Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday Mt Oxford Epic

Rather large ride today, and likely the last of the year for me. 

Paul and Luka arrived at mine at 7.15 and we Brava'd out to Nelson's. Weeded my garlic in short time then we hit the road for Coopers Creek, Nelson following in his own car.  Parked at the end of Mountain Road and got riding about 8.50... When I say ride, all was well for a start, but eventually ducked down over a bridge and there was a bit of a walk, then rideable climbing, but it got steeper and steeper with less opportunities for riding and more opportunities for walking. Eventually we were all walking, pushing at first, then carrying. One or two small taunts of riding and then above the treeline we were all carrying (tho Luka held out and managed to push (rather than carry) most of the way).  All of us found a method of carrying that worked for us - Nelson, kinda seattube across his soulders, back wheel behind his head, rest of bike hanging down behind; Paul - either arm through the triangle, top tube on shoulder, pedal in elbow, hand on front wheel; me - sort of top tube across my shoulders, wheels out either side, but for a long haul I somehow managed to have it similar to Nelson, with maybe my pedal hooked on my pack and I was hands free walking, trudging, up the incline. We probably carried for an hour, at least. It was very long and quite arduous, taking around 2 hours 40 mins to reach the top.  A couple of women and 3 kids up there when we arrived, tho they'd gone by the time Nelson got there.

Bit of a break and feed, then off down the ridge to the west. Passing the family on the way.  Some steep stuff, and a little bit of climb. Then down the side into the bush and wicked steepness. A few nasty climbs thrown in for good measure just to keep the rinsing, and rooty gnarl and steep steep steep. Stopped at one stage and Nelson took out his brake pads to see if the spares he had were any good, they weren't, and the ones he'd taken out weren't as worn as he'd thought, so got going again.  More steep rooty goodness, with a few really flowy sections chucked in.  Then finally(!), Wharfdale hove-to and we hung a left and clambered up this to the Link Track. 

This held a HELL of a lot more climbing than I'd ever recalled, and lots of getting off and walking/carrying over rooty boggy bits. Met a few walkers on on their way up while we were on the way down too.  We were all getting pretty rinsed by the time we got out, just over 5 hours after we'd departed

We climbed 1075m in total, over a 19.25 km loop.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing Day Picnic, Park, Home

Eight Hundred and Fiftieth Post!!!!!

Big extended family picnic in Vic Park, so I took the bike and rode from there, - up the hill thru skidder site, up the steep bastard, past Brake Free, and up into the Thomsons.Across the Kiwi, txting-base with Nelson who was doing laps in the Park,  planning to meet at the top.  Up the road to top of Worsley and fanged it down the Body Bag.

Through the gate and chatted with some guys here before heading up the uphill track to the Chair, 3pm. Sat there expecting Nelson to show any second, to no avail. So rang him as I needed to get going, they still hasn't hit the lift, so off I went on my own. Considered doing the old favourite Throw the Goat, but figured I should explore a new one, so headed down Lord of the Possums... Berms berms and more berms. Through familiar country including an area from Wayne's World to Fight Club (R.I.P.). Caught up to some guys near the bottom, so mustn't have been going too slow.

Big open area with only 2 choices today due to some Muppet having crashed on the one I wanted to do, DOHC and requiring helicoptering out, so, it was either the easy riding green track, Active Rest, or the black option, Airtearoa. I chose the latter. Boost after boost after jump after jump, taking it pretty easy and never giving momentum too much free reign against gravity. Eventually made it down in one piece and headed down the access road (a surprisingly long way out!), then hoofed it into the wind home by about 3.45pm.

This here being the start of my ride...  it seems to stop around where I stopped to turn ON the clutch on my new derailleur, part way down Possum.  263m gained, and wouldn't have gained much more than that as it was all downhill from here.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Morning Fat Posse

9am meeting at Steve's, and I was on the Commando because I'd only gotten the parts (SLX 11spd cluster, shifter, chain, and derailleur + Blackspire Snaggletooth) to repair the Turner's drivetrain on Saturday afternoon and hadn't had a chance to put them on it yet.  So, angry bees buzzed across town to find Steve, Tony, Andy and Wayne waiting on the corner for Pete (who didn't show) and finding me instead.  Then I got a text from Paul saying he was 5 minutes away.  The boys took off at a leisurely pace and Paul arrived and we chased, catching them just after Grange.

Around Aynsley Tce and then on up Crapaki - busy as always.  Reasonable pace up here but Steve was complaining of his guts when we headed into the Full Monty.  I stopped to adjust my suspension - ie, let a little air out of the tires.  Nice climb up and around with me at the back, then fun bits, with only me taking the 'harder' option, getting in behind Andy and Steve for the next section rolling across the face of the hill.  Fat tires gripping so so well on the off camber corners; very sure footed.  We stopped and peered down at Glenelg spur (just now realised Glenelg is a palindrome) looking for potential ways up here.  Steve, here, decided that he'd be bailing when we got back to the main track.  We cruised the climb through to the end, Steve bailed and I led the way up the singletrack above the main drag.  Good roll up here, the fat bike feeling pretty good.  All the smooth trails were sweet on it, but the rough stuff is hard work.  Only Paul and me stayed on the singletrack, the others choosing the easier climb, and I blew up at exactly the same place as last time, just before a rocky steep.  Walked that and then rode the rest just fine, peaking before the others, then a regroup at the top.

Up around Vernon, easy riding, and then into Traverse, speaking with a clusterfuck of riders all seemingly taking turns at attempting to fix some guy's tire...  Left them to it and had an awesome run around the Traverse.. Regroup at the usual spot, and let some riders through, then on around to Vic Park for another regroup before the trees.  Into the trees and down past the see-saw then down through the rockgarden and my favourite gummies trail.  Even this was fun on the fatty, tho the roughest stuff was hard, and the seat doesn't drop easily, so it was oldskool stylez.  Rolled out to the skidder site and there's a guy under a space-blanket being tended to, blood on his head, not looking too flash.  Usual over cooking of the jump, landing nose first and being polevaulted head first into the ground.  Ambulance on it's way.

Off down Spazza's, the lower rooty bits bloody difficult, battling the bike with who's steering it.  Then straight down between Pono's and Brents and out the ridge straight ahead, and into a new wee one I'd done a wee while back on my own.  Sweet steep entry, then a couple of techy features, then more steep and then zigs and zags in an oak forest, then onto Flow (or bridges?).  Down this main trail into the lower swoopy zigs and zags and down the bottom of the valley.

Into Hidden Valley Track, I cleaned the creek nicely and was just making my way up the steep bit after it when I couldn't hold onto my balance and started tipping.  Left foot wouldn't eject and over I went, landing upside down, bike pretty much still on the trail, with me attached, lying in a big old pile of blackberry.  Elbow blooded, and knee must have smacked the bike somewhere, and arm a little shredded by the blackberry, but managed to climb out and get riding, cleaning the first and last two switchbacks but not the second.

Into Old Skool.  Mostly a good run, some of the rocks proving a bit pushy, but I reckon I'm getting the jist of this fatbike thing, and quite enjoyed it til the last few corners.

Down Bowenvale, and Paul and I went our separate ways (and it looks like Andy, Tones and Wayno went for coffee).

So, what with all the riding across town and all, totalled 31 kms, and climbed 585.

Replaced the drivetrain on the Turner when I got home, and then we headed out to Bottle Lake for a family ride with Lisa and Tane, and Ollie...  Alas, Hugo had a big smash on one of the jumps on the pump track before we left for the ride, smacking his head and scraping up his whole right side.  I took him home and the others went for their ride.  However, the chain on the fatbike snapped when they were most of the way out and T had to walk back.  (my bad I think, I should have checked the click -- click -- click -- I'd noticed on the way back across town in the morning... ooops).

Also.  On Saturday, Mark had his first session in the Chch Adventure Park, and Nelson had his first day on Monday...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wednesday Evening Lungs Sprung around up and back

Usual pick up, traffic navigations, up Hackthorn, Dyers and over the hill - parking at the Governor's Bay jetty. Rode round the waterfront trail, quite enjoying high tide and pleasant odours, -ish. Thru Allandale, spotting kingfishers galore, and then some kereru swooping around as we headed up the road and into the bottom of Living Springs. Climbed in the valley, cross the stream a couple times and around onto the nice new Totara Valley climb into the Pines then on up up up - noticing a lot of onga-onga around the place, looking lush and vigorous.  Clamber clamber, through Rhymes with Orange and then up the grass and through a couple of gates.

Above the Outdoor Centre, climbing through the gums, through a dodgy gate, then into the forest, sidling and climbing, up more, in the bush on the awesome twisty turny climbing trail.  Stopped to pull some weeds (foxgloves), and then I brushed my arm through some onga-onga and no dock was to be found.  Yowch a bit.  Thru the difficult fence and then a bit more bush before coming out onto the open lands.  Across to the cabbage tree, and back up the other direction, getting steeperer and steeperer til I walked a bit.  Re-mounted and rode on for a while, through the gate and the trail was nice and cleared, having been weedsprayed at some stage recently.  On a particularly steep grunt I completely exploded my drive train. Got to work fixing, and half an hour it took, using rocks and breaking Nelson's mini pliers in the process, we managed to remove a couple of bent-arse links, cobble together the chain with a couple of 9spd quicklinks, and bash my granny ring out of the way sufficiently for me to continue upwards using the 36t (2nd gear).

Nelson rode most of it, but I walked a bunch of the steepest bits, and eventually we made the top, walking over the fence and up the hill a bit; observing dickhead boyracers taking blind corners on the wrong side of the road at speed.

The view from the top:

brief snackage, and then it was time to head down. Fun blast. So so good. Back down into the bush and it was exhausting, twisting and turning, avoiding bar-strike, sketchy, slightly greasy bush soils, but just so good. Puffing a lot by the time we got to the dodgy gate.  Then down past the Outdoor Ed Centre, gates, and into Mississippi, me nearly getting taken out by a couple of big lambs, but catching up Nelson, and swooping down and through the kanuka forest.  Then around to Zane's, the climb not so bad, and then down, what a blast.  An off camber root and my own muppetry made me stop briefly (without crashing) about half way down, and Nelson got a good lead on me which I never gained back.  Finishing off with an awesome floaty jump at the bottom.  

