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.