned the hairpins bar one very slight dab on the second, and then onwards up just grinding away and chatting.  On the final approach to the top, Steve had mentioned he'd cleaned the top, so I dropped it down and perused my way along, Nelson grunting to a standstill and jumping out of the way for me while I said "if Steve can do it, so can I, if Steve can do it, so can I!" as I proceeded past him and on up to the top... :)

Here, there was a guy with a roady who struck up an amicable conversation and we stood and talked with him at great length.  Ten minutes at least, and finally it was time to get a move on so off down the road, tucking towards the bottom rolling around, tail wind, me way out ahead (Nelson stopped to check out a slump's potential for a roller).  Into Witch at a pretty good speed and onwards, climbing it all nicely then feeling pretty good on the way down to Rapaki, Nelson slowly winding me in to be close on my tail by Rapaki-top.  Straight into Vernon, chasing a couple of 29ers who were already through the two hairpins before we made the cattlestop.  Wound them in pretty quick and were on their tail for the last fifth or so before the Farm Track turnoff, where they moseyed to let us go on up.  Burn burn burn to the top then over and onto the Traverse.

Tailwind blaze around and then down through the tussocks, maintrack, tussocks, and onto the old landing strip across to the fence, over, and sheepshit(dry tho) singletrack, crosswinds tweaking front wheels from your grasp, almost, and following Nelson down the hill at a good clip.  Over the gate and shitloads of sheep, and jumps.  Jump, jump, jump, railed berm into jump, across, through tussocks, jump, avoid rut, jump to flat, follow rut, rock drop, more rut, jump, and Nelson peels off the track to the left, I continue, jump to flat again, then wee double and roll to the gate, over and to the car.  Nelson walking the last 50m or so.

Made St Martins New World before 7 then proceeded to find dinner and antioxidants and made Wazza's about 7.20.  A few beers were enjoyed, and the DVD of the trip, which was enjoyed by all, and a damn good job Wazza's done!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday night altitudinals

Rode Spot to work and after that rode to Nelson's work and we rushhoured to park next to Cracroft Reserve.  Proceeded to grind up the road then on up the dirt.  At the 'junction' we hopped over the fence to the right, and rode up a wee singletrack that cruised up the grass between the ruttsville main drag and the trees on the downhill side of the main drag.  Up, under the powerlines, then up into what used to be 'rest corner'.  Back on the main drag and up the techy rocky section, both with limited successes, then riding out the rest of it in good form, crawly crawly granny cruising.  Bottom of the body bag, for a change, headed on up.  Been a long time since I last ventured up this, May 1st in fact, the quagmire just over half way up now but a memory imprinted with scant evidence upon the trail.  Ended up walking a fair bunch at the top as I just wasn't carrying my Bodybag lungs or legs.  Nelson cleaned it all the way.  Back on, and through the Lovers Leap carpark, up the gravel, me speeding up a bit, to top of Nun.  Bit of spitty rain around here, but stopped for a bite to eat before we got rolling again.

Muppetry is the word.  Rolled it all pretty smoothly, but kinda with our Cautious Colin hats on.  There was definitely the potential for greasiness, but we didn't seem to get that much of it, and there was quite the (b)easterly blowing through, making any airborne sections sketchy.  I felt like a rooky most of the way down.  Like I wasn't used to the bike and wasn't used to the trail.  2/3rds of the way down the top section I dropped my chain, so Nelson got a good lead on me then.  Metres before the midway carpark woofdog and son were doing some trail maintenance.  Caught Nelson waiting here and we plowed our way down the rest of it, still not at great speeds, but not too bad either.  No sketchiness, and powered out the end and straight back into the climb back up the road around and up to the top of Worsley's again.

Into the bodybag, me leading, taking the right hand side and regretting it several times.  Good speed towards the bottom but still pretty dodge.  Up the forest access, with Nelson leading straight into the extra bonus climb towards the very top, greasy as a greasy thing, with some slips and slides on the way.  Onwards past Debbie's, and up to the top of T2 and the Goat (or Hangloose as we once knew it).  Carefully into the Goat, but finding carefulness not absolutely necessary.  Top section a little greasy, but manageable, and it kinda dried as we descended, tho was still sketchy in places lower down too.  Did the first log drop after pulling up first round, walking back up a wee ways and dropping it wondering what the hell I'd been worried about all those other times of stepping down it.  Second one further down, not so much.  At least it's got an easier nana line.  Then we stopped at the top of Yoda and walked climbed down it, checking it out.  Hell of a track.  walked climbed down to where Nick crashed on it a couple weeks back, then clambered back up to our bikes.  Onwards down the trail, steeeepnesssss, picking our ways carefully, bailing only one corner that you get to and it doesn't know what it's doing, leaving you guessing.  Out the bottom and sweeet as.  Into the climb.

Up the access to the 'junction', and then up the guts, all the way up to the clifftop, then into Waynes World, one really sketchy part near the top and the rolling out wondering if it's the right one (it was) and then into the lower bit and down into Fight Club and fanging it nicely all the way down and out, and back up the climb.  'Junction' and down, riding a different (older) line for a bit and enjoying it's flow, then jumping well towards the tank and finally out the bottom of it and down to where the groms park.  Over the fence and into the grass track down, then joining the overgrown grassy singletrack down to the normal carpark and down the road (via a couple of sidelines) and eventually, into Farside, bombing down this, bottoming out in some of the dips and clinging for dear life to the side of the hill with the knobs on the sides of the tires, and out.  Back up the road, me verrry slowly this time, for another go at the same trail, faster in places this time and finally out the end, down the road to the car, 8.05pm as we drove away.  Home, and a bit tired after all that effort, close to 1000m of altitude climbed (and the same descended...) - not helped by a 5am start this morning.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Sunday mornin' Pleasant Nor'west Green Captains

Quick ride today.  Dropped O off in Lyttelton and then got myself to Ferrymead bridge to meet Andy and Wayne, with Marie somewhere ahead of us toodling up the hill.  We hit up St Andrew's, Marama into Cannon Hill Cres then through the park and on up Major Hornbrook to the top where we found her.  About 10 it was by then, and 10.05 when we cruised on up through Britten with Marie saying for us to just go on ahead, her intending on heading into Greenwood the old way, while we continued on around Britten, then as per Tuesday, back along the Summit Rd and up Broadleaf.  Good times from the top, with it reasonably fresh in memory from Tuesday, I certainly rode it smoother, not screwing up any of the tussocky corners.  Looked at my watch as we rolled down through the ruins, and it was half an hour then since we'd started out from the bottom of Britten. 

Awesome run down Greenwood, with Andy never too far off my tail.  Lost my chain in the upper rocky bits, but a quick reinstall and Andy holding back left me with a continued lead.  Excellent blast down the rest of it into Gloomy Gulch and below.  Then just above Dave's sections there were a couple of guys waiting, and Andy and me rode past them but then they jumped in between us and Wayno.  Good fang all the rest of the way down, with a bit of a dab through wrong gearing the first rocky up followed by a nice roll down the rest, to find Marie awaiting us.

Next, into Captain Thomas, with a runner chick paying more attention to her phone than the trail at hand getting run into by Wayne, after Andy and me had been past her.  They've cleaned up some sections lower down, including around the first of the rock challenges, but we met a big clusterfuck of other riders here and so had to walk down it anyway.  Next wee rocky up and down section is way tidier, and more likely to be rideable upwards, at a point where often we'd step off.  Thankfully, the two rocky challenges further down are still intact, and us first two cleaned them both no prob, but Wayne walked down the second one i think.  Final blast not bad, except for the silly bits near the very bottom.  11am here, we rolled down through the park and roads to Dot Com where we assembled for a coffee and snack.  Then I took off cos I had to be home before 12 to meet our housesitter.  The wind as I rounded into Moncks Bay was horrendous, having shifted from Nor'west to Southerly, i think, but not a cold on, and on the causeway it was coming at me from the left front quarter, making for a wearisome crossing.  Back to the car and was home well before 12.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Tuesday night Pleasantries & Greenwood both ways

Steve had set the plan to meet Upper Hornybrookes at 6.20 so Nelson & me made it with plenty of time to spare, only to discover I'd somehow left my helmet & gloves behind. D'oh!   Never mind, Nelson's spare townie lid fits me as I'd discovered once before at the Wharfdale (back in 010). But I was forced to wear The Emperor's New Gloves, made from only the finest of rarified airs. Anyway, Robin was waiting when we arrived, then turned up Warren, then Andrew. No Steve tho, on account of his guts. Off up Britten we trundled. Then around to the end of the original traverse trail up there. Then back along the road and up Broadleaf all the way.

Into the descent, pinging past the builder of a new cell phone tower, down the rocks to the stile. Over here and in the second corner I dropped my chain. Others all passed and then I was in for the chase. Overtook Robin early-on just after the rocky sections, then through the swoopy tussocks wound in Warren by the end, both of us nearly running over a small black dog not being restrained by its owners.

Nelson led into the Greenwood mainframe with me right on his tail. Good run down, mostly. Rocks were rocky and the dirt was grippy. Chain stayed on all the way til the wee valley before the final blast, and so once again I was behind Warren at the end, much to his satisfaction. At the bottom some discussion was had and a parting of ways was the result, with Nelson and me accepting the challenge of seeing which way up was fastest, Greenwood or the road? Needless to say, it's not rocket surgery to work out which. Didn't help that we stopped pretty much immediately after setting off to check out the dodginess of the drop-off beside the second-to-last corner on the way down.  Then some dude stopped and talked to us too.

