Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday's family and Monday's Sunday rides.

Sunday Family ride.
For weeks or months, H had been asking to go to Castle Rock, so Sunday afternoon, I piled the bikes on the car, and T, O, H and me headed up Dyers Pass Rd, then round the Summit.  O and me got out at the start of Vernon and rode down the singletrack to Rapaki Top, meeting the other two here.  We then toodled along the closed-to-traffic portion of Summit Rd, steadily climbing around, with O handling the final climb well, but T and H walking a bit.  Got to the top and looked at the views and then headed back down.  After the Tors, I got up onto the new walking track just above the road and rode it all the way back round.  It's quite neat with one or two wee techy interestingnesses.  Then I took the Witch Hill section of singletrack, really enjoying the flow without a bag on.  O put the pressure on from down on the road to try to beat me back.

Anzac Day Observed, 
The crew were departing Steve's at 9, and he'd let me know we were riding out east, so, because I knew I had to get home by 12, I drove to Ferrymead Bridge and awaited their arrival.  Marie, Wazza, Tones, Pete, Steve and Robin showed up, and we headed up St Andrews Hill (via the temporary stairs).  Up most of Marama, and on up St Andrews.  Good wee slog up here, feeling quite happy and content on my bike, we spaced out a bit, but by the time we regrouped up in the parky bit below Britten Reserve, it wasn't long til Robin and Marie showed and off up the last we went.  Over the new stile onto the Britten climb, which wasn't mucky, just dampened nicely by last night's rain.  Into the clouds, scudding all over the top of Pleasant, and Jackets on for the descent.

Down the road and onto the lower entrance to Greenwood.  Slippery cattlestop, and the odd slickness of the rocks, but the dirt I didn't trust, even tho I never really had any issues with it.  Nice flow around here, and a regroup at the 4wd track before hitting the descent.  Starting off carefully-does-it, but finding my groove and letting the rear end skitter around as it was want, getting on down the hill nicely, thank you.  A few slick spots before gloomy gulch, a dab on the rock just after, and then a short group up at my usual spot - nicely out of the wind.  Then the final run, a good one all the way down, no real sketchies.  I bollocksed the first of the rocky ups, it's really eaten out, but the second was fine, and the final blast was sweet.  A woman runner and dog arrived at the gate same time as me, so she opened it, then I held it open for the rest of the crew as they rolled in.

Next down, das Kapitan.  I led the way into a nice rolling start, and round the first corner there's a cyclocrosser coming up...  oooops, cheers, squeeze on by and onwards and down, opening the dumbgate and passing the message back, "last one through close it", and onwards again, taking it a little easy.  Pete had a front wheel wash somewhere down here behind me, but kept it together.  Down the first 'tech knuckle' rock no probs, and then Pete, then looking back Tony's running with his bike, then they all paused out of view.  Robin and Marie rode past.  Then Steve, with a leaky tire, leaving wee spots of goo on the trail every rotation.  Finally, Wazza and Tones turned up and it was onwards down.  I bailed early on the second of the rockies, and then watched Pete ride it no trouble - dunno what it was that put me off - the grease I guess.  Last blast, down through the hairpins and into the valley and the others all awaiting us at the final stile, all fun and games.

Down the road to Dotcom and coffees all round ('cept Steve, of course).  I bailed early and hauled back to the car and was indeed home by 12...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday night solo jetted bottle fat

Ate a little dinner then headed out to the forest with the Cooker and the dog on and in the back, respectively - musta been sometime after 6.30.  Left the carpark and peeled right onto the blue walking track for a start, following it through til it crossed the bike track which we then got onto for a bit.  Crossed the dump access road, then through the woods for a bit, then hung a left onto the walking track, cruising along this for a while, passing two lots of stunned walkers with small fluffy dogs that Jet bowled on up to, sniffed, and continued on.  A wee while down here I spotted a singletrack off to the left, so leaped onto it and followed it, twisting here and there, til it crossed the access road again and twisted and turned through the forest til it found the original walking track i'd started on.  Followed this for ages, til it eventually crossed the central bike track.  Stayed on the walk track for a while longer til we got to a horse track, which I mistakenly took.  Too bumpy for easy riding.  Got to the bike track again and rode it for a bit, til the walking track crossed it again, so rode this for a while through, crossing first a road then the bike track again and following the walking track through backtracking a little south, then out towards the beach and following a sub internal road parallel to the main trail nearer the beach, still southwards for a bit, then followed my nose through the pine-tree'd dunes to the main bike track.  Followed it north for a bit til it rose up onto the top of the dune, the sea high up the beach and the front dune eroded, i think from the remnant of cyclone Pam.  At this point I headed south again, on the dune-top trail, following it to it's end where it came back to the main trail, and then turned around and followed it again north, then continued on through the main drag, hanging the left back into the main park trail, a 29er dude on my tail for a bit, then when the bike track went right, i continued on through til I got back onto a walking track and headed north, spotting the other guy's lights now and then over on my right, and then across muddy road as I descended of a sweet high dune down to it.  From here we just followed the usual drag through, not liking the usual bit I dont like, and Jet slowing right down through these final legs.  Where the trail heads left and through to the cleared area before coming back to the carpark, went straightahead along a forest road, then along main forest roads right then left and with one little last blast through some trees into the back of the bmx pumpy jumpy tracks area and back to the car at 8pm.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mt Greyrillas in the Saturday Mist

