Sunday, July 26, 2015

Windy Sunday Morning Meander

Quickly (chain)whipped off the cassette, removed the offending 40t and replaced the 16t with the 15 and 17, reassembled and got the hell on the road to Steve's for the 9 o'clock meeting up.  Was only a minute late, and then we waited for Wayno.  There were Pete, Tony, Wazza and Steve, plus us two late-comers, and we were meeting Marie up the hill.  Round through Hanson's Park and up BananaRamarama-harerama-krishnakrishna-ramaramahana, Aotea and Grunts, getting warmer as we climbed, all delayering at somestage.  Lovely sunny day, and my climbing groove was on, riding pretty much all the way up neck in neck with Pete.  Bloody windy when we got to the top, and Marie waved out from a little further up on Mt Vernon, so we joined her but it was just as windy there.  Once regrouped onwards we cruised around into the wind and down the hill.  Off piste to let some climbers climb, and bit of a regroup again at top of Farm Track, slightly less windy here.  Then the fang, blast down, only one climber met, and he'd stopped for us, then zwoop zwoop round the hairpins and across the Rapaki-top, fair few around, braving the wind.  Straight into Witch Hill, which I cleaned very nicely thank you, climbing all the ups well then cruising around and down to the road and finally a respite from the wind in the lee of a roadside bank.  Steve rolled in and announced a crook-guts departure, down Crapaki before he got caught short.  The rest of us moseyed onwards up, battling the wind across the saddle below the Tors, and then finding the top of Castle Rock to be quite peaceful.

Excellent run down this trail, in mint condition, I put on massive bursts of speed.  Wind was a factor in places, trying to steer the tire off track, but survived to the first switchback, and rolled on through the next and then got pushed up hill and around, and in the face on the last descent before the end.  We regrouped at a very busy top of Bridle Path and then rolled on around the road.  Insane winds just got stronger and stronger as we approached the Gondola corner, nearly stopping us at the corner itself, then completely disappearing about 50m up the road from there.  Then, leaving the closed road section we were all pushed up hill for a bit.  Another regroup at the start to John Britten.  Then I led off down the singletrack, hammering around and staying on the low line, til the curved climb back up to the trees and back into the wind and around to the end.  Here, I peeled off down, having a swoopy fun blast down to the bottom, and then beyond, following what seem like loosely marked trails down to a bath stock drinking trough, over the fence to the very end of Upper Major, and down through the wee steep reserve then a flying blast down the road to Craigieburn Place, and into the switchbacks, first walking the steps, then riding down, a couple of the lower corners very greasy and rutted, but otherwise very fine.  Great waft down the hill to the bridge, past a guy and a dog, then into the next fast bit down to the tight hairpin and in the bit before the next hairpin I randomly lost the front wheel traction on the edge of a rut, coming SO close to losing it that the adrenalin kicked in, giving me the shakes as I was rocketing down the trail below the next hairpin.  Last little climb, bit greasy in here, then the flat out full bore blaze down to Glenstrae.  Took the singletrack around the McCormacks Bay / estuary edge and then after Ferrymead corner got myself into Charlesworth Reserve and rode through there instead of Humphrey's Drive.  Home at 11.30am.  Good ride, roughly 35kms in all.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Night, Horse Packing

Nelson picked me up just after 5 outside work and we negotiated the traffic to the hill, up over Dyers and through Gov's to Teddington and up to Gebbies where to park.  Cold easterly plowing through here, so cold changing, I wore my jacket to start the riding in.  6 pm and straight into the climb up the road, puffing and wheezing in the cold night air.  Onto the singletrack, and it was greasy greasy, splecky wet to start, but over the hill and on the downhill entered the trees and under-tread was roots and needles.  The metal drum 'bridge' is rusted through so other options need exploring with the small creek in here, then climbing again, up roots and around the corner and up the fenceline to the stile.  Jacket off here, and climbing ever climbing up the paddock, trees all gone on the right now, over the tussocky top and down to the next stile.  Down across the road and onto another road, spotted a vague singletrack to the left, and thought it might be a goer.  It wasn't.  Ended up losing front wheel traction on treefelled stick piles, and getting almost bluffed above our road, so Nelson led up the hill to make for a chute.  Bit of carrying over log piles and saturated skidder site ground, around to the chute and down, big water bar in the middle, then onto the road and down through the darkness.

Singletrack into the forest here, nice dark forest, climbing around and up to the sequence of switchbacks where my low gear started giving me gyp.  Bit more climbing and what the hell is wrong with it...?  Ah.  fuck.  broken, again.  The RevComp 40t was broken and bent, disallowing the 36t being used, but also interfering with the spokes, meaning I couldn't freewheel, essentially making it a fixed gear for a while.  Caught up to a waiting Nelson, eventually, and I tweaked it clear of the spokes and 36t and adjusted my low-stop and we rode on.  Climbing climbing through the pines.  One tree across the track, a couple of soggy bits, and suddenly we were on the next switchback sequence, and on up up, short descent, and final climb to the forest-edge stile.  Munch here, then onto the tight exposed singletrack around the hillside.  Fun climbing here around through the Remarkable Dykes and a few techy rocks to get to the Packhorse - roughly 7pm.  Been done up, not quite finished, hung out and had a look around briefly, keeping out of the wind that hosed over the saddle.

