Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday night Jetster in the forest

Jet and me headed up top of Worsley Rd after 5.30. I's on the Turner (for a change), with the granny back onto 32:36 (awaiting a new 40t), which certainly hurts when you're not used to it, but is actually pretty rideable. Up the main rutsville main drag, all the way. Cleaned it all bar one breather. Just before the bottom of the 'bag I hung a right and headed down the Braille Trail. Rolled over or skirted round every jump, discovering that most of them you could roll - although the ones you can't roll all have big holes so it's probably better safer than sorry... All the way down across the 4wd access trail, and below (like the last time I explored it) to the pylon track, then back up both of them, not struggling too bad.

Eventually back up to Worsley's and on up the access entry track to the Tommys et al.  At the usual resting spot, I found another rider. We chatted for quite a while then I went up and he headed down. I checked out Nick's new access to Debbie Does, which proved too scary steep, so walked it, rode some, walked a little more then rode on.  All the way down thru the darkening forest into the taller stuff below the cliff, and just before the corner round into Alice's Restaurant, I detoured across onto another new one (something knuckle...(MOOSE)), which also proved too steep for me on my own. Walked a bunch of it, rode a little, and walked a bunch more, eventually making it to the bottom - trail junction central, bottom of Tommy's, Goat's, Alice's and Fight Club.

Up the exit trail then straight up the steep gnarly internal guts track, managing to stay on top of my gear all the way except for one gasping-breathing stop not far below the pylon gap.  Onwards up from here, right on up, standing and cranking, to the cliff top lookout and light starting to get pretty damned low, straight into Wayne's World, much difficulty seeing, but going with the flow, and then blazing into Fight Club, parts of which were sweet, others, dark as hell. Dropped Jet and had to wait for him just before the log feature. Onwards down and out after 7.30 by now and by the time I made the top juncture, it was really dark in the final forest descent, out to the car and home just past 8.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday evening, beached

Quick fatty ride this evening.  left home well after 5 and ended up parking out top end of North Beach, rode in and up the trails, exploring non-bike trails and the beach and the dunes and all over the place.  Was interesting.  Found some quite cool wee gems of trails, perfect for fat tires, that would be useless on regular tires.  Meandered along the beach, into the dunes, along trails, back onto the beach.  Ended up right up at Spencer Park, and then rode various trails back near the beach again, til eventually took the wrongway trail back in round the back of the Closed area, then along a road for a while, then into a walk track that ended up crossing the southern trail before the Gazebo Hill.  Here, took a trail along the fenceline and climbed back up onto the hill and down chasing a couple.  Then it was through the last section of trail before cutting out and back to the car. 

Brief stop at Parklands for a couple of brews I've not had before, and then a dvd from Shirley and I was home just after 7.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday night quick fatty and skinny hills

Nelson met at mine and we were thinking we were meeting the crew up top of Huntsbury at 6.22.  Steve, who'd organised it (as usual) had remembered he was busy, and so had announced he wouldn't be riding.  We got there at 6.15 and were well ready to ride at the appointed time, and no one showed...  Txt went out to Wazza and Andy, and Wazza rung me from the top of the hill above us.  Andy's text I didn't see til later. Decided with Wazz to go our own ways as he was doing the full flat-hill-flat loop ride from home.  So.  Me on the Fat and Nelson on the Skinny Singlist, we were definitely coming from both ends of the riding spectrum.  We both struggled our way up the jumpy singletrack and then onwards up the single to the landing strip.  On up the gravel, fat gripping good, and keeping a good clip, especially Nelson on the one choice of gear not actually capable of going slow.  A few looks of shock and awe by other riders parked up on the road, as we rolled on through and onto Vernon.  Bit of a roll through til a big bunch of climbers rambled past, then we got going down the old line with rocks and switchbacks.  Steering under braking on the fatbike was interesting, and disconcerting, with the steering becoming kinds stiff.  Down the fast bits and around, another pause for someone else just before the wee pondy-dam thing, then blazed off again and through the finish.

More smiles and awed faces at our apparent insanity, fatty and skinny, as we rolled through the top of Rapaki, and straight into the Witch Hill climb.  The rocks and the fat tires made this hard work work for me and so, Nelson pulled away, and I lagged behind.  Really, what my problem was was too much air in my tires.  Onto the road and Nelson stayed on the new walking track above the road while I rode the first bit then stayed back down on the road.  Up under the Tors and then into the Castle Rock descent.  Feeling a little smoother in here, and getting some good speed, and rolling and bouncing over the rockies, but still struggling a bit - thinking well it's not designed for this kinda riding, and that's what I've got the Turner for, right?  Round the switchbacks, not too much of a gap between the two of us, but into the climb and Nelson's dropped me again.  Fat bikes aren't racers.  Down the last rocks and then onto the Bridle Path top.  Short rest and on up the road back to the top, then mega speed down under the Tors, into a tuck and the big wheels really got rolling!  Down the road, and into Witch again, tires gripping on the rocky climb betterer than anything else, and then I started to actually remember how to ride a rigid bike and down through the rocky lumpy shit I was popping and hopping properly and getting into the swing of things again.