Jet and me jettisoned ourselves from the city in a very smelly leaking-damp Fiat, making good time to Sefton by 12.05.  Nelson turned up not long after and we transferred to the 'Rona, round through Balcairn and up the gravel to Lake Janet.  12.40something as we rode off up the hill.  Long grind, always longer than you remember, into the mist.  Evidence (fresh tracks) all the way up of a 4wd having gone ahead, and finally up in the fog, as we were wondering whether this was the last corner to round before the tower would loom, there appeared said 4wd on it's way down.  Tower then loomed in the fog, and the temperature and wind were unfavourable for hanging around so straight onto the singletrack we went, and down, taking the steeper scree strewn line from the ridge down to the sidling trail.

Feet were soon soaked through from the wet tussocks overhanging the singletrack, but the trail was sweet and we cruised at a comfortable pace down.  Jet loving every minute of it, sticking just behind Nelson who was leading the way.  When we stopped, he'd go sniffing off up or down the hill, locking on to the scent of pigs or hares or deer and having to be called back before he buggered off too far.  First couple of sets of hairpins and we were still in the fog, but not too much farther down we got under it and could see sun soaked hillsides across the valley - very local this cloud was.  Nelson rode the rocky drop that avoids a couple hairpins, but I was feeling chickenshit-cautious and rode the two switchies. From here it was around to the wee saddle and heading into the bush.  Very damp down here, with roots and rocks slippery-as, making caution my middle name.  Fun though, fun fun fun in the bits between the switchbacks, most of which had me just keeping left foot clipped, and manhandling the bike around in a couple of steps (plant front wheel, swing back round, maneuver front around...) and riding on. Nelson cleaned heaps of them, but got off on a few too and crashed on at least one.

So many different environments encountered down through here it's hard to keep their sequence straight in my head.  After the initial bunch of switchbacks, a couple of longer stretches, then finally the best long one after the step-to-rocky-corner Chris crashed on one time.  One more switchback and then the run down to creek crossing.  After this, dryish rocky bits, pungent smell of beech dew, then into an ever-shortening-distances-between-switchbacks sequence down towards the creek lower down, and then more longer drier bits onto the ridge (off which goes the track back up to the fire lookout and 'Lake' Janet and also the lookout on the ridge) and then into pine which was probably the best condition I've ever seen, and then more jungle and slick roots, and more dry beech and then open -what's normally a quagmire but was still dry-ish from the long dry summer - then back into beech jungle, more slick roots and ruts, and the eventually the flatlands and bridge and then out to the end.  All very nice.  Mud spattered and happy we emerged from the woods, encouraged Jet to grab a big drink from the river, and we were into the climb up the road that never ends.  Finally back to the car 2.40pm, 2 hours solid riding - I guess cos we hardly ever stopped..

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday night eastern jam

Ended up being able to get out, so Nelson turned up to my place and installed new cleats into his new shoes, and I installed the new 40t Revolution Components replacement for the breakage of a couple weeks month(!) ago, as well as a brand spanking new chain -  which meshed nicely - indicating my drivetrain wear was not left too late.  We headed out to Scumner, encountering weirdly heavy traffic (especially for 6.30 pm) out Humphreys Drive and over the Ferrymead bridge.  Settled down a bit after that  (only thing i could find that might have explained it was a TEDx thing at Sumner School, but that started at 6...?)  Parked up Evans Pass and hit the trail.  Ugh, first rocks caught me out but Nelson cleaned it up.  Gasped for a fair bit of air all the way out, and the new chain on the front ring was a bit noisy in the lowest gear, but not too bad.  Heaps of merino lambs along the climby bits too - totally getting in the way.

