Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday's Loner - West End buzz

Had a Tardeme pick up in Halswell at 9am, so figured I'd ride that end of the hills, having not for quite some time (over a year in fact).  Parked and rode in, earbuds in, music on random, 9.30am.  Got a little huffed on the very first (tiny) climb, but then got into the groove with not too much wheezing up C2.  Nice climb, nice day, nice temperature, nice sounds.  All so nice.  Once up on the Crock o'pile things got a bit rutty.  Silly people riding when the track isn't hard...  There was a closed sign at the bottom, but ignorable today.  Dabbed out a few times on the way up.  Most of the hairpins near the top are totally rutted out and very tricky to negotiate climbing.

Up onto "Take the Low Road" (still prefer 'new tasty' from a few years back), and sidled back and forth on the hill, avoiding the big muckruts, and a number of new lines in places I'm sure the trail directors aren't that keen on.  Over Siberia and down to the gate.  Chatted briefly with a dude here.  He asked about the single front ring.  I did the sell for Revolution Components, "made right here in Chch - good to support local industry, eh?"  Then I got going.  Huffed and chuffed up the hill, only getting as low as 2nd on all the first sections, up up and over, getting warm, stripping a layer out at the crest then on up through the foresty bit and up to the steeeeeps...  Water tank up here, i pulled up for a wee, and then hit the climb with aplomb.  Nearly puking twice, I stopped for breathers, but rode on and cleaned everything with no dabs.  Out across the top and into the tight broom singletrack now out to the summit road, only 10.20pm, so basically a 50 minute climb.

Around the road and into Worsley's Rd, climbing this in 3rd, nice.  Up to top of the Nun and a well earned rest.  Half a OSM and a chat to the dude up there, then another dude turned up on a Turner 5 Spot.  Got talking and took it for a little spin to the top of the hill and back.  Lovely suspension action magic carpet ride back down to them.  They took off and I put the helmet and music back on, gloves, and in.  Awesome descent, trail in perfect nick and everything as expected with good air and great pump.  Railed it for the top section, took it a little easier in the middle rocky section, but then started to rail again when I saw the 5-Spot rider ahead and chased him til the carpark break point, where he pulled over and I jumped into the lead.  Faaaast down through those next two sections then whoop whoop whoop through the jumpies and then easing off again through the last swoops before the final wee climb.

Straight onto the road and climbing away, grinding it out all the way through and back down to Kennedy's Top.  Cruised across the tops and then into the downhill, with an audience, walkers scattering all over the place as I rocketed through (-kidding, I gave them plenty of space and respectful speed).  Bombed on down, flying all the way.  Bypassed Siberia up the wide track, and then into the Low Road.  Took it pretty easy to start, the ruts and grease still with potential to catch you out.  Met quite a few climbing riders lower down, but once on the Crock'o'shit just some walkers near the top and bottom.  Great run down here, taking it easy to stay out of the ruts, with some wicked speed in places.  Finally the quickly cranked climb into C2 and it was sweet running down here.  Caught the jump part way down nicely, then into the corners, meeting one climbing rider woman in here, and blazing into the valley, and into the climb, slowing right down til the top then out into the open country and walkers (who did take offense at my speed).  Rolled on down to the car and it was only 11.20.  Yowzer, a 2 hour ride, and all the distance covered.  Nice.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday night Witch Castle

Rode over to Nelson's work at 5ish and we navigated the usual imbecility that is rush hour traffic, to Huntsbury.  Parked up top of road and changed in the cool wind and got moving eventually around 5.45.  Good blast up the track, me wheezing away, but keeping on top of it and managing a reasonable speed to the top, warming up considerably on the way - nor'west breezes bathing us in warmth compared to the coolness of where the car was parked. 

Onto Vernon and the gravel was tricky.  I was wondering if my rear tire was a little hard, but Nelson was getting the same, so we figured it was the surface.  Pulled over near the top for some uphill riders, and had a clear run the rest of the way down.  Straight through Crapaki top and into the Witch.  Rutty to start, we both screwed up the rocky bits, Nelson going to dab and finding his leg disappearing down a hole...  yowch.  good gark on it that i didn't see til later.  Once we'd negotiated that the going got much better, and we rolled on through to the road.  Pedal pedal pedal, and on round under the Tors and up to top of Castle Rock.  I led into here and we had a good run, pinning it pretty well.  Trail in good nick, except for the sheep, and their little pellets.  One weird wet spot just after the wee wooden bridge, green with sheep shit it was too, yeurgch.  Pingy climb on through and over down to the Bridle Path top at 6.25.

