Friday, February 26, 2016

Thursday Climby Climb Climb

Nelson and me headed from mine to Sumner about 6pm and met out there a guy Tom who I'd met last weekend.  He normally rode Worsley's forest on Thursdays but was keen for a change.  So, unloaded at DotCom and 6.45ish headed up the road to Sumnervale and through the park to Das Kapitan.  Tom sat in behind, challenged by the more technical aspects of the climb, but otherwise was a strong rider.  We huffed and chuffed, and sweated up the Captain, walking the usual bits and eventually getting to the top.  Here we met another biker on his way up the Summit Rd, who said, hopefully we'll get somewhere before we lose the light...  It was just after 7 by this stage and we realised how long the shadows were looking.  Hmmm... 

Into the Godley, and Nelson neeaarly cleaned the first rocks.  I stalled then walked, and Tom walked.  Onwards, and Tom was very challenged by the technical terrain.  He has no trouble stomping up the steeps in Worsleys, but when it comes to these rocks, he was almost floundering.  Nelson soon gapped us, as I did Tom, and we regrouped at the landing strip.  Changed order for the down, with Tom taking the lead, and him and Nelson charged off ahead, with me trailing a little further back.  I think Nelson was pushing Tom and Tom had underestimated Nelson's speed capabilities, cos he was pushing him pretty hard from what I saw.  I had some sketchy front wheel slide moments, but otherwise was a flowy fun downhill to Livingsston.  I followed Tom into the climb and at the first couple of rocks he kinda stumbled, then nearly stopped in front of me on the next lot.  Here he let me by and I continued ahead and then bombed the downhill around and across and round onto the rock and down to Breeze Col. 

Into the wee climby trail above the road, around, first time up here for Tom, then around and onto the Breeze Bay track, which really impressed him.  The sun had come below the clouds here so the view up Lyttelton Harbour was spectacular as we enjoyed the bluffs and exposure and sweet sweet trail riding.  Cleaned the flax corner which is a first for a long time.  Then fast downhill back to Breeze, and into th'Anaconda. 

Fanging it round here, the two speedier speedsters gapping me a bit, then I lost my chain just after the cattlestop, so stopping to fix that they disappeared out of sight.  I had a good bomb down into Taylors then along the 'Tail (meeting an idiot climbing rider who refused to give way) and down to the fellas.  Brief chat about where to go, and off up the road, me lagging behind somewhat.  Nelson decided to drag us up the walking track with the steep zigzags, and we proceeded to ride and walk to the GodleyHead Rd again. 

Light was spectacular, under-lit clouds of a Nor'west sky (tho nice cool easterly blowing all the while), we climbed over the gate and around the road and over the gate and up the 4wd to the landing strip.  Nelson, then me, then Tom headed off along the trail back to Evans.  Light was getting lower, but was still good and the rocks were stally and bumpy, but had a good run.  Both the others had wee crashes but I flowed on down.

Finally, into the Captain.  I let Tom go ahead of me, but then was on his tail, so at the gate he stopped to put his seat down a bit more and I got in behind Nelson, eating his dust all the way down.  Excellent descent, cleaning everything, nearly even the climb, and was nearly squinting to see the light was getting so low by the time we were on the lowest reaches before the last stile. Up the cul de sac and speed down the road back to DotCom, really needing flashy lights.  9ish by the time we made the car

23kms and 837m of climb!  Quite a big ride on the scale of things...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Saturday Craigieburnt Posse - Dickson's, Sidle, Ante-, Luge, Draco, Hoggage

8 am departure from home in the Fiat, heading for Sheffield meet-up.  On Riccarton Rd I spotted a truck a couple of cars ahead with 4 familiar bikes onboard, so by the time we were on Yaldhurst Rd I'd tucked in behind and followed them the rest of the way, assuming the 4 owners would be there too.  Arrival in Sheffield found the TFC truck and the red Stagea waiting, and only 2 got out of the S&T truck...  hmmm.  Then up Wayne and Pete rolled in two big Holdens (a genuine Walkinshaw, and a supercharged Monaro thing (600hp!) - being delivered back to their owners from the Coast, meeting half way.  Off they headed first then we all followed, eventually Nelson and me leaving our cars at Castle Hill Village, transferring bikes to TFC truck and heading through with the Steviant, Andy (3 knees) and Tones.  Caught up with the others at Craigieburn and headed up the road to park at the top of Dracophyllum Flat Track.