Descent to Livingston Col was smooth, but not majorly fast.  A few more sheep just after the boardwalk, but they cleared pretty quick.  Climb round to Breeze was tiresome for me, but Nelson creamed it, and then crashed off on the flat up top, distracted fiddling with his light then caught a rut...  heheh.  Descent to Breeze was smooth and pumpy but again, not that fast - this time mainly due to the tall dead-head grass tops making it difficult to navigate by reflecting heaps of light back and blocking the view of the trail ahead.  Nelson close-shave slid a little on the cattlstop at the bottom.

He did more fiddling with his light here at the Col and then we took the original trail below the road around and out to the end, watching for holes but not finding any.  Pretty good run, but again. long grass tops.  Across the road and up the hill for the Breeze Bay trail, me sweating up a storm here due to lack of wind and hot climbing.  Bit of a break just over the stile and I delayered.  Got going and this trail was REALLY hard to see.  Lonnng grass tops and narrow, with the big exposures below and hidden slippery rocks (from dew and previous days rain and lack of sun), was a little dicey, but fun.  Cleaned most of it, then blasted the final bits back down to the next stile.  More lighting adjustments here by Nelson, then off down for the blast down Anaconda.  Not too much dust while following Nelson, but I backed off a little.  Good speed all the way down, brief pause on the tail then off again, to finish it all off.

Up the road, and onto the singletrack off up steeep, walking only a couple of small sections, in the guts/switchbacks, and then up alongside the fence.  Up the gravel, chuff chuff sweat, around the road and then up the farm track to Godley track again, for the final blast down back to Evans.  My head light ran out of juice on the descent, leaving me with just the handlebar light for all the fun rocky stuff of the last several hundred metres.  The rocks' shadows were like mountains receding as I approached.  Was surprisingly rideable, tho it had allowed Nelson to majorly gap me.  Back to the car about 8.30.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday morning ramble

Was allowed out of the cage this morning, for a second ride in 2 days.  Made Steve's by 9am to find Wazza and then Steve came out and then Wayno arrived.  No sign of anyone else, so we headed up the gruntsbury to the top.  Warm morning down on the flat, but as we got higher the wind got stronger and colder, til at the top it was nasty.  No where to stop so we kept on round Vernon, finding Mark (on the Wo) and Marie part way down - chatting to one of the Gov's Bay dudes. One by one we continued on, with Steve the first to depart.  Then me.  Good wee blast down here, riding off the track to let climbers by a few times.  Straight across Rapaki-top and straight into the Witch.  Feeling pretty good, cleaned everything climbing around, looking for somewhere out of the wind to regroup.  Paused briefly to let a woman ahead of me walk up some rocks, then followed her up and around til she let me by.  Then caught quickly up to the dude she was riding with, who was riding rather slowly through the fast bits.  Stopped out of the wind in the lee of the bank on the road and awaited the arrival of the rest of the crew.

Up the road, riding with and chatting with Mark about the fatness.  At Castlerock the slow couple were paused, and two guys dropped in ahead of us.  I gave them a bit of a start then chased.  Progressively reeling them in til I was right on their tails at the first hairpin.  The rock just before this tho, my front end bottomed out and as I went round the hairpin I heard some hiss, which very quickly developed into some whoosh, then the front end was really hard to handle, fighting me while I tried to scrub all my speed off.  Stopped, wheel off, replacement tube in while everyone rolled on by (second front flat in 2 days!, grrr).  Mark stopped to keep me company and we caught the others up at the road and on around under the Gondola we proceeded.

Clambered up Mt Pleasant, which for some reason was very hard work.  I guess a little washed out from yesterday's ride, plus the 32:36 granny is quite a push.  Finally, glad to be at the top, sat out of the wind to recuperate.  Others all rolled up in ones or twos and after a time away we went off down.  Fantastic blast down here, I was ducking and weaving my way really enjoying it.  Into Greenwood and again with the rocketship.  Somehow overtook the (slow) couple from earlier (they must have taken the road around to the old Greenwood entrance) and bombed on down.  Paused after Gloopy Gulch to see about a break and Wazza turned up and Steve wasn't too far behind, but could see some people below going slow, so the challenge was set to catch them.  Fanged down the rocks and swoopy bits, but sconed my pedal which kicked both feet out and smacked the same pedal into the back of the foot it'd been kicked out of.  Luckily I was perched above my seat and not thrown.  Around Dave's bits and caught the green/yellow fluoro woman before the creek corner, overtaking her guy there, him walking the rocks and saying "don't make it look so easy" to me.  Bombed down to catch their other two at the rocky ups, cleaning the first, but screwing up the second due to them being stopped right at the top.  Final weave and blast down to the stile and there are the two I'd chased on Castlerock...