Now, descent time.  Funtimes around the tight singletrack, riding 'on the edge'.  Popping little rock roll overs, and wallriding whenever possible.  Then it was into the trees and the real flow began.  Swoopy, marginal control at times, flowy and fun. Bombed it down and through, sketchy corners here and there and a few near-misses with trees.  Out of the forest and across an open area, mucky grease challenging the traction, then back in to the woods and so much fun.  Swooping down through the tight switchbacks and then flying down through the 'dark' forest which ended all too soon.  Onto a logging road, up and around to the skidder site, then back into the tussock climb before the long fast blast down the paddock to the stile.  Into the barbed wire fence trail blasting down here and then around and wham, climbing again.  Me walking heaps of this, whereas Nelson only walked a bit then cleaned a bunch getting out of sight over the hill.  Then we were in the mud and over the top and last stile, and final road again, til the walking track just below the last section of road, which was a real blast, even tho I stopped to take a call half way down.  Finally, back to the car, 7.40ish?  Chased "01Evo7" to Gov'nor's Bay pub where we went in a partook of a fine ale, and while we were there the local mtb crew (that Mark knows) arrived and we all got on famously, enjoying their free fries...  Awesome.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Ashley Snow Gorge

Hill tracks were all closed, so the crew were just gonna head through Sumner and ride the Summit Rd back towards Cashmere down Rapaki, and as Nelson and me had discussed potential snow riding out his way, I decided to go with that.   So, Jet and me bundled into the car and headed out to his, got him and we headed out German Rd and then up the start of Lees Valley Rd.  Parked up on the first corner, spectacular views all around and down onto the Ashley Gorge, and got riding.  Pretty chilly, but sun shining so quite good.  As we climbed there came more and more snow on the road, slowly building to a couple of inches, frozen spots everywhere, and evidence of only 2 vehicles having travelled it.  Noisy it was, riding on this frozen snow.  Fat bike performed well and Jet had, as usual, a lovely time cruising alongside or along ahead.  First descent, nice and long, weaving in and out of little valleys, lots of beech forest around, sometimes riding in the tire treads, but finding better purchase out of them on the virgin snow.  Down into the valley, everything frozen solid, and across the bridge and into a frozen solid climb.  Hairpin hairpin hairpin and then around and onwards up climbing a couple hundred metres before starting down again.  Hillsides above us were being blown something fierce, whipping up big rooster tails of powder snow from the treetops.  But down around us not too mcuh wind at all.
Some of the valleys we went into and out of here were really deep in lovely powder snow.

Finally a descent for ages and around to a view point overlooking all of Lees Valley.  Great view:
and then looked at my watch; "Oh Shit!" It was 11.40, and I was meant to be home by 1!  We turned around and started climbing again.  After this climb the descent to the bridge was so long and feet were freeeeezing, build up of ice on bottom bracket of the fatty.  Freezing across the bridge then a lonnng climb back to the high point before a gentle, and surprisingly long section, much snow turning to slush in the sunnier spots, and much milder and wetter than when we'd ridden in.  Back to the car at 1, all up 32 kms (16 each way), and maybe 600m altitude total?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Morning Vic Mental Health Park

Decided to take the morning off work cos everything's been a bit much lately and definitely havent been doing enough riding.  Drove with Jet across to the end of Bowenvale Ave, some time around 9am, lovely morning, sun shining and only a few touches of frost around.  Way more mild than it's been of late.  Headed up the main gravel valley track, getting warmer as we climbed.  Into the forest and up K2, walking some - I'm sure it's gotten hella steeperer.  Frost around where the 23 footer is, and then very smooth packed gravel the rest of the way up.  None of the ruts and rocks and (occasional) roots of the past, just smooth sailing.  Delayered under the pylon and continued up and around past the 40footer riding up past Rad^sick rather than straight up the guts of K2.  Around the bend, cleaning the rest up to the skidder site for a breather, before hitting the last blast up, pausing once for a breath, then onwards, clambering up past the jumps and having a good look across at Worsley's from the rabbit paddock.  Jet half emptied the water trough then had a good sniff around the paddock chasing scents.  Up more, around to the top of the park.

Downhill time; headed towards the Summit trail, then veered left and back across down to the seesaw which i bypassed.  Then straight down the rabbit paddock and into the rockgarden and into the gums.  Took the wee lefthander track (not looking very used - and for good reason as I was about to discover...).  Within about 10 metres there was a tree across it, not a very big one, then another bigger one.  Clambered over these, then down a bit more and just before that tight droppy lefthander was a bunch of about 5 trees across the track.  Climbed through these and rode again.  One more tree a little further down and the rest was clear.  Wouldn't take much, maybe half an hour with the pocket chainsaw, or 3 minutes with a real one.  Flowed on down into the lower reaches then continued on down below the access road to the skidder site.  Out the end and rode back up to the skidder on this.

