Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Monday night Brit Cavendish Castle Green Pleasantries

Nelson picked me up from home after work and we headed for the Upper Major Hornbrook, parking down the end by Ridgeview.  As we were getting ready, the sun slipped behind the mountains, a minute before 6, so we had a bit of light for the climb.  Over the fence next to the bathtub and up the singletrack, climbing and wheezing, me lagging behind for a while.  Nelson lubed his chain at the turnaround and we headed around the 'new' trail out around the ridge, enjoying the post sunset lightshow.  Around to the road, across, and over the fence.  Climbed to the singletrack and hung a right for a change dropping down to Cavendish Saddle, careful on the last bit before the stile.  Over this and lights on here, down then into a greasy (to start with) climb for the gondola, zigging and zagging upwards to the top, climbing getting better as I progressed.

Brief stop behind the Gondola building, snack, view of flat-calm harbour, then off down, not quite knowing what to expect slipperynesswise.  Not so bad, down steps, and then over some rocks, and one horridly mucky bit then the usual rocky descending.  Worked out the way into the 'good' line along the fence (on the right - instead of over the left side with the hairpin and tight bits), and then a little further down Nelson was stopped and grabbed a baby rabbit...  We held it a bit then let it go, and headed across the top and over to the Bridle Path. 

Up the road, plod plod plod, and into Castle Rock.  Not much muck about, a couple small wet bits up top and one or two further down, but mostly pretty good.  I took it very easy, quite relaxed, just cruised on down around across around, cleaned the climb nicely, and cruised over the last bits.

Back up the road and before the top - up through the tussocks onto the Crater Rim track, and back towards Lyttelton (which we'd explored back in June).  Good round here, climbing all the climby bits, up steps etc.  Nelson stalling at one point and toppling off.  All I saw was him 'running' down the hill below the track, and tumbling.  He garked his shin and knees quite well on a rock and had to sit there for a bit to get through the pain.  Then, off round the ridge and above Lyttelton, cruising down the steppy, not so slippery, and better than remembered, trail down to a final bomb towards the Bridle Path.

Next up, around the road under the Gondola back to Cavendish Saddle, and up the singletrack grind to the top of Pleasant.  Nice break up here, no wind around at all, and off down the trail, much better than last week in the wind, but splecky mucky disgustingness on the section overlooking Lyttelton near the top.  Not so bad down through the tussocks.  Way betterer without the wind.

Brief pause above the ruins, where I said "I'm not sure I can be bothered going down Greenwood," to which Nelson replied, "Well, I'm keen."  So I changed my mind and we did.  It wasn't too bad, except leading around to Gloomy Gulch, and then Gloomy Gulch itself...  Those bits were yucky, but not as bad as I've seen it in the past.  Drainage efforts really are doing the job.  Bit of a break just after Gloomy Gulch where I used to always top, and then off down the steeper rocky bits and nice flow ensuing.  At the new drop, Nelson did it.  I rolled up and looked at it, and no, you cannot 'roll' it...  I walked back up a bit, and Nelson came back up, and we rolled in again, and he dropped it and I chickened out, >buk buk<.  Onwards down, one corner in Dave's section was a muckfest, but the rest of the trail was all good.  Me taking it pretty easy the rest of the way down.

Onto the road and the climbing began again.  Always further than memory would have it, but I felt better than last week, and managed to keep the pace up all the way up.  Last blast down Britten started off easy and got more and more rapid as we flowed, and sketchy in places too, feeling both tires juuust giving way a few times. Last little section of singletrack down to the bathtub is quite sketchy, tight, and not very fast...

All up, 21kms, and 850m climbed...  didn't feel like that much, but it was...  nice.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunday Flat to Otukaikino planting

Hoofed the townie around to Pete's.  Steve and Tones, then Wah-Hey-No rolled up and we cruised Avonside, Kilmore, over the Salisbury bike bridge, Hagley Park, Girl's High crossing to Mona Vale (where I remembered about MappingMyRide) and up the Railtrail to the end.  Steve was on his townie, Pete on the new Grandad - aptly named Fritz, and the other two were on their usual steeds.  Good pace set mostly by Steve, nice day, good for cruising.  Tuckers Rd, around to Claridges Rd, then Gardners, Sawyers Arms and up to the Lakes (Roto Kohatu), through Omaka and along to the planting site.  Planted lots of plants, had a couple sossies, and headed on back the way we came, pretty much.

Back at Mona Vale, Tones and Stevo headed onwards, Steve to the 'Rugby' House to open up and get ready for the game, and us other three back towards our respective residences via Armagh St, me peeling off at Madras for the usual route home.

