Left home with Otis 10.20 am to meet Tom and Tane at Gebbies. We got riding about 11, heading up the gravel road and into the singletrack. Tane was a Gunn down the first descent in the forest. He fanged it. Otis was slightly less gungho and slightly more cautious, but still did wickedly well down the steep roots. Neither of them liked the climb that followed much. And indeed, later climbs proved a nightmare for them. Took aaages to get up the final km or so to the forest edge and a couple of times I had to walk back and help O with his bike up steep bits. Tane tho, lives in Lyttelton, and goes tramping a bunch with his dad, so is quite used to hills, heaps fitter and also slightly more mature than O, managed it all a bit better, but still whinged the way kids do when forced to do stuff that's hard.
Over the fence, and Tane decides to wander off up the hill above (in a bit of a huff), so O and me headed on round the exposed singletrack. O really struggled with the technicality of the trail and the (scary) big drops off the side. He walked the bike a bunch then dumped it just before the Remarkable Dykes. I think he was almost broken, tired from a late night, and only running on breakfast and a few nibbles of OneSquares. Bit of rain started spitting down at this stage too. From leaving the bike, he perked up a bit and jogged and walked while I rode low-speed along behind. Tom and Tane appeared behind us and we all got to the hut about the same time. A few walkers about the place. Rain got heavier. Tom and me sat in the hut listening to the rain on the roof while the two boys wandered off up the hill towards Bradley. They got quite high up and disappeared over the ridge. Rain eased, so we decided to get moving and started heading up to get them and they appeared. Back down to hut, Otis headed off jogging ahead and we got ourselves rolling behind him. Nice ride down, rocks a bit slippery. Caught him up before the Dykes, and he got back on his bike and riding. I zooped on through to the fenceline and waited and watched. He was pretty cautious but did really well.
Over the fence and we whooped and holla'd as we swooped and flew down the singletrack. One or two techy bits that caught the kids out but Tom and me had a good roll down. Through the open bit near the wee hut / bach thingy and into the forest again. Lovely swooping flow down here, and into the steep switchbacks. Bunch of walkers here, past them. The boys did good through the steeps, drifting the corners. Then the descent through the dark douglas fir and onto and up the road, around, rather than the way we'd come down, then into the paddock for a wee bit more climb to the top. Off down swooping and jumping along the fenceline over the roots and ruts down to the next stile. Then down under the trees and over the roots, and the barbed-wire edged climb into the steeper rooty one which we all walked up (me pushing two bikes) to the last open climbing over the top and down finally to the road. Gravel rolling around and Tom and me took the walky track just below the road, bombing down to the cars.
Not even 12 kms, and only 442m gained...