Took in the view of Lyttelton, and then got rolling again, back up the trail.  At the first rock-armoured (originally by us) section, we weren't happy with the soggy bits in it, so we stopped and carted some rocks and moved them around a bit and placed them and eventually got it right, leaving it better than we'd found it.  On over down for a bit, examining the green-muck wetspot, deciding it needed a shovel. Onwards up round the first hairpin and across to the next, where I lost my balance and traction at the same time.  Got rolling again and pinged and dabbed a few more times before finally getting on top of myself and riding out the rest of it nicely.  The new gear ratios are sweet, nice and tall, letting me torque it through that usual final tricky steep right near the top.  No baby spinny granny gear with no power... 

Blast down the road, cooling off nicely, and on round to the Witch again.  I was a bit messy to start, and really lost it, nearly over the bars on the one little step up rocky bit, traction and balance letting me down again!.  The rest of the roll round Witch Hill was smooth, flowy and fun.  Straight through Crapaki top and into the climb.  Ooomphed it up the hill and round, a Santa Cruz gang pulling over to let us through (Nelson said they nearly didnt stop but he didnt yield), grovelled up the steep bit above Farm Track exit, and the rest of the way up was okay, over and down to the road.

Onto the Traverse briefly, around til we dropped down through the tussock-ville, finding our way down to the landing strip, and over the fence onto the little singletrack, rolling over the hill nicely and back down to the car via the jumps, actually doing some of them this time, and back to the car at 7.45.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday, greasy route to Planting

Short-ish ride yesterday.  I rode to Steve's, at a good clip, for an 8.15 meet, finding Andy, Tony and Steve awaiting my arrival.  Wayne rolled up not long after, then we waited a minute or three for Pete, and Steve decided to get rolling, then Pete txtd saying he'd meet us at the Ferrymead bridge.  Off we tootled, Garlands, Radley, Marshall, to the river and along the Cut.  Bit of grease approaching Tunnel Rd, under the bridge there and onto the tow path for a cruise round the back of industria, finally finding Pete on the bridge.

Off up St Andrew's Hill, Marama, and into Cannon Hill, a new route to me.  My new gearing was just fine going up here, mostly sitting in 2nd from low right up til we were grunting up through the park, and even then it wasn't too low a gear.  Eventually out the top onto Major Aitken and on up to the very top, through the park onto Clearview, finishing our climbing here.

Into the wee reserve, the rules were - no losing traction.  Track down through here was rutted out big time in places, and a good wee challenge on the brakes and speed to not skid.  Onto Mt Pleasant Rd bombing down to Craigieburn Lane, pulling in here for-to zig and zag.  Grease is what we found, and with extreme skill and finesse, we all slithered our ways down the zigs and zags, the usually wettest spots super wet.  One or two wee surprise holes, but successful meandering by all and a regroup on the level after the bridge.

Final descent, steeper and steeper, and more and more potential for slip-out, round the first hairpin, then the second, then letting speed build in places and buttoning off early in others, swooping into the wee climb then negotiating a big new slip, lifting over a poorly placed, and very spikey, rose bush, and then on down for the final blast out the bottom.

From here we had plenty of time to spare, it being 9.30ish, and so we cruised back to the Ferrymead bridge, tucked back onto the towpath trail.  I was leading around here and came into the little bridge (behind Kovacs?) with a tad too much speed.  Front wheel washed, kinda glanced off the railing supports, and then my back wheel followed and squirrelled too, but I managed to keep it together, and adrenalin kicked in a little further down the trail...  yikes.

finally, across Ferry Rd into Waterman Place and into Charlesworth Reserve whereupon to plug plants into the ground for 2 hours before eating several sausages.  Home straight up Linwood Ave with Pete

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday night, Muckvicars round 2

Bit of a muckfest once again tonight.  Nelson picked me up as per- on Moorhouse and we jammed across to Worsley's Rd, parking up top along with several other cars all turned up about the same time as us.  A dude (who works on the tracks in there) came down as we were readying ourselves, no lights, getting pretty dark.  Sounded pretty bleak up there.

