In Nelson for the week, so met Ian and Leigh (Lee? Leah?) on the Cathedral steps at 8.50am and we headed for the hills. Usual route through town up the Brook to Codgers and up the main drag to Tantragee, turning out to be a bit of a scorcher... Easy, but good pace all the way, then up Fringed Hill. Hot, baking sun, pounding down on us; no shade round here. A good grind, grovelling away in granny, but chatting most of the time except for the few grunts. Shade in one valley, rest and water, then onwards to the top. Walked the steep approach to the communication towers and sat for well earned feed and rest at the very top of 793m.
Off into Black Diamond Ridge. Short riding section then steep climb, ride, steep climb up to 839m and then a good descent with a few wee walky up sections thrown in for good measure down to 732, then a last climb up to the 812 intersection. Another rest here then into Sunshine Ridge... Hooo. Roots, roots, roots, drops and more roots. I walked once or twice. Was a lot longer than I remembered and was goooood. Rib was holding together, but getting pretty sore the further down we went. All the braking and twisting and controlling was flexing it something wicked. I'ma be sore for a few days from this I think. Many many features down this ridge, with roots being the predominant one. So many roots!
Finally we made it to the top of Peaking Ridge, must be on about the 670m point. Waaaay better signposted to the first time I ever rode it (possibly this one?)... Off down here with the steepest bit about to hit. Of course Ian just flew down it - I got a little way down it then bailed and walked, as did Leigh. From here tho, it was all pretty good. One or two sections walked but mostly a good roll. Lower down I was getting pretty peaked, looking foward to the bottom. Once section in the manuka which I'm sure I've ridden in the past just looked too much, so walked that and we watched as Leigh psyched herself and then cleaned it down. Great blast from here down to the finish, hot and dry in the manuka. 3.5 hours to this point.
Off down the Maitai, staying on the singletrack alongside the pipeline and then leaping into the bottom of the 629 trail to the road. Down the road, gravel becoming seal and then down and down til past Sharlands Rd, found my family having a picnic on the Maitai, 4hrs riding done.. Said seeya's to Ian and Leah and joined the family and coooooled off in the river.