Then we got riding. A good honest climb. Only a couple of pinches, nearly all of which we both cleaned, otherwise pretty straightforward. Stopped a couple of times to let riders through, including one enormous group of ten or fifteen or more - they just kept appearing over the brow of the hill!  Some of the tail enders were really struggling on the rocks, including the last one who was carrying his bike. Finally out the top and we commented how seldom we ride that top section any more, and pretty much only ever in this direction these days too.

Up the road and into a rapid descent of Britten back to the car, the others long gone. Got home, and no helmet and gloves... Gone burger. Some fucker has scored.  My doo-rag was across the road, so I'm figuring I left the helmet, gloves and it on the roof of the car as we drove off, and whoever found them left the doo-rag behind.  fuck fuck fuck.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Solo Jet Forest

Quick ride for Jet and me today, cos it's my mum's birthday and they were coming for lunch, so I had to get home early.  The rest of the usuals were meeting at Steve's or Dotcom and heading up Das Kapitan.  I left home about 9 in the car, and parked up top of Worsley Rd about 9.20 or so.  We got going and I chose to stay on the original Worsley Track, riding the ridges above the ruts all the way.  Dabbed off in the worst section, but cleaned up everything else, albeit with one or two rests.   2 and a half weeks no riding due to a Fiordland trip.   In the meantime a new bike has been added to my quiver, a Transition Klunker, which will serve flat singlespeed duties.  Heaps of fun to thrash around the river, and will be fun in Bottle Lake too.  I've been getting out with the dog on that a few times but just Red Zone Rambling.

Anyway, up the Worsley, up the access to the forest, and up the steep upper track to the very top.  Into Goat (or Hang Loose) and bombed on down, enjoying profusely.  Jumps making me second guess and step down, and one corner I misjudged and dismounted before trouble took over.  Otherwise all good all down.  Up the exit climbing track at a good pace, and then up the 'guts' track to the clifftop, then up the original to the top again, then up the upper track but this time just as far as Debbie Does Dallas lead-in, down this, swoop swoop, huppity hup through the jumpy bits and into the darrrrk forest.  Down here I peeled left onto the wee climbing access track back onto the original B line, chasing some guys down this and catching them up and letting them go and catching them up.  Across the clifftop and into the trails they went down the original there and I peeled into Wayne's World.  Catching the guys where the trails meet and following close down to Fight Club.  I had a break here and let them get ahead a bunch, then dropped-in and wound them in.  Great run down here bombing it, and catching up just near the bottom.

Back up the exit track, overtaking them and then down the last back to the car.  Good 1 and a quarter or so spent and home before 11.  Sweet as.  finally.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday night lapping up the Old Skool

Nelson and me had a slow start, not getting over to Bowenvale Ave til some time between 6.30 and 7pm.  I'd got home late, and then had a flat tire to fix too.  We got rambling up the valley, only meeting some downhill riders near the bottom, surprisingly the only ones we saw all evening.  Up the valley, then up the grunty steeps before turning off onto the Hidden Valley Link track, both cleaning the creek, but then me blowing it on a rock a few metres after it.  Then round the first hairpin, no probs, and on up, me blowing the second one...  puffing hard.  The rest of the way up was hard, but clean.  Breather under the pylon, and then it was climbing a bit more and the down began.  Nelson in the lead, me following close, my left foot popping out occasionally, gotta sort that pedal.  Good run down, and out the bottom and back up the valley. 

2nd time round, Nelson cleaned it all, and this time so did I.  Feeling a bit better on the climb this time, and then I led the down hill this time...  Blazing.  Nelson enjoyed seeing new lines taken by me.  Out the bottom again, and

3rd time up.  This time Nelson blew the first hairpin after the creek, I got it all.  Feeling heaps better this time, and feeling pretty good at the top, breathing under control.  Into the descent, Nelson in the lead again, and me following, making less mistakes, and riding harder.  A couple of guys totally parked in the wrong spot at the bottom of the rut leading to the stile half way down.  d'uh.  park after the stile, dudes...  Onwards, and fast, smooth and fun.  Light starting to get a bit lower, but good visibility all the way down.  The rutty finish is a mess, and has a very dodgy exit, that neither of us rode.  Finally off down the finish and back to the car.  Chatted to a couple of young dudes who'd started about the same time as us, and then it started raining.  Good timing, with it pissing down as we drove home. 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Arvo Pleasant Green Loner

Dropped O and a friend at a cub thing at 12, and headed round to McCormacks Bay, parking at the bottom of Glenstrae about 12.20.  Jumped on the bike and headed up the trail, climbing away in the heat.  Up past the bridge and a little higher, I hung a right and traversed across the slope in the opposite direction to usual.  This track Nelson and me had explored once, but didn't actually realise where it came out, which was on Drayton Drive, up which I rode to Mt Pleasant Rd, and then up this and around past where I should have come out, and then on up to Longridge and Clearview up to Britten.  Brief rest in the shade of the pines on Upper Major Horn, then over the fence and up the singletrack.  Around at the top to the right and along for a nice piss stop in the trees at the top here, then onwards around the pingy singletrack to the end, back along the road to Broadleaf, up this and up the gravel, 55mins to get up here.

Stopped briefly for a look across at potential connector to the climbing singletrack, but didn't take it and as I got going again I spotted a dude chucking his bike over the gate...  now the pressure was on.  With him looming behind (but not really) I plodded on up to the top, over the stile and straight into it.  Pinged a few times in the first few rocks so on the first corner stopped to let some air out of the front tire.  Got rolling again towards the stile and was muuuch betterer.  Over the stile and into the roll.  Moments of off balance but then the flow got flowing and had a great run all the way down, past a running girl, to the bottom.  Down the 4wd, and right into Greenwood.  Awesome run down here, bike and me riding really well.  Brief rest after Gloomy Gulch, but rolled on picking up speed all the while.  In the top of Dave's section lost the chain (cos i'd been too far down the cassette), so stopped replaced that and got going again with more avengence.  Excellent run through and around then down the fast bit before the rocky ups and passed some walkers of bikes unsuitable for the terrain.  Bombed past them, showing how it's meant to be done, cleaned the first rocky up right in front of the guy, and then up the next one and swoopy swoopy rapid roll round to the end.  Over the fence and on the road at 1.35.  This is when I spotted the other rider heading through the rocky bits and past the two Americans, who were walking some really smooth bits again.

Bit of a chat with the other guy (on a Marin Quake?Quad?), and then he took off out Godley.  I stood there, deciding for ages, couldn't make up my mind, which way to go.  Back up Greenwood?  Too hot.  Straight back up the road?  Have I ridden long enough? Nope.  Okay then, out Godley a ways and back again, it is then... 

Cross the Pass and headed up Godley.  Screwed up the rocky bastard but cleaned out the rest, and slowly caught up with the guy on the Marin.  Over took him just before the landing strip and at the rocks by the fence (top of our climbing farm track) I stopped for a good long rest, and he continued on.  I turned back here and had a lovely run all the way back to Evans, with many sections of good speed.  Across the Pass again and on up the Summit Rd, slowly reeling in another mtnbiker, who, when I passed looked grey in the face (sunscreen?  or sick??)...  Left him behind and carried on up the road keeping a good push on the whole way.  Finally round past Greenwood entrance and up round the corner and up onto the Britten descent, getting sweet flow down back to the Upper Major, then flew down this, down through that wee park, not skidding down it's gravel, and then down the road at speed and into Craigieburn Lane.  Walked the top steps then switchbacked my way down and flowed on down the rest of the way I'd come up, with massive speed on the final straight to Glenstrae, approximately 2 hours after I'd left there.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sunday Worsley & Far Side Jet sprints

Needed to keep it short this morning, and nearly got out really early, like 8am, but eventually what with one thing and another it was about 9.20 I found myself over near the bottom of the hills, heading for the top of Worsley Rd with Jet in the back.  Parked up and headed up behind a couple of motorbikes.  Clamber clamber, with the newly working forks working bloody well.  These are the white 55s that gave me so much gyp on the trip - Josh chucked in a coil instead of the positive air component, and she works a treat.  Up the grind, and before the powerlines came across one of the motorbikes.  He was fiddling around in the front of the bike, and it wasn't going...  rode on up, eventually catching up and passing a young running/walking couple, her giving Jet lots of pets.  Ground out to the top where the other motorbike was waiting and he asked about his mate and I said it looked like trouble so he was gonna head back down..

Then off up the entrance to the B-line talking a bit to a dude who'd just come down bodybag.  Him and his mate went down, I went up, grindy grind to Debbie Does Dallas -lead in, and fanged off down here.  Slow to start but gradually speeding up, and then down past the ruins and into the Douglas fir darkness then out. Below the big cliff stopped and had a wee look at a trail being built just above this one.  Got going again down the steeps into Alice's Restaurant where I baulked the usual couple of corners cos they're just so damned steep.  Saw 3 riders across on T2 briefly, and then spotted them on the climb out.

At the junction I followed these guys up the guts track, riding all the way, but they'd lost me by the time I crossed the pylon gap.  On up to the cliff top, a young DH couple hangin' out sayin' hi.  Sat on the cliftop for a bite to eat and a wee rest before heading off down Wayne's World and then across and down into Fight Club (passing the young couple pushing back up on the way).  Fight Club was a blast, suspension just soaking everything up beautifully.  Out the bottom and back up the exit track to the junction.  Nor'west wind was starting to pick up, so figured the forest might not be too safe any more, so we headed on back down the usual to the car.  Loaded the bike on and we drove down the road.