Into Shadazza's and yumpity yump, then checked out a right hand line which I'll save for summer when the steep roots aren't quite so slick.  Walked back up to the main dragzzers and flowed back and forth across the slope then into Brent's and kept left holding the high line across and down into the valley.  Over the bridge, off the cattlestop, into the muck.  Very sticky sloppy wet around until onto the sunny slopes, Flowed down Flow and into Bridges across and back and down, final section really slick, wet smooth volcanic red rock, then zipped down the gravelled valley track to the Hidden Valley Link track.  Bollocksed the bit immediately after the creek crossing then proceeded to clean the rest.  Up Up Up and onto the Old Skool.  Surprisingly good nick.  Someone had run up it, i think, earlier in the day, for their footprints had picked up slabs of mud.  My tires weren't doing too much damage as I was riding to avoid that.  One or two spots you can't help it, but the rest was easy.  Good flow down here, focused mind and zen-like state achieved.  Final section hung a left and tried out the other drop, rather than the nasty hole one...  Rolled down the car jumping to shake off the mud, 10.30ish.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Morning, Nelsonia tough stuff

Delivering the niece and nephew to their home in Nelson, drove up Saturday and home on today.  Took the Spot and Jet the dog and made contact with Ian for a ride.  Met him and Leigh (and her dog Middy) at the entrance to Codger's at 10am, and off we trundled.  Up the main trail, left on Pipeline, then up Jack's Track and around to the top of Turners.  Here Leigh and me and the dogs headed down Turners, and Ian headed up to grub a new line at the start of Lollipop.  Turners is big and wide and swoopy.  If you knew it well you'd catch massive air on it.  Was pretty good, I lost my chain half way down and had to keep the pace to roll up a few bits and I recognised the bottom half of it in some gums.  We rode it back in '05 (referred to there as a "new track" off Fireball...).  At the bottom, there's a nice wee climbing track that'd been started by Ian and friends, granny pretty much the whole way, lots of switchbacks, in the native (with one or two old man pines too).  The top of this is a skidder site from whence we headed to the right and up an access road to a corner, then up a steep wee grunt (i walked, but Leigh cleaned it.  At the top there's a picnic table, and the dogs had a really good play up here while they waited for us.  Looking down the trail I was greeted by a taste of things to come.  STEEP and a bit greasy too.  Ian led off ahead and cleaned everything, stopping every now and then to let us catch up.  I walked heaps, and Leigh cleaned most stuff, but walked a few spots too..  It was SO steep and some of the corners just so dodgy.  So many bits that I'd barely ever be able to ride...

At the bottom we headed back up the climbing trail again and from the skidder site in the opposite direction (back towards Turners) to the next small saddle and up a steeeep ass and greasy thawed-frost access track that we all walked.  At the top of this started what began as a wickedly good track, apparently called Smasher.  Off camber, through dark forest, douglas fir mostly, and big swoopy corners.  First section was great, then it crossed a fire-road and was rideable for a while, but the lower it got the steeper it got and was a bit mental, in a completely different way to the mental that was Lollipop.  Walked a bunch of this track, too, but rode out the bottom and we were down at the Maitai River Sunday Swimming Hole.  From here we cruised down the Maitai track and back to town.  I got back to Flamedaisy about 12.30.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Toosdy night Cold Red Zone meander

On Monday night I texted Nelson to say to bring his bike in on Tuesday for to hit the hills before the winter blast hit after work.  Unfortunately, I sent said text to T's phone, and so Nelsie never got it.  Touched base with him Tuesday morning and he had his commuter, so he came to mine after work and we had dinner before heading out into the 'Zone. 

Down my street, over Swanns Rd Bridge and around Avonside Drive, Jet loping alongside, my handlebar light on Nelson's bike, and me with my helment light.  Around to Gayhurst Bridge, over the foot bridge here, and on downstream on Locksley, houseless redzone.  Down Kerrs Reach past McBratneys, across New Brighton Rd, and then into the Horseshoe Lake singletrack.  Quite a nice wee trail in here, albeit short.  The frost was settling already, but the boardwalk sections weren't too dodgy.  At one point Jet stumbled into deeper water than he expected, and Nelson lost his balance and dropped a foot into, luckily, shallower water than it might have been.  Dunked to the ankle, his foot proceeded to freeze the rest of the ride.  At the end of the accessible trail we headed left and through to Liggins where I'd popped out last time.  From here we cruised around to the end of Queensbury St, then cut across to the top end of Kingsford.  Down here, brief sojourn into Moncrieff and the dead end boardwalk then back down Kingsford, across New Brighton, Mundys, Fleete, Birchfield, Ferner, then along McBratneys and around River Rd to home.  Dropped Jet off and onwards to Pomeroys for a couple of nice beers - Ava's new Mama Mighty, and a Parrot Dog Riwaka Secret for me.  Yummo.