Off around towards the Environment Centre, Nelson had a plan to go on the walking track to climb up to where the Dickson's climb started, so off down in the opposite direction to where we wanted to be for to go up and around.  This put the pressure on the boys with steep climbs getting many of them off and half killing Robin.  His blood pressure and heart issues making the riding bloody hard for him, so we left him here, and he was gonna rest at the trucks a while.  Off up the climb and into Dickson's.  A lot moister than last week when Nelson and me did it.  Made the clay in the dead forest really sketchy, but the flow through was still good.  I had Pete breathing down my neck most of the way, but he backed off a bit for his own lines and we all regrouped just past the jump in the open before the final scrubby descent to the road.  Steve got a wasp sting on the thigh on this descent.

Now it was a km or so along the road and into Sidle73, after I'd administered an anti-histamine to Steve.  First grunty climb grunty as usual, and then it's flowy flowy around and about.  Lost sight of Nelson and rode the whole thing on my own, catching him on the gravel road and the others appearing in short shrift behind.  Regrouped at the gate (in the shade) then got on up the road, longer as usual and into the singletrack.  Nelson spun out a couple of times before getting it.  I got it, and continued to get the whole thing all the way up, which was mint, cos last time I thought I'd never do it again!  2 dabs, one on that rocky outcroppy thing, and one on that angled smooth log near the top.  Heavy breathing and lots of sweating involved.  The crew all arrived in no time and snackage had then on up the pinchy climb for the top.  Cleaned everything bar about 3 metres - w00t! So much better than last time.

Lyndon Saddle and there were some rookies heading off down Mistletoe Track ("you're going the wrong way..." - "try the luge next time, it's heaps better").  Regrouped and then off.  I led the way, and had Nelson and Pete tight on my tail the whole way.  Not as slippery as I'd expected, but one or two spots I felt the wheel slipping but never too bad.  I had one pile up where I couldn't steer fast enough and was stopped abruptly by a tree - Nelson having to take evasive action behind.  The going got steeper and rootier and we were flying.  I was being pretty careful, but it was still super fast.  Finally into the bottomlands and cruising through to the bridge and done, hands utterly pumped.  3 riders here heading off up ahead while we waited the late arrivals, Andy, Wayno, Wazza, Steve, and finally Tones.  Up the road to the trucks and a text from Robin saying he'd gone on ahead.

Into Draco-Flat Tack Track, Nelson then Pete then Me.  Following Pete I was thinking "how the fuck is he doing that!?" then realising I was doing the same!  Kept him in reasonable sight for most of the descent, having a few moments and close calls in the process, but he disappeared round the final corner pretty quick and I only had glimpses of him ahead on the final blaze down towards the river.  I could sure hear their braking as I approached the bottom tho.  Pete was stopped on the bridge adjusting chain(?) and Nelson had jetted on ahead, so I just moseyed on up the climb, again only walking a short section before managing to continue on up.  All alone across Dracophyllum Flat, Nelson long gone, and I's about a third of the way across when I looked back and could see Pete.  Cruise cruise cruise through down around and into the climby bits.  Eventually, on one of the first tight hairpins Pete was behind me and followed me up the final climbs to the Solar repeater thing where Nelson was snacking.  Everyone rolled up in (pleasantly, surprisingly) short time, tail end Tones last.  And we could see Robin's top making it's way up the Hog's Back in the distance.  Into the ride again, Nelson leading and Pete pushing me along, swoopy fun section though this forest, then over a boardwalky bridge thing, pinch climb then descending again around and down across flats, fast blast down in and out of trees, then around and down to the river crossing.  Another regroup and Nelson and Pete getting water, then Steve, Wazza and me led the climb up, grunting our ways up the steep.

