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.