Just before the bottom corner I pulled up and parked.  And rode up one of the new downhill tracks in the Farside network...  Fluffy Sheets or something.  Anyway, decided on the way it wasn't that great for climbing, but stuck with it.  At the top I explored, first, off down 1 Trick Lucy but it descended in a direction I didn't like, and looked like it was gonna leave me in the bottom of the valley, so, pushed back up onto Farside and pushed to the top of that.  Into Utopia I flowed.  Very familiar feeling, like farside, with some sweet wee swoops and dips and off camber corners, and then it spat me onto Fluffy Sheets near the bottom.  Back up the usual next-to-the-road off-road track, meeting some very tentative riders coming down, and cleaned out the top in no time - much better than going up Fluffy Sheets.  Here I dropped into Farside and had a real blast down this, arriving back at the car in no time, 11am-ish and headed with my hot and tired doggy, home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday evening Captain Godley loop return

Nelson and me got riding from Sumnervale at 6.30pm and headed up Captain Thomas.  I blew up really quick, lungs gasping and wheezing and me struggling painfully...  Got up the switchbacks, meeting a woman with a dog, and a couple of hot girl riders coming down.  Then it was a runner, and then we had the track to ourselves, cleaning one or two bits interestingly, but walking up the usuals.  At the gate up near the top, a couple guys were holding it open for us, and then we made the top.

Across Evans and a bit too long of a break, then into Godley.  Both of us blew up.  I felt miserable, with no power in my legs and gasping again.  Walked up the usual rocky start, and cleaned out the rest.  Run got better from here on, I wasn't toooo bad, but still not great.  Once it flattened off a bit I felt better.  Nelson seemed decidedly unfazed.  Into the descent, bit of wind about, but not bad, and we had a good run down here.  I was reeling Nelson in by the time we got to Livingston Col, and then it was climbing again and I was dying my deaths all over again.  Better than previous tho...  crested the top and around, catching Nelson again and sitting tight on his tail around across above Breeze Col, then round and over the rock and down to the road.

Into Anaconda, Nelson taking the low road, while I took the boardwalk, and he made no gain on me.  Tight on his tail again around, finding it difficult due to not being able to see the trail..  Backed off a little heading into the main drag of the snake, and then progressively gained, dropped back gained on him all the way down.  We were rocketting, not the fasted ever, but pretty fast.  Bit of wind blowing on some sections, but I noticed it less, being in his slipstream the whole way.  We met a couple of guys riding up, standing there, mouths agape at our speed.  Around into the Snake's Tail and still I was tight on Nelson's tail, til the wee short climb above the houses...  then I dropped back a bit and kinda struggled around the rocky bits then decended well to the end, noticing some weird rear end squiggliness near the bottom.

Through the surfer sausage fest (all guys, all in various stages of undress in their wetsuits...  bleugh!), and into the climb.  Me, crawling.  Up the road, round a few corners and then looped back into the singletrack up.  Over the fence and climbing again.  Lots of sheep around, several big tunnel erosion holes, wheelsized (watch out for them next time anybody comes down!).  Nelson took the wrong tack across the hill and we ended up a bit below and further round than we should have.  I pointed out where we should have been and then proceeded to walk a bunch, ride a little and then walk the final climb to the road.  Somewhere in here too, I looked at my rear axel, noticed it wasn't where it should have been, and found I could tighten it... that explained the squiggliness at the bottom of the hill.  Finally rode up the sucky gravel to catch Nelson waiting at the gate.  Was 7.50 here and we figured we had time (and light) to head up the 4wd back to the Godley and head along it for Evans.  Very strong winds up here, which buffeted us all the way back.  Once again, tight on Nelson's tail and watching his line and taking smoother ones myself.  I thought, "I could probably go faster" and Nelson was struggling with his balance, and the wind...  Maybe being in his slipstream made the wind less for me, cos I had a great run.  Smooth and flowy.  Down to the road, and back across Evans.

Into the Captain.  I stopped to double check my axel (it was fine), and then continued on.  Bad ruts just before the gate.  Then tight on Nelson's tail (again) all the way down.  I walked my usual rock, but cleaned everything else except the wee climb pinch.  Then flow flow to the zigzags, that don't flow, then blast across the slope to the valley, and loss of flow again.  and out.  back to the car, dead on 8.15pm, 1 hour 45 loop.  not at all bad.  Dunno if it was cos of having the forks so short up north, or what, but these coil 55s felt too long when climbing, kinda washy and flappy.  Was fine once pointed down hill, but I'm considering swapping again...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Sharland's Valley wiggling.

In Nelson with the family for the weekend...  On Sunday, Drove up to the carpark in Sharlands with Jet and we headed up the road.  Counting off the kilometers, I was feeling pretty seedy from a fantastic night before, thinking I might go all the way to R&R, but when I got to the top entrance to FlyBuys, decided as I'd never ridden it before I'd give it a go.  Nice wee rolly flow down the hill, little whoops and doops, then a couple tight switchbacks and I's back on the road down the hill from BobsFern Rd.  Off back up the road, then up this, all the way up to the 506m trig, and into Ground Effect's Slingshot, which was different to what I remember of years back when we did it in the annual trip.  This time it went back and forth, loonngg zigs and zags, and looked little used.  Across the road and into Scottswood Wiggles.  This track went for ages, the odd climb and in dark fir or redwood forest the whole way.  Lower down, maybe after it'd become the Lancewood Waggles, the roots would have been insane in the wet.  Flowed on all the way down, Jet on my tail the whole way.  No stand out moments, just nice long flowy riding.  Some blasts of total speed, others very cruisy, stopping now and then for Jet to catch up.  All up we probably did about 20km total.  Forks felt pretty good, tho twice experienced a weird bottoming out on big G-outs... 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Annual Trip, Day 5. Wakamarina the wrong way (again)

Tuesday, another beautiful day in paradise. Due to the roads accessing the other end of the Wakamarina being private logging roads and shut during the week, we were limited to only riding the Waka the same way as Nelson and me did it last year, ie, the hard way.

The motel-unit crew txtd that they were leaving at 9.30am.  We weren't quite ready but got going at maybe 9.45-50, stopping at the 4Square for some supplies then hitting the road.  Then Pete had a little issue with the Cozzie, but got going again, and so eventually we got up the Wakamarina Valley and parked up with the TFC and Steal&Pube trucks, contemplating blocking them in, but not. 

Got riding up the 4wd section, soon warming up. Then into the nice forest and through the end of the 4wd bit and onto the narrower track proper.  Past Doom Creek turn off this time, and down down down to the bridge.  Nice flow.  Up the rocky switchbacks and then on up the track.  I was on my own for most of this, just rode steady and onwards, eventually getting to the Hut not long after the first crew.  Chatted while first Nelson then the rest showed up, then the boys headed back down to have an adventure in Doom Creek where Robin nearly went off a cliff, while the mad ones, us, went UP (AGAIN! - I'd vowed I'd never do it again after the last time, but here I was, doing it again!  Ugh.  Will i never learn?).  Needless to say.  It was a long walk/push.  I got to the rooty wall face at about the 1000m mark and said "that's it for me", sat down and the sun came out and warmed me up (it'd cooled right down up here).  Then I threaded my way down, nursing my lack of travel, and being pretty cautious.  Meanwhile the others climbed and pushed their ways to the very top, and in the meantime, Marie had been pushing up behind us, unbeknownst to us, and had a fright by some pigs, so turned back, but had pushed up for an hour and a half, so can't have been too shy of us.  Anyway, worked my way down, stopping quite a few times to listen for the others.  One point I stopped for nearly 10 minutes, nice warm sunny spot about half way down.  Then got going again.  Stopped again at Mark's jersey for maybe 5 minutes.  Rode on down and down, the trail getting straighter, but more greasy, sloppy and rutted as I progressed.  Not far from the bottom there was a puddle hole that Nelson had scuffed a drain for and just below this my front wheel lost it and down I went off to the left of the track.  My wrist got tweaked enough to snap one of the pins holding my watch strap, but turned out okay.  I extracted myself from the ferns and my bike and continued on down, thinking "Phew!, that was close".  A little ways further down, just round the corner was the Devil's Hut sign, and I stopped here to wait for the others.  Heard voices, then watched as first Alistair hurtled off his bike into the ferns, then Nelson followed him straight over.  Spectacular crash!  They were both okay but Nelson's helmet had a dent in it from Ali's bash ring.

Regrouped and off down.  At one of the creek crossings Pete's derailleur finally exploded and we singlespeeded his bike (not very successfully, tho it kept him moving pretty good).  None could be arsed doing Doom Creek, so down to the bridge, and climbed back out and up and then blasted down to the cars...  Stopped at The Trout for a couple beers and then back to base for more Mussel dinners all around, final night.

Wednesday, I came home to get the bike fixed, rather than through to Nelson which I'd originally intended.

Bike report, Thurs morning, Josh has sorted me with a different set of forks, same sort, but coil...  He's repairing my ones, but I've got the option of keeping these ones.  Gonna try them out in Nelson this weekend and see how I like them...

Annual Trip, Day 4. Charlotte the Queen.