BFe sporting it's new gears and brakes, we headed off up, my new 'granny' not so bad, but making a bit of noise once the going got tough.  Headed into the forest just up round the first couple corners.  We decided here the the noise required the spacers in the BB swapped around a bit to get the front ring over a bit.  Nothing to be done but ride, or walk to rest it.  Trees all cut and cleared, rode on up through the middle guts and out to the top of the cliff, then on up the original, all cleared and cut nicely. 

At the top we turned and headed down Tommy's.  Pretty slick, but not too bad.  Half way down we tucked right and back up onto the 'original', out to the cliff top and into Waynes World.  A couple of tipped trees, lifted root balls, made the usual entry cues different and we nearly missed it.  Anyway, good descent all the way down to Fight Club.  Most of the top of this was good to go, too.  We stopped and re-routed a bypass of a wet gulch, but then further down it just got slicker and sicker, greasing and squirrelling all the way.  Then, where it used to get steep and gnarly, it got horrendous.  no grip. tires totally caked, and then water running down the track, rutting it.  We stopped, found a grubber conveniently perched behind a tree, and proceeded to cut a drain across the track.  This should dry it out and un-rut it, until the first riders took it out.  Bottom few corners, for me, were totally unrideable and i walked on out the bottom into the total quagmire, tweaking my shoulder somehow in the process.

Climbing access track was okay, buncha trees down across it just through the gate where it gets steeper, these had been cut and a way cleared.  Further up, near where the old exit was, the crack turned gulch has become some major tunnel erosion, just about creating a neat wee natural arch bridge.  more trees across the track above here too, a way cleared.

At the junction we decided to head down and out, meandering around a bit between old and new, down past the tank and it's all opened up in there again.  Then we decided to find the new track i'd heard about (possibly across the other side?). Found it, followed it up, and up, and up, and eventually found the top, and where to access it from next time.  Then rode it down.  Some of the jumps would be fine, except for the hip jump over the fence - but in the grease and slick, I bypassed pretty much all of them.  Got to the bottom and followed the trail (singletrack on farm track) out and ended up right at the car.  Nice.  Done by 8.15,

Brakes, when i used them as opposed to the mud just slowing me down, were very sensitive - gonna be serious stoppers.  Major difference to the oldies.  Gear system?  once the BB spacers are moved, the grinding should lessen.  The shifting was crisp and clear and the ratios weren't that bad!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekend bike builds and a non ride.

Spent a chunk of Saturday pulling the BFe apart and transfering drivetrain and brakes to O's new ride, an extra small Bergamont.  Got it finished with only one trip to the bikeshop, then Sunday morning put all my bits and bobs onto my frame, xt brakes, Revolution Components narrow wide chainring, 10spd shifter and cassette (11-36).  Got it all together and realised i'd used the cable intended for it on O's bike, so, quick trip up to Bike Biz and got it done, tuned, and the 3 of us boys went out to B.Lake for a spin.  A bloody slow spin, with Jet.  O was fast on his new bike, and we could have covered heaps of the park in no time, but H was struggling away on his 'new' bike, the 24inch Norco O had.  Doesnt quite get the gears yet. 

Anyway, we went in, went left, but not hard left, and through to the pond, then out to the beach and south, and back in.  Long and painful it was.  Then, just after the 'water feature' (flooding on the track) the boys were off ahead, and Jet went round a corner, i heard him bark, and then this guy appeared flipping over his handlebars onto the track.  clatter clatter.  He'd hit Jet and gone OTB.  Got up and his wrist was very tweaked, either broken or sprained badly.  He was gutted.  Said he was doing the Chch Half Marathon in 2 weeks time and this was gonna knacker his chances...  oh dear.  I put his chain back on and then had to catch up with the boys.  We rode on, and up top of the gazebo hill the guy with the wrist rode past (and Jet nearly got under his wheels again!).  Hope he's okay.

