Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday's Grey afternoon Jet

FINALLY time and conditions allow me to get out and ride after 2 weeks of weather and commitments getting in the way.  Hit the road from home in the Subie some time just after 12, and was on the bike just up hill from the first gate above "Lake" Janet at 1pm climbing, Jet the happy doggy running ahead or along side.  Good climb, thinking to myself at the beginning, "oh yeah, that's right, I always forget how long this climb is", but in the end, not finding it too bad.  Made it above the bushline at 1.30, and then probably the very top, in the bitter southerly wind, less than 10 minutes later.

Across a few remnants of snow and straight into the singletrack descent, pausing briefly to switch the shock to Descend.  Someone's been down with a weedeater, evidenced by broom and spaniard and tussock scrap all over the trail.  Singletrack a little rutted in bits, but the worst of the wetspots has a couple nice drains draining it now.  Usual tactic on the switchbacks, foot or feet down, parking the nose, flicking the back-end around and getting going again.  Not balanced, but with feet down...  Jet did his usual, getting in behind when I was haulin' ass, and scoping out front leading when I wasn't.  Met some people just at the top of the bushline, Jet saying gudday to their mutt, and us continuing on down into the switchbacks coming thick fast.  A few new lines in here for bypassing the corners, all of which I missed and didn't go back for, one or two chutes to tackle next time.  A few stretches of nice long blissful flowy trail between the corners, crossed the stream, a few more stretches and then it goes on for a while longer flowing on, which had me thinking- THIS is what it's all about!, past the turn off back up to the Fire Lookout (and "Lake" Janet), and the turn off to the close Lookout, and on down, trail in perfect condition and then into the switchbacks that become so dense there's one bit you just walk down.

Once these were done we had a nice long section of sweet flow, then left the safety of the beech forest and out into the open, greeted with mud, (not-so-) glorious mud.  Mucky filthy soggy treacherous mud.  Slopped and slid down through all this and then it was back into a beautiful leaf-littered section of beech again, the mud on the tires fast becoming covered in little beech leaves.  One or two more switchbacks and down into lower forest, mud holes and roots, mostly pretty good tho.  flowing on down and through and eventually over the bridge, down a bit more and out to the road.  Awesome.  Now for the climb back up the road...200odd metres over 3-4kms back to the car, Jet obeying me well for good road sense.  Half way up, amongst the beehives, a bee collided with my left eye, bouncing right out again, no harm done.  Little bit of smarting, but it never got worse than that...  so, total of around 700m all up.  Felt gooood to be on the bike again, and the Spot is a joy to behold.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thursday night, Ungodley greasiness

Was 7ish by the time we got to Evans Pass, and then Nelson's rear tire was flat.  Thought it was just a slow leak so he pumped it and we could hear the hisssss.  Turned out to be valve failure - unpatchable, and the three other tubes in his car had either that or the massive split from a few rides back...  the heavy tube came out of the bottom of my bag and into his tire, giving him a slight weight handicap.  after 7.15 by the time we got away.  Due to Nelson's illness and the coughing and spluttering I opted to take the lead for most of the ride.  This suited me, as I wasn't feeling fast and it kept Nelson from blowing himself out too much.

Off up we went and boy were the rocks slick.  No chance of cleaning the first section - the moment we entered it the back wheels spun out.  Same went for the next little bit, but from there on up was only the occasional dab on the slippery trickery.  Good breeze blowing too, pushing and tugging at times, making the slick rocks even more of a challenge.  Mostly good run out and only a few mucky holes, tho some of the ruts are ruttier.  Around the end and round into the boardwalk zone, all good, but after the boardwalks, nastiness ensued.  First it was the holes and soggy ground, then the Teddington Shit was like mucus, splecky and sticky and gross.  After it the trail got good for a while and the downhill was fast, but I was holding on so much I couldn't open my shock up and couldn't turn my light up and so I wasn't the fastest, but then, you probably didn't wanna be, it was just dodgy enough not to be.  Down to Livingston and upwards again, wind strong, good climb then into the cruisey round and down to Breeze, going very slowly down the paddock after the pfmtbc rock, not wanting to be sprayed with muck.