Regrouped again, slow couple to pass again, and into Captain Thomas.  Good blast down here, with Mark and me catching up to a guy on a shiny Nicolai at the shitty-gate.  Followed him at a distance all the way down, cleaning all the rocky bits, including my usual nemesis the top one.  Nicolai guy got off on the lower of the two lower ones, which made me ride it really slowly, then he walked up the climb after this, which I held back for and cleaned most of.  Mark, fatly, managed about the same.  Final blast down the openwide stuff, and into the switchbacks, Mark taking all the vertical shortcuts, then full speed ahead across the slope and into the valley for the last blast down to the end, all on the tail of Nicolai guy.

Coffee and some kai at DotCom and then into the wind home, dragging out Linwood Ave about as slowly as is possible.  Tired getting home about 10 to One.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Mucky Saturday Hanmer trails

Spent Thursday and Friday nights in Hanmer.  Had the 5Spot, and was too busy being dad on Friday when the weather was good, so left with Saturday morning after the exit from the rental house to ride in, with rain having not long finished after a night of it...  Low cloud and mist around the place.  Headed up Chattertons Rd past the camp and up the gravel for a while, then onto the walking track at the end and along this for a bit before hanging a right back up the hill towards, eventually, the pylon.  Walked the steep up under the pylon but rode the rest, with caution within the slick woods.  These trails had not seen much action of late, with no evidence of tire tracks anywhere.  A few nice swoopy bits and a fair bit of climbing and past the beehives and then out to the Jacks Pass Rd and the water tank. 

Across the road and into Tank Track.  Much changed since last I rode it, ie, all the trees gone...  (It's 4 years since I'd last ridden in Hanmer, on the return to Canty on our Westport/Reefton PFMTBC trip - and longer still since last on the Tank).  Lots of fun, tho, cautiously on account of the grease, and the end is different to memory as it turns up at the intersection of Flax, Swamp, and Swoop. 

A couple of dads and their boys were here, chatted briefly then off I went up Yankee Zephyr.  Good climb, young trees in place where last time it was all freshly cleared.  Lovely once up in the Fir forest as it loops into a wee gully and back out into the open.  Then into the swoopy swoops of the Yankee, and a few corners in my front wheel started to behave weirdly.  Ugh, slow leak...  Stopped and made a very mucky extraction of tube and patched it.  Couldn't for the life of me find the perpetrator in the tire, but patched what was probably a blackberry or gorse leak in the tube, reassembled and got riding.  Swoop swoop the rest of it and onto Swamp Track.  Not fond memories of it from last time, tho the surface looks better than when it was first built, but decided to ride back up it to Swoop. 

Down (and up) Swoop, lots of fun, some interesting sketchiness, blasting down the hill and around and back and forth eventually getting onto the flat, and heading across to Timberland for the climb.  Steeper and longer than my memory had made it, but cleaned it all no problem and decided to give Red Rocks a good blast.  This was sweet. 

Nice climb in really dark tight douglas fir forest, then everything else on the rest of it has grown so much since I's last there.  Cool track this, even when the roots and rocks are slippery as shit.  After the Eeny Meeny trail turn off the main track gets a bit boring, but FAST.  Long straights down hill smooth and flowing.  Out the end and up the Dog Stream track. 

All the way up to Detox, then climbed this, again, longer than memory, and then down.  Sweet run down here too, with only one dab out for a super slick sluiced clay section, which wasn't actually as slippery as it looked.  Straight across into Mach1 passing a dad and son here, and then catching up to a family (mum, dad and two young girls) who let me pass and on I went, weaving and swirving and generally avoiding slipping out or crashing into trees. 

From here I took flat simple tracks, Easy Rider mostly, but found my way onto Alligator Alley at one stage too, getting back and rolling into town, mudspleckled and happy, a couple hours riding under my belt.  Wandered into the Hot Pools (as a spectator ($2)) and stupidly didn't have a soak (even tho I could have so easily).