So.  Disappointed I hadnt finished the bikes Saturday,  - I'd been hoping to ride Mt Grey Sunday morning...  bah.

new 1x10 certainly feels like i've got enough gears.  Going up the hill will test whether 32 to 36 is low enough.  another week or so to wait and the Revo Components 40t will be available.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Tuesday night struggle

Nelson picked me up on Moorhouse and we negotiated our way to Mt Pleasant, parking up on the Upper Major.  Hmmm, my rear tire was a bit low, so topped it up.  Carpark/4wd access point was pretty wet just there off the road, but once on the singletrack climb it was soft, but not puggy or quagmired.  Pretty soon my tail-end-of-cold lungs were wheezing away, struggling for air.  Up around the corners, and onto the damp bit, it was saturated.  Needs a boardwalk along here at this time of year, fucking mess.  Slowly and steadily, we cruised up, trying to ride lightly, and then up around the bend onto the oldskool Britten trail, across the hill to the exit and then back round the road and up Broadleaf, the hills drying out as we climbed.  Grind grind grind and out the top.  Up here, more air in the tire, and we could see some other lights below us.

Into the trail down and hopping and popping over the rocks, no slop or muck around here.  Good blast down and in no time we're down to the end, the other lights down at the ruins.  On down the farmtrack then right onto the single, meeting the other lights (three old mugs on 29ers) on the singletrack, before we blasted down through the ruins and onto Greenwood proper.  Pretty good most of the way down, a few rutted up sections, my riding ability somewhat hampered by muppetry.  Once through the upper switchies and round the usual spots were saturated and mucky as mucky gets.  Round into Gloomy Gulch, and it was pretty good in here.  I took some time out to rest my sore back here, then off down meeting Nelson lower down before Dave's Zone.  No massive speed through here, cos you're just never sure what's round the next corner, muck or ruts?  Through the wee cattlestop and bleurgh.  Absolute mess.  Someone(Dave?)'s been digging it out but it's a fucking quagmired mess, most of the way round into the wee creek.  Good from here tho.  I put more air in the tire before the final blast for fear of rock pinches.  The section after the Two Rocky Ups was inundated in water.  First time across the bulldozer/digger track for me, and around to the finish.

Down the road and into Godley. (Track Open sign in full force).  Nelson stuffed up the first go, I stuffed my only go.  He stuffed up his second go, but got it on the third.  I muppetried my way on up, gimping and flaking all over the place while wheezing away.  Bit of wind blowing further along, and a few more really wet bits.  All good round the section with the two boardwalks, but once onto the old Teddington a bit damp again, and I nearly lost it on smallest wooden bridge in there.  After the slightly bigger wooden bridge (ramp at end), the trail was totally rutted for a bit, then free flow, and a good blast from there to Livingston ensued.

Climb over to Breeze was okay, a few wet bits not often wet before, all the chip holding together nicely.  Across the slope above the PFMTBC Rock and "WHOOAH!" greasy wet bit, then around.  Nelson hit the Rock, while I detoured, then it was splecky saturated ground all the way to the crossing and to the road.

Here we headed around below the road out to the end.  around about 3 tunnel-erosion holes in the track to watch out for.  I was starting to get really tired around here too, nearly crashing in one of the holes.  We took a break at the toilet building out the end, scoffing some OneSquare and topping up water, then off back round.  Me dying a little more.  From Breeze, back up the sloppy paddock onto the track, Nelson waay off ahead, me dying, and having to pump my tire, yet again...  Over towards Livingston, a good run down the hill, but then I was pinballing off everything, feeling weaker and tired.  At Livingston, my head light died, so I hit the road and Nelson carried on up the singletrack.  I struggled up and around, tire getting lower and lower all the way, til eventually, for the descent to Evans i was leaning forward, keeping the weight off it.

Lay on the side of the road and spun out whilst waiting for Nelson.  He didnt show, and didnt show, then got a txt from him asking where i was, he was waiting for me at the usual regroup spot thinking i was gonna ride up to complete the singletrack...  nope.  So, waited some more and eventually he turned up and I'd pumped my tire hard enough to get me back.