Monday dawned very nice, and so, sans Alistair (rest day for him) at 9ish we met the others at the bottom of our street in cars and Nelson and me led the way around QC drive, through Linkwater, to Anakiwa.  Parked up, saddled up and got riding, seeing a german dude with a good beard head off ahead of us.  Marie had gotten a good start on us all, and Nelson and me put on the chase.  Passed the bearded German (also saw him several more times over the day), then it was a long time before we caught Marie, her speed having increased over the course of the days of riding, but catch her we did, before Davies Bay.  From here the real climb started.  Nothing technical, but admittedly a lot more interesting than I'd expected.  Eventually a high lookout point was reached where Nelson, Pete and me rested a bit, and Marie arrived very shortly thereafter and continued on through.  Rested a little longer then hit the trail again, catching Marie at some stage not too far after, where a few little downs were interspersed with the odd up section.  Here we were sidling across a face around 200m above Onalau Bay, crossing across the top of some farm(ish) land and in and out of regen manuka bush.  Eventually a sweeping downhill was given us, including Waima Way, blasting us down to the Mistletoe Bay Road, which we followed up to the Te Mahia Saddle. 

Small regroup, then blazed down the road, around into Te Mahia bay, through the roadworks and down to the resort.  Early enough to grab a coffee (Pete, Nelson, Marie and me).  While we were enjoying these, the others arrived, and then the boats hove into view and so we all raced down to the wharf.  The boats saw us and came in and the usual went on the big boat and the rest of us went on the fun boat.  Lovely day on the water, and in no time we were in Portage examining the ridiculous prices for some fries or wedges...  Muggingsly we paid it and ate, said goodbyes and thankses to Trev and Steve and wound our way up the few hundred metres of road to the Torea Saddle. 

Hot sun, steep track, we ground our way up it, riding a bunch then walking when riding was no longer feasible for lungs or legs or both depending on which was pushed hardest.  Zig and zag, up and up, met the bearded German near the top about to enjoy the downhill.  Eventually what seemed to be the top, wasnt, brief respites and eventually what was the top was reached, 407m.  From here it switchbacked steeply down then rocket propelled us across the 180 ridge, then grassy climb began again.  Lots of speed and fun on the way down, not so much on the way up.  Back up to, eventually, nearly 400 again, and the final descent to Te Mahia Saddle, more steep ass switchbacks, which we were sure Alistair would have overcooked off of several.  The bearded German arrived from the road from Portage, and got ahead of us.  We swapped leads with him a few more times over the next couple of kms.

Back up Waima Way, and moseyed our way back along the sidling face enjoying the downs, and not so much the ups.  Finally, the big descent arrived and I sat right on Nelson's tail and we shredded it.  Careful round each corner for walkers, but ripping the straights, we met none.  Some features of this track were awesome.  Eventually, Davies Bay Umangata arrived and there were a few more climbs and descents before the last kilometre descent.  Into the water, legs soaked in nice cold sea, then a quick swim back.  Only Nelson, Marie and me went in the water.

Home to base, and eventually to mussel dinner at the Havelock Pub.

Annual Trip, Day 3, Sunday, Nydia Part 2.

Day dawned very nice indeed, and we boated on lovely water to where we'd been picked up the day before.  This time, around flat smooth trail past On The Track Lodge around the headland to a rapid descent to a ford of a reasonable size, wet feet, then across the mouth of the valley and then up it, crossing smaller versions of the same creek twice more before climbing up a paddock to the manuka scrubline.  Here the track started it's benched and grinding climb, just pestering away at the altitude and sapping the already tired musculature of the riders.  We climbed and climbed eventually striking a nice gulch of a creek, that Alistair just about cleaned.  Onwards and eventually hitting Kaiuma Saddle, with seemingly less pomp and ceremony than yesterday's peak, but in fact more altitude. 

Wicked descent down here, with Alistair, Nelson, Mark and Pete motoring off ahead of me, but Pete quickly stopping with a flat.  Rest of us rode on, descending quickly and only regrouping when walking was possibly required, or when Alistair had crashed maybe.  Round a hairpin and into fir forest, then down and around over a bridge where we regrouped for a while. Pete at this stage, having a mare with his flat tires and spokes, and Marie coming to the rescue eventually with spare tube.  A wee bit more descending after that first bridge through plantation forest, then the climb once again began.  Steep, but cleaned by most with minimal walking.  Eventually out of the plantation and into regen across a nice long slope to a small ridge for another regroup before the final descent.  No sign of Pete...  but some stayed to wait, while the rest took off down this last descent, total blast, even with no travel.  What a trail, so much fun, smooth and roly.  Alistair, Nelson, me, then Mark all blasting downwards, finally rolling down through grass to Kaiuma Bay Rd for the 4 km slog round to Shag Point Landing.  This road was a lot more up than down, seemingly, even tho it was 'just' above the road.  pah.  Once everyone but Pete was assembled, Nelson 'volunteered' to head back to find him...  Steve Abba turned up and took a few bikes and 4 drivers.  Thankfully Nelson and Pete both showed and then Steve came back and loaded the next lot on, more bikes than people this time, still somehow leaving more bikes than people behind for the final load.  Anyway.  Loaded all our gear out of Trev's boat and into cars and off to the accommodation.  Two carloads at the Motels down town, the rest of us sequestered away in a nice cottage and sleepout affair up on the hill down the road a bit, in the 'burbs.  Worked out alright, tho did split the group, which was a bit of a shame. 

Did our own things this night for dinner, but the downtowners came up for a bit of a party visit.  The usual hilarity ensued.

Annual Trip, Day 2, Nydia Part 1.

Day 2 dawned a tad damp, quite a bit of rain overnight, but we all gamely jumped in the boats and headed out round Tawero Point and along the length of Tawhitinui Reach, right up Tennyson Inlet to Duncan Bay.  Steve's Stabicraft having only two speeds, stopped or flat-out, another fun trip.  Rub-downs and oilings ensued on all the bikes and we headed around towards the climb out up Tennyson Inlet Rd to the Opouri Saddle.  Mark and Marie headed up the track instead of up the road.  We all spaced out into dribs and drabs on the climb up the road, with Nelson disappearing from my view and me disappearing from the other's view in short time.  About a km from the top Pete caught me up, and we rode together(ish) for the rest of the way to the waiting Nelson.  In no time at all the rest of the dribs and drabbers showed up, all except Alistair, and doubt was had whether he'd ridden with Mark & Marie or not.  Pete was gonna stay behind with Wayne to wait, but possibly just before the others all left Alistair strove into view. 

Meanwhile, Nelson and me had headed off down this track, with, I thought at the time, Andrew or Warren on our tails.  Wowser.  Nice.  But crikey it was greasy and techy up top.  Lots of steepness off the side too with no room for error.  Challenging as fuck on no-travel-forks and fucked-up-geometry, but still a good ride down.   A few bits needing to be got off, logs, or rocks.  Somewhere probably just above the 400m contour we met Mark and Marie having made damned good progress uphill considering, and they carried on up for a while while we carried on down.  Riding got better and better as we got lower, then through some gorse and onto a weird intersection.  Waited here and Pete was the first to show up, followed by the rest for the regroup.  Onwards down, steep clay single through manuka scrub then into an extension (Booth's?) 'link' track that had some climbs in it, but was nice, ending up at the road.  When Alistair arrived he tailwhip-gapped the road and landed with a spectacular lowside slide. 

Regrouped we rode back round the road to Duncan bay and into the Nydia proper.  First section was bits of slippery clay and roots.  Next section was beech leaf litter and roots.  Later, there was rocks and roots.  All mixed with varying degrees of slipperiness and we were all in for some steeeeep climbing too...  Everybody was challenged to pretty much their limits of ability and stamina, and that was just in the first 5 minutes!  Awesome ride.  Took ages, was spectacular forest to be in, and was hard work.  But well worth it.  Eventually we made the top, I don't know how.  We could see it for ages, and every time you rounded a corner it seemed to be about the same distance and height away as the last one, even tho you'd just carried, schlepped, pedalled, pushed yourself and bike up more and more altitude.  Good regroup at the saddle and a feed and then off we went.  I picked my way cautiously with my limited machinery, while Nelson, Pete, Mark and Alistair all just bombed.  Alistair was spectacular to follow.  Regularly catching him up as he hauled himself and bike out of the bushes on the side of the track.  Pete had a pretty epic spill.  I came round a corner to find a several foot drop with angled slickly green rocks as a lip and him picking himself up from beyond it.  He'd smacked his shin pretty good, and (we think) damaged his derailleur a bit...  Later he was plagued with derailleur and spoke and puncture issues...

The track certainly improved the lower we got, with the upper half riddled with sections that had to be walked by most, and some bits that were just plain unpleasant (but rideable) for those with no shock travel.  Whereas lower down there was still the odd clusterfuck of roots or rocks, but less and less the lower we got.  Then, where the campsite turn off is, the whole nature of the track changed to that of the Abel Tasman.  Benched, easy, smooth, clay under manuka or the odd pine.  And quite flat too.  Rolled this smoothly round to Nydia Bay wharf and awaited our taxis.  Back to Wilsons Bay on some beautiful water and dinner at Te Rawa 'resort'...

Annual Trip, Day 1, (Fri 17th Oct) the Road and...

The tradition that stems from the distant past, pre- this blog, that I've been an attending member to since the 2nd ever, was continued in good measure this year, with the crew assembling at Woodend, outside Owen Stalker's Park.  Pete and Alistair picked me up and shoe-horned me into the Cosworth for the journey to the meeting spot, with my bike having been dropped at Warren's the night before cos Pete's rack only fits 2 bikes...  At Stalker Park were: Steve, Robin, Tony, Andrew, Wazza, Wayno, Nelson and Mark and Marie.  I transferred my shit into Nelson's car, bike inclusive, and we all convoyed north.