Light was starting to fade and Nelson didn't fancy the singlespeed up the first steeper bits of Vernon (and tbh neither did I), so we stayed on the road from Rapaki, but at Farm Track we hung a left up onto the singletrack again and climbed away, Nelson gapping me as usual.  Bouncy bounce down to the road and here I released some air from my tires.  Into the singletrack and oh my fucking god what a difference.  Grip.  Control.  Comfort.  All three and man what a difference a few psi makes.  Into the steep descent then bombed it down the gravel road and I've never felt such grip on that surface.  No skittering or ricochet, just planted grip, control, and speeeeed.  Down onto the landing strip and speed carried on through to the fence.  Over this, and down the singletrack through the tussocks, grip and rocks not a problem this time.  And it was even quieter.  Then over the gate and down the jumpy trail, me missing all the jumps as I'm still not 100% confident of my control of this beast.  Over the last fence and to the car at 7.40. 

So, ideally, a bit more air for any roady bits and climbs, then down a few psi for the tech.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thursday Fat Bottling

Nelson picked me and Jet up and we left my place about 6 for the Sandpit. Good spin round at a good clip most of the way. Jet was super fast for the first half but started to wane after our brief visit to Spencer Park, as did I. Hard work keeping up with Nelson on those big fat tires.  I played a little with air pressures.  Putting a bit of air in while we were at Spencer Park.  Changed the handling and speed quite markedly.  Just before the 'new' section towards the end, which is really shitty bumpy, I let the air I'd carried from Spencerville out, and some, and continued on.  Bump compliance was improved, but resistance and self-steering was increased.  The fatty definitely is not gonna win any races, but hell, that ain't what they're for... They's for fun.  After a bit of a muck around and Nelson having a go on the Fattster, we got home about 8.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Hog's Fat

Family weekend at Castle Hill Village, wandering around the limestone monoliths on Saturday, and a quick look with O and H up the Castle Hill end of the Hogs Back in the evening, as well as rolling around the village on our bikes.  This morning, T took O and me around to the Cheeseman Rd and dropped us off up at Texas Flat dead on 11am.  From here we ground our way up the Hogs Back, O walking bits and bobs, and me enjoying the climb on the Cooker.  Awesome day, sunny and warm, we stopped at Picnic Rock for a few snacks before O led the way over the back and down through that weird moonscape.  He did pretty good, but was very careful, which is good.  The fat tires stuck to the trail like glue, and really do provide a much smoother ride than a normal sized tire rigid bike.  Had a great run down into the bush and down through to the bridge, then a sweet flowing roll down and around, talking to the first people we met, a walking couple, who were interested in the big tires.  Onwards and through the ford then up a steep grunt, O walking that bit too, me cleaning it all.  Met a rider as we went across the open country before the final climb.  Amazing views all round.  Fun blast down the semi-rutty ridge track, O nearly crashing due to the ruts, the fat tires just eating them up not phased at all.  Two more riders just emerging from the bush as we headed down, fun blast down through the bush here and then back into the village and back to the house at 12.20...  No time at all.

Afternoon, we walked up through the Cave Stream, which was awesome, then went back down to the start (stream exit) and had a great time swimming in the river just down stream from the cave.  Spent hours there.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thursday night Godley Snake breakage

Rode from work to Nelson's work and then we navigated the rush hour with traffic finally easing as we eased down the causeway and made our way to Sumner City.  Through this and up the hill to Evans Pass.  Riding from here, up the grunter of Godley start.  Just about to enter the rockiest of the guts I shifted from third to second, and shortly after heard a clunkity clunk then a tinkle and so stopped to ponder what it was.  Seems by shifting into 2nd the chain had overshot slightly and grabbed a handful of the 40 toothed granny gear cog which then proceeded to snap off about a third of it...  musta been slightly bent and my immense torque was too much for it??  Oh well.  will have to try a different brand perhaps, or I'll see if Rev-Comp will help me out with a fresh one.  So, had to be careful for the rest of the ride to only go into the 36t.  Cleaned out the rest of the climb and onwards, Nelson forever increasing the gap on me.

