Nelson collected me from across the road from work and we crawled through the usual muppetry that is rush 'hour' towards the hills. Up and over Dyers Pass Rd and through to Bamford Rd, parking up under the macracarpas. TWO years since we'd last visited! A warm and windy evening. Through the gate and across the creek and on around the foot of the hill with the rutty downhill and through the tight bermed corner before the first grunty climb to take us up to the Pines. Plodded our ways up this and into the trees where it was rather dark for shades, dead on 6pm as we entered here. Left the sunnies on for a while but about 2/3rds of the way up there was a small pine across the track, which we shifted and shoved out of the way. Sunnies off here. On up to the top and a brief stop for air on Rhymes with Orange.
Then we detoured around the Outdoor Camp area looking for trails we vaguely remembered, not really seeing any, and looking further up the road a bit for trails I thought were meant to be going in there, but nope. So, back past the camp and down onto Mississippi for the swoopy loose and tight-as-tight-can-be descent before winding around and back up a bit and into Zanes - again with the swoopiness and looseness and tightness. We were thinking a 29r with 800 wide bars would be treacherous. A leaf got caught in my marshguard and buzzed annoyingly, so stopped to back it out. Then off again and down. Out the bottom, launching nice air on the hump by the bridge.
Second lap, around the bottom sidling trail, this time taking in the wee 'canyon drop' and then turning around heading up the steeeeeeep track in the middle, me walking 3 times, that takes us to the top of Mississippi and around onto Rhymes with Orange where we stopped for a well earned rest. Into the Pines for an, at times, skiddy descent. But mostly nice and flowy. Turned around at the bottom and rode back up it, me gasping more this time. Resting again in Oranges, watching a falcon cruising the thermals, looking for rodentia. Then across and down Mississippi again, Nelson in the lead this time, and both flowing much better. Round and into Zanes and fanging it down here, a leaf getting stuck, again(!), I stopped to release it, and then squashed a testicle on my seat - much pain - which lasted til the bottom. Nelson got well ahead due to my agonising pause.
Third time lucky, across the sidler again, canyon drop, and down, then up up up to the pines, me slowing riiight down for these climbings, and Nelson doing reps or sets or whatever, going hard then buttoning off, going hard etc. Resting again in the Orange Rhymes. Final descent, into Mississippi, really getting the hang of it this time, the trees all mysteriously having stepped back from the track to make room for us. All tightness loosened, and way less sketchy. Powering up to Zanes and me staying tight on Nelson's tail this time, no bollocking and no leaf. 7.40pm back at the car.