Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tuesday Night meanderisations

Rode from work to meet Nelson at Rufus's Back Alley bikeshop, and we cruised the busy roads eventually getting to Mt Pleasant and parking up top of Major Hornbrook.  The PFMTB-Crew were meeting at 6.30, and it was 6.07 as we hit the trail. I led off, leaving Nelson faffing with something, figuring I'd get a head start as he was gonna catch me anyway, but he wasn't feeling 100% on form so stayed back for quite a while, catching me at the loop at the top.  Off up the rocky bits on the original Britten around under Broadleaf and on to the cattlestop, sun well and truly set.  Over the road and fence and climbing up to the Mt Pleasant track, hanging a right and skidding down the gravelly chip to the stile and over and then into the Mt Cavendish climb.  I took the wrong line for a start but then found my way back onto the 2nd hairpin in behind Nelson.  Clamber clamber, through the gate then back and forth we went to the top and over around behind the Gondola building.  Straight into the downhill down the steps, boppity boppity bop, and then wandered around on the rocks til eventually we found the right lines down along the fenceline and then along the ridge and rocky trail to the top of the Bridle Path. 

Up the road, and at the top we could see the string of lights on Britten track that we knew were the boys.  I led the way off down Castle Rock, starting slowly and not putting much effort into slowly accelerating til reaching sensible speeds, feeling pretty smooth, but not overly fast.  Little bit quicker towards the first hairpin, but wondering why the hell I was so handlebar-light focussed, and realising my headlamp was only on low, whereas the handlebar one was on med...  Upped the headlight and much better hurtled towards the 2nd hairpin, around, and down, then Nelson caught me in the climb up and around then good flow down to the end.

Along the road, around under the Gondola at a good pace, now 'chasing' the boys.  I didn't think we'd catch them at all, figuring by the time we were on top of Mt Pleasant they'd be on the road heading around ready to climb Broadleaf, so I didn't push too hard.  From Cavendish Saddle, up the steep bastard climb around then up the nice face onto the gravel road.  Through the gate and I could see lights down on the trail below, and Nelson hadn't hung around at the top so straight down the shorter cut and muppetted over the stile and then fanged it, definitely chasing now, able to see a few lights on the trail below.  Flew down through the tussocks to the end of this section and we caught up with everyone - Pete, Steve, Wazza, Andy (on his newly built-up Keewee) and Robin - all in good form as usual. 

Got going down and around the top section of Greenwood towards the road.  I stayed tight on Nelson's tail, had a few whoopsies but managed to keep it under control, eventually rolling out onto the road, regrouping and then riding up to Britten again.  Into the singletrack, and a wee ways around I decided to dive off down the lower track.  Nelson followed, but none of the others.  It was sweet, really flowy and smooth, losing altitude nicely, keeping speed, around below the rocky knoll of the hill, then an easy climb back around to the rest of the singletrack.  The boys were just over the gate heading for Broadleaf as we climbed back up to them, over the gate and were with them before the first corner of Broadleaf.  Up the gravel and here we made a choice.  Nelson and me were feeling like we needed a bigger ride, and the boys all headed off down towards Cavendish to finish.  So, said our goodbyes, and headed up the top and off down again.

Better run down here this time, blazing through the tussock sections, tho still missing a couple of corners.  Brief rest and then into Greenwood, half choking on Nelson's dust.  I had a pretty good run, kept him in sight for a good while, but he was like a rocketship, slowly gapping me.  Into gloopygulch and could see some lights below, but before too long realised they were stopped, climbing.  Nelson wasn't that far away as I descended towards them, and they were well off the track as I flowed past.  Round the bends and eventually through the cattlestop and Nelson was already on the final blast towards the rocky-ups.  I was a bit slow round here and my usual fast section I was really shit, realising at one point i was nearly stopped!  Picked it up a bit, juuust dabbed through the first rock, and then blasted through the rest of it.  As I rolled to a stop at the final stile I turned off my light, had a stretch, then went to turn it on and it was dead - perfect timing!

Up the road, at a pretty good pace, climbing hard for a long time.  I had to slow a couple of times, but we pushed it, figuring it was the last blast and just bashing it out.  Felt like forever to make it up the road, but finally got to Britten and handlebar lights only I had some interesting moments, with the trail vanishing behind tussocks several times.

All up, over 22 kms, and over 800 m climbed.  Bloody good.