And nearly done, back around into the new Totara Gully for a super fun downhill and then around the hill and down again, funtimes, finally cruising down between the fences to the road again.  Thru the Freedom Campers at Allandale and we blazed back around the waterfront to the car.  All good.

16kms travelled, 638m climbed and descended

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sunday Bottle Ache with the kids

Another round of Bottle Lake.  T away for weekend, so sole charge parenting in action.  Picked up H's new (tardme purchase) Xmas present bike from Rangoon, then home and load the other bikes, O, H, O's friend Ollie, and Jet, out to the pond.  Did the main loop, me on the fatty.  H found the new (26 inch) bike much faster than his old 24 incher. And had the hang of the gears by the end too, which was cool.  Jet, as usual, had a glorious time.  And O and O were pretty quick.

13.4 kms, and a massive 85m climbed... Family fun.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Wednesday night family ride

I was gagging for a ride, and asked my boys if they wanted to come then T said why don't we all go...  The Turner was at Josh's getting new suspension bushes and lower linkage so we were short one bike, meaning T needed to ride the Fatty, and I had to settle for the townie...  So, chucked all the weight bikes on the back of the Fiat (cos T had a work car home), and we wallowed out to the forest.  Hit the trail, me with my be-slicked tires, cruiser bars and basket(ish thing) on front, T on the fatbike and the two boys on theirs, Jet racing off ahead.  Headed in, hung a left and headed through to the pond, then on through and out to the beach.  Stopped and checked out the beach, Jet had a swim, I was tempted to skinny dip, but no one else was keen.  On southwards.  An encounter for Jet with a slightly dodgy dog, then in the quickest way back and through the forest back to the car by 9pm, a late night for the boys...

Slow, no altitude, and short, but fun.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Sunday Morning HuntsTraversiVicOldSkool

Needed to be home by 11, so left home before 8am, drove to Paul(deSp)'s and we parked over in Bowenvale Ave.  Headed around the road and up Major Aitken Drive, then up Kenmure.  Paul's just gotten a new (to him) bike, but it only had slicks on it, which we let some air out of once we were up on the gravel.  But they sure were noticeably fast on the seal...  Up the gravel of Huntsbury and then short detour up onto the singletrack for the final bit of climb through to the landing strip and then on up to the top.

Onto the Traverse.  Nice roll across here, Paul really enjoying it, with his skills-of-old coming back to him.  Been more than 10 years since he's had an off-road bike.  Under Sugarloaf and then into Vic Park, down past the see-saw and down the rabbit paddock into the rock garden and into the gums.  My usual favourite lines down through here and out to the skidder.  Then into Spazza's, winding our way down and Brent's, taking the right-hand direct route, which slips into the bottom 50m or so of Rad^Sick.  Then into Bridges and Flow or whatever and down the valley.

Into Hidden Valley Link track, I cleaned the creek crossing and bit after, then the first hairpin.  Second hairpin, however, caught me out.  Onwards and upwards, relishing the climb and the top couple corners, which Paul didn't do so well on.  Out to Old Skool and down this, lots of fun, pumping and weaving the way down here and out, back to the car. 

1 hour 9 minutes riding, 14 kms, and just shy of 500m climbed.  Back to his place for a coffee just after 10, and I was home well before 11.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday Slickery El Capitano Livingstoned

Usual pick up from work, with more diabolicalness than ever before on the traffic front.  But, eventually we made our way to Scumner and up to Slumnervale, whereuponst we parked and changed and got riding.  Up past the horse paddock and around up the steps and onto the Captain.  Clamber clamber, me not dying as hard as usual.  However, just after the cabbage tree diversion exit I snot-rocketted my nose and proceeded to bleed from said nose...  annoying.  Staunched it a bit then got riding again, sniffing the blood for a good while up through the hairpins, finally settling it down along the flatter bits.  Through the first rocky wee descent and up the first of the techy challenges, and the drizzle set in, finally wetting the place up a bunch.  We debated what to do and continued onwards up, the rocks getting doused slightly more than was desirable.  Dirt was still okay, although it was starting to sort of cake a little on the tires, still dry underneath.  We took a break under a tree up at the old stile (to the road) and watched roadies negotiating their climb in the wet.  The drizzle kinda eased, but was still there in a very light manner, so we continued up, desperate to have some altitude.

Across Evans and up onto the Godley track, cleaning entirely all the first climbing bits, and onwards still.  Nelson I think managed everything, but much further on I dabbed once or twice, but never stopped.  Eventually to the high point and overlooking Scarborough and south-east towards all the headlands and View Hill (above Little Ak), we were out of the drizzle, but up the harbour and Mt Herbert was engulfed.  While we stood there it seemed to be looming so we thought to Livingston and back would be okay. Off down and a great speedy descent, traction all good and trail our friend.  Lower down they've lowest-common-demoninated the fuck out of it, somewhat pointlessly.  The swoopy cornery stuff near the bottom was still raw like it should be tho.  At the col we could see the drizzle approaching again so we headed on back up, straight up the face and then veering slightly to the right.  Nelson cleaned it all, but it was too steep for me a couple of times so I walked.  Rode out and spotted that they're building a zig and a zag, which will be good for the climb in the future.  On up and around and the drizzle increased a bit, and we peaked and then skedaddled for the Pass.  Rocks were slick as slipperiness, and pinged our wheels leftwards, rightwards, and centrewards.  I baulked twice, dabbing to a stop, but also flowed and grooved some of the hairiest rocky sections, pinballing down the track.  Nelson blazed ahead, seemingly not worried about the wetness at all.

Across the pass again and into the Captain, slick rocks and nice friendly dirt, all the way down.  Cleaned 2 of the techs, but saw Nelson blow out the bottom one, so walked that then watched him do it again (nearly getting pinged off again).  The rest of the descent was pretty decent, and we rolled through the bottom and back to the car in due course.

12 and a half kms, and 485 m climbed there and back again

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Saturday Worsley Jet Loner

Finally got out for a ride... A week in Fiordland, then family time all week.  Couldn't join Steve and others on their meander today, so got out a little later after dropping H off at a friend's.  Parked just above the hairpin on Worsleys Rd and headed up the singletrack next to the road.  Hung a right and having a look found that there is no longer an entrance to my old favourite, Utopia.  So, jumped into Farside for a quick blast down.  This is still fun, and less open ground so less overgrown than OneShotLucy (which I rode down later on).  Fun to the bottom and then back up the grinding climb, this time continuing on up on the grass beside the road and up the next bit of overgrown-by-long-grass singletrack and then up the road proper, Jet loping along side me all the way.

Headed through the gate from the carpark and up the singletrack-doubletrack up into the relief of some shade in the trees.  Ground up the steeps and clambered onwards and upwards, noting all the exits from above as I climbed.  Up round and through Braille and up to the top to find a whole bunch of bikers resting, including a dog (and it's accompanying rider) Nelson and me saw another time right here.  I headed off down the newby that travels below the Worsley main-drag, bombing down and ticking off the entrances to the alternative routes down, choosing number 3 (or 4, depending), and blasting down it.  It's one of the shorter ones, spitting you out onto the 4wd climber in no time.

Back up the 4wd climbing track, and back up through Braille and there're all the riders again...  Jet talked to the other dog this time, and tried to have his way with her - dirty boy.  Back into the singletrack again and a sweet blast, all the way on the high line all the way to the end this time, finding some of the riders at the bottom again (weird).  I walked up the steep walking bit to the jumpy trail entrance and the blitzed down this, popping some of the jumps but not the big ones and not the fence gap, again.  Down through the lower section, more popping and weaving and out the bottom then up to Epitaph and riding down this to the carpark.

Jet got a nice drink (belonging to the other dog, methinks), from an icecream container that I kept refilling, and he had a wee rest here too.  Then I made him follow me down the road, not rocketship fast like usual, as I didn't wanna get too far ahead of him, then down the overgrown-by-long-grass singletrack and down the roadside into the Farside zone, this time blitzing down OneShotLucy, all the way.  Man, it's overgrown now, moreso than the other week with Nelson.  Finally the last climby bits and back down to the car.  Hot and bothered, jetty panting happily but me a little worried about his heat.

Only 12.35 kms, and only 468 m climbed...  but they wuz steeeeep(ish)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sunday Morning Hilltop Meander

T was out doing the stupidmarket shopping and so I couldn't leave home til 9am, the same time as Steve and Wayno were leaving his.  I cruised at a good pace across town and followed them up Crapaki Track, getting a text about half way up but not reading it til I got up to the flat bit, less than 10 minutes later.  Sat on a seat and read the text which was saying they were doing the new 'Full Monty' ride out round Montgomery Spur.  I didn't want to chase them around that, so I sat and watched the punters ride- and jog- and walk-by below me for about 15 minutes til the two boys turned up.  We got rolling again on the singletrack above the main drag, and then continued up the newest section (just finished the day before as per link above), above the top section.  Got a little steep in here and Wayne bailed while Steve ran out of oomph exactly where I had.  We walked maybe 20 m and then got steep riding again, then across to the gate.  Quite good up there...  Suggested improvement is a zig and zag or two out for the steepest bit...

Onto Witch Hill, cleaning all the technicals and cruising around, along the road, into Castle Rock, me chasing down a woman on a Santa Cruz.  I had insane bursts of speed at times, weaving and gnarling down the trail, catching her just around the first hairpin, her pulling over to let me by, climbing nicely out and over and then awaiting the two boyz.  Dampness of previous days rain keeping the dust nice and low.

Around the road, and figured why not head over Mt Pleasant and get the top section down to Greenwood, so that's what we did.  Slightly damper riding up here than further back (cos its higher, I guess), but nice down the rocks, boogying through to the end.  Then my ride around the original Greenwood entrance was smooth and sweet.

Finally, up the road and into Britten.  Quite long grass down here, so trail narrowing a little.  Good fang down and around, then where the old stile and fence/gate were I noticed a new trail to the left, so followed.  I wove right across the Britten Reserve, one nice rock section, in the middle, then all the way over the far side, and around under some rocks and cool descending down to the top of Longridge Pl.  The boys had missed the turn and arrived above me down one of the original trails in there... 