So, my 30something kms was actually more like 36 (my place to Pete's to Mona Vale), and altitude was grand bugger all 72m.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wednesday Night McBlustery Pleasant Green

Nelson picked me up out front of work and we did the traffic jam tango the length of Ferry Rd, parking at McCormacks Bay.  There was a bloody bitter easterly blustering the city, and our carpark wasn't particularly sheltered.  Nelson realised he'd forgotten his shoes, so his options were either not ride or ride in his slip-on laceless Chucks...  Naturally, he opted to ride, and suffer the consequences.  5.45 or so, I got going a little ahead while he faffed with something, hitting up the straightline climb and getting a bit of a wheeze on.  I kept checking back and there was no sign of him, so I stopped briefly til I saw him on the move.  On I kept, climbing and cleaning everything, through the first hairpin and then stopped at the second.  Finally he showed up behind, so I got walking up the steep bit and then stopped to re-adjust my pfmtbc tube-doorag.  Quite sheltered here in the valley.  Onwards climbing up and through, cleaning all the little boardwalks (with their cycle-traps) and into the first of the upper hairpins, no worries, second - spun out.  Spun out on another one and then we walked the steps.

Up the road, wind blowing around a lot, then up past Longridge, and trying out the wee singletrack in the park we often come down.  I wondered, and was surprised when we both cleaned it up no spin-outs no problems...  Then it was up over the fence by the bath and into Britten.  Here, Nelson's gears packed up...  A piece of flax had wound it's way around his jockey wheels, totally knotting and locking everything up.  He had to remove it to clean it all out, it's so tough!  Riding again, full force of the wind in our faces as we went.  Hard work, pushing through it and the climbing.  Around the bend and tail wind pushing around to the next corner, then cross wind and tail wind a bit again to the top.  Around the turnaround and then climbing the original and taking the lower loop out, into the wind for a bit, then awesome push around the ridgeline, popping around and pushed up and around towards the Summit Rd.  Nice.

Across the road, over the fence, climbing again.  Wind alternately pushing or stopping as we climbed to the top.  Finding some surprising shelter downwind of the natives up top there.  I led into the descent, taking the newer drop-line, my newly serviced fork playing very nice, wind a fucking gale.  Down and around, nearly blown off the track into Lyttelton on that edge with the big exposure, then nearly blown to a standstill coming around into it after there.  Down through the tussocks, massive gusts pushing, pushing, releasing, making for rather interesting times.  The lower (usually very fast) section I got pushed by the wind, front wheel rut-stuck, started to fall, front wheel bit, rear wheel caught the rut edge and started to slide and I finally stopped completely sideways to the track.  Close call.  Wind was howling across the top here, so we didn't muck about only stopping briefly before taking off down towards Greenwood.

Leading the way, into Greenwood, the wind was a factor, yet again.  Carried good speed past the ruins and into the first section, and on round to the right, but as I came around the next left hander, the wind and the rocks conspired and the speed dropped right down.  Took some effort to boost it up again, and down through the corners there were sheep with new lambs scattering off the track, only to meet us on the next section.  Finally, tailwind pushing around through the rockgap and around through the pumpy section towards Gloomy Gulch, good speed carried.  Pumped through the next bit then into the fast rocky descent, still mostly tailwind, nice rolling.  Spotted a new drop on the lower end of this section, and stopped afterwards to look back at it - next time.  Hoofed it around into the wind again pedalling to go downhill into the corners.  Over rocks, around bends, lost my chain somewhere in here, had to stop briefly to replace, and could see Nelson still a fair way back.  Got going again, and popped and rolled and pumped around into the gully and back out down the backstraight, dabbed my way through the first rocky up, rode the second and fanged on down tot he bottom.  Looked back up the trail and Nelson's light was stopped.  It flashed a couple times then got moving again.  He'd stopped to rest his feet, which were suffering badly from battering his small metal pedals and thin soled shoes were inflicting. 

Up the road, steady pace, nice and calm below Gloomy Gulch, but bloody horrible for the next stretch into the wind, and around improving, then relatively sheltered all the way up to the pines.  Then pretty much a tail wind the rest of the way up, Nelson bolted up here, getting to the top miles ahead of me, while I just plodded along. 