Wednesday 20th, Night Pleasantries

Ooops, realised I never posted this last week...  This was Wednesday the 20th, Nelson picked me up from work and we trafficjammed the way towards the Ferrymead Bridge, then ducked around into McCormacks Bay.  Parked up, changed and got going up Glenstrae and into the wheezy singletrack.  Quite overgrown with grass and vines and blackberries and fennel, but clear enough to ride.  I thought it was only a little while since I rode down this (but it was back in July), and Nelson had only been up it a couple of weeks ago.  Still, a good honest climb which, once I'd had some asthma puff, I managed okay.  Cleaned all but the second lower hairpin, and dabbed once on one of the new bridgey bits, and once in the upper switchies, then walked the upper steps (as usual).  On up the road, flashies now needed, then up Longridge, Clearview, Ridgeview onto Upper Major and to Britten.  Up this without lights, as there was just enough glow from the spectacular sunset sky and a rather large moon looming in the east.  Climbed and Nelson jetted on ahead.  Met a runner and a couple on bikes with a dog, then headed around the original Britten line to the rock climber's stile and checked out some climbers on a tight-rope line strung above the cliffs between a couple of rocks.  Pretty dark tho, so could only see him with our lights.

Up the 'new' line into Mt Pleasant, climbing away to the top, and resting for a while up here.  Off down, swooped around the old line for the benefit of more trail, and then over the stile and down.  Pretty good flow for a start then overlooking Lyttelton I missed the trail briefly.  Back on, and Nelson's dropped me, so off I go, finding my handlebar light too bright reflecting off the tussocks, making the trail really hard to see.  Flowed around and about then down blasting towards the end of this bit.  Rolled down the 4wd bit then hung the right and got a taste of what was to come.  Dust.  Lots and lots of dust, and I was eating it.  Nelson was raising it ahead and I could do nothing but blindly follow into it.  Further on, past the ruins, it wasn't as bad, but every time the wind was directly in our faces, or at our backs, the dust would hang out and get in my eyes and lungs.  But everywhere else there was enough side wind to tidy it away.  Good run all the way around and down.  At gloomy gulch we spotted a light ahead, meaning we'd been catching him up(?), but then at flatter bit lower down Nelson stopped for a to rest his hands and back and feet.  I was feeling pretty good.  Off again and more dust, so I held back a bit, but had a pretty good run, just cruising bits, pumping bits and then boosting bits.  Screwed up the rocky climb, but then flowed out the lower newly opened up bits and rolled in through dust to the end.

Across the road and into the Captain.  I stuck close to Nelson's tail for a start, thereby being where the dust hadn't risen up yet.  In the gulch before the stupidbridge it was damper and very cool.  Then more dust and down into the main drags.  Not so bad through all the tricky rocks, all of which we cleaned nicely, and then the climby big got me, and the flow across the slop was awesome.  Dropped around the corner into the switchbacky section, spotting Nelson failing on the second right hander, then down around and cleaned that, then into the cabbage tree track, slick in the dust on the corners, and super boosty fast down the last stretches, across the creek and over the fence.  Down the steps, along the horse paddock and onto the road, catching a slipstream lift from a couple buses and then on round, taking turns and super fast slipstream cranking around through Redcliffs and into McCormacks back to the car.

Just about 19kms ridden, and 600m climbed (mine measured 596m, Nelson 604)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Night Solo

No Nelsie tonight for various reasons, so I left work on my lonesome and headed for the hills.  Zig-zagged through Beckenham then straight into Major Aitken Drive, entering it with a clusterfuck of roadies, the faster ones of which were ducking into every cul-de-sac, around and out, while the slowbies and me chugged up the main drag.  I peeled off right on Kenmanure and didn't see them again.  Up the very top of Huntsbury Ave I spotted the TFC Truck, so flicked off a txt to Steve and Robin asking who was out for a sneaky.  Steve replied 'not me' so I kept an eye out for Robin as I climbed.  Past the pylon I jumped over the gate, and rode up to the next gate, and up the singletrack from here.  Over the fence onto the landing strip, and a light was coming down the gravel ahead.  Robin!  Chatted a while, he wasn't feeling as shit hot as on Saturday.  Just before we met, I could see a group of maybe 12 riders heading down Vernon, and on the other side, a group of maybe 8 riding around under Sugarloaf.  Lots of other singles and doubles out and about too. I started to get cold, so got rolling again, to the top and straight into the Traverse.

