Nelsie picked me up from home and we headed over to meet some dudes he's ridden with before. A bunch of names I'll never remember, but including at least one Nigel, and a Mark, and a Darren and a Paul?, and a few others... Must have been at least 9 or 10 of us. Met outside the empty lot that was Kaizuka (bugger). I found I'd left my handlebar light at home, so was headlamp only. Also, started mymapmyride here, but stopped paused it til further up the hill. Headed up Bowenvale Ave, then up Old Skool, climbing away, a racer dude and Nelson out front, followed by me (surprisingly), and then the rest trailing out behind. Regrouped a couple times on the way up (first one at the stile, where I resumed mymapmyride), then around into Hidden Valley, peeling left on the walk-track that was near where the old trail used to go across in what was once pine trees, across the face towards the bottom of the Lavaflow. Down some steep steps rutsville next to them to a bridge in the valley, then up the valley track, many cleaning or re-trying to clean sections, most of the tricky ones of which I walked. Got eventually to the top corner, and headed on the easy grade track back towards where Bridges flows out of the forest below Brents.
Up into the Park, under the trees, and UP BRENTS... wtf!? oh, kay... Nelson and the XCer cleaned it, I didn't, Nigel didn't. (oh, should mention here, Nelson, Nigel and me were the only reprezentatives of the 26er), and several others didn't clean it that I saw. On up the trails in here, all taking slightly different meandering lines. Nelson blew himself up and had to sit down to rest before the exit below Rad^sick. Here it was decided we'd go UP SHAZZAS... huh!? okay then... Cleaned way more than I'd have expected, and it was a good chuff. A group went around the usual way, zigging out to the left then back across on the big tracks. Another regroup at the skidder site.
Here it was decided to head for Harry Ell and climb to the top, which was a relief, a nice cruisey cruise, til the top under the trees that the lower of the Thompsons is in, and we climbed up through these to Thompsons, then up this and up the upper one and another regroup at the top, some of the dudes had ridden the road section here too, to catch up. I said that I like my wee favourite in the Gums, so they said "Lead the way!", so off down to the right, then back across, bypassing the see-saw, and down the rabbit paddock and into the rocks, and around and then quick left into my gummy favourite, zipping down here and then out to the skidder site, where we found a group of guys standing around a guy on the floor, putting a space blanket on him, awaiting the ambo... busted up ankle, apparently.
Rode from here across towards the 19th Battalion, and then over the top of it and down some trails I didn't know existed, then briefly up the track the Parker-Hulme girls killed the mother, then hung a tight right and down a bunch of stone steps, trail getting steeper around and down and down and down... MINT. Then, apparently the trail used to go 'thru there' (big fallen tree), so around this and onto a sweeeet techy steep flowy fun trail that just kept going down and down, (still!), til eventually a steeper corner and steep down to a fallen log and regroup while some got saws out and cut through it. The old track was impassable from here, so we found our way up to the right and around, then onto another short steep sweet section down to a walk track, that then spat us out onto the main valley track just above where that guy died one time.
Blasted down the valley from here, feeling more and more cold, and sketchy gravel, and I watched as Nelson flew off his bike at the top of that jump up to the right. Good blast. Regroup then down the road and a quick beer and chat at the Brickworx... Good bunch of guys.
only 13 or so kms, and 455ms gained