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.