Sunday, April 27, 2014


Dear Mountain Biking,

It's been a while.  I've been thinking about you a lot, and I've missed you.  We used to be so close, but now everything's gone and changed.  I brought you with me this week, and meant to get out up into the wilds with you, but one thing and another got in the way.  Now, I've got a crappy head cold and even tho I had the time and some inclination, it just didn't happen for us today.  Probably just as well, in that you may have pushed the cold worse into me.  But another part of me thinks that maybe you and me could have fought off this lurgy with our awesomeness.

It's crazy to think it's been so long, and that the last times we were together were on such dull trails.  And now the storms have beaten up our favourite old haunts and who knows what we'll find next time we're in there. 

Maybe this week we can meet again, and see how we go?

Looking forward to it.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Another Bottle Lake spin

Forecast and persistent rain on the hills all day was putting me off to thinking that we wouldn't ride last night, but Nelson came over to mine after work anyway, and we'd both noticed how dry my side of town was, ie, roads completely dry from the CBD onwards, so decided on heading out for a(nother for me) spin of Bottle Lake...  Arrived at carpark 6.30ish, and headed on in, me on the singlespeed again, but no dog this time.  Good fast pace all the way through to Mount Garbage, then down, passing a woman and her dog, through past the ponds, and out to the beach.  Sand blowouts on the tops of the dunes all rideable due to dampness, but trails were way drier than the previous evening.  We stopped up here, Nelson to pump his tires a tad, me to tweak the rear spokes hoping to stop the tire rub under power - to no avail.

Along the front, up and down, then in, and through, all the way up to Spencer Park this time, some big event on up there, (heard later from some other riders at the carpark that there were 4500 youth on a camp, with a band etc).  We rode through to Adrenalin Forest and stopped for a snack, before turning back through, the band at the Youth thing cranking up about then.  Been a long time since we'd been all the way through here.

Back into the trails, blasting back through, Nelson starting to go faster and me feeling like my bike was getting slower.  Legs burning, spinning and lungs wheezing to keep up.

Eventually, back to the car and back on the road 8pmish.  Better than nothing, and surprisingly dry.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jet Bottle first lights

Quick repair of the rear brake on the singlist after dinner then Jet and me cruised out to the sandpit in the Fiat. A light rain starting around our departure. Headed in and hung a right blasting along for the start then easing off for the furboy. Mostly was running the light on low on account of having forgotten to charge it and not knowing how long i had. Did have a spare in my pack & a small back up on the bars though.  No worries tho, the main lamp stayed up and running the whole way, and then barely needed any charge once home.

Out near the beach I slowed up for Jet & we just cruised along there. The sea was really pumping. Jet trotted along happy as a happy thing. Once we headed back into the forest I pickup the speed a bit, holding up now & then til I could see the glow of his eyes. We took the longest route, out towards Spencer before heading back thru to the car. I hadn't been this way for a while.  On the way back through the last sections I reminisced about where the trail used to go in places, and how the whole place has changed in the 18 odd years I've been riding in here..  Back to the car after about an hour's ride all up.

Popped into Parklands on the way home for some bevvies to take to the bach for the forthcoming Easter break.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sunday quick up, around, down a little, up, down, up, down, around, down

Damp weekend at kids' Kea and Cub camp, home by 3pm Sunday with a weight of tiredness but the offer of a ride by T.  Said I couldn't possibly, but then lay about for a while and figured why the hell not?  So, drove out and with a view of the hills decided Worsley top looked dingier than the rest of the hills east of there so pointed the car towards Mt Pleasant and headed across and on up to the Upper Major. 

Jumped on the bike 4.30ish, and over the fence and hit the trail up Britten, Jet racing out ahead.  No stock in sight, so figured he was okay, but once he'd slowed down a little bit I kept him close til I could see that there really was no stock on the hill.  Good pace up, and cleaned the turn to head around the original Britten trail, up top of which I de-layered down to my Baked Alaska, sun shining through enough to keep the shades on too.  On round to the end of the trail and up onto the road, then down to Cavendish Saddle, where I started heading up towards the stile for Mt Pleasant, but then stopped and checked out my timing, 4.45pm, and decided that actually, a brief sortie up and back to the Gondola building might be in order.

Headed, and struggled a little in the greasy-ish conditions, up the ziggy zaggy rounding out the top and smelling the stench of sheep shit and urine, which caught Jet's attention and two daggy unshorn wild looking sheep headed off straight down our zigs and zags, so we saw them a few more times as we descended, Jet being really good and heeling well.

Up the grindy wee start of the Pleasant climb, the previously washed out steep section all nicely compacted with new fill, smooth and nearly as hard as concrete.  Good cruise up and round to the top, pleasantly surprised that it was not even 5.05, so, less than 20 minutes to have climbed Cavendish, descended, and climbed Pleasant.  Up here the fog was enveloping the top in its fuggy moistness, so, sunglasses away at the gate and zip up front.