Zoooom down the road to Craigieburn, and into the zigs and zags, nice roll down through McCormacks, enjoying it except for the carefulness on the spikey boardwalk bridges, then the final blast down the bottom reaching rocketship speeds.  Finally, around the bay, onto the main road and I split at the bridge and cruised the length of Linwood Ave home.

Good number of kms (30+), 750 m climbed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Wednesday Evening Worsle None Guv

Usual pick-up from work with the usual traffic issues getting to where we were going.  Parked by the poplars next to the Adventure Park entrance, and we headed up the hill. Next to the road for the first steep, and up the singletrack beside the road higher up too.  Finally to the carpark and then on up the main drag, meandering out left of the trees overlooking the park again (like last time) climbing the singletrack to the watertank then on up, this all way more overgrown than last time.  Then over the fence and up the main rutted usual Worsley old skool track.  Nelson pulled ahead, chasing some other rider, and passing a walker, who I took ages to catch, dabbing out in lots of the technical stuff, til finally I passed her and kept on rolling.  Brief stop at the bottom of the Body Bag, deciding where to go, and choosing the same, heading on up, with me dying a slow death up here til eventually I had to walk. 

Over and up to the top of the nun, chatting to some folks up here before following them in. Not a bad run down here for me, with Nelson pulling over to add air to his rather soft rear-end, and so I flowed and popped and wound my way down.  Pulling out at the half way(ish) stop and watching as Nelson came down the hill.  

We crossed the road here and headed into the Governors Bay trail, down this, with a close call for me (nearly launching myself off the trail) and then around the hill and up the grunty climb, most of which Nelson cleaned (seemingly effortlessly), while I cleaned heaps, but just blew up towards the end, dying on the final steep bit that I'm sure wasn't there last time.  

From here we headed up onto the Crater Rim walkeway above the road, walking the first few rocks then riding the rest nicely, back to the start of the Gov's Bay track, then across the road again, and onto the next section of Crater Rim walkway, walking all the bigger steps and steeps.  Up to Worsley Rd and over the top and down the fang-worthy Body Bag, keeping on top of the rut-ridge at speed is tricky, and I couldn't see a thing as I approached the big launchy jump at the bottom due to Nelson-raised dust.  

Down a little and off to the left, into the 'new' trail in the forest before the Braille entrance.  Into here and, 'huh!', a new track peeling off to the left not too far in. Explored this and it flowed quite nicely, with one or two wee pops but eventually it petered out (in an area we'd explored before), and so we rolled on down through the sort of trail to the 4wd track, and climbed this back up the 4wd thru Braille, nearly getting taken out by a speeding youngster who was ripping down Braille (obviously fast enough to clear all the gap jumps).  Finally reached the top and headed back into the 'new' trail.  Nelson took the wrong turn towards the jump (that's too big), and I blindly followed him, then got back on track and led the way down, keeping the gap a reasonabl size.  Great flow down here with nice wee jumps over roots and some rocketship speed zones and skiddy loose rear endage.  Kept on the highline all the way down, and dropped out onto the 4wd just above the wee creek.  

Peeled right here, and walked and walked up the hill (under the powerlines) to the jumpy trail.  Nelson did the first really big double, and I followed him through most of the other jumps pretty well, but baulked, as usual, on the fence gap.  Good speed through the rest, tho I pulled over for a grom who was bombing through, and then over the last few jumps and down onto the 4wd again.  Peeled right again, climbing up to do the final Epitaph and out through the gate.  

Down the road tucked into speed mode, grabbed One Trick Lucy - which was a little on the overgrown side.  I got loose in the lower gummy/wattle area, and Nelson got past me, then this vine got all tangled in his rear wheel, so we stopped and cleared that, then lower down everything was really overgrown, hard to see the trail ahead.  Final wee climb out and bombed down the last dirt trail and onto the road at the corner, rolling fast back to car.

17 kms and 700m gained...  all good
What wasn't good was listening to the US Election coverage on the way home.  What a bunch of fucking morons.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Saturday morning Hanmerlicious

Hanmer for the weekend.  Got out and did a short loop with my boys, about half an hour, then dropped them back at the house and took off for my own ride.  Together we did Swamp and Swoop, H doing well on the climb, and pretty cool on the descent, and O just flying the lot of it, both really enjoying the downhill.

Dropped them back at the house, and headed up Chalet Cres, finding my way firstly down a long drive to a house, turning around and then cutting through onto a walking track down to the end of Swoop.  From here I went up Timberlands, huffing and chuffing like crazy, then up Jolliffe Saddle Track, gasping and grovelling the top few tens of metres.  Had a rest at the top here, and then headed off down Upper Dogstream to the first bridge.  Awesome descent, with some really tight trees for the wide bars.

Across the bridge and up to Bigfoot, climbing away zigging and zagging like crazy up through the forest, then ducking out into the open on every second corner whilst gaining more and more height.  Descending, this trail with it's aspect and views reminded me a lot of K2 in Rotorua, except there were none of the log-droppy challenges that K2 had.  Heaps of fun, and had me wondering when it was gonna stop it went on for so long.

Out to the road and down a little to the entrance of Detox.  As usual, seemingly long climb up and around then I had a nice rest and ate the only food I had in the shade of a tree.  Off again, and a nice blast down, nearly having a mishap or two, but not quite, and blitzing it down, and across the road straight into Mach 1.  Nice ups and downs along here, kept my speed up and pedaled hard on the climbs.

Across the road onto Camp Track, and finding a brand new trail off here.  Headed into it, freshly gravelled, and under-bermed corners meant keeping speed was hard, but it was quite fun, albeit very easy.  It seemed to go for ages, looping out then back, with a couple of nice descents, very short, and short climbs back up to the level.  Eventually it spat me back out onto Camp Track, and so headed along here and then up the Dog Stream Track to half way or so, and up the road to Jolliffe Saddle again.

From here, headed into Red Rocks, climb climb, false descent, final climb, then bombing...  rocks and fun.  Grabbed Eeny Meeny, then chose Meeny this time (had taken Eeny the last two times (and just now realised these last two options should be called Miney and Mo)).

Back out to the road and decided randomly to head back up Swamp, then stupidly all the way up Pawson's Rd, which was a nightmare due to the logging that's gone on - think: extremely churned up mud by big machinery and logs, turned hard by drying out...  nasty.  From here it was Tank Track down, swooping and weaving and launching, lots of fun, and then straight onto Flax Gully Trail down.  Don't remember ever riding it this way, (but may have back with Al years ago), short climbs, but mostly nice, and back out to Jacks Pass Rd, and bombed down (nearly 60kph on the gravel) back to town, straight to the bakery to fill my starving belly.

24.5 kms and 600 m gained.  Felt like more, I guess cos the climbs are mostly pretty steep, even tho never that long or high in themselves.  Highlights are Bigfoot, Tank, and Red Rocks...  all three by far my favourites up there.  I considered doing two laps of Bigfoot, but alas...  Was feeling really good the whole way, even tho I was a bit seedy to start, but climbing Pawsons really killed me, made me starving and tired.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Wedkneesday Night, XC beat up

Pick up on Moorhouse by Nelson and as per usual we trafficjammed it, tonight to the top of Huntsbury.  I headed off up the jumpsy track, gasping away on the clunk that's still in the bottom of my lungs.  Part way up I looked back expecting to see him catching me up but he wasn't there.  Hmmm, that's strange.  Figured I'd keep going and check further up.  Again, not there.  Over the brow of the hill now and up to the gate, wondering what was keeping him.  So, from the gate I rang him, and then saw him right down at the bottom, so killed the call and settled in to wait.  Eventually he turned up across the fenceline, having come up the main track - it being faster.  Then we set off up the singletrack, me in the lead and pushing hard, getting the air into the lungs and burning up the legs...  Over the fence and up the landingstrip onto the gravel, where another, older, rider was powering off ahead of us.  Nelson overtook him up past the cattlestop, and I didn't catch him til the top.

Off over Vernon, for a start, blasting down the older line and then peeling off down across the road into the top of Farm Track.  Been a while, that's for sure (all the last few times have been upwards).  We avoided the main track, choosing the tussocks and sheep trails instead, meandering down finding a really good line, albeit slightly rutted in places, to the pond above the gate.  Dropped to the gate, over this, and on down the main track for a while, until I chose a sheeptrail off to the right, around through tussocks to the pylon track.  Ignored the (obviously out of date) No Bikes sign on the gate, and headed up and over, into the steeper and steeperer descent into the Rapaki Valley, stopping to admire the view of all the wee bods cruising up and down Rapaki, then dropping in, down down down to the bottom, some fun techy steep shit near the end.

Over the gate and up the valley, reminiscing on the old singletrack up here, cleaning lots of the fun tech, before eventually cutting across onto Rapaki at the bottom of the last climb.  Headed back down Crapaki, on the singletrack above, down to the new sheep/cattlestops and into the new Montgomery Spur Loop the boys explored the day before.  Good zig zaggy climb then swoopy, some off camber weaving down.  I took the 'Harder' line and Nelson took the 'Easier' line and I ended up miles ahead of him.  Enjoyed the vista across here, and the carved in bits were quite cool.  Thought the trail was a lot further than it looked too.  Finally, lots of climb back up to the start, and off down back to the singletrack above Crapaki until the drudging climb continued.  My right calf feeling knotted and sore all the way up, puffing and chuffing, to the top where the views were spectacular and the breeze nice and cool.

Into Witch, both cleaning everything, and powering through it all pretty good.  Onto the road and Nelson chose the walking track above, while I took the easy option of riding along the road below.  I ended up at the top of CastleRock track first, Nelson having cruised up on the verge-side of the road to save his tires.  Whilst here the sun finally disappeared behind the clouds in the west and it suddenly got really cold.  I layered on, and we decided light was gonna be pushing it to loop Castle Rock, so up above the road and up onto the Tors track.  I found this more technical than usual, but cleaned nearly all of it, then rolled down across the road and onto the walking track Nelson had climbed.  Nice blast down this and through onto Witch for to climb hard, cleaning it all to where Nelson was waiting at the high point.  Then off down, popping and grooving all the knobbly rocky bits, making for a much smoother roll than usual stalling on the rocks.