Uneventful blast around the Traverse, catching up to and passing a couple at our usual stopping spot, then blasting on around to Vic.  Straight up and over into Thomson and Thompson, nice rolling float through these.  Then, onto the road and down across Dyers, freaking out a timid car load of asians, then up to the Old Dyers entry and into it.  What a groomed trail to start with now! (well over a year since last)  Fast down and around.  Rollercoaster into the valley, then the rough began and my handlebar light cut out.  Stopped, unplugged, replugged, and all good from there on.  Trees felt to be much bigger on the side of the track to the last time I was down here, all the way down.  On the 4wd section I took it a bit easier, and then knuckled in for the climb to the road, across (no traffic) and up through Vic to the war memorial.  Heading for the skidder site I ducked right into the singletrack and cruised through here, wrong-geared on a big left hander, stalling, changing gear while stationary, and getting on again.  Brief rest at the skidder site and into Shazzas, blitzing down around the corners, surprised at a couple of new bits then missed the road crossing and headed straight down to the Brentzone.  Held left down through here and out the bottom, into Bridges, Flow etc  meeting my own dust on the hairpins lower down, and nearly losing it on one of the last corners.  Then the blast down to Hidden Valley creek crossing, cleaned it and the first corner, then completely failed the second corner.  Rest of the climb was good, but I was getting tired.  Took a break over the stile before the climb to the rest of Old Skool.

Climbed the last climb and then hit the downhill.  Fuck this track is getting bony.  Either the closure of McVicars has forced more riders onto it, or Mtnbiking is just getting too damned popular, but this track has been hammered.  Dusty; each hairpin I went round I was greeted by my own dust from above, and did I say, boney???  Jeebus.  I'd topped up my rear shock air pressure in the morning, and it was feeling a little harsh...  10psi needs to be let out.  Finally I was down the bottom, nearly cleaned the exit, should have, but I baulked.  Finally, down the last gravel, over the gate and headed for home, Bowenvale, Eastern, Wilsons, Nursery, Stanmore, long slog and I was toasted by the time I got home...  Sore neck, sore knee (wish I'd been wearing my longshorts or kneewarmers!)

30kms, 600m Climbed, in a smidge under 2 hours of riding.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday boys and Jet, black-Bottled-berries

Fatbike, my boys and Jet the dog, out to Bottle Lake for a spin.  We stopped and ate blackberries at a multitude of locations, finding some real motherlodes.  Through the middle to the pond, then out to the beach.  Realised there that I'd lost (or left behind, at least) Jet's dog-lead, so we headed back along Avenues and a walking track or two back to the pond, then along to where I'd attached O's sweatshirt to my bag.  O found the lead, and we scoffed some more blackberries before heading back to the carpark...... 10.4 kms and surprisingly, but believably, 75m of climby-ness

Saturday's posse catch-up, up, round and down.

Trundled across town to Steve's for a 9 oclock, and found there Wazza, Steve and Robin, soon followed by the arrival of Wayno.  We headed around through Hanson's Park and up the usual route, Ramahana, Aotea and up.  All sticking together and chatting catching up, for 't had been a while since I'd ridden with these fellas.  Ground our way up the gravel and topped out, me starving hungry, scoffing half a one-square as the others rolled up in short shrift.

Was a big posse assembling up in the road, and a couple of young dudes headed thru ahead of us, so we got going. Took a while but I wound in the young dudes by our usual regroup spot below Sugarloaf. They headed out while I awaited the others, then there were a few riders coming the other way so we held off our departure. Then, these total dicks came up behind us and proceeded to totally fuck up any flow the oncoming riders had, going ahead of us. We ask commented on their rudeness and followed them, me continually winding them in, letting them off, winding them in,  the rest of the way to Vic.

Into the Thompsons, blast blast blast, then ride chatting to the previously mentioned young dudes as we climbed up the road...  I dropped back and joined the boys, mainly Wazza and we plodded our ways up the road then up top of The Nun.  I led straight out thinking most of them were gonna bail in the middle, and had a rather wafty ride.  Slow in the slow bits but fast and jumpy in the fast jumpy bits.  Made it through the top half and dropped into the lowers.  Riding really cleanly, lightly, til the stretch before the corner next to where the Governor's Bay trail comes up, and I double pinch flatted.  Walked up the exit trail to that corner on the road and proceeded to start patching.  The boys rolled up, all but Steve, with Robin continuing on, while Wazza and Wayne waited a bit, the Wazza left.  I patched two holes, then found two more, so Wayne gave me a tube, then took off.  So, I finished up and got going.  We all met up with Steve at the top of Worsley's. 

