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.

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