Across Crapaki Top, no one around now, and into Vernon, me starting to get pretty tired, climbing climbing up and around and over.  Then across the road, where there was an Enduro-as-fuck group of guys, who took off down Huntsbury and then into Old Skool.  We took the traverse across then dropped down through the tussocks and blasted down the gravel (on account of slowly losing light) and across the landing strip, over the fence and onto the singletrack, sweet blast down this, Nelson messing up the big jump.  Then over the gate and down, jumping all the jumps (except the wooden one for me), and flying down to the car.  Awesome.

20.4 kms, and over 700 climbed.  All good.  I was really feeling it, the beat up by the rocky sections, and the overall size of the ride, having not done much lately.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Kaikoura Peninsula Fatso

Shoulder injection Friday after Rotorua, so have been off the bike since then.  Took the fatty to Kaikoura thinking I might get up Fyffe or up the coast to Okiwi for a ride.  Weather wasn't so good, so I took what opportunity I could and got out Saturday morning for an hour or so...  From Dave and Jana's headed onto the beach trail down to town, then along the Esplanade and around the back road back up to Tom's Track.  Lots of steps, but some rideable bits up onto the top of the peninsula, then across and over to South Bay via Forest Trail, which had some interesting looking jumps built by the local kids.  Moseyed to the start of the Peninsula Walkway and turned around at the no bikes sign, heading back around the waterfront and then back up the Forest Trail.  At the top I hung a right along Torquay along the top of the Peninsula to Dempsey's Track which also had steps but less steep than Tom's, so was a good blast down the hill.  Back out to the Esplanade, through the back of downtown, and back along the beach track up to Dave and Jana's, finding Tra'y and the two kids on the beach having a play. 

15.7kms, 200m climbed, all in just under an hour.

Weather really packed it in that afternoon, and Sunday morning snow was quite low down on Fyffe.  I was totally keen to get up there, but did a walk around the seals and gulls and rock platforms and back over the top instead.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Vegas 4: Back into the Forest Tuesday 18th

Not such a terrible night's sleep, thanks to cough mixture and Otrivin nose clearer made me slightly healthier in the morning, but still potentially not the best for riding.

We chose a different path into the forest, this time riding up Tarawera Rd, and up a little singletrack on the side of the road around to the big water tank.  I collapsed into a coughing-nearly-puking mess at the top of this, managing to extricate a couple of small lung cookies from myself and feeling a little better afterwards.  We moseyed up Tokoaarangi Pa Rd, or something.  Anyway, climbed horribly for a bit, making me walk, and eventually leveled out on the ridge, undulating up and down a couple of times - much nicer.  We made our way surprisingly quickly across til we could see the top of K2.  Explored briefly an apparent trail (unmarked) up top here, but to no avail.  (Tho, I spotted one diving off into the bush up here and thought that would be interesting some time.  I'd love to explore a bit more...).

Around to and parked up top of K2, ready for this grade 5 descent.  Headed off down, Pete and Nelson first.  The very first filter, a rooty drop caught me out and I dabbed through it, but from here on down I managed nicely, cleaning everything else.  Mostly all very fun and rideable, but there were one or two good challenges, with big drops below holding roots.  Nothing a little commitment and roll-through couldn't handle tho.  We sorta regrouped once or twice, and various members of the party struggled on some of the tech, but we all got down safely and regrouped at the bottom, rapt with our performances.  A climb out up to Red Tank Rd (or Pipeline/Windy Rd according to Trailforks (which I think is wrong)), and around to the BRudeNot2 intersection.

From here we dropped into Bunny Juggs 1, which was a ripper of a wee trail, rooty and tight, swerving down through tight forest (immediately next to the end of Sweet'n'Sour).  Back up onto the Direct Rd for a bit then short climb into Bunny Juggs 2.  This climbed in native then was out into cleared chaff, open, new trail.  Fun little thing, some loose edges and jumpies to pump.  Around and back to the road, for the roll up to the shuttle stop.

It was about 12.40 or so here, so we decided to hang out, considering several of us were under the weather by now.  Chatted to the other shuttle driver (who'd visited our house the day before) for a bit here while he waited for his private shuttlers to return.  1pm rolled around and at about 1.15 the Shuttle rolled up, pretty much full.  We gave the few remaining seats to the few singles that had turned up, and we awaited it's return.  20 odd minutes later, we got our uplift. Corners first, or Upper Corners, wafted and bombed this down, all very nicely groomed, tho rutted and soft in places from all the weather and riding of previous weeks, with rideable tabletop type jumps, rolling or launching, all the way down.  Got to a road, and crossed back into the singletrack, taking us around to Corners proper.  This, again, back and forth, jumpy pumpy down, everybody enjoying it profusely, through the forest and out to a big clearing.  Crossed over Little Red Riding Huck a couple times in here too, I think.  Not sure where to go for a start, I pointed Nelson into a (secred unmarked) trail which was called Eddie the Crow, which he said started with a massively rooty gnarly looking drop.  We didn't pursue this.  Back into the clearing and there's our trail in that corner, so, back on it, a couple of quite steep wee corners and then Riding Huck went left and we went straight ahead, and this section, tho it looked on the map like it was quite close to the bottom, went on for ages.  I was wondering when it was gonna finish it took so long.  Poor old Wazza pulled out here, and headed back to base.

Out to the shuttle stop and another wee wait.  Uplift, and this time into Huckleberry Hound.  Nice trail, better groomed than Upper Corners, and had once big drop feature that all but Nelson baulked on.  I rode up to it thinking oh yeah, no worries, saw Nelson drop straight over it, and then I stopped dead at the top when I saw the under cut vertical top...  Bugger.  Not sick, I might have considered it.  Not needing to to nurse my shoulder, likely so too.  Around it and onwards, a few gap jumps appearing on the side of the trail, was still fun to cruise beside these and not hurt ourselves.  Across the road again, and Corners continued directly from here, so down the road a few metres and into Little Red Riding Huck, for more jumpy goodness.  Excellent descending with a mite more challenge than Corners.  Near the bottom of this section before the big clearing there was a roll over jump that nearly had me over the bars.  I think I spoke out loud, "someone's gonna crash on that", thankfully no one did, but I bet they were close.  Out the edge of the clearing and into another steep rutted soft section of trail, with a couple of rooty sections thrown in, that I think caught one or two out, and we regrouped where Corners went ahead and we peeled left, for the final blast to the shuttle.  This section had some cool features in it too, near the bottom a couple of really big swoopy corners, one of which with a nasty soft edged rut which I rolled through and said out loud "somebody's gonna lose it in here..."  And so I rolled out, arms fully pumped, to meet Nelson, and no sign of Pete behind.  Then Steve turned up, and eventually one or two others then Pete, his knee all bloodied up good, from that sweepy corner.  Jinxed.

Uplift number 3.  This time from the top, we decided we were finishing off.  There were 5 uplifts left on the ticket, and Nelson was gonna ride more, so he took these.  Off down Eagle vs Shark we blazed.  Me with the camera on, chasing (read, attempting to keep up with) Nelson.  Both of us on the ragged edge.  Was fantastic.  What a trail.  Extremely well made, predictable, good features, jumpies, corners, roots, fun.  He slowed now and then to let me reel him in, but mostly I stayed on him.  Was probably the best riding I'd done up there this year.  I took my shades off at some point, then we blasted out into the sunshine where it was open for a few corners.  In here a bug flew straight into my mouth.  Rolled it with my tongue out and spat, then spat a few more times for good measure (it felt like a blow-fly, bleugh) - hopefully that'll be on camera.  Kept chasing, the corners kept coming and the speed and flow kept doing it.  It flattened off and there was an exit out to a trail down to the road.  We regrouped here and in ones and twos the rest of the crew rolled in.  Set off again, along the flat section of this trail to an eventual log collection point and forestry roads to follow around for a while.  Red Tank Rd, I believe, tho, called Pipeline/Windy on the 'Forks App.

Where Lynmore Link peeled off, Nelson parted his way from us, and we headed down across a bridge and down into a valley, then up a gnarly rooty pipelined track climb, all off and pushing, up to eventually the watertank.  From here, instead of heading down the road the way we'd come in, we rode and pushed up for some more lung burning efforts to connect onto the Tank To Town trail.  Shared, walk and bike trail, I led off down the downhill bits with gusto and speed, all the while keeping my eyes peeled for any pedestrians - thankfully, we met none on the descents.  Fun we trail this too, easy, but flowy and quick, eventually out to near the road and through open grassland forest, then back into the forest's edge where As You Do dives in.  A couple of false exits later and we found our street, across, and back to base for a well earned rest, and then bike breakdown, box up and packing ready for the morning, while we waited for Nelson to come back.

His adventures became quite epic, and he ended up doing twice as much altitude and distance than any of our efforts.  He rode round from where he left us, the short distance to where K2 came out, Juggs, uplifted to Te Rua, rode around again, uplifted and did the Taniwha DH track, then uplifted with the 'elite' of Rotorua's post work crowd, hooked up with a few of them, and did Billy T, Split Enz, and by the sound of it, No Brains, and Taura, or something new over there, and out to Waipa, then finally back to us (who were all getting fucking hungry by this time...), just on dark.

So, all up, 32 kms ridden (a few of which on the bus) and nearly 1400 descended, with 960 or so of that climbed by bus...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Vegas 3: Rainbows Monday 17th

Terrible night's sleep, with a cough that was killing me, the blocked nose from hell, and fevers and chills all night, leaving me feeling bloody horrible when morning came round.  I really didn't think I'd be able to ride.  Wazza was in a similar boat, also waking from a horrendous night's non-sleep.  Plan was Rainbow Mountain and after saying definitely "no" I then figured I'd totally regret not doing it, so I pushed myself into doing it.  Wazza stayed behind and we headed the 25kms down there and parked up down at Kerosene Creek.   

I started out ahead of the others, very slowly, because when I breathed in deeply it was like someone was pushing a gorse-bush branch down my windpipe and into my lungs.  They caught me eventually, and we checked out a look out and I rode on ahead and then got to the intersection and we started climbing.  As soon as the trail got slightly steep I'd get off and walk, and just plod away.  In due time I think Nelson and Pete overtook.  There was a muddy section, and then a lookout at some fumeroles.  From here on up it was even steeper.  All rode or walked as necessary, me walking it all, very slowly.  Eventually the top was gained and I lay down and died.  I'm still up there now, my corpse anyway, dead.  This is my ghost writing this - didn't realise I'd died and kept riding...  Another biker and his very nice doggy and some walkers arrived at the top while we were there. The views were spectacular (hopefully some pics will show up some time).