Into Britten, headwind making for pedalling to keep speed, then around and jumping and smooth across the slope, around the bend, and pushing hard into it to the bad off camber corner, then blasting down the final slopes to the bath.  Over and down, smoothly smoothly through the steep gravel, and coasting down the road to Craigieburn Pl, and into the trail.  I walked the steps and Nelson rode the whole lot, with only a dab at the bottom of them.  Then twist, twist, turn down the McCormacks Track bombing the bits we could see, and rain just starting to drop drops on us - perfect timing.  Awesome run down this singletrack, especially the lower swoopy section below the two hairpins, then flat-out blasting down the straight, confusing the bejeebus out of a car coming up Glenstrae towards us...  Out to the car, not long after 8.30.

So, in nearly 3 hours of real time, we'd ridden for 1 and a half hours, covering 18.5 kms, with 765m climbed.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday morning small posse

Got myself across to Steve's by 9am (via Stanmore, Nursery, Wilsons, Opawa) and found there him, Wazza and Wayno.  We headed around and up cRapaki, taking it at a nice easy Steve's pace.  We held back with him until the flat bit where Wazza and me headed over a wee singletrack above the trail, then for the final climb I pushed hard ahead and exhausted myself for a nice rest at the top.  Somewhere on the way up cRapaki my MapMyRide died, stopping at 7.99kms, stupid thing.  Off up Vernon, following a couple of real slowbos, and staying on their tails because we were holding back for Steve, but once we got past them I powered on ahead and around and up and around and over and stopped at the start of the Traverse.  Quite a few people around here.  I snacked and we regrouped, then onwards around the Traverse, keeping a good pace going, catching up to various oldies on the way round.  Fun fang round and then I lost my chain just before the end, coasted to a stop and re-engaged, following the other three to the top of Vic.  Into Thomson and Thompson, nice blasts through the two of these.

Up the road to top of Marleys, and time for a lap of the Nun, so lined it up, waiting for a young grom to put on his knee pads and get going, but these two older slower guys got in ahead of him.  I headed in after him and never saw him again (til he'd popped out half way), but I caught the older guys in the rocky sections.  Once past them I had a good blast down, only muppetting a couple spots.  Good speed in the lower reaches.  At the tree on the corner near the bottom a rooster clucked out in front of me and squawked and holla'd ahead of me for a few metres before getting out of my way.  On down and through the jumpies, missing them, and avoiding my nemesis jump. 

Back up the road and over and down the Body bag, getting some good speed down here, the bike feeling really smooth.  Hung a left towards Braille, and then a hard right onto the newby Nelson and me had found.  The guy was working on it, so I thanked him and he wished us good riding.  We had a good blast down here, the boys enjoying the trail a lot.  Dropped onto the trail at the end and fanged off down this.  Wet spot where Nelson and me headed up for the Jumpy trail, and the 4wd below here got greasier and wetter and muckier the further we went.  Total passenger material, with one loss of control by me when we passed a riding couple squirrelling their way up.  Where the jumpy trail comes out the trail was dry again and bombed down to the road losing a lot of the muck off our tires.  More removed at 60 whatever kph on the road, diversion on the mtb track on the left, then into the Farside tracks.  The boys all took 1 Trick Lucy, where I opted for Utopia.  I felt like it isn't used much, and was fun, but got me out the bottom quicker than them. 

Down the road and stopped in for a coffee at the cafe in the Cracroft shops, then met Andy and Jenna around the road a bit from here and chatted, before heading around the river, across the Beckenham Loop and I peeled off up Eastern, Wilsons, Nursery, Stanmore home.

Steve'sMappedRide says he did 28kms, and over 720m or so altitude...  chuck an extra 10 kms on that for my commute, and we're even.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday Night Cashmere Vic Bowenvaling

No ride weekend due to weather and under-weatherment, and no chance of a ride this week due to being sole charge of children, so Monday night was the only option to get out.  Nelson came to mine and we had a bit of a feed before heading out.  Got to Holliss Ave at 7pm thereabouts, and headed up the hill.  Steep bastard of a road this, and I was soon wheezing like and asthmatic smoker, barely managing to keep any air in, climbed away behind but managed to keep on top of my gear and make it to the top of the road.  Into the walking track, first off, down LOTS of steps.  I hadn't remembered them, but Nelson rode them all, while I took the safety conscious route of walking.  Little bit of single track and some steps up, followed by some more, and then about 5 flights of them and we were on Longhurst Tce.