Up Texas Flat and Nelson, Wazza, me taking the lead on the Hog's climb.  First time ever, I think, cleaned the whole damned thing.  Grinding away, the pain nearly insufferable.  Finally around the corner, through the tree'd switchbacks then on up the back of the 'Back and the seemingly endless stretch to Picnic Rock.  I'd spotted Robin just disappearing as Nelson got up there.  Then once the others arrived we all watched his red shirt in the distance for some time.  Nelsie led off and we chased, blazing down through the moonscape and into the forest, fun and fast.  After the bridge on the long descent we met a 3 girls and a guy climbing, the guy getting back on right in front of me and having to get off as I swept through, "Sorry...!" I remarked.  Down and around some more and then splooosh through the ford and scramble scramble up the climb to Robin.  Yet another regroup here and the view of the trail ahead showing us the last climb.  Jetted off into the rolly descent then around some woopdedoos and climbing again, past the dead tree and up the very final steep and off down the ridge, ruts-villainy, before dropping over the side into the forest and rocketshipping down the trail.  Wheels scuffing as the braking is unweighted as you're flying over a lip.  I came round one corner and 'oh shit' there's a kid and a dad, bikes just to the side, I'm in the air, brakes on, landing and reining in the speed to sweep past them 'safely', then on into speed mode again, passing the next kid and flying onwards.  Fantastic fun.  Out onto the road, then Pete, who was raving about that last kid, who was the next to arrive, with great style.

Final blast down to the car and I loaded up and got going, Nostalgia Fest to be enjoyed in the sun with the Chch-massive, Phoenix Foundation playing a bloody good set.

Just under 30kms, and just under 900m alt.  Good ride.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sunday eastern Posse

Nelson's car was at mine after our collection of a new one for him from Temuka on Wednesday, so on Saturday he dropped the Nukeproof off and then Sunday he left home after 6am and biked down the plains and here, 47kms total.  We headed in his car round to Steve's and found there Pete, Steve, Wazza, Wayne and Tones.  Off round to Ramahana and up the hill, chatting away as usual - for it had been a while since we'd all caught up.  Topped out the seal and then on up the gravel, regrouping again at the Summit Rd.  Many riders passing by while we waited.

Next into Vernon, nice flowy descent, only a couple of approaching climbers, then across the top of Rapaki, with the hoards milling about here.  Pretty much straight into Witch Hill and climbing, cleaning everything, Nelson on my tail pushing me along faster than I'd normally find comfy, but that's good.  Up the road, chatting to a Krampus rider on the way, before watching him and his slowpoke riders pick their way down Castlerock Track.  We dived in, me first, Nelson following, then Pete and the rest, after them, overtaking them part way down the face, then fanging it through to the first hairpin at a mental speed.  Nelson caught me at the bend, then I jetted away again to the next corner, then he was on my tail up the climb, me bashing pedals a few times on random rocks.  Rolled out into the Bridle Path top and regrouped again.

Off round under the Gondola, passing some walking people on the road below the bluffs, and Nelson commented to me about not wanting to be going slow through here...  (I wonder how they fared in the 5.7 shake that hit a few hours later?).  Rather than grovelling up that steep section of track from Cavendish Saddle, we opted to stay on the road a little further, then waited as Pete, Wayne, Steve and Tony rolled up - Wazza had headed up the grovel.  Tony and Steve took Britten, the rest of us up the 'new' climb, seeing Wazza above and chasing him down.  Only Nelson managed to reel him in, and then not until the gate.