Then we got going.  The top section was quite technical, rough and rocky.  It was great.  There were a couple of features my sensitive sick-bones were averse to, but I managed most stuff with little more than a dab.  There was one 2-optioned corner that we stopped at, Nelson taking the harder line.  Then a big droppy rooty bit that I walked - Nelson and Pete rode it, not sure about the others, cos I saw the trail went up after that so I went ahead to get the climbs over with.  Not far after that couple corners of climb tho it descended again for a bit and then finished at a corner in the road.  End of technical section.

Into the singletrack again, this time in bigger bush, and darker and beautiful swoopy curvy fantastic descent.  This section is the type of track that is the reason I ride.  It was mint.  Enough challenges in the way of tight corners, roots and the odd rut, some grease around making both tires lose traction at the same time, squirrelly, fantastic.  All too soon, tho, a reasonable distance, we rolled out through an open scrubland, lush grass either side of the skinny dirt trail, weaving back and forth down the lower flanks back to the start.  Nice.

Hot soak in the river down stream and then home.

A surprisingly short 7.2kms with only 325 m climbed (45minutes riding time)...  but steeep.

Vegas 2: Whakarewarewa Sunday 16th

Got going in the morning and headed across Tarawera Rd and straight into the forest, finding As You Do upon which to climb.  It shortly dove into the forest away from the road and started climbing.  It was pretty mucky from the previous day's Endurogeeks so was soft and messy making for quite difficult climbing.  Nelson cleaned a heap of it, whereas I spun out and most did too, so lots of walking was done.  Eventually we reached the top.  Checked out K2 for future reference, and then reassembled and headed down to Gunna Gotta.  Oh, and Bernie was with us, on a rental, visiting from Cambridge.  He was struggling with what we thought of as fun.  Thought we were a bunch of mad bastards.  Gunna Gotta was good, regrowing pines on the top (was all cleared last time I was in there), with the lower native section still in place, and still just as fun.  Everyone enjoyed this, muckfest withstanding.  Bernie still thought we were insane.

Regrouped, then up to A-Trail, now called Paddy's Run (Formerly A-Trail), and descending, smooth curvy fun through nice forest around and down to another road.  Bernie, I think, liked this better.  Along a bit and into Tickler, me baulking at the big droppy bit on at the bottom of the first descent, most of the crew opting for the right hand line.  Meander and then climbing and meandering around about the place, catching some other riders, and eventually out to the intersection so many trails start from.  We thought we'd be able get a shuttle from Waipa base at 1pm, so we were aiming for this, heading down BRude from here.  Nice blast, tho personally I liked it better before it was logged all those years ago.  Into the forest section and more interesting again, onwards down and out to take Pig Track across, somehow turning left and ending up at a road, catching a little Grinder, down and out, into the tail end of Creek, then we're back at the end of BRude again...  Huh.  Oh, kay.  Into Mad If You Dont and headed down towards the road where we rode down to the base.  No sign of any shuttles, we asked someone and they told us they only leave there once in the morning then loop up top.  Oh well.  Bernie bailed from here.

Lunch was had and we headed off up the road again, Ball and Chain, then up the road to the pick-up point.  Cant remember waiting long and the big bus arrived and off up we went.  Some faffing at the top and then up the steep to Billy's entrance.  This trail was a blast.  I ended up on my own.  I held onto the sight of Nelson and Pete for a while, but then they went and no-one was close behind me, so I just kept my own company and pace, a reasonably fast one, nothing too scary.  Got to where Tihi o Tawa comes in and a girl was waiting for me to ride past, she followed me down to the big drop.  Nelson just disappearing over the lip.  I though, oh yeah, no worries, then looked closer and talked myself out of it.  As did Pete, and the girl (who's boy dropped it too).  Hung out here, all the rest turned up and we all assembled at the bottom where there's a big double gap jump, which Nelson bombed the drop and gapped the gap nicely on.  Then off again, and out to the bottom.

Into G Rock.  Great blast down through this, typical Whakarewarewa style trail.  Hauled some ass, chasing Pete and Nelson, down to Chesnut Link, then into Rollercoaster with it being a bit soft therefore making the climbs annoying.  Next up was the chinese takeaways and they got worse and worse and worse, the climbs ever more painful, til finally we were just below the BRude start intersection again.  Jumped into Dragon's Tail, which was a blast, and then across to finish off BRude again, this time turning right to head for the Lion's Trail climber which took us back up to the bottom of Gunna Gotta and from here we went down Katore Rd and into Exit Track, a final ballsy blast down this, Nelson cutting me up near the bottom in order to slay the final jumps.  Rode along Nursery past the Redwoods and back up to the house.

42 kms, with a 913 gain (of which 300 or so was in the bus - so still not much climbed, really - compared to our usual style of riding)

Vegas 1: Cratered Moons Saturday 15th

The crew: Phatboy, 'Jaws, Tinks, Nelsie, Buggs, Dozer, Foxy, Cookie and me; flew to Auckland first thing Friday morning and got a van with 3 spare seats and a big furniture trailer, drove through to Rotovegas, all the while watching the rain clouds approaching from the west.  Arrived in the afternoon and grocery shopped etc and weather pretty much packed in as predicted, raining all night.  Just over 10 years since the last time a smaller crew had played up there and watched the world cup.

2W Enduro event was being held in the Whakarewarewa forest on Saturday, and a few rainshowers still around we decided to head down to Taupo and explore the Craters of the Moon mtb park.  Rolled into town and eventually found a bikeshop that'd sell us a pass (everyone had run out), a map, and off we headed.  Parked up, people faffed, and we got riding.

Cant even begin to name all the trails, but they included Hammer it?  Ground Effect Grinder, Deb's Track, Mr and Missus, Young Pines, OutBack, Retro, Luge, and Coaster.  There were a couple others in there too.  Was fun; sort of Bottle Lake on the hill.  Our only criticisms were that perfectly good climbs were ruined by short brief down hills, and perfectly good downhills were ruined by annoying little climbs.  You never quite new what to expect and so the flow got wrecked.  The 'Outback' bit was way shorter than I'd expected it to be, considering the first series of trails we'd ridden hardly covered any ground, and on the map the Outback area looked like twice the size, but suddenly we were heading back and I wondered what'd happened.  We left the whole area between the carpark and the river alone, pretty much, with most of us just hopping over there to play on a jumpy bit.  Rating out of 10, a generous 6 maybe?  Good effort, and would be great place to exercise if you lived there, but as a destination, it just wasnt quite enough for us.

22kms ridden, and we only gained 468m.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Last Chance Wednesday Fatty & Skinny Bottle Ache

Last chance to expand the lungumes and stretch the legumes before the Grand Annual Voyage upon which we're departing on Friday morning...  Nelson picked me up and we got out round the forest tonight.  Him on his singlespeed and me on the Commando.  He spun hard, and I chased hard and got puffed and needed to delayer on the top of the gazebo rise.  Then we bombed our way around out to the beach and along the front and then in and up to SpencerTown for a short rest, then onwards back through the usual low-ways and by-ways back to the carpark.  That last reasonably new-ish section has got shitty bumps on it for a good couple of kms...

16.75kms, and a whole 96m gained within all those little ups and downs

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Sunday Hog's Muck

Semi-organised by workmate Paul, I picked him up and we careened out of town at about 11am, in pouring rain, to Sheffield where we met Nelson, who followed us to Springfield where we met up with Derek and Babs in the Yello Shack Cafe (very nice service, and good coffee and according to Paul, better pie than Sheffield).  Rain was sort of easing out here, but was still in evidence as we ploughed our ways over Porter's, where the sun shone on Lake Lyndon and most of the valley.  Wasn't looking so good up towards Helicopter Hill tho, so we pulled into Castle Hill Village as planned and discussed our options.  Figured best option would be to head into the Hogs Back from here to see what we would see.  Gave us the option to turn around at any time, and it sure looked wet further up the valley.

So, off up the road then into the trail, carefully ignoring the 'Closed for winter' sign, "It's spring now, anyway, so the sign's out of date" remarked Nelson...  Rather greasy and roots slippery, but not that bad, we rode up, all of us feeling the pinches.  Babs did incredibly well considering her slick rear tire, and Paul struggled having never ridden mtnbikes up hills.  Some adjustments and tips by Nelson and he was better further up, but still walked a fair bit of that climb near the top of the trees.  Once out on the top the view up valley suggested we'd made the right decision, with our planned route in view and out of the weather, vs Helicopter Hill and Lyndon Saddle being completely obscured by what looked like snow falling.  On up the ridge, the strugglers finding this easier, then into the first downhill, where they were exposed to Nelson and my concept of not actually using brakes... Awesome wee blast down this track then across the big flattish valley crossing the stream beds, and back climbing to the forest edge.  Regroup and off down across the stream crossing, and climbing again, small scrapple / graupel falling (wanna-be hail, but too light, falling more like snow) bouncing off our jackets (not wetting).  Clamber clamber clamber then across and some mucky bits and climbing up to the bridge.  Here, Paul was concerned about his knee, took this photo and then turned back while the rest of us continued the climb with the rain starting to get through a bit, and less of the haily-snow. 
You can see the rain in this pic...

Finally into the last forest section and climbing around and out to the bottom of the moonscape section, Nelson hit the first of the corners and here we decided it was too mucky to continue.

Turned around and the fun began.  Bloody glad I was wearing my jacket and GE leggings...  Roots were slick, but manageable, and was lots of fun.  Met Derek and Babs in the forest here, where they turned around to follow us.  Nelson and me bombed it away and down and through and back over the bridge and then down the open section and into another rooty forest where we pulled up and waited a while for the other two.  They were almost clean, vs Nelson and me head to toe splatter - difference a bit of speed makes.  Rolled on around and through and then stream crossing and grindy climb out and up.  Could see Paul now, across the valley on the final climb so we chased.  Eventually finding him at the big dead tree where we regrouped again and awaited the others.  They came into sight and we watched as they crossed the landscape.