Down the trail winding round over the rocks, over the step-stile, down the first few rocks, keeping Jet behind and keeping an eye out for stock.  Enjoyed the flow as I rounded through the sound effects of Lyttelton, then the open tussock land speed followed and Jet was tight on my tail, loving it, the whole way down.

Brief breather above Greenwood, then down, Jet at a heel onto the top section of Greenwood trail and around.  Been a bit of work along here, the edges cleared, making for a nice cruise up and around and over.  Sheep were sheltering a bit around here and as I hit the worst of the short sharpish climbs Jet made like he was gonna stalk one, which I stopped with a sharp word, which got him back into line and he was no trouble with them after that.  As we neared the road, the trail got muckier and wetter.  Once again, I was glad of my wee mudguard stopping eye-spleck.  Onto the road and Jet heeling as we cruised round and up to Britten.

Final descent was awesome.  I went flat out, weaving with the trail back and forth down the hill, with Jet tight on my tail, galloping along after me.  On the hairpins he would cut the corner really tight and end up out front and as soon as I caught him again he'd move aside and get in behind again.  Sweet!

5.29 and we were in the car.  A quick, hour's ride with so much in it.  AND, the first ride for my new helment.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Thursday into Gloom and Coruscation, there and back.

After a long break off the bike it was good to finally get out again.  Last Wednesday Nelson and me attempted to ride.  I'd ridden the Cotic to work and then ridden to his work after and we'd got in the car and begun to negotiate the absolute shittraffic that abounds near Tower Junction overbridge, and made it half way down Moorhouse Ave when he realises he's left his shoes behind!.  So, a U-turn and back through the shittraffic to get back to his work and find everybody gone and he's no key for entry, so, called off our ride, back to mine for a couple of beersies and a nice long chat and eats.

Last night, usual traffic issues and he collected me on Moorhouse and we made our way to Huntsbury, parking right up the top.  Just below the clouds, quite a chilly easterly roaring through, making me feel cold in my 2 only layers.  Got riding and puffing, warming up nicely grinding on up through the first two gates then up under the pylon and up through the new cattlestop and then hung a bit of a right to find this 'new' track Steve had mentioned (and that they'd played on on Tuesday).  We found it and wended our way up to the fence and then through the tussocks to the left (true right) of the airstrip then onto the usual gravel and on up.  Just before the next gate/cattlestop we headed up the steep rocky to grab the Traverse across towards Vernon.  Weird being on flowy singletrack, I actually noticed the lack of squish in the back, my last ride having been in Vegas.

Across the road into Vernon, stepping aside for a couple of climbers here and there and then downwards proceeding, me on his tail, feeling the flow.  Across the Rapaki top and onto Witchypoo, clambering away, both of us blowing a couple of rocks, but enjoying the rest.  Nice cruise up the road under the Tors, amazing light effects of sunshine glowing clouds and beams on the hillslopes, and neat turbulence patterning in the valley next to Castle Rock, and feeling like we'd made really good time it being only about 7 or so, thinking still plenty of light.

I led into the trail and had some rapidity and some sluggishness, Nelson commenting later on my excellent poise/balance in the descent.  The climb from the little bridge has been seemingly shortened by the quakes, and one of the final corners towards the final sheepstop has a nasty rock hiding behind a tussock right on the apex that will, in future, likely throw someone.  Turned around after watching and listening to the industrialism that is Lyttelton and Nelson led the way back up the trail, cleaning the whole thing, while I muppetted my way round the second hairpin, then spun out on a rock near the top.  First time i've messed that up in a while...

Clouds seemed to be getting thicker now, so we bombed off down the road under the tors, and back round into Witch Hill, enjoying the down, tho, as we approached the final descent I stupidly lifted my gaze from the trail to see if I could see anyone riding from Rapaki-top, just for a split second, looking back to find a massive rock right in my way.  Nearly an OTB, managed to pull it back round and continued down, more muppetty than before, out to the bottom.

A 'hello' to the three people up top before heading up Vernon, clambering away, Nelson leaving me behind from about a third of the way up.  At the beginning of the Traverse bumped into old workmate/boss David, chatted with him for bit as it slowly got gloomier, and finally, across Traverse, then down the rockies, into the tussocks, finding and not finding sheep routes, then into the airstrip following the trodden path to the fence, over, onto the 'new' singletrack and down.  Finding it harder and harder to see as we progressed.  Nelson popping most jumps, me bypassing them all from lack of aforesightedness.  Cloud and darkness making for hard work.  Finally out the bottom to see a dude on a Blacksheep fatbike cruise past, light on.  Back to car, quite damp...about 7.45.