From Breeze Col we headed across the road and up the trail round the side of the hill on the Taylors side, climbing up and onto the wee goat track which was really good, tho obviously being less and less used.  Traction was good and it was just a fun wee track.  Fast descent down to the end and then back round the original singletrack below the road.  This had the usual holes in it, one of which gave me the heebeegeebees, catching me by surprise and me just managing to skip round it.  Would have eaten my wheel otherwise.

Back at Breeze Col we hit the road, moonlight bright enough to rest our lights, all the way round til top of Scarborough where we headed up the hill back onto the track.  The climb was greasy and slippery, with only the grass giving any traction, and Nelson seemed to charge ahead while I grovelled away...  Back on trail I led the way back.  Was a great run, tail wind assisted, flowy(ish), poppy and slicky, all the way back, with only a dab or two.  The final rock sections all the more fun for their slipperiness.  Back at the car 8.45 or so.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Sunday's meandering trio

Saturday I took a couple links out of my chain and also slotted a 16t into the cassette in place of the 17t, giving me a 13-16-19 combo in the range now, which is smoother and less gappy than the 13-17 jump...

I rode the length of Linwood and Humphreys, picking up a nail puncture just as I met the Estuary.  Patched it and still made it in time to meet Steve and Tony at the Ferrymead Bridge (not a very big turn out - the 2 Ws are in Oz, Andy's sick, & Pete's got a bad hammy).  We tootled up St Andrew's Hill, hanging a right up TeAwakura Tce, and up the alley onto Cannon Hill then up to Michael, across to the other bit of Cannon Hill then across Freeman to the Major and took him the rest of the way to the top.  Into Britten Reserve and up up up.  the Spot climbing lovely.

Into the top of Greenwood and lots of new rockpiles filling soggy bits, making me glad of the full suss.  Nice roll across and down to the ruins where we stopped and scoffed a little kai before hitting the down.  Excellent blast down, the earlier rocks that last time I floated over weren't quite as floaty for some reason.  Fun down and round all the curves and then round through the mucky to Gloomy Gulch and around a bit.  Stopped here to regroup and looked back and could see Tony just getting onto the boardwalk, but no Steve...  hmmmm...  then Tony made his way round to the bit of trail I couldn't see and then didn't come out.  Steve had had a wee off and tumbled down below the trail some.  Only a small amount of claret leaking and so was soon back on board.  Off down the rocky swoopy and round into the smoother back and forths and round.  One or two new holes where it's been soggy before the cattlestop and then into the dips and rock-repairs before the wee gulley.  I paused here til Steve appeared again and then off down towards the rocky ups, swooping and lofting all the way.  Stalled slightly on the first rocky up, one foot out, shove off rock and onwards down, up the next one no problem and on down to the bottom.  The Spot still superlative.

Across the road and into Godley.  Made a good go at the rocks, but dabbed out.  Even stuffed up the top bit.  From here on out tho, the climb was sweet, tho Steve wasn't having his best day (the crash previous had put him off a bit, wethinks).  Awesome spin round the top and into the down.  After the second boardwalk (3rd actually - but 2nd of the two after the fence that are reasonably close together) there was a bunch of holes and wetspots that have never before been there.  Then the original Teddington shit section was quite soggy too.  But from it down was smoooooooooth on the Spot.  What a rocket ship, so stable at high speeds, with it's low centre of gravity and plush travel.  Blasted down through to Livingston and regrouped.  The next climb i left it in wide open and it was awesome.  Gotta do that more often.  Descent round to Breeze was also dead smooth, like a highway, lovely.  Quite cut up just before pfmtbc rock...