Here's us sitting there, me hanging my head in shame at the state of my clothing...

Final little climb from the tree, and off down the ridge, floaty flow and a final regroup before entering the forest.  Then off.  Careful speed into the woods, sketchy mud and slippery roots, both of us kept our speed down from the usual rocketship ride, but was still pretty good.  Seemed like no time and we were at the bottom, cruising down that paddock singletrack and into the houses, a lap of the pump track and to the cars.

Only 12 kms, and a meagre 361 gained and lost... but muck and the altitude and the lack of recent riding made it seem a bit bigger.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Monday School Hols Fog Pearcing Views

At the bach for some of the school holidays, with the fatbike, so headed out this morning, low cloud cover filling the valley.  Headed up the road, making (aptly named) Misty Hills gate in just over 15 minutes, and the top of the road 40 minutes later...  Headed through the gate, and through the fog up the gravel track towards the top of Mt Pearce.  Rather steeper in bits than I remembered, for it has been a long while, but I grovelled onwards up and after a couple of gates made it to the top, 720-something metres climbed.  View up here was spectacular, overlooking the cloud below, and the tops of all the peninsula peaks.  Brief rest and then off I headed down, heaps of speed from gate to gate, then through the last one back onto the road.

Around here along the Summit Rd, bits and pieces of fog wafting across, no view below, fog as far as the eye could see, just the tops poking out.  Got to my turn off, and headed down to the gate, over this and onwards up the ridge towards the paper road and View Hill.  Bit of riding, bit of walking and eventually over the last fence, around a knoll and then around the side of the hill on what was once a track, til I veered right and headed up and over onto the farmtrack that zigged and zagged me to the top of View Hill.  Long climb here to the very top, 769m, nice rest, beautiful sunny day up here, while all around me was fog below.

Snack, then down again.  Speeeeeeeed.  Top gate, then bombed down View Hill Road into the fog at around 500m, lowering visibility to stuff all, massive speed down here even tho I could hardly see anything, having to lower my glasses and look through the gap between them and my visor.  Passed a dog tied to a fence, and then lower down, below the concreted section, met the first few sheep and lambs coming up the road.  I hauled up and pulled over to the fenceline and waited as they passed, and eventually the farmer with his two grand kids turned up moving the sheep along.  Quick chat with them, and bombed on down again, gathering even more speed down the final bits of gravel, through Chorlton rounding onto the seal and fanging down the road into the bay.

Peeled off onto Lukes Track and over down to the tennis courts, then up the road and up the drive...

983m climbed, 24.8kms...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday Chasing Fog to Planting

Got going a little late so was 8.06 by time I got to Steve's.  He wasn't riding and the others had already headed off ahead, so I got chasing.  Steve thought they'd gone up Huntsbury, so I was chasing hard, and nearly dying as a result.  Never did catch them... cos they'd gone up Rapaki(!)

Anyway, up into the fog, total white out up top - 20 or 30m visibility, along Traverse, thinking the whole time I'll find them having a break here, or here, or here, or just up here...  nup.  Thompsons, Kiwi, ("surely they gotta be here!?"  nope).  Up the road and around the bend, thinking they musta really been haulin' ass.  Got wetter just past Worsleys so I stopped and chucked a jacket on, then rolled down to the top of Kennedys.  Asked a rider at the stile if he'd encountered a group heading down, nope.  Muddy as all get up along the top here, then slick as shit all the way down.  Stopped and scoped out the forests on the way down, man there's plenty of room in there now for secret trails...

Somewhere down here I texted Warren saying where are yas!?  only to receive that they were just at the top of Kennedys then.  Oh well...

 Bombed on down then onto the 'High Rd' and down, slippy slippy, and into the Crock, which was not so bad, and fun. 

Then into Murphs, the newby fun downhill, and then to the planting...

25kms, with 670 m gained.  My family attended the planting, so my ride finished here as I got a lift home with them.

Wednesday Quick Hanmer

Quick spin in Hanmer with a few guys from work - Pete, Miles and Dave.  Headed from the houses, around to Clarence Valley Rd, into Flax Track, up it, then seemed like Yankee Zephyr was shut, so we headed down Swoop.  Fun wee blast, nearly crashing overcooking one corner.  Along the flat, up Timberlands Trail, then into Red Rocks.  Fun blast down this, then out Eeny Meeny and back to the house to find ourselves locked out and our key at the pools...  Thanks a lot Ian.

Less than 10km, 41minutes ridden, just over 200m climbed... 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Travis Planting Fatty

Left home on the fatty just after 10, and rode along the river - McBratneys - and through the red zone, then river again, and up Bassett, into Travis Wetland, over the bridge to arrive the same time as Steve. Luckily I'd brought my Gummies, as it was a total quagmire. Chucked them on, and then proceeded into the planting area.  Planted loads, with around 150 other people, then rode with Steve to the rangerbase and ate a couple sossies.  I took off straight after the speeches, down towards Anzac Bridge then followed river and red zone home. A good spin.
15 kms or so all up...

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Night, up and down

Nelson picked me up from work just after 5 and the traffic was stupidly slow until we got across Brougham, then it wasn't so bad and we got to Worsley's Rd, parking next to the poplars on the flat before the new Park's entrance.  Rode up the road, round the corner and into the climb on the grass next to Fluffy Sheep.  At the top of this, we dropped into 1TrickLucy, boffing it down this, swoopy, clippy, yumpy, cruising.  Didn't look very well ridden, lots of overgrowth starting and just all a bit unkempt.  At the bottom of this, Nelson led off jetting down the switchbacks into the bottom of the valley, and we climbed up the lefthand (true right) side, steep little mother this is.  Levelled off and then through a gate, across a brandspanking new bridge, up some steps, then up a nice new gravel track, couple of switchbacks and then level-ish for a bit, then up a couple more switchbacks and then across the new slobdivision zone back onto Worsleys Rd, for to climb, up the singletrack bit then on up the seal to the top.

Into Worsleys proper, figuring the alt-route from the gate might be slick as shit like the other week.  We headed over to the left hand side through the trees to check out whether we could see anything of the new Park works.  Not really.  Rode up this singletrack to the water tank, then on upwards eventually finding ourselves IN the park, behind the sign.  Over the fence, and across the main track to ride up the 4wd mess-up-zone next to the jumpytrack forest.  Off camber as fuck up here, then on up and back onto the main drag in the big corner.  Cleaned the next few sections, really enjoying the challenge and just blazing up stuff I would have struggled with not that long ago.  Dunno what it was, but wasn't feeling all that bad.  Eventually got to the top, ie, the bottom of the Body Bag, and sat down for a rest, and to wait for darkness to get more in.  We'd ridden all the way to here without lights on.

Heard a couple of voices and spotted some lights over at the top of Braille, so we headed down and dropped into the little valley here.  Two guys with a boxer dog, parked up.  Brief chat, and we headed off into the newby singletrack here.  We had a nice blat down, I led the way, and we were keeping an eye out for any trails on the left.  Eventually, found one, but it proved a dead end in short shrift.  Meanwhile the two guys rode past, as we pushed back up to the track, and found what was really actually a droppy wee track just metres further down.  Couple of filters at the top but the rest of it was sweet, zigged and zagged steeply down onto the 4wd track in here.  Climbed this up to Braille and climbed on up.  Nelson gapping me, and then finding another newby off the right-hand side of this at the top.  Checked it out, no go, and another further down, no go, then back onto the climbing track to the top again, meeting the two guys and the boxer again, chatting longer this time.

They led off first, dog chasing hard, one of them took the jump line, and so we all got ahead of him and then when Nelson dropped into the steeper left hander lower down, the dog followed us down this, while the other two guys fanged off down the rest of the the trail, calling for the dog.  We hooned down the 4wd trail to their exit (quite along way further down), and then the dog turned up.  Down, and we spotted a trail exit on our right, so Nelson rode it and I pushed up it and eventually we found it's another new exit for the rest of the new track up there...  Back down this from where our droppy track started and out the 4wd all the way, getting caught, at speed, by the slickmud...  Nearly lost it, but managed to scrub enough speed, get back under control and follow on down the rest of it, spraying clods off  the tires.  Up to Epitaph, and down this back to the carpark.

Zoom down the road, bits of hard mud flinging off cleaning the tires, singletrack, then into Fluffy Sheep for a swoopy speedy descent back down, onto the road and back to the car.

2hours22 total time, just over 15kms and 578m climbed.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Solo, Fat snow mucky Jet Grey

Jetty and me, with the fat on the back, headed up country for the "Lake" Janet.  Loads of vehicles at the carpark.  Parked up and got riding somewhere around 1.15pm, heading up the usual grinder.  I've never managed to remember each bit, but as I ride it I always discover how much longer it is than memory would have it.  Snow was in evidence even as low as the 'lake', in patches, and more I found the higher I got.  Mostly it'd been 4wheeldriven through so there was a melted track through it; evidence of a couple of bikes prior too, and higher up in the shaded bits the tire tread had packed the snow down and obviously had had chains on.  The first couple of these proved quite slippery, so I stopped and relieved my rear tire of air, for traction.  Fatty handled the snow quite nicely.  Met a few people walking down, a couple, a group of women, another couple, a woman with a dog that Jet enjoyed playing with, and 2 bikers too.  Roughly 30 minutes til I passed the fire lookout, and the road above here had lots of snow, but muddy and well melted tire tracks  Very wet, melting snow.  Met another group of women up in this section, and as I approached the towers I could see 3 more down on the singletrack, slipping and sliding in the snow.  I wondered on the sensibility of riding that...

2pm here just above the big comms tower , snack,
and a wee rest (that's Mt Grey proper on the right), lovely sunny day, with spectacular views of row upon row of snow clad peaks to the north and west, and smoke on the plains to the west over Nelson's place.

