Good ride last night. Nelson picked me up from work and we headed through to Lyttelton. Parked down on Norwich Quay, and rode up Sumner Road, then up two long flights of steps and up Gilmour, just as Chris and me attempted to do back in 2010 but were stymied by a Mr Arsehole.
Things must have changed in that neck of the woods because access seems to be by this way, and so we continued up into Urumau Reserve, climbing steadily. I was wheezing like mad so when we got finally got up to top of the 4wd track section I got some Inhaler into me. From here, more up, climbing on a nice benched track, with good hairpins zigging and zagging up the hill to the top of the ridge. A wee explore here, on foot, up the rocky ridge checking for other trails, either coming in from above, or sidling below. Then back to the bikes, and up into the trees, a steep wee grunt of a climb, with a couple of slightly tricky switchbacks up to a high point. Seats down for a droppy corner then a look at where to go from a place we rested each time we got up there.
Then off down the 'blue' line, me following Nelson, and immediately a massive steep droppy face which I baulked on and walked, then got my head together and rode the rest of them, drop, then platform, then drop, all rollable. One was really sketchy looking and I walked it too, and then we got to one that scared me, but I rolled in and it was fine, just on the verge of control. Down and to the left, around over logs and a couple of droppy bits and and a couple more logs, bunny line on one of them, corners back and forth and down and around, until we could see the Sumner Rd below us, and the coal storage area below that. Found a 'green' line heading up so followed that, and it took us steeply back and forth up and back around to what became to us a central point. From here we sidled around the hill back in the general direction of the main entry trail. Some swoopy down, then brief climb, then through a gap in a rock-fence, and some climbing from this, eventually rolling out at the top of the 4wd bit where I'd had my asthma blast.
Climbing up the benched switchback trail again, and back up into the trees to the top, and this time trying out the 'green' track from the 'rest spot'. It was pretty much right beside the blue track, and felt a bit unfinished for a start, then we took it around to the right, fun ride down, nice bermed corners. Near the bottom it comes in towards a tree and around the bottom of it, and looks like it continues on, but to no avail, we backtracked back up and found that you were supposed to loop around the tree, then back the other way, and back down to the Asthma puffer spot.
Again, climbing up the benched switchbacks and up into the trees again to the top. Resting out of the wind at the 'rest spot'. This time hitting the blue line again, but from the top of the first big droppy section we took a line off to the left of this. Mint trail we swooped on down it, bypassing the worst of the droppy sections but including the final 'scary' one, and back down to our 'central point' again, we headed off around to the left on a trail we'd spotted on the first trip down there, which stayed higher. It was a 'green' trail mostly and part way down we noticed a blue off to the right, but stayed sidling on the green. Past a sign that said 'Track closed due to rock fall risk', and onwards across the slope til the track ran out at a fence/edge of the forest. There was a foot track across the slip which we explored without bikes, into the next forest, and lots of scope for more trails over there. Back to the bikes and back up the green track, a couple of bits steeper than we'd remembered, then into the blue and dropping again, a bunch of steep switchback drop corners. I walked one. then suddenly we're on the green climbing track we'd ridden up first lap, wondering how the hell we'd not seen it earlier, but then crossing the blue and on up to the central point again. Swooped to the gap in the fence, then climbed again and back to the asthma spot.
Climbing once more, switchback switchback switchback, and up, into forest. This time Nelson took the green climber to the right, while I went all the way. The green climber goes straight around and meets where we'd rested every time. Final blast, taking the blue left hander off the top drop and heading down, flowing and rolling and swooping, over the last drop and down to the 'central point', then around to the right, dropping through the gap in the fence under the tree and little bit of steep climb then down this hairy steep overgrown trail that ducked and weaved through native plantings and eventually dropped out onto the climbing 4wd track. Up this 50 m or so, and off down another narrow steep track down towards the streets of Lyttelton, across and down, trail becoming progressively steeper and narrower, til eventually dropping out on Reserve Tce... From here, down the road, down Stephenson's Steep, little bit of St David's then down steps to Oxford St next to the school, and down to the car.
Not the biggest ride, only just over an hour's riding time, just under 10kms, and not quite 500m climbed, but all full-on climbing or full-on descending, very little sidling...