Into the Anaconda and smooth rolling.  What. A. Blast.  Railed the corners, took bits faster than ever before but with more control, and had a lovely time down through the valley.  overtaking a guy who was obviously struggling, on the off camber next-to-last corner.  Awaited, briefly, Steve and Tony and we continued on down the 'Tail.  (passing the guy again, walking through the rocks, near the bottom).  Next up was the tarseal grind...  Up and over blazing down Scarborough (getting stuck behind a car), and onto the esplanade avoiding random children, to coffee and some grub at DotCom - where we were met by Marie and Mark on their roadies.  Rode back into town with them chatting all the way til I peeled off and trudged the lengths of Humphreys and Linwood again.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Thursday surprise Bottle Ache group spin

Plans changed for me and I'd been invited earlier in the day to a night ride at the pond which in the end I was able to join.  Drove out and met up with a bunch of people, didn't quite remember all their names but included Miranda, Andrew, Andrew, Hannah, Josie, Hugh and a few others, ten of us in all.  Miranda's first ever night ride.  I had the singlespeed and the dog.  I led the way and soon gapped everybody by a good distance, but as we progressed i slowed a bit and they got a better feel for it.  Regrouped at the gazebo, then again just before the ponds one of the guys got a surprise flat.  A wee split in the sidewall of his tire, we ended up strengthening it with another patch, which held for the rest of the ride.  Jet had, until this point, an old red flashy on his collar, which he proceeded to lose while we were there. 

Onwards and through the water feature, up onto the dunes and along.  Good spin, all the way through to Spencer Park where we stopped for mulled wine and crackers and cheese.  Very civilised.  Back on to the trail and we took turn about leading, tho mostly me.  Eventually, at the start of where they're going to log out soon, Hugh led the rest of the way out to the carpark.  Nice for me to be in behind, slipstreaming and going a bit easier.  Jet stuck with me the whole way.  He is SUCH a good dog!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Tuesday with the Krew

Nelson and me met up with Wazza, Steve and Robin, Andy, and Wayne at 6.15 as specified, at the top of the tarmac on Huntsbury.  We chuffed up into the cold breeze.  Rode mostly together well grouped most of the way, Steve hanging back with Robin who was struggling with lurgies and general lack of shape.  Into the Traverse and we rocketshipped our ways round, Andrew never too far behind Nelson and me.  I was enjoying following him, cos the trail was nicely lit up for me with him in front, and slipstreaming is always good too.  Short regroup at the usual spot and onwards round to Vic Top.  Another regroup here then off down the Thomsons.  Fun we blast down the first, Nelson nearly losing it on the first hairpin.  Second half was great with the full squish down the bumpy wooden entrance, and you wouldn't necessarily want 800mm wide bars in those trees...

Kiwi and Andy had gotten a flat back in the Thomson, so, Steve and Robin went ahead to just do a lower half run (Steve's wrist was sore), then Wayne and Warren, and Nelson and me decided to give up waiting and headed on up, not seeing any of the others again for a while.  We could see the two W's lights up on Marley as we were rounding the road.  I led into the Nun, and we fanged it down.  the Spot was glorious - except for the chain bouncing off twice (moar tension needed...).  Rock sections that in the past bailed me up were smooth as silk.  Nelson enjoyed following my lines cos they were slightly different to his usual ones.  I guess I was still riding my hardtail lines...  On the lower section, I had quite a moment on one of the humpies, my back end getting kicked and I was on the verge of heading over the bars, but momentum kept me in check and the rest of the way down was sweet.

Regrouped with the two W's and Andy (Steve and Robin having gone ahead ages before).  Up the road and into the Traverse.  I led for a while but the pressure of Nelson and Andy on my tail pooped me, so I let Nelson lead again and stayed tight on his tail except for when my legs were running out of steam on some of the wee climbs.  Off left down Hunstbury, rocks and tussocks trying to take advantage, then rocket ride down gravel into the landing strip and on down to the singletrack.  The W's took the main track all the way down, til Andy got them at the pylons and got them on track again.  Popped most of the jumpies, Nelson did them all, and was a good run.  S and R had departed not long before we got back to the vehicles at 8pm