Then, seat down, a bit of air out of front tire, and off down, meeting the first piles of drifted snowpack on the steepest bit.  Down and around onto the singletrack, finding most of it unrideable for the first couple hundred metres.  Walking feet had packed and pushed the snow off piste, and the wheels followed the easiest path down, which meant, off the track, making it quite tricky.  No evidence whatsoever of any bikes prior this way.  One near O.T.B, but I persevered and the bits without snow were basically running creeks, meaning I got pretty splecked up pretty quick.  All the way I wondered if I'd catch the 3 women ahead of me, but I didn't see them til I got all the way down to the end of the singletrack.  Anyway, there was snow in the forest for quite a bit of the first (south facing) section, dissipating at the creek crossing, but it was all good to ride on. I took it easy, on account of being alone.  Jet was pretty chilled out, but reeaally enjoyed his time.  The usually mudy bit in the middle was supremely mucky today.  Quite remarkable just how mucky it was.  Forest sections of good flow were divine.  and the Fatty handled the trails, roots and rocks, very well.  Was even easy to maneuver around the hairpins.

Eventually got to the bottom and looked at my watch and it was onlly 1.10...  hang on.  I left at 1.15...  My watch had obviously caught on my wrist and wound itself back...  Ground my way up the road, this climb proving far longer than memory permits (MapMyRide says 382m).  Big group of women (and a guy?) faffing at the gate where it flattens out, "you're doing well!", and one of whom asking me where I'd ridden "all the way over, heaps of snow", "well, you had the right tires then!"...

Fast section along the road after this, Jet winding up to full speed, 40 odd kph, galloping along oh so happily, down and then finally the last final climb around and about then the level back to the car...

All up 2 hours of ridng, 15kms and nearly 700 of steep altitude.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Saturday Croc-boys

Took O and his friend Hunter to Halswell Quarry in the afternoon.  Parked and headed across the park towards the quarry, then along the driveway and up Kennedy's Bush Rd.  Hunter's first ever time on the hill, whereas this was 'old hat' to O, having ridden up here that once before.  Hunter needed some coaching in good use of gears and there was a lot to take in.  I don't think he's ever puffed as hard as he was up here either...  End of the road and over the stile, then up the HighRoad and onto the 4wd at the watertank (not realising there's a new climbing trail just up from here...  discovered this as we approached the top, another rider on his way up it...). 

Through the gate and into Siberia, me following Hunter, and Otis out the front, bombing away ahead.  Hunter did well for a start, but around the corners and on the dowhill with the roots, I saw him bounced off his pedals, landing on his seat with feet out the sides, rattling down through the root section - yowch, coming to a stop in a small cloud of dust.  He was a bit shaken, but okay, and tootled down the last bit to Otis.  Climbed our way back up the 4wd to the gate and stopped for a snack and for me to act as gate-opener for a bunch of riders up and down.

Then off down the singletrack, same order, with Otis weaving and grooving his way down, sooo much confidence, and Hunter chasing, looking to me to be a bit out of control.  I gave him a big gap then rocketshipped down after him, catching quickly, and stopping again, letting him get ahead, and doing the same again.  Followed down through the High Road trail, and he started to get scuffed up on one of the corners (caught the inside pedal), and we caught up and met Otis at the start of the Crocodile.

Through the cattlestop and waiting for a couple of climbers, and off in, same order.  Here's where Hunter struggled.  Mostly he was okay, but having never navigated hairpins before he really struggled. But it wasn't the hairpin that got him first, it was a rut on the side.  Crash.  Let a climbing rider through, then off again, and around and then scuff skid crash on the last of the hairpins - poor little guy bollocking himself this time.  Bit of a break to recover, and off again, me cringing hoping he wouldn't crash off again.  O was waiting for us down at the next cattlestop.  That next bit is quite steep and I was really worried Hunter would topple, but he didn't and managed the little climb then onwards towards C2 where O was waiting.  I joined them and got ahead, and then saw the new 'Expert' descent here, so, sent the boys down C2 and I explored the new.  Nice, steeper and fun, a few wee roll over drops and weaves back and forth in the trees all the way down to meet the main drag down next to those ponds where it heads back into the valley before heading up for the exit.  Fun.  Will be good for a few laps in future evening rides...

Waited for the boys, hearing cheers from a couple riding when Hunter did the jump at the bottom, and they joined me and we headed up the climb, around, and then down the dog fields back to the car.

Not a huge ride, and probably less than 300 climbed...  alas, I'd forgotten to MMR it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Monday night Brit Cavendish Castle Green Pleasantries

Nelson picked me up from home after work and we headed for the Upper Major Hornbrook, parking down the end by Ridgeview.  As we were getting ready, the sun slipped behind the mountains, a minute before 6, so we had a bit of light for the climb.  Over the fence next to the bathtub and up the singletrack, climbing and wheezing, me lagging behind for a while.  Nelson lubed his chain at the turnaround and we headed around the 'new' trail out around the ridge, enjoying the post sunset lightshow.  Around to the road, across, and over the fence.  Climbed to the singletrack and hung a right for a change dropping down to Cavendish Saddle, careful on the last bit before the stile.  Over this and lights on here, down then into a greasy (to start with) climb for the gondola, zigging and zagging upwards to the top, climbing getting better as I progressed.

Brief stop behind the Gondola building, snack, view of flat-calm harbour, then off down, not quite knowing what to expect slipperynesswise.  Not so bad, down steps, and then over some rocks, and one horridly mucky bit then the usual rocky descending.  Worked out the way into the 'good' line along the fence (on the right - instead of over the left side with the hairpin and tight bits), and then a little further down Nelson was stopped and grabbed a baby rabbit...  We held it a bit then let it go, and headed across the top and over to the Bridle Path. 

Up the road, plod plod plod, and into Castle Rock.  Not much muck about, a couple small wet bits up top and one or two further down, but mostly pretty good.  I took it very easy, quite relaxed, just cruised on down around across around, cleaned the climb nicely, and cruised over the last bits.

Back up the road and before the top - up through the tussocks onto the Crater Rim track, and back towards Lyttelton (which we'd explored back in June).  Good round here, climbing all the climby bits, up steps etc.  Nelson stalling at one point and toppling off.  All I saw was him 'running' down the hill below the track, and tumbling.  He garked his shin and knees quite well on a rock and had to sit there for a bit to get through the pain.  Then, off round the ridge and above Lyttelton, cruising down the steppy, not so slippery, and better than remembered, trail down to a final bomb towards the Bridle Path.

Next up, around the road under the Gondola back to Cavendish Saddle, and up the singletrack grind to the top of Pleasant.  Nice break up here, no wind around at all, and off down the trail, much better than last week in the wind, but splecky mucky disgustingness on the section overlooking Lyttelton near the top.  Not so bad down through the tussocks.  Way betterer without the wind.

Brief pause above the ruins, where I said "I'm not sure I can be bothered going down Greenwood," to which Nelson replied, "Well, I'm keen."  So I changed my mind and we did.  It wasn't too bad, except leading around to Gloomy Gulch, and then Gloomy Gulch itself...  Those bits were yucky, but not as bad as I've seen it in the past.  Drainage efforts really are doing the job.  Bit of a break just after Gloomy Gulch where I used to always top, and then off down the steeper rocky bits and nice flow ensuing.  At the new drop, Nelson did it.  I rolled up and looked at it, and no, you cannot 'roll' it...  I walked back up a bit, and Nelson came back up, and we rolled in again, and he dropped it and I chickened out, >buk buk<.  Onwards down, one corner in Dave's section was a muckfest, but the rest of the trail was all good.  Me taking it pretty easy the rest of the way down.

Onto the road and the climbing began again.  Always further than memory would have it, but I felt better than last week, and managed to keep the pace up all the way up.  Last blast down Britten started off easy and got more and more rapid as we flowed, and sketchy in places too, feeling both tires juuust giving way a few times. Last little section of singletrack down to the bathtub is quite sketchy, tight, and not very fast...

All up, 21kms, and 850m climbed...  didn't feel like that much, but it was...  nice.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunday Flat to Otukaikino planting

Hoofed the townie around to Pete's.  Steve and Tones, then Wah-Hey-No rolled up and we cruised Avonside, Kilmore, over the Salisbury bike bridge, Hagley Park, Girl's High crossing to Mona Vale (where I remembered about MappingMyRide) and up the Railtrail to the end.  Steve was on his townie, Pete on the new Grandad - aptly named Fritz, and the other two were on their usual steeds.  Good pace set mostly by Steve, nice day, good for cruising.  Tuckers Rd, around to Claridges Rd, then Gardners, Sawyers Arms and up to the Lakes (Roto Kohatu), through Omaka and along to the planting site.  Planted lots of plants, had a couple sossies, and headed on back the way we came, pretty much.

Back at Mona Vale, Tones and Stevo headed onwards, Steve to the 'Rugby' House to open up and get ready for the game, and us other three back towards our respective residences via Armagh St, me peeling off at Madras for the usual route home.

So, my 30something kms was actually more like 36 (my place to Pete's to Mona Vale), and altitude was grand bugger all 72m.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wednesday Night McBlustery Pleasant Green

Nelson picked me up out front of work and we did the traffic jam tango the length of Ferry Rd, parking at McCormacks Bay.  There was a bloody bitter easterly blustering the city, and our carpark wasn't particularly sheltered.  Nelson realised he'd forgotten his shoes, so his options were either not ride or ride in his slip-on laceless Chucks...  Naturally, he opted to ride, and suffer the consequences.  5.45 or so, I got going a little ahead while he faffed with something, hitting up the straightline climb and getting a bit of a wheeze on.  I kept checking back and there was no sign of him, so I stopped briefly til I saw him on the move.  On I kept, climbing and cleaning everything, through the first hairpin and then stopped at the second.  Finally he showed up behind, so I got walking up the steep bit and then stopped to re-adjust my pfmtbc tube-doorag.  Quite sheltered here in the valley.  Onwards climbing up and through, cleaning all the little boardwalks (with their cycle-traps) and into the first of the upper hairpins, no worries, second - spun out.  Spun out on another one and then we walked the steps.

Up the road, wind blowing around a lot, then up past Longridge, and trying out the wee singletrack in the park we often come down.  I wondered, and was surprised when we both cleaned it up no spin-outs no problems...  Then it was up over the fence by the bath and into Britten.  Here, Nelson's gears packed up...  A piece of flax had wound it's way around his jockey wheels, totally knotting and locking everything up.  He had to remove it to clean it all out, it's so tough!  Riding again, full force of the wind in our faces as we went.  Hard work, pushing through it and the climbing.  Around the bend and tail wind pushing around to the next corner, then cross wind and tail wind a bit again to the top.  Around the turnaround and then climbing the original and taking the lower loop out, into the wind for a bit, then awesome push around the ridgeline, popping around and pushed up and around towards the Summit Rd.  Nice.