Rain was ominous the closer to our destination, but after a longer than desired stop in Blenheim we moseyed to Rarangi, saddled up in a brief showerless period and headed up the road.  Within 50 metres I knew something was wrong with my newly fitted fork.  Fuck, I thought.  It'd sat down in it's travel and was not returning, and ended up, if I was lucky, giving me 2 inches of what should have been 6.  This altered the geometry somewhat and made it rather uncomfortable to ride, and gave it shitty handling, and this I was stuck with riding for the duration of the trip.  My mistake, and obviously I've learned from it, dont make major changes to bikes just before trips.  Anyway.  we rode up the road, stringing out like a strung out thing, down into Whites, then up the gravel which was longer than rememberd, as usual.  Eventually got to the start of the Loop track, fireroad up the hill, and regrouped in a big downpour.  At this stage, Marie and Mark were no where to be seen, and due to the rain, the time limit we were under (4 o'clock at Havelock), and time it was going to take all these riders to attempt the >600m climb from this point, we made the call to bail.  Most returned via the road, but Pete, Alistair and me made the excellent choice of riding the walking track back.  What fun.  Sweet benched singletrack, with horrendously slippery clay/rock in places, and lots of switchbacks.  Nice we descent, thankfully not meeting any walkers, and then through Whites Bay, finding Marie here, and so the 4 of us now climbed out.  Lovely dry (under the pines at least) climb, switchbacking up to the road, then along the road a bit, me alone now out front, where I met Robin, and I took the next walking track down, while Robin headed down the road.  Great spin down the walking track, totally different to what I remembered from when Nelson and me rode it years ago, but fun and switchbacky to the bottom.  Reassembled, waited for Mark who'd 'apparently' gone up where we should have come down, had we done the full loop...  Then headed and met Steve Abba at Havelock.

Loaded (SO MUCH!) gear into Trev's boat and Nelson, Pete, Mark and me in Steve's boat, and had a great ride out, 45mins or so, way out Pelorus Sound to Wilson's Bay where we were staying for 3 nights.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

early Sunday morning along the tops.

Solo for me this morning.  The crew were all meeting at Steve's at 9, but cos my boys had been away all week, SWMBO thought I should do some family time, plus we put a bit of effort into the garden this weekend, so she had me lined up for that too...  So, left home at about 7.40 and ripped across town, beautiful day, and up Ramahana, Aotea and on up, making the top of the tarseal about 8.  Then up the gravel, kept a close eye on the magpies hanging out up near the pylons.  They didn't buzz me, thankfully.  And on up good pace rolling along and up.  Mostly runners around, not that many other bikers at all.  Onto Vernon and a nice wee blast down here.  With the perfect weather and no wind (the Opawa Gib factory steam plume was totally vertical - a rare sight), the roll down here was sweet, sound of tires scratching gravel chip.  Took the old line with the couple switchbacks, and bombed down the lower half, to the audience of a few riders assembled at the top of Rapaki - where I didn't stop and just rolled straight into Witch Hill and cleaned it all up, catching a runner half way round and then bombing onwards.

Up the road to Castle Rock and stopped here for a wee rest, then spotted a rider coming up, just on the first hairpin, so figured I'd wait for him.  In the mean time eating a soft-dried banana and sorting out my sounds.  He rolled past and I rolled in.  Awesome blaze down here, the Spot soaking it all up nicely, and it's been cleaned up a little, just tidied in places, which makes it flow really nicely.  It's still pretty boney, but not as bad as the recent past.  Down, round and up and over, then down again to the Bridle Path roughly 9 oclock here.  No stopping, straight across the 'car'park (no cars up here for a while now!) and straight into the trail for the Gondola building.  I noticed there's a "Mtnbikers Give Way to Walkers" sign at the start now, which makes it all nicely official.  Walked the first couple of rocks, then rode heaps i've stepped over before.  Walked a bit in that kinda switchback bit, then rode a bunch, then walked the long steps upwards.

Back on the bike and up the trail round the back of the building and then over and down the switchbacks to the saddle and straight into the climb up.  Over stile and grunting up the steep, then cruising round and catching a woman runner up near where I crashed due to a spaniard once, all the while in here listening to Trinity Roots song Home Land and Sea, the chorus of which was epicly playing as I crested the top and there was my Home, the Land and the Sea, sun reflecting off it's calm surface.  All very moving...  On up to the top of Mt Pleasant and another wee rest, now Lou Reed came on singing what a Perfect Day it was, which it was, and I thought I was glad I was spending it with my bike, and how my bike kept "me hanging on, you just keep me hanging on" as I rode down the rocky section to the stile and over and downwards.  This trail, I think, is best at this time of day, with the light perfectly picking up the trail and the bends and tussocks.  Awesome blast down here, smooth as, then round and down towards Greenwood, nearly losing it from checking over my shoulder for some reason...  Onto the upper section of Greenwood for a bit of a climb and round and up and down and down to the road.

Steady pace up here, with no sign of the others as I was looking across at the top of Britten, expecting them anytime due to the timing.  Onto the singletrack and down down down, good speed and flow, arriving at the gate and spotting a few riders below.  Recognised, one, then more, and figured time for a break and a snack and a chat...  So, they all rolled on up in 2 groups of 3: Wazza, Mark and Marie, Wayno, Andy, and Tony, then tailenders Steve and Pete.  Brief chat and off I went downwards leaving them about 9.55, down the wee valley connecting to the road, then blaaast down the road and into MacCormacks.  Rather overgrown, but trail in mostly good nick.  Awesome float down this trail too, cleaning it all except the top steps, and brake-free down the final straight, flying, then onto the road and up for the slog home.  At Ferrymead I ducked into Charlesworth Reserve behind Mitre10 and rode the trail through here then along next to the Humphrey's Drive canal, then Linwood the rest of the way.  Home well before 10.30.

All in all a good ride, rode well, lots of good trails, and a fair bit of distance for the old fitness.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Wednesday evening, Jet in the Worsley repeatish

Afterwork, left home 5.30ish, drove in car with Jet to top of hill, parking with lots of other vehicles, and a dude with a fluoro orange cactus pack had headed off just ahead of me, and a big group of guys were leaving just behind me.  I didn't see the group again til a bit later, but kept the fluoro orange backpack dude in my sights, gaining on him once or twice and him gaining away from me once or twice too...  Just before the top, I peeled off to the right to check out a new (to me) area of trails.  Moseyed down and had a wee poke.  Someone's put in some rolly fast stuff, which would kill altitude too quick, and there's a jumpy trail in there too, with big gaps between ramps and landings.  According to the maps, there's a tonne of country in here that is just ripe for the trail-pickings.  Only rode a little ways down then turned and rode back up an old 4wd trail back to top of forest and headed back for the main drag and on up.  The group of dudes crossed past out of the forest access track and up the Bodybag at this stage.  Rode on up the extra top track all the way up to top of Tommy2's.  and beyond actually, following a section Nelson and me checked out a while back over the top.  It didn't lead anywhere, so I cut across and found Hangloose, or Goat Track as i discovered tonight that it's called, and walked back up it and headed off down Tommy2's.  Excellent roll down here, tho probably holding the brakes too much.  Jet was awesome, as usual, staying exactly where he was needed to be.  Steeper and steeper, a couple of stops, but rode it all, and rolled out the bottom.  How many different lines are there in here??  Rolled out the bottom and up the exit track.

From the junction, headed up the bastard guts track, grinding away, up up to the clifftop and on up the B-line all the way to the top.  Bit of a rest up here, a snack, bit of a chat to a young fella, and after he'd left a dude on a fluoro-green Banshee Rune rolled up.  He headed up the climb towards Tommy2's and I followed but took Debbs's access.  Blitzed on down this, actually hitting the couple of wee jumps in there, then through the clearing and into the forest again, past the ruins, then into the darkness of the Douglas fir and on down down the old Debbie then round and where it crosses the bridge becomes Alice's Restaurant - according to the sign - "an 'All Country' track, strictly not Enduro.  ideal wheel size, 27.5, or if you prefer, 650B..."  Seems to roll pretty good on 26 too!  Anyway.  Rode more of it than the first time with Nelson, but still walked two sections I just wasn't game to fall off on.  Lower half was sweet, with some really techy shit goin' on.  As I met the bottom of Goat and T2 a large group (including the fluoro backpack and the fluoro Rune dude - as well as local semi-celebrities Rich and Mel) were finishing off Yoda and lower Goat.  I watched them roll through then caught them up down on the exit climb track.  Chatting away from the back as we rode up the hill.