Finally, up Summit Rd, loonnnnnggg drawn out effort, trying not to die the whole way.  Took seemingly forever, and finally over and down the road to the car.  I was so wiped.  That climb, i reckon, i felt the worst i've ever felt on a bike.  Too hot, too cold, head ache, no energy, sore muscles.  ugh.  9.20pm

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Sunday Planting over the River Styx

Biked to Pete's on the Troll and met him and Steve (on his cruiser).  We bombed Avonside and Kilmore, across Cranmer Sq, Armagh into the park across to Kilmarnock and then straight up the railtrail, all the way, out the top on Tuckers, then Cavendish.  Stopped in at the Cosy Cafe for a coffee and then on up to the Styx Reserve, ignoring the No Bikes signs and riding through, admiring all our previous efforts, which are growing into beautiful bush, to the first Trees For Canterbury planting of the season.  Plugged a heap of new plants into the stony, yet soft, ground and then Pete and me left at 12 cos we both had stuff to do around 1.  Rode back the way we'd come at a fair clip - making good time, some 35 - 40 mins, home.

This blog was 9 years old tomorrow.  Happy Birthday Swtchbckr!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

O for finally, Thursday, post storms Muckvicker's - half None

Finally a couple fine days made it possible to get out on the bikes.  Nelson came to my place and I fixed my flat from the Little Ak tire swap puncture (swapped front to rear, Conti didn't mount right, swapped them back and got a hole in front tube...), then we headed for top of Worsley Rd.  LOTS of water running out of the hillsides across the road on the way up.  But, once on the dirt, not so bad.  The usual streams of water in all the ruts on the way up, but before the first corner it was oooozing, so we headed into the trees and found a highline track we'd never seen before.  Heaps of tree damage in here, but not a patch on what we were to find further up.  Someone has been in there with chainsaws, tidying here and there, but lots is too big to deal to...  Very quickly we arrived at The Junction, where we headed up the former streambed that is The Guts track.  Not long later and I was wheezing away, unable to breathe on account of this fucking cold I've got presently.  Walking a little before the pylon gap, through the several trees down across the track, which have been cleared away already. 

Above the pylon gap, more trees down, this time, not cleared.  around some, over others, then onwards and up to the Clifftop.  On up the Original B-Line, a tree here, detour, another tree there, through that one, another tree and detour.  Then up the rocky bit to where Debby's bits start, but no going down there, waaay too wet - would've been worse than my first time.  On over and up, another tree, detour, onto a random small singletrack and suddenly, the top.  Off down to the Body Bag.  Oh, boy.  the ruts.  the water, but rideable line pretty much the whole way, except for the quagmire puddle half way up.  On up, my virus-lungs getting the better of me, wheezing my way on foot (from further up than last time) to the top.

Figured, the Nun is meant to be 'all weather', what with it's majorly rocked-up surface, so, headed on up to give it a look.  Surprise surprise, it was fine.  Evidence of maybe 2 or 3 other riders through, and no damage resulting.  Only one type of surface was greasy, when the dirt looked kinda grey.  Yellowish brown was sweet, and rocks were sweet, but the grey stuff...  slickly.  Thankfully, not too much of it.  Anyway, not a very high speed descent, but fun, and bailed out at the halfway carpark (which you couldn't park a car on, as it's storage for slip-muck from up the road).

Up the road, back to top of Worsley's and down.  Half way down and Nelson stops dead, wheels up nearly to their hubs in the quagmire puddle half way.  It really was like jelly.  And very deep.  Got the bike out, and kinda tried to put some drainage in, but not likely working.  And onwards down.  Then, right-hander up to the B-line zone.  This time, taking Tommy's left hander and cruising down.  One tree, managed to snap a few branches out of the way.  Another tree, lift over...  then on down into the carnage around the top of Fight Club.  Decided against attempting it, and had a look around just above the pylon gap, then across this, and more looking around, then down to the track and in to the left, this time exploring a bit more on that side of the Guts track.  Eventually, out and down the way we'd come up, then past the tank and back into the forest, detouring around a fallen tree, then detouring out of the forest and back in for the final branchlet and cone infested lower last bits of trail..

All up, some good riding, and not really that dirty.  Once again, the little mudguard worked a treat - nothing in my eyes, and stanchions all nice and clean..