Across the road, over the fence, climbing again.  Wind alternately pushing or stopping as we climbed to the top.  Finding some surprising shelter downwind of the natives up top there.  I led into the descent, taking the newer drop-line, my newly serviced fork playing very nice, wind a fucking gale.  Down and around, nearly blown off the track into Lyttelton on that edge with the big exposure, then nearly blown to a standstill coming around into it after there.  Down through the tussocks, massive gusts pushing, pushing, releasing, making for rather interesting times.  The lower (usually very fast) section I got pushed by the wind, front wheel rut-stuck, started to fall, front wheel bit, rear wheel caught the rut edge and started to slide and I finally stopped completely sideways to the track.  Close call.  Wind was howling across the top here, so we didn't muck about only stopping briefly before taking off down towards Greenwood.

Leading the way, into Greenwood, the wind was a factor, yet again.  Carried good speed past the ruins and into the first section, and on round to the right, but as I came around the next left hander, the wind and the rocks conspired and the speed dropped right down.  Took some effort to boost it up again, and down through the corners there were sheep with new lambs scattering off the track, only to meet us on the next section.  Finally, tailwind pushing around through the rockgap and around through the pumpy section towards Gloomy Gulch, good speed carried.  Pumped through the next bit then into the fast rocky descent, still mostly tailwind, nice rolling.  Spotted a new drop on the lower end of this section, and stopped afterwards to look back at it - next time.  Hoofed it around into the wind again pedalling to go downhill into the corners.  Over rocks, around bends, lost my chain somewhere in here, had to stop briefly to replace, and could see Nelson still a fair way back.  Got going again, and popped and rolled and pumped around into the gully and back out down the backstraight, dabbed my way through the first rocky up, rode the second and fanged on down tot he bottom.  Looked back up the trail and Nelson's light was stopped.  It flashed a couple times then got moving again.  He'd stopped to rest his feet, which were suffering badly from battering his small metal pedals and thin soled shoes were inflicting. 

Up the road, steady pace, nice and calm below Gloomy Gulch, but bloody horrible for the next stretch into the wind, and around improving, then relatively sheltered all the way up to the pines.  Then pretty much a tail wind the rest of the way up, Nelson bolted up here, getting to the top miles ahead of me, while I just plodded along. 

Into Britten, headwind making for pedalling to keep speed, then around and jumping and smooth across the slope, around the bend, and pushing hard into it to the bad off camber corner, then blasting down the final slopes to the bath.  Over and down, smoothly smoothly through the steep gravel, and coasting down the road to Craigieburn Pl, and into the trail.  I walked the steps and Nelson rode the whole lot, with only a dab at the bottom of them.  Then twist, twist, turn down the McCormacks Track bombing the bits we could see, and rain just starting to drop drops on us - perfect timing.  Awesome run down this singletrack, especially the lower swoopy section below the two hairpins, then flat-out blasting down the straight, confusing the bejeebus out of a car coming up Glenstrae towards us...  Out to the car, not long after 8.30.

So, in nearly 3 hours of real time, we'd ridden for 1 and a half hours, covering 18.5 kms, with 765m climbed.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday morning small posse

Got myself across to Steve's by 9am (via Stanmore, Nursery, Wilsons, Opawa) and found there him, Wazza and Wayno.  We headed around and up cRapaki, taking it at a nice easy Steve's pace.  We held back with him until the flat bit where Wazza and me headed over a wee singletrack above the trail, then for the final climb I pushed hard ahead and exhausted myself for a nice rest at the top.  Somewhere on the way up cRapaki my MapMyRide died, stopping at 7.99kms, stupid thing.  Off up Vernon, following a couple of real slowbos, and staying on their tails because we were holding back for Steve, but once we got past them I powered on ahead and around and up and around and over and stopped at the start of the Traverse.  Quite a few people around here.  I snacked and we regrouped, then onwards around the Traverse, keeping a good pace going, catching up to various oldies on the way round.  Fun fang round and then I lost my chain just before the end, coasted to a stop and re-engaged, following the other three to the top of Vic.  Into Thomson and Thompson, nice blasts through the two of these.

Up the road to top of Marleys, and time for a lap of the Nun, so lined it up, waiting for a young grom to put on his knee pads and get going, but these two older slower guys got in ahead of him.  I headed in after him and never saw him again (til he'd popped out half way), but I caught the older guys in the rocky sections.  Once past them I had a good blast down, only muppetting a couple spots.  Good speed in the lower reaches.  At the tree on the corner near the bottom a rooster clucked out in front of me and squawked and holla'd ahead of me for a few metres before getting out of my way.  On down and through the jumpies, missing them, and avoiding my nemesis jump. 

Back up the road and over and down the Body bag, getting some good speed down here, the bike feeling really smooth.  Hung a left towards Braille, and then a hard right onto the newby Nelson and me had found.  The guy was working on it, so I thanked him and he wished us good riding.  We had a good blast down here, the boys enjoying the trail a lot.  Dropped onto the trail at the end and fanged off down this.  Wet spot where Nelson and me headed up for the Jumpy trail, and the 4wd below here got greasier and wetter and muckier the further we went.  Total passenger material, with one loss of control by me when we passed a riding couple squirrelling their way up.  Where the jumpy trail comes out the trail was dry again and bombed down to the road losing a lot of the muck off our tires.  More removed at 60 whatever kph on the road, diversion on the mtb track on the left, then into the Farside tracks.  The boys all took 1 Trick Lucy, where I opted for Utopia.  I felt like it isn't used much, and was fun, but got me out the bottom quicker than them. 

Down the road and stopped in for a coffee at the cafe in the Cracroft shops, then met Andy and Jenna around the road a bit from here and chatted, before heading around the river, across the Beckenham Loop and I peeled off up Eastern, Wilsons, Nursery, Stanmore home.

Steve'sMappedRide says he did 28kms, and over 720m or so altitude...  chuck an extra 10 kms on that for my commute, and we're even.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday Night Cashmere Vic Bowenvaling

No ride weekend due to weather and under-weatherment, and no chance of a ride this week due to being sole charge of children, so Monday night was the only option to get out.  Nelson came to mine and we had a bit of a feed before heading out.  Got to Holliss Ave at 7pm thereabouts, and headed up the hill.  Steep bastard of a road this, and I was soon wheezing like and asthmatic smoker, barely managing to keep any air in, climbed away behind but managed to keep on top of my gear and make it to the top of the road.  Into the walking track, first off, down LOTS of steps.  I hadn't remembered them, but Nelson rode them all, while I took the safety conscious route of walking.  Little bit of single track and some steps up, followed by some more, and then about 5 flights of them and we were on Longhurst Tce. 

Across the road and up a little bit and into the singletrack here that climbs around below all the houses up up up.  One respite then steeeeep switchback that Nelson rode lots of and I walked heaps of.  On ever upwards, more up than I remembered and finally we were at the stile over to the Forest.  Here's what I used to called the Barbed Wire Root Kiss track, on account of when you're coming down the roots are jittery and the barbed wire is SO close to your hand as to be almost kissing it...  Anyway, climbing is an interesting one, we both managed lots of it, Nelson way more than me, but much getting off also ensued.  At the top, we both cleaned the last section to the gate, and then into the Dog Park and off up, more rocks meaning more walking for me, and less so for Nelson, then across the park to the gate and a couple of pops over the gutter and then off into the walking track that starts here.  Nice forested flow through this, eventually coming out above the climbing trail from the bottom of Old Dyers, dropping down more nice singletracks to it, and off up to the 19th Batt. Memorial. 

Up the fire road to the skidder site and for a change, off up the Gums track.  Walked a whole bunch in there, but explored a little below the my fun wee favourite before heading onto the main track and then cutting through to the top of Sesame St and upwards onto Brake Free.  Up through this to beneath the see-saw, along the fence, through a gate and onto the climbing trail up to the Traverse.  Stopped here briefly wondering what to do next...

Off down towards the rabbit paddock, and as we moseyed down this I spotted a trail off to the left, hmmm, followed it and found several rabbits, thinking they were hiding from me.  Nelson joined me and we cruised back across to the Rock Garden with freshly dampened tires.  Then we were blazing down through the Gummies, hung the favourite left and bombed it down through there, ducking and weaving around the trees.  Eventually back onto the skidder site, and off up towards the top of 19th Battalion Memorial, like we've done a couple times now with the Thursday night boys.  Followed our noses over this and down the sketchy trails, including one steep wee mofo through a shrubbery you can't see out of, left on the walking track across into the forest and then down to the right, and then a hard right and down steps and fun blast through the woods, veering left around and finally down a bunch more steps.  Following down more to find the steep fun trail we'd done a couple weeks back.  Finding it and dropping and dropping, magnificent trail reminiscent of all our (reportedly mostly deceased-) favourites in McVicars.  Finally the super steep finale, Nelson planted himself into a tree, then struggled to get moving again down the last bit I walked.  Clambering through the forest now over and through, then back on and dropping down onto the last bit of descent finally onto the main valley drag, above the fordy bridge the dude died at. 

Climbed here, up to the creek crossing and up into Hidden Valley Link track.  Bollocksed the climb out of the creek, good round the corner and up to the second hairpin, bollocksed that, bollocksed the wee rock up, then the next one, then the first of upper corners, then just out of the last one, then dabbed on the final climb to the stile.  Bloody balance was all out and my lungs weren't working properly...  Had a good rest here, then headed onwards, around and down Old Skool.  Bloody good blast.  Rode it well, in very good condition, sounds like way less sketch and slop than the boys yesterday, all in all having a nice run after all that bad balance.  Final drops, peeled left and looked at where Nelson had crashed a few weeks back. 

Finally, down the bottom of the valley, and down the colder and colder Bowenvale Ave, detouring across Wedgewood, Landsdowne and taking Gunns Cres back around for a final drop Holliss and the car.

1 hour's riding time, 11.3kms, 421m climbed.