At the junction, most of them headed for the other side of the road jumps track (where Nick was digging) and I followed the Rune dude up the guts track as far as the clifftop.  We chatted a little up here about the moon (which is going OFF right this second as I write this, lunar eclipse, or "Blood Moon") then I headed down Wayne's and FightClub while he headed on up.  Awesome run down these two and talked to Matt (on Pete's phone) as I climbed out arranging to meet at Poms later.  Was about 7.50 when I got down the final trail to the end, saying Hi to Nick parked near the bottom, before finishing off to the car.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Sunday Bottlo

O, Jet and me went to Bottle Lake where the boys rode this morning. I had the Spot for a change.  We went in and to the left, then right, and through the middle to the pond, then on through past the rubble and then across 'muddy' road, and back towards base, all through all the bumpy new stuff...  the Spot sure soaked that up, compared to what i'm used to in there usually, but O sure felt the bumps...  Nice short cruise with him and Jet.  Jet was happpppy.  and is tired now, after yesterday's hill ride and today.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Saturday afternoon Worsle Jet Lappages

Jet and me left home about 2, with a few errands on the way, and got up top of Worsley Rd some time before 3.  Was 3 oclock and I was half way up the first steep section of the guts internal forest track, grovelling a bit, and decided to try out the old favourite off to the left here to see what's up with it now.  Well, it rolls down like it did, swoop swoop, then over that droppy whoop, then where it used to head over a few jumps through a wee dip and then peel left steep?  No more...  instead, it just rockets down and rolls out onto the climbing track above the tank and just before the last corner before the junction...  back up here and on up the guts track again, this time catching some dudes on flash bikes walking, riding right on by cos there was no way i could stop now.  Jet cruising up and back as usual.  On up all the way, grinding away, up up up to the cliff top then on up the original, all the way to the very top, then on up the further up track, slightly greasy in here from yesterday's rain, and at the top of Debbie i stopped, breathed, then got going down on her.  corner corner corner jumpy jumpy drop down avoid the wetspots round past the clearing and back into the forest and under the douglas firs it was slick as and pitch dark...  stopped and got the sunnies off here, then took the climb out track off here and back up onto the original B-line then down to the clifftop and into Waynes World, peeling round this and part way down spotted a trail off to the right, followed it, spotted another really steep down one and took this, what a ride...  down down down, where the hell am i?  yikes, cant jump that.  step over it and keep rolling and ahh, here, right, entering fight club at the wallridey treeroot boll and on down this to the end.  loving the bits i knew well.

Climb out, back up the guts, this time maybe actually it was this time i passed the riders??  onwards up to the cliff top this time and this time into the original to the right of Waynesworld, down here then onto lower Wayne World and into top of Fight club and bombing it, but feeling slight off balance and trying to tip off the trail all the time.  got the better of that and kept flying down past where i'd come in before then on about the 3rd to last corner near the bottom there's a new fall line track off to the left straight line down to the road.  took it, and it reminded me of sections of lower Dave's track, but then the last drop to the road just looked tooooo steep, so i stepped off, and pushed back up to the Fight and finished if off.  Watching some young'uns do Nick's jump, one, two, three, four...  nice.  Climbed up past these guys and then up the guts again, but this time to the higher off the two trails off to the left, just before the pylon gap, and again, this time on the way up was catching up to a walking couple.  off to the left.  swoopy swoopy as before, had ridden this a while back, but it's exit is different now on account of the treefalls.  so, it get steeper and then there's this massively steep bit with some rocks at the top and i just wasnt game, so walked down it, then rode the rest out and came in behind the young'un jumpers, following them up to the Junction, where i peeled right and out, flowing down through the lower road while Jet took the higher road and we met above the watertank and bombed it out back to the car.  Nice hour and a half in the forest again...

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Thursday evening steeeep Worsley Laps

Chucked the Spot on the back of the Fiat and Jet in the car and we headed for top of Worsleys Rd, parking up dead on 6pm.  Carpark was full, and people were even parking further down the road.  Figured it was gonna be busy in there.  Ahead of me were a couple of guys, and beyond them a couple more.  As we got up to the 'guts' track the closest two ahead went in there, while I continued up the main Worsley track.  Rough as guts as usual, precariously perching the way up on the ridges.  Had to get off in the washed out rocky bit above the 'rest corner', then rode for a while, meeting an XC 29er dude on his way down.  Then cleaned pretty much everything else except maybe a couple of wee gulchy spots.

Couple of women talking at the top and I rolled on through and up to the top of B-Line...  Arriving at the same time was the two dudes that had gone into the forest ahead of me earlier...  One was on a Turner Burner "Nice bike..."  Chatted with them for a minute then they headed down and I headed up.  All the way up to the top and into the right hand that we called "Hang Loose" in the past.  Awesome roll and flow down this, warming up and getting the hang of it again - been a while (since Jan, in fact).  Changed a bit since then, cos of the trees blown out.  Half way down there's a sign post "Yoda -->".  I stopped and walked down it to check out.  Nick had told me about this one, and I could see it was not something for us...  Near vertical rocks just over the crest, down down down it went...  Walked back up to my bike and headed on down Hangloose.  Great run, steeeep but manageable.  Finally out the bottom and I spotted the gap jump that Nick had told me about at work.  NUTS.

Up the access exit track, passing some young folk fixing a chain half way up, and spotted that our old favourite that exited onto this track is no more- trees all over it, but there's others that come out of there...  Then headed up the guts track.  Grinding away in low, sweating up a storm, huffing and chuffing away...  Jet just loping along ahead, happy as anything, sniffing his way around.  Spotted a couple of new trail entrances off to the left (leading to the exits I'd spotted below) but continued on up all the way up the guts to the clifftop, where three guys set off ahead of me, then on upwards all the way to the top, meeting another group on the way, the three guys again, and then three more coming down from the top.  Headed on up the trail towards Tommys2 and Hangloose, but this time stopped at the top of Debbie's lead in, and had a wee rest, txt exchange with Pete, then headed in.

Debbie's lead in, swoopy swoopy, wend wend back and forth then dropping through and over and avoid that mucky bit then through the clearing and over the tree root and down across the off camber and through the rock ruins, and into the dark dark fir forest that was the original Debbie Does Dallas.  Hung a left onto the groms climbing trail and rode this up, zig and zag, then through the rocky clearing and then descending down over the fence, then climbing gently across to my earlier climbing track.  Swooped down this a bit, then cut across to Tommy's track and BOMBED down this.  Swooping and railing berms and catching air and riding better than for ages.  Finished this off and headed across to Fight Club.  Had an absolute blast down this, pumping and squirrelling and amping.  Finally out the bottom and climbed quite happily up the exit track, feeling better than I had on my first two climbs of the night.

At the Junction I headed across the Worsley main drag and through the fence across to the jumpy track in the trees here.  Jumped one or two of the jumps, avoided the bigger ones, and rolled on down to the bottom, then onto the exit roll, faster and faster and faster through the open, broom whipping my hands on the way, finally getting back to the car park at 7.30.  Very happy Jet in accompaniment.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday night, rambling Pleasant

Biked to Pete's for a lift, no sign of him, so txted and something had come up so headed home, jumped in the car and headed for the Upper Major Hornbrook, txting Steve who was out too, thinking i'd be late for the 6.22 meeting time, but ended up arriving at 6.15, finding Wazzzaaaah parked up on his bike, nicely warmed up from his climb.  Then Robin, Wayne, and Andy and Tony in their three respective vehicles arrived.  We headed up Britten, opening up the lungs and draining the legs nice and quickly.  Then around the top singletrack, pinging from hidden rock to hidden rock under the tussocks, and onto the road.

Down the road and into the climb from Cavendish.  Clamber, clamber, not feeling too bad, and the top turned up sooner than I expected.  Big regroup at the top, then into the descent.  Fun fun fun.  First rocky sections were good, seemed to be gliding over them, then into the tussocks, swooping from bend to bend, total groove and flow, until i missed a corner...  got back on track and swooped and flowed the rest of the way down at sweet sweet speed.

Regrouped above the ruins, and then headed on down.  Once again, the boniness of the upper half just glided under my riding, the lovely DW link doing it's thing, and my old hardtail skillz kicking in to add to the flow.  SweeeeeeT!  A few scratchy corners, but no loss of traction - well, nothing scary.  Flowed and pumped around to the 'gulch and pedaled through the humpy bits and then paused and hung for a regroup.  Back into the descent, picked up heaps of speed on the rocky start then flew through all the swoopy corners, catching air on the humps and screaming at the sheep to get out of the way.  Scratchy drifts around into Dave's section, hooning down this and around the bends, finding air off things i'd never seen before.  Was a great run.  Then into the bit that's been so grovelly over winter, pumping through this, around into the wee valley.  I paused just after this til the others appeared around the hillside, then I got going and popped air off each and ever launching pad, flying down and round into the first rocky up, totally mis-geared it and paused, foot onto a rock, push, and rolled onwards.  Into the next up and swoopy swoopy down to the end.

Then we cruised up the road, slowly gapping Robin, but at the big pines we all dropped into granny and rolled nice and slow til he caught us up, then it was onwards up round the bends and into Britten, still enough light to see by.  Again.  I had a total blast on this descent.  Flying down the trail, nearly losing it a couple times in the narrow rutted trail (in places), but maintained composure and flew down to the end.  Over the fence, and said our good byes and it was 8pm as I drove down the hill.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday solo lap of Forsyth, forsooth

Bit of rain overnight so trails were gonna be mucky, as would Blowhard etc, so went for something different.  Watched the weather radar all morning, and around 12 there was a big lump heading for the peninsula, so timed it right to let it pass through and drove, parked at Birdlings Flat around 1.30pm and headed on bike, for a start, across the gravel beach to the lake mouth, to check that it was able to be crossed.  About a hundred metres I had to walk, the rest was sort of firm enough to ride.  The 'road' was open, so I headed back, passed the car 1.40ish and rode an excellent southerly tail wind to the rail trail, and on up the lake.  The odd cloud of midges once I was next to the lake, and a bastard magpie got me twice on the helmet.  Little shit.  Gave me a fright both times, but didn't make me wobble.  Otherwise a pretty uneventful trip along the lake trail, pumping hard the whole way.  Only met one couple coming towards me.