Up top and off down the rocky singletrack, trying out the new, very direct, line.  Then over the stile and blazing, weaving and popping down through the rocks then the tussocks and flying round into the top of Greenwood and down to find Steve and Tony awaiting at the ruins.  Snackage had, sun enjoyed, and off again.  Me leading for some reason, and Nelson pretty tight on my heels.  Rolled through most stuff pretty good, not too many stalls on the rough, but a bit muppetty in the top couple of hairpins.  Good rolling down through the tight rock gap and pumping around to Gloomy.  Through here and my usual tiredness here made me slow a bit, rolling rest then into the rocky descent and flowing through and around through Dave's bits and into the valley and down the fast face to the bastard rock-up.  I stalled, Nelson practically ran into me and would have made it were it not for me.  Last blast down and around and finally a rest on the road below.  The boys all rolled in at staggered spacing and a regroup was had.

Into the Captain, Nelson in the lead.  Blasted down it all, cleaning everything nicely, but blowing out the wee climb after the rocky challenges.  Then down the last open spaces, hairpins, taking the Cabbage Tree bonus, and the flat tack chasing down the last two bits to the creek and over the stile.  Everyone else rolled in and we headed down the steps and through Sumnervale then down to Dot Com for coffees.  Andy, with bursitis of the knee, had come out in his car to join us.  Tony taking off early.  Eventually we were all off again, Steve setting the pace all the way through Moncks and Redcliffs and nice tail wind down the Causeway, Nelson overtaking then me, near the end, giving Steve a rest by taking the lead for a bit.  Pete peeled off at the bridge, and the rest of us went round the towpath, dropping Wazza at the roundabout then what was left of us headed back for Steve's, Nelson giving me a lift home from there, and picking up his other bike from mine.

Reasonable sized loop, with surprising amount of climb - 34kms, over 900 alt.  And a couple hours after we'd finished, we were lucky not to be on the trails - I wonder how many rocks tumbled on Capt Thomas!?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Thursday Sidle, Anti-, Luge, Dickson's, Draco, Hog

One of the hottest days of the year in Chch, over 30 degrees of exhausting nor'west heat.  Nelson had a measure-up job at Castle Hill, so the plan was to meet at Sheffield and proceed out there in one car to have a ride after the job.  But, I struggled to get out of town, getting gas, checking tires, grabbing a beer from Punky Brewster, so by the time I finally made the Old West Coast Rd he was pretty much already out there.  He went ahead and I followed on all the way out.  This ended up benefiting us, as we could leave my car at Castle Hill.

Drove round and parked at Broken River and proceeded into Sidle 73.  First grunty wee climb and I found myself struggling right from the start.  Cruised down to the Craigieburn Rd and headed on up the coarse gravel.  Into the Anti-Luge, steeeep little start catching me out immediately, and the struggling began.  I felt utterly ratshit and had no strength or power and head was spinning and unfocused and I just felt weak, from here onwards, and on every single climb we did all the way out.  I walked a few bits I was so weak and rode, and eventually Nelson was waiting at the intersection, then it was up towards Lindon Saddle, first steep rooty bits making me walk, but managed to ride more further up.  Into the Luge, I led the way with Nelson filming behind, but I dropped him as I rocketshipped away from him, because he was struggling with a stiff back from working with his sheep the day before.  Wonderful flowy speed, leaping over root sections and railing berms, felt on fire, and marvelous.  Seemed to be no time at all and I was into the steeper rooty bits lower down.  Stopped a couple of times for Nelson to catch up, but rocketted away from him each time.  Fantastic descent. and over so soon, across the boardwalks and bridge to finish.