Across the road and up a little bit and into the singletrack here that climbs around below all the houses up up up.  One respite then steeeeep switchback that Nelson rode lots of and I walked heaps of.  On ever upwards, more up than I remembered and finally we were at the stile over to the Forest.  Here's what I used to called the Barbed Wire Root Kiss track, on account of when you're coming down the roots are jittery and the barbed wire is SO close to your hand as to be almost kissing it...  Anyway, climbing is an interesting one, we both managed lots of it, Nelson way more than me, but much getting off also ensued.  At the top, we both cleaned the last section to the gate, and then into the Dog Park and off up, more rocks meaning more walking for me, and less so for Nelson, then across the park to the gate and a couple of pops over the gutter and then off into the walking track that starts here.  Nice forested flow through this, eventually coming out above the climbing trail from the bottom of Old Dyers, dropping down more nice singletracks to it, and off up to the 19th Batt. Memorial.

Up the fire road to the skidder site and for a change, off up the Gums track.  Walked a whole bunch in there, but explored a little below the my fun wee favourite before heading onto the main track and then cutting through to the top of Sesame St and upwards onto Brake Free.  Up through this to beneath the see-saw, along the fence, through a gate and onto the climbing trail up to the Traverse.  Stopped here briefly wondering what to do next...

Off down towards the rabbit paddock, and as we moseyed down this I spotted a trail off to the left, hmmm, followed it and found several rabbits, thinking they were hiding from me.  Nelson joined me and we cruised back across to the Rock Garden with freshly dampened tires.  Then we were blazing down through the Gummies, hung the favourite left and bombed it down through there, ducking and weaving around the trees.  Eventually back onto the skidder site, and off up towards the top of 19th Battalion Memorial, like we've done a couple times now with the Thursday night boys.  Followed our noses over this and down the sketchy trails, including one steep wee mofo through a shrubbery you can't see out of, left on the walking track across into the forest and then down to the right, and then a hard right and down steps and fun blast through the woods, veering left around and finally down a bunch more steps.  Following down more to find the steep fun trail we'd done a couple weeks back.  Finding it and dropping and dropping, magnificent trail reminiscent of all our (reportedly mostly deceased-) favourites in McVicars.  Finally the super steep finale, Nelson planted himself into a tree, then struggled to get moving again down the last bit I walked.  Clambering through the forest now over and through, then back on and dropping down onto the last bit of descent finally onto the main valley drag, above the fordy bridge the dude died at.

Climbed here, up to the creek crossing and up into Hidden Valley Link track.  Bollocksed the climb out of the creek, good round the corner and up to the second hairpin, bollocksed that, bollocksed the wee rock up, then the next one, then the first of upper corners, then just out of the last one, then dabbed on the final climb to the stile.  Bloody balance was all out and my lungs weren't working properly...  Had a good rest here, then headed onwards, around and down Old Skool.  Bloody good blast.  Rode it well, in very good condition, sounds like way less sketch and slop than the boys yesterday, all in all having a nice run after all that bad balance.  Final drops, peeled left and looked at where Nelson had crashed a few weeks back. 

Finally, down the bottom of the valley, and down the colder and colder Bowenvale Ave, detouring across Wedgewood, Landsdowne and taking Gunns Cres back around for a final drop Holliss and the car.

1 hour's riding time, 11.3kms, 421m climbed.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Sunday Pleasant Tarmac Posse

Left home on the Troll (cos knew we'd not be much off road today - tracks closed'n all) and then remembered mymapmyride on Vogel, got it started and headed for the 9 o'clock meet at Steve's.  Got there to find Tony and Steve, and then up rolled Pete.  Headed the usual Garlands, Radley, Marshall, Radley Park, along The Cut, over the bridge then along the tow path all the way round the back of Ferrymead to the bridge.  Sketchy in spots around there, where my lack of tires made for slickness galore.  Also, a couple of the wee bridges in there were just lightly glazed in frost, one of which caught Pete out pretty good, giving him quite a wee fright.

Layers off on Ferrymead Bridge, then off up St Andrews Hill.  Low gear on the Troll is pretty good for this, and I didn't struggle at all.  Steve was feeling it hard when we got to Marama, so he tried a little experiment of spraying some of his nitro on his finger and tasting it (instead of getting the full dose of spray on the tongue), and he was marvelling later how well it'd worked.  Nice one!  On up Major Hornbrook all the way, Clearview and Upper, then on up Mt Pleasant Rd to the top.

Down the Summit Rd here, just rolling, the Troll, with it's smooth tires, proving quite quick.  Freezing cold in the shade of the Richmond Hill pines, and we popped over the fence here to continue on down the gravel farm track, then below this onto the newly upgraded dirt track, Troll surprisingly stable, to the top of Richmond Hill Rd, and bombing down this.  I was being a bit cautious down the steep straight, and Pete overtook me then we both overtook a car.  My