Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Annual Trip, Day 1, (Fri 17th Oct) the Road and...

The tradition that stems from the distant past, pre- this blog, that I've been an attending member to since the 2nd ever, was continued in good measure this year, with the crew assembling at Woodend, outside Owen Stalker's Park.  Pete and Alistair picked me up and shoe-horned me into the Cosworth for the journey to the meeting spot, with my bike having been dropped at Warren's the night before cos Pete's rack only fits 2 bikes...  At Stalker Park were: Steve, Robin, Tony, Andrew, Wazza, Wayno, Nelson and Mark and Marie.  I transferred my shit into Nelson's car, bike inclusive, and we all convoyed north.

Rain was ominous the closer to our destination, but after a longer than desired stop in Blenheim we moseyed to Rarangi, saddled up in a brief showerless period and headed up the road.  Within 50 metres I knew something was wrong with my newly fitted fork.  Fuck, I thought.  It'd sat down in it's travel and was not returning, and ended up, if I was lucky, giving me 2 inches of what should have been 6.  This altered the geometry somewhat and made it rather uncomfortable to ride, and gave it shitty handling, and this I was stuck with riding for the duration of the trip.  My mistake, and obviously I've learned from it, dont make major changes to bikes just before trips.  Anyway.  we rode up the road, stringing out like a strung out thing, down into Whites, then up the gravel which was longer than rememberd, as usual.  Eventually got to the start of the Loop track, fireroad up the hill, and regrouped in a big downpour.  At this stage, Marie and Mark were no where to be seen, and due to the rain, the time limit we were under (4 o'clock at Havelock), and time it was going to take all these riders to attempt the >600m climb from this point, we made the call to bail.  Most returned via the road, but Pete, Alistair and me made the excellent choice of riding the walking track back.  What fun.  Sweet benched singletrack, with horrendously slippery clay/rock in places, and lots of switchbacks.  Nice we descent, thankfully not meeting any walkers, and then through Whites Bay, finding Marie here, and so the 4 of us now climbed out.  Lovely dry (under the pines at least) climb, switchbacking up to the road, then along the road a bit, me alone now out front, where I met Robin, and I took the next walking track down, while Robin headed down the road.  Great spin down the walking track, totally different to what I remembered from when Nelson and me rode it years ago, but fun and switchbacky to the bottom.  Reassembled, waited for Mark who'd 'apparently' gone up where we should have come down, had we done the full loop...  Then headed and met Steve Abba at Havelock.

Loaded (SO MUCH!) gear into Trev's boat and Nelson, Pete, Mark and me in Steve's boat, and had a great ride out, 45mins or so, way out Pelorus Sound to Wilson's Bay where we were staying for 3 nights.

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