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.

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