I led off down the 'Bag and bounced and rolled, trying to stay out of the ruts.  With the forest closed we headed down the old skool main drag, first time down this for aeons (St Patrick's Day, 2011, to be precise).  At the big corner, old entrance to the Guts climbing track, we caught up with Tim Prebble, who was manning the 'info' station (ie, his truck, with leaflets on the windscreen) about the new Park.  Chatted a whiles, then headed on down the track, Epitaph, then road, and into Farsideville.  I took Utopia, which I really enjoyed.  The others all took various other ones, which they all really enjoyed too. 

To finish, off down the road, and into Zero's for coffees (and greentea) and grub.

I's home by 12.45pm
35 kms with all that road, and 729m climbed

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Thursday night Hack Porse and Spriving Lings

First night lights ride tonight.  Nelson usual pick up from work and trafficking across and up Dyers then around the Summit looking for the top Livingsprings entry.  We think we found where it was, stopping first too early, then second obviously past it, so the bit we'd seen before that had to be it...  Parked down at Gebbies and headed in 6.10pm, last of the sun going and giving spectacular nor'west skies and freaky light on the hills.  A car passed us as we gasped up the gravel road, and proceeded to park at the end and the occupants got out, a young couple heading in to the hut for the night.  We said 'see ya on the way back'.  Up the trail and over, lights on for the first time as we headed down the rooty steep into the forest.  It's been so long since I've ridden this bike I forgot to drop my seat, making the descent sketchy to say the least.  At the bottom, staying low under the low trees and climbing up the roots was hard work.  Then up the fence line and over the stile and on up.  Greeted at the top with a MOST spectacular view of Mt Bradley and the basin surrounding the Packhorse lit from reflected off clouds set-sun light.  Utterly amazing.  Down the road, and into the dark dark fir forest for to climb.  Walked the switchies, rode on, past the 'bach' through the open, startling a rather large cattlebeast, then on up up up.  In no time we reached the next switchback section, me thinking they were way further ahead. Had another breather at the top, then hit the last gasp climb to the fenceline.  Next it was round the narrow sketchy ledge, through the Dykes and into the wind.  Howling gale of a thing over the leading ridges, pushing us both off our bikes for dabs before reaching the hut, where we found a bunch of very windswept tents, and a few bods to talk to.  50 minutes from when we set off, dead on 7pm.

Off back down, I led the way, easier riding with momentum, into the wind.  At the Dykes we met the walking couple from the start (they'd made good time, we thought), and proceeded to get cow shit all over our tires and bikes, as we traversed the techy ledge.  Over the fence and into the woods, flowing, wafting, drifting around corners, fantastic descent through the forest on the soft pine needle surface.  Pure bliss riding.  Short climb around the tricksy tree, then down again, at times with much speed, others cautiously keeping grip.  Into the open, brief climb where the cattlebeast had been, and back into the forest, across and down the switchies, then ballbearing fir cones, and out to the forestry road climb.  Nelson took off up this and I plodded on up behind.  Over the stile, up, then down the paddock trail, Nelson out front using his newly acquired DH mojo.  Over the next stile and down the barbed wire edged rootfest, then barbed wire edged rootfest climb, then steeeeep, both of us walking eventually, to the open and back on for the last over and down to the road, for a dusty follow into the little trail below the road which was fast and grippy back to the car. 

As always, surprisingly only 450 odd metres climbed (always feels like more), over a round trip of just over 11kms.

Then we drove round to Living springs, to take in one lap.  In the Bamford Rd entrance, and around.  Clambered up to do that wee drop bit off the side of the trail, then found a new being-built track that takes you across the slope, through a huge new native planting area, and into the bottom of the Pines, climbing up newly formed, but as yet unfinished, track to the old Pines entrance.  Up (and down a couple times) through the Pines, having forgotten how steep bits are, then stopped for a sit in the dark on Rhymes With Orange.  Off again, and around into Mississippi, trails all in mint condition, then as we climbed to Zanes I hit the wall, and started to shake.  Sugar from earlier in the day had all run out and I was verging on one of those cold-sweat shakes, but managed, just, to keep it together and flowed and hummed down Zanes to the bottom, over the bridge and back to the car.

just over 3 kms, and under 100m climbed...