Avoided Little River altogether, turning right onto Kinloch Rd, past Okuti Valley and on upwards.  Years ago when I last drove this road, it was gravel the whole way.  Now it's sealed the whole way, which was a pleasant surprise, cos it's a long steep road, and gravel would have made it that much more exhausting.  2pm when I started the climb, and I ground away in 1st 2nd and 3rd most of the way.  Occasionally standing in a taller gear for a stretch.  Pretty much an hour from bottom to top... whoo-wee.  600 m altitude in only about 5 kms.  All very scenic. 

So, around 3, I'm up on the top of the road, spectacular views, and a bit of a southerly blasting across the saddles.  Slight descent to Te Oka Valley Rd, then a last wee pinch to the top before a non stop rolling descent through all the altitude over about 8 kms back to the Forsyth mouth, across the gravel, and back at the car about 3.20.  Nice.  Hopefully a good fitness ride.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday's Pleasant Jaunt.

Good ride tonight with lots of ups and downs.  Pick up outside work then trafficking to Sumner, couple short stops on the way, and up to Evans Pass wherefore to park.  Pretty much dead on 6 as we treadled our ways up the road (me stopping for a ventolin blast cos I knew I'd be wheezing up a storm within minutes) and into the cloud, moody scenes or total engulfment from about Jollies Bush Reserve on up.  Wet road from cloud drip under the pines, and then from every other tree we met, especially later on Britten Reserve and up also Broadleaf.  Anyway, up round the road and onto the Britten singletrack all the way, stopping for a couple of unsuccessful shots of the sunset over the Alps beyond Sugarloaf through swirling cloud.  Onto the road and down through the cutting, then a change of mind, turning around, back along the road and up Broadleaf, wherein my breathing got the better of my legs.  Up the gravel and we hung a right onto the singletrack, lights on, cloud ripping across the top here, but dissipating soon beyond.  Off down the trail, balance wonky and a few tussocks blocking the view, possibly related.  Good bomb, though, down the last bit, me tight on Nelson's tail, watching as he briefly left the trail before the tweaky corner.

Over the stile and down then into the climb for the Gondola building.  I was gasping within seconds, dabbed off, got restarted and managed to clamber up the rest, with each hairpin becoming progressively easier.  Peaked out, rolled around and back to the shelter of some flaxes where we had some kai.  Then into the descent, wind tearing across the slope, blasting every second hairpin as we battled our way down.  Through the saddle and up the walking track entrance to the climb, steeep into steep, over the stile and on up steeply (for me) grinding away as Nelson gapped ahead.  I reeled him in briefly but then over the top and up to the gate he dropped me again.  Regroup at the top of Pleasant and then off down, quite dark now and cloud all lifted away.  A blast of wind grappled with Nelson's bike as he went over the stepladder fence crossing before we blazed on down, me tight on his tail watching his rear tire pinging off every second rock.  Into the tussocks and the trail flowed better than ever before.  Down to Greenwood and on at it, good pace all the way, sheepshit starting to impinge on the track, and ewes and their lambs getting out of our way through the ruins.

Great run down Greenwood, upper rocky sections are pretty bony now, but the whole run around the hill before Gloomy Gulch was tail wind flight mode.  Very nice.  Through gloomy and clamber clamber to a rest near the regular rest spot, stretching of the back and relaxing of the forearms.  From here down was sweet.  Roosted and boosted, down then round and back and forth and round some more, into the gully and down for the final run, through the two rocky ups cleaning both very well, and swooping down the last to the stile.  Back a bit sore at the bottom, but not as bad as the old days.

Down the road and into Godley, Nelson in the lead. I gasped my way up the start and then watched as he cleaned the rocky climb.  So, into the right gear and I knuckled in, took a line I'd never meandered onto before and cleaned it through.  Onwards and half way between that feature and the next tricky bit had to stop for a breather, lungs running at full bore.  Got my breath and cleaned the rest of it out, gasping still.  The rest of the early rock sections were hard work but fun and once again Nelson gapped me on the climb  Rode all the way round to the 'airstrip' then turned back, tail wind and mostly downhill, for an awesome blast back to Evans Pass.  Superb run, 5.Spot eating up the rocks, and on the gnarly rocky section towards the end I took the line we climb on for a change, which certain was different.  Back to the car about 8 where Nelson realised he'd locked all his keys inside!  Wandered around and both eventually found some wire, all to no avail.  Some helpful other bikers, a couple, rolled through, no help tho, but suggested AA. Call made, "$195 to join." No thanks...  bit more google searching and a call made to 0800LOCKEDOUT and he turned up about 9, and had us in the car within a minute.  Money for jam.

Delicious Taj for dinner consumed at mine.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Solo Jet Loop

Nice wee ride this morning.  After yesterday's rain I was a bit wary of what kinda condition the tracks would be in.  Hard to know whether the forest would have been soaked or whether the trees would have held on to the moisture, and, similarly, the open hillsides, how much would have soaked up??  So, decided on something possibly a little foolish, parked up Bowenvale Ave, 10.30ish, and headed up the Old Skool track.  Greasy in places, evidence of one descender before my ascent.  No stock around, so Jet was running free, having a jolly time.  I climbed, and walked greasy bits, and climbed, and my bike creaked, and ticked, and I've got some sorting of that to do...  I half died on the 4wd switchbacky section, walking lots, and riding a fair bit too.  Quite a few rests.  Then, up top of Huntsbury and across to the start of the Traverse, reining Jet in for a horse, briefly, on the way.

Onto the Traverse, a few wet spots, but nothing serious.  Good roll through here, Jet in behind most of the way.  He struggles on the 'cattle stops' and so at each one I had to stop and guide him through the fence adjacent to them. Top of Vic and I still had heaps of time to kill before my 1pm pick up of O, so, headed down Thompson and Thomson, heeling Jet tight across the Dyers Pass, and up, then onto the Old Dyers track, bombing this down, rocketship quick flowing and floating down and around and through below the road, til the rougher bit, still enjoying, then carefully picked my way through the mucky stuff, and then caught a guy as we entered the clay pylon track section, cruising ahead and round and up through all the greasy shit before the road. Unbelievably, it was 18 months since I'd last ridden this!

Crossed carefully here and clambered on up into Vic and up past the 19th Battalion and into the wee singletrack around to the skidder site.  Bit of a rest here, and some dude, Martin, started talking to me.  Then we headed down Spazza's through to Brent's and had a fright in here of a tree down I'd not encountered before, then a squirrelly moment on some slippery roots just before the bottom exit.  Into Bridges, catching up to someone, he let me past, then onwards after his (faster) mate, catching him once we got into Flow, in the trees.  Awesome we jaunt down through here, whooping all the whoopdedoos and enjoying the slightly-washed-out aspects lower down.  Bomb down the 4wd track to the HiddenValley Link and up here.  gasping on the second hairpin, little rest, then onwards up, cleaning the whole climb out to the fence where Jet really struggled to get over.

Finally, onto the Old Skool again for the descent.  an hour's more drying on it, and it was sweet for descending.  the grease only really an issue when climbing.  Good blast down here, first time ever on this track on the Spot.  Taking it a little carefully on some corners with regards to grease, and ending up at the bottom with a fair bit of clay in the tires, which proceeded to fling off as we raced for the finish.  Back into the car a little before 12.30

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday Worsleying

Another week another ride.  Rode from work to Nelson's and we negotiated traffic to Worsleys Rd.  Parked on the flat alongside the poplars, changed, and rode off up the hill, taking the off road track for the main brunt of the climb.  Tricky, hitting the hill, and then bumpy off road trail from cold.  Had me wheezing and gasping, and dabbing a couple times.  Back on the seal and onwards to the top.  Then straight into the dirt track climb.  Decided on staying on the old skool, riding the usual ridges and ruts all the way.  At the 'rest' corner we checked out a wee track appearing at the fence, walking briefly up it, and then a dude on an old specialized showed up.  Asked him where it peeled off but his description could have been anywhere.

Onwards up the rocky section, with varying degrees of success.  Sure is a mess in here these days.  Lots of bits further up where it's pretty tricky.  Finally made the bottom of the Body Bag and up the access track for a well earned rest.  All of this to here was done without lights.  Quick snack, and we decided to head down and find that new bit of track.  Lights on, headed down Tommy's all the while looking for the new track on the left.  Quite a ways down we figured we'd missed it further back, but then chose a left hand line (that wasn't at all familiar) and it turned out this was it.  Not particularly long, but fun.  Over the fence and back into the climb for the second time.  Cleaned more, but dabbed other bits this time, and thankfully made the top of the access track eventually.

From here we headed up the access to Tommy's2 and about half way took the left into the lead-in to Debbie Does Dallas.  Fanged it down here popping and rolling through past the cool old stone ruins, then into the descending Debbie trail, which, due to tree falls, now peels a hard right and leads down and across a cool wee bridge then upwards briefly, and into a whole new section which is across below Tommys2 (but we couldn't see that from it).  Into a sequence of madcore steep bits, a couple of which we walked, and this really cool volcanic dyke rock formation - total wall of rock.  More steep stuff and a couple more groovy raw wood bridges (North Shore style of build, but short) then eventually into the very bottom of Tommy's2, out this and into the climb back up around.  Nice and dry now, but still slightly soft in places.