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Twosdee night, first-lit Hunt Traverse Nun

Bit of posse action last night.  Top of Huntsbury there assembled the group at 6.22, me finding Steve, Pete, Robin, Wazza and Tones ready to roll.  In twos, for a start, we climbed - with Wazza, Pete and me reaching the top first.  Felt pretty good riding up, all that 'weight' training I've been doing on the fatty must be helping.  Big group of riders were approaching on Vernon so we hit the Traverse, and I had a good spin around here, tho lost my chain in the dipper round under the 'loaf as we passed a few riders coming the other way (one of which blinded Tony (seemingly deliberately)).  After this I was behind Pete and Warren, and finally got to see what they were on about with regards the dust raised by the riders in front!  A couple of times the trail completely disappeared behind Warren (on account of his skidz!).  Regrouped top of Vic and then headed into the Thompsons, swoopy wee blast through these, then across the road and up the Summit.

Progressively strung ourselves out along the road, with Pete and me pausing to regroup just before Worsley Rd start, then riding off up with Tony and Wazza, all regrouping up top of the Nun.  3 other riders here, who took off not long after we arrived.  Then once the others had assembled some other lights were pressing up behind so we dropped in.  I took the lead and rarked up the dust for the rest.  Managed not to drop my chain down here, but down in the squiggles below the rockiest section, but before halfway, I swooped through an armoured corner and a missing flagstone made my wheel catch the next one, snakebiting instantly.  As I got started to get sorted, Pete stopped to lend a hand then Tony arrived and flatted at exactly the same spot!  So we fixed and got riding only to catch up to Wazza who'd flatted further down.  Bloody Nun!!!  (Steve said that's 8 punctures between 4 riders in the last two rides down here).  Steve and Robin were waiting at the halfway mark (not sure if they'd been all the way down and back up or not...?).  Short regroup here (my chain had popped off again, i think here(?) - sorted that) and we continued our merry ways down, me attempting to be lightweight on my back end...  Good run down the rest and managed not to drop the chain again.

Up the road to top of Vic, except for Wazza who took the second Thompson.  Tony peeled off up top here, to head home via the top of Vic Park and down Crashmare.  The rest of us headed back around the Traverse, into the wind this time.  Big posse at the old rest spot, who Steve and Robin stopped to chat to (unbeknownst to the rest of us who waited for them wondering where they were further on).  Anyway, Pete, Wazza and myself took interesting lines through the tussocks off piste down to the landing strip then scattered bunnies across here, where we waited to see the other's lights.

Over the fence, and down through the tussock-tight singletrack and over the gate and down through the jumpy drops riding some and bypassing others.  Back to the car, 8ish?  my lights having held out quite well considering I'd only managed a half hour top up charge before heading out.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Yeaster Monday View Hillage

About 10am took myself off on the Fatty up the road to Chorlton, and on up View Hill Rd seemingly into the cloud.  But, as I approached it it lifted and the sun broke through as I climbed the steepest section.  Fatty climbed the steeps all good, and I managed to too.  Under the big pines on the intersection that had collected their own moisture from the clouds I stopped and adjusted my numb crotch, and my seat too.  Took about an hour to get up to the gate, then another 10-15 to the top.  Spent a bit of time up there absorbing the view and then donned the helmet and skedaddled down.  Immediately became splattered by the dewy spleckage flying off the tires.  Bumpy track!  Stopped part way down to let more air from the tires.  This improved grip and relieved some of the bumpiness.  Little bit of off piste and a lot of on.  Once through the gate the momentum built and the grip and the smoothness of the trail due to the fatness of the tires was phenomenal.  Bike just felt so planted, bombing down.  Stopped a couple times for breathers.  Below the pines the gravel started and so did the speed.  Flying down, so planted, so fast.  Epic speed, and confidence inspiring braking too.  In no time flat I was down on the last fast blastings of gravel before Chorlton and the tar seal.  Then it was rocket ship speed and humming down the road, avoid the cars coming up (giving a couple of them quite a fright), riding in the swale on the side of the road a couple times and along the edge for some of the ways.  Then, into Lukes Rd and up, over down, more roaring speed and then across the neighbour's paddock and up our drive.  1 hour 45 all up.  Straight into my togs and to the beach to meet the family and into the cold cold sea.  Excellent.