Nelson picked me up outside work at 4.45ish and the Corona jettisoned us through the traffic to the top of Huntsbury Hill in reasonably short shrift. We needed to be at Wazza's for 7pm... Parked up, we changed and got riding, (b)easterly blustering it's wearisomeness upon our freshly clothed selves, very cool I was to start and for quite a while after, 5.20 as we passed under the pylons. Up we treadled against the gravity, friction of rock and tire, and slope - all which worked against our organic and inorganic machinations. Top of Huntsbury was made in good time and up there was a car with a guy getting screamed at by his lady (who was in the driver's seat), and he'd been wailed OUT of the car He was also randomly calling for a dog we couldn't see anywhere. Dumb-ugly domestics, and the dude was all aggressive saying shit like "what are you staring at?" to some of the other bikers around the place, minding their own business like ourselves. We rode on, and in fact, I lead the charge down the pea-gravel LCD shit-track that is Vernon. Bursts of speed, but also wary and feeling like a muppet. Didn't trust the gravel and my balance was plain weird and the shadows and tussocks all conspired to make many sections annoying. Lost my chain once (REALLY need to do something about that, obviously!). Had flow occasionally tho, and Nelson said I wasn't going that slow, so I don't know.
Anyway. Into and across Rapaki Top and Nelson took the climbing lead and I muppetted and he rocketted and then I got going okay and did alright by the end. Rolled around into the wind and up the hill to Castle-top and chatted to some runner dude here. Into the trail and for a start Nelson's dust and the rocks and the tussocks made a muppet of me again, but as I got going I got going faster and smoother and on the long straight(ish) approach to the first hairpin I was railing, catching Nelson fast, right on his tail through the hairpin and then hopping and popping through to the next hairpin. Down, over the rocks and through where we built that rock pile on that leaking spring that time juuust before the well-built wooden structure, pinchflat for Nelson... Stopped, parked up, very nice spot in the slip-gully out of the wind, nice and calm. He fixed, two riders rode past, on their ways up. 6.20 here, got rolling back up the trail. Cleaned the hairpins bar one very slight dab on the second, and then onwards up just grinding away and chatting. On the final approach to the top, Steve had mentioned he'd cleaned the top, so I dropped it down and perused my way along, Nelson grunting to a standstill and jumping out of the way for me while I said "if Steve can do it, so can I, if Steve can do it, so can I!" as I proceeded past him and on up to the top... :)
Here, there was a guy with a roady who struck up an amicable conversation and we stood and talked with him at great length. Ten minutes at least, and finally it was time to get a move on so off down the road, tucking towards the bottom rolling around, tail wind, me way out ahead (Nelson stopped to check out a slump's potential for a roller). Into Witch at a pretty good speed and onwards, climbing it all nicely then feeling pretty good on the way down to Rapaki, Nelson slowly winding me in to be close on my tail by Rapaki-top. Straight into Vernon, chasing a couple of 29ers who were already through the two hairpins before we made the cattlestop. Wound them in pretty quick and were on their tail for the last fifth or so before the Farm Track turnoff, where they moseyed to let us go on up. Burn burn burn to the top then over and onto the Traverse.
Tailwind blaze around and then down through the tussocks, maintrack, tussocks, and onto the old landing strip across to the fence, over, and sheepshit(dry tho) singletrack, crosswinds tweaking front wheels from your grasp, almost, and following Nelson down the hill at a good clip. Over the gate and shitloads of sheep, and jumps. Jump, jump, jump, railed berm into jump, across, through tussocks, jump, avoid rut, jump to flat, follow rut, rock drop, more rut, jump, and Nelson peels off the track to the left, I continue, jump to flat again, then wee double and roll to the gate, over and to the car. Nelson walking the last 50m or so.
Made St Martins New World before 7 then proceeded to find dinner and antioxidants and made Wazza's about 7.20. A few beers were enjoyed, and the DVD of the trip, which was enjoyed by all, and a damn good job Wazza's done!