Up the road, my climb-grovel beginning to kick in quickly.  Longer than memory serves, but made the top of Draco and headed left for an explore, towards the Environment Centre, staying on the gravel road around above this and up to a wee saddle.  Then it was up a new singletrack (which we could see in the distance) and sidled around to another wee saddle just off Bridge Hill.  Nelson, obviously, was ahead and headed on up to the left, to the top of this hill and here we looked for Dickson's Downhill track.  Eventually I pulled out my phone and loaded up a map and discovered we'd passed it at the last wee saddle, so, back down to here and into it.  MINT. This track just kept giving and giving.  First, across a slope with a (from a distance) intimidating fence gap jump (which wasn't), and into a dying/dead forest of poisoned pines, not losing too much altitude and with whoopdedoo jumps here and there, and one mucky bog hole, then through grassland and across frostflats with awesome drops and the into tight beech forest for more descending at ridiculous speeds.  Dusty at times and I was tight on Nelson's tail the whole way.  Eventually down beside a ridge, and through shrubland back and forth and finally across the flats at the road.  Over a fence and along the road a bit and into the old (closed) road to the saddle we'd started at above the Envt Centre...  Steep granny grovel through more poisoned pines, about 15 minutes for me (took Nelson 10).  Bit of food and refresh here then back round the gravel road above the Envt Centre, mostly down, but small up, and we were back at the top of Dracophyllum Flat tack Track.

Into this I led, and bombed down it.  Leaping whole sections of roots, catching air on boosters, railing around corners, flying.  At one stage a cross blackbird was caught by surprise and panic-flew alongside for 10s of metres.  Caught at least one tree with my handlebars, scuff! and powered on.  Nelson did a better job of staying on my tail this time, slowly winding me in as his back loosened up.  Last few corners slowed me down a bit then it was down the fast loose descent towards the river.  On the bridge, breathing hard.  Nelson passed me by and headed on up the climb while I hit it and died.  Off, walking for a while through the steep switchback section, finally riding a bit once it mellowed out, and onto the actual Dracophyllum Flat.  Much nicer condition to nearly 3 years ago when we last did this, in the muck.  Flowed across the flat and into the trees, and climbing around through more flats and into the forest again, climbing and descending a couple times before climbing finally up.  Walking again, NOTHING in the legs.  Eventually I made it out of the forest and across to die next to the solar panel repeater boxes.  Another small rest and off down, following Nelson towards Texas Flat.  Bomby flow down through the jumpy forest, nearly overcooking some bits, but managing to survive, and across the boardwalk, dying on the wee climb following.  Down again, slowly building up speed, Nelson well and truly on form now, rocketting away from me.  Flowy flowy down, down then around and down to the creek crossing and the nasty grunting climb, most of which I walked.  Then the cruise meander up towards the start of the Hogs Back, Nelson in the distance and disappearing straight up into the climb ahead.

I stopped and drank some of my Ovari Juice before tackling the climb, which had me off walking in no time.  Combination of dehydration, heat-exhaustion and maybe a little worn out from the running is what I reckon's caused it.  The pie from Sheffield probably didn't help either, not giving me any accessible carbs to work off.  No power.  Finally rode again after the steepest bit, and up to the corner where Nelson was waiting.  From here we had the next climbs through trees and across the open lands up towards Picnic Rock where I wanted to collapse. Less than a year since I was last up here was on the fatty, with the boy.  Into the descent, Nelson in the lead and me following, staying on his tail for the first downs, popping and weaving through the sketchy frostscrubbed land and into the occasional trees, but at the very first up I practically stopped, where he somehow managed to power on.  Fast descents followed by slow climbs proceeded through the next sections, crossing the two river/creeks, one by bridge, the later one by ford, out of which I stumbled, walking up to find Nelson waiting.  Snacked up a little more here, with the end practically in sight.

Just one more section of fans to cross then the last climb, most of which I walked, to the dead tree and ridge before our final blast down the ridge and into the forest, where warpspeed was engaged and our highest speeds overall were found.  Blasting down through the forest, passing a walking woman, and finally reaching the end, for a cruise down across the flats and back to my car, Funk Estate Sophisticuffs awaiting.  I struggled to enjoy the beer, as I was so utterly spent.

Biiig ride.  Nearly 30 kms, and over 1000m climbed.  No wonder I's so knackered.