Brief pause at the landing strip then onwards down, an excellent blast down to Livingston, and good climb (Nelson gapping me again) over and blast down to Breeze.  Straight into the climb around the side to the narrow little sheeptrail around above the road, stopping at the start of that to sit on the hillside and look at the sun shining through the clouds on us, and the hang-gliders cruising around from top of Scarborough launch spot.  Off again, focusing closely on the narrow track, then up the hill towards the 'round the back' track.  Stopped again briefly, this time on the concrete gun-emplacement or whatever it is.  On up to the Breeze Bay track, over the stile and onwards.  Awesome run round here, both of us flowing really good, our rock feature from last time totally in place and rideable, and all the tight pinches.  Cleaned all of it except a couple of tight bits before the flax bush (which was no problem to ride round and past).  Sweet sweet flow on from here and down and around to the stile at the end.

Straight over and into the Snake.  Tight on Nelson's tail we bombed down here, scuffing and weaving and blazing.  One of my best runs down here for a long time.  Into the 'Tail and I was close behind all the way til the last bit where I finally lost my chain, stopped, quick reload, and then bombed out down the last bits, into the paddock and across to the car park.  Nelson had chased a cat down the trail for the last few hundred metres.  Also, somewhere along the line he'd bust a rear spoke.  Stopped at the toilet/changing block to tape it up, then hit the climb up the road.  Ugh, grovel grovel to the walking track part way up.  Up this, struggling without granny, but cleaning it all much higher than last time, not having to walk til the last 10 metres or so near the top.

Up the gravel to the hangglider/parasailer launch site, round the road, and up the grind back to the Godley Track.  I led down this back to Evans cos Nelson wanted to baby his rear wheel.  I had an excellent blast.  Every rock feature I picked a good line on, flowed, with the tail wind everything just seemed quiet and smooth.  Fantastic.  Round about 7.30 as we got back to the car.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Welcome the Phatness

Picked up a very large box from Fastway on Saturday morning and assembled it as soon as I got home.  A Charge Cooker Maxi 2 Took it for a spin out into the redzone and enjoyed the ridiculous traction and go-anywhere capability.  Very wet overnight so the usual Sunday was cancelled and as the day cleared up I realised the mood I was in was due to not riding for such a long time... 

So, opportunity knocked and I chucked the Cooker on the back of the car and headed out to the Ache with the dog.  Straight in and to the right, catching up to a woman on a flash carbon 29er singlespeed, following for a short while then getting by and ahead.  The 4.25 inch tires sticking to the trail like nothing else.  Practically steers itself round the corners.  I took a couple of off-piste lines through here, and any of the sandy blow-outs, the bike just floated right over.  Into the climb to the gazebo and then speeding downhill and through into the bit that'd been closed and then out to the dunes. 

Along the front and I took a couple of lines that regular tires would have sunk right in to.  The sandy blow-outs along the top here proved un-eventful.  Further along I tried out one of the hare-trails off the left and bombed over a back dune into some pines, but then spotted some other dogs (big ones) being walked, so hauled up Jet and turned back to the main track.  Once at the forest section I took heaps of off piste lines, finding adventure left right and centre.  Eventually found one that climbed out to the top of the dune way before the main track does, and followed it along the top.  Sweet riding on sand.  Found the regular track again, where it rides along the top of the dune, then hung a right and ploughed down the path onto the beach.  Fun descent and then with a tail wind we cruised for a km or so along the beach til I spotted a saddle in the dune easily ridden up, finding it to be a horse trail, loose sand though still rideable, and then a right hander back onto one of the main drags in here. 

Along this for a while then took a line off to the left where there may have once-upon-a-time been a track but no longer.  Up and over through around back up and then into a thicket which I had to turn back out of.  Then over and through to a drop down back onto another forestry road further in again.  This one ended up being very close to the singletrack that heads north into Spencer Park, so followed this for a while.  Then, did some more riding around in the forest finding how close various trails actually are to each other, and was on the trail heading back.  Lots of cool lines, wall-ride type things, extra high berms to be ridden, that due to their sandy nature normal bikes would get stalled in.  Lots of fun.

Finally back to 'Muddy Rd' and back into the usual loop trails, taking every old disused track I could find.  Jet starting to tire a wee bit, and me a little.  The fatbike rolls just as easy as a regular bike.  And if it is a little harder, that'll only make me stronger, right?  The last sort of new section that was built to avoid logging is seriously shittily made, and was okay last time on the 5-Spot, but not okay on the old singlespeed, proved not so bad, but not as good as the Turner.  Once back at the final return road, I took one last blast off into the forest, riding randomly in and through and back out, just for the hell of it.  Big tires make interesting echoes when sticks and stones whack them.  Tis quite an experience. 

So.  Test number 1 successful.  Where else can I ride this thing???