At the junction at the top we headed back up the guts track, grannying away, my legs starting to get weaker, all the way up to the cliff top.  Into the original 'b'line down from here and then connecting onto Waynes World where it crosses and then off down a new line to the right that showed promise but then turned out to be a total waste of trail by hooking into Fight Club - ripping us off by missing heaps of it.  So we walked back up this dumb shortcut and got back into Wayne's and then proceeded on into Fight Club, wafting, floating and launching our way down this, loving every minute of it.  Great run bookin' down all of it, including all the lower off camber stuff, and back out onto the climbing return track.This time climbing I was very slow, grinding away, getting especially sucky in the softer stuff, while Nelson jetted off ahead.

Down the exit routes - more sweet sweet rollin', and then down the road, flying, flying and flying, before pulling off to access the Farside track, only to discover three options now.  One, to the right, called Utopia which appears to stay above the forest, swooping back and forth in the broom and grass (beside the gorsey track we'd ridden up next to the road), and another one, Short Lucy or something, in the middle, which we didn't see where that went or came out.  And Farside, which has had a bit more work done.  Was fun and swoopy, and excellent in the dry, and there's an alternative line lower down that peels off and runs parallel all the way to the end (which we didn't try but may next time - it looked a bit easier)...  Out the bottom of Farside, big smiles on our dials.  Awesome wee trail.  Finally, flew down the road into the cold air of the valley bottom and back to the car, about 8, on the way grabbing Nasi Gorengs and beers upon which to feast at my place.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Mid Week Captain God and the Conda

Nelson picked me up across from work and we got our way into the fog (near Steve's) and out to Sumner.  Parked up by the beach and hit the road about 6.10pm  Through the fog up Wakefield and into Sumnervale and Cascade to enter the park.  Fog starting to thin, but not quite til we were on the Captain Thomas proper.  Cleaned everything from the start, out of the fog and then up the switchbacks, cleaning all of them for, I think, the first time.  A good wind was pushing down the valley and as we watched was pushing and churning the fog into retreat.  On up and lights on just as we hit the first wee rocky descent, around the corner and up the two unrideables.  A couple of lambs got in front of us here and ran ahead of us for a while.  The further we got with them the more concerned we became that we were taking them from their mum(s), so we stopped, and Nelson headed below the track.  They continued on up while he got juust ahead of them, caught one, really making it bleat, before they both took off up the hill to some baa-ing mums (theirs?).  Rest of the journey up was uneventful.  Dumb gate then climbed out to the road, feeling pretty good with a tail wind on the last stretch, and our breaths wafting away ahead of us like little self made clouds. 

Nelson let me lead the pretty much the whole way tonight, which was great.  I reckon his glycogen reserves were a bit down from him riding with the rest of the boys last night.  Anywho.  I let him take the first crack at the beginning bugger of Godley, which he duly cleaned.  I followed, and also cleaned it!  Yippee, first time in quite a while (since Feb).  Then he went on and I followed up the next section, but then I took the lead for the rest of the ride til the climb out of Taylors.  Kept him at my pace which was good.  One dab up the next lot of rocks, and the rest was a great climb, good pace, good times, tail wind cruising.  So nice in the dry.  Around through the fence, back into the wind for a bit over the wooden bits, through the still-a-bit-boggy bit, then the Teddington Shit, hardly any stones left in it, and round onto the new gravel, tail wind again, bombing on down, suspension doing it's thing soaking up everything the descent to Livingston Col gives us.

Short break just past the fence humpy cattlestop thing, and then into the climb up and over, bombing around to Breeze Col, a rut half way across the slope above the PFMTBC Rock giving us both gyp.  Out to Breeze and onto the cool little climbing track above the road, good pace, up and round.  Don't think many people are riding it, certainly doesn't look it.  From it's end, we continued across the slope and spotted the stile to the Breeze Col track.  Hadn't done this for a while (May last year) and it was greasy as anything on the dew covered sheltered rocks, but where there was a breeze the rocks were okay.  The slippery bits were sketchy as, with that drop precipitously below.  It was a longer descent than I'd remembered.  Then it was over the stile and across and pretty much straight into Ana the Conda.

And the Conda, was, sweet.  Nice mellow cruising start, gradually picking up speed.  The top sections all opened up a bit, better drainage installed, and a bit of berming.  Rolled quick down and round and had a great run.  Nelson thought pretty damned quick.  I felt like we weren't quite letting it all hang out, but certainly was close the the ragged edge a couple of times.  Remembered the crappy corner well before I hit it and had scrubbed enough speed for it.  The 'tail was sweet too, just as rocky as usual, but the earlier bits had been tidied, like that (usually) boggy bit before you go through the fence.  Fast bomb to the end and into the climb.

Grind grind grind, I managed to stay on Nelson's tail most of the way, til the last few corners, but he didn't totally drop me.  Then I led down into Nicholson Park, and we reminisced the old descent, before dropping into Flowers Track riding some steps, taking a droppy shortcut here, walking some steps, and riding then finding an exit track that snuck across the slope between numerous houses and eventually spat us out onto Whitewash Head Rd, down that and then along the waterfront back to the car dead on 8pm.  Excellence.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday arvo cRapaki Shorty

O, for a Pride in Achievement award at school, had decided he was gonna make the top of Rapaki, so, took him across there today, and we toodled on up.  Was very good for him, nice and cruisy for me, in a nice low gear just plodding up, admiring the views all the way.  Incredibly busy, hoards of people all over it.  Quite surprising.  Hell of an easterly blasting away the whole way, but that kept us cool.  Probably took an hour, he stopped for wee rests a lot, but, got the top, and off down we went, him skidding and drifting-out the whole way down, loving it.  Well done that boy.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday Night Wharfdale clearing

Left work early and managed to get to Nelson's close to 4.20-30pm.  We loaded his car and hooned around through Oxford and Woodstock Rd and then up through the fords and gates to an empty carpark (no surprise there).  No idea what time we got there, maybe 5ish?  Off up the track, Spot climbing well, and Jet running off ahead and waiting and running ahead, veeerryy happy.  Trail quite wet in places but I was feeling good, but Nelson's heart rate was all up the wazoo on account of having imbibed a RedBull on the way to the trailhead.  Got to the gate and the first descent, bomb bomb bomb, yikes, skiiiid, stopping as my handlebar hit Nelson's ass.  A big tree across the track.  Out with the Pocket Chainsaw, manning a handle each, cut through the quite rotten log, wearing out our arms in the meantime, jumped on it a bit and got through it, and moved it off.  One down, how many to go??  Got riding again, and just around the corner the climbing began again.

Climby climby climb, in and out and round and round over the bridges, feeling pretty good.  Nelson's heart rate still out of whack.  Jet loving every sniff.  On a windthrown ridge we got to our next project.  A bit of a mess of branches and trunks, many snapped off and in-your-eye spiky.  Out with the saw and many branches cut and moved and a clear way through except for one large log, easily stepped over.  Jet was wondering what the hell we were up to, "come ON, guys!"  Onwards again, and lots of nice swoopy descending, trail in perfect nick, light starting to get low, especially in the gloomier spots of forest.  Another tree across, more work with the saw and cleared, and now it was time for lights.  Another smaller (but wedged) tree, another one cleared.

Up the rocky outcrop, largely unrideable down to the creek that follows, and the slog up out of that, skirting the slips and back on the bikes, onwards ever onwards.  Another tree cleared, arms and shoulders starting to ache from the sawing. All the creek crossings are a lot more rideable now, there's been a fair bit of work put in in recent times, since all the slips and tree-throw of the last year or two.  Rode on, loving the downhill bits and enjoying the climbs.  Approaching the the switchbacks towards the end, the mudpugs were unavoidable.  I think there was maybe one or two more trees moved before the end.  We were at the saddle about 7pm, moreporks calling.  Pitch dark without the lights.  Surprisingly, I discovered I had cellphone reception, so flicked off a couple texts to home.

Then it was time to head back.  After the mud and the first creek crossing, we picked up speed down towards the first corner, assuming Jet was just behind, but got round that corner and looked back.  No Jet.  Waited, no sign.  Walked back up round the corner, calling, no sign!  Started to freak a bit, called and whistled, and no show!  Oh noes, I thought, I've lost the dog :(.  Then, in the distance, his wee glowing eyes, trotting along down the track.  Dunno what had kept him.  But he trotted onwards.

Rest of the ride out was good, I kept him in sight a bit more carefully, which slowed me down at times I'd have liked to go faster.  Somewhere, there was a tree across the track at about waist height we'd left on the way in, thinking it too hard, but we got sawing and cut nearly all the way through it but then couldnt move it.  Eventually, we pushed over a dead-standing widder-maker nearby and managed to use it to smash through our cut trunk.  Then we levered and bruteforced it off the trail.  Brilliant.  Continued on up to the high windblown point before the swoopy best fun descent began.  Once more I got a bit ahead of Jet and worried we'd lost him again, but he showed and just steadily trotted past and on not waiting for me - I think his wee paws were getting sore from all the sharp rocks. Awesome flow through this section now down to the low.  Final climb to the gate I was slooow and tired, legs spent, and lack of dinner taking it's toll.  Good pace down from the gate, waiting a few times for Jet, before finally getting back to the car, low cloud skudding through that saddle.  Was after 9.30 or so by the time we got to Nelson's place again.  A beer and a feed there, then I wasn't home til after 11.  Drove through some really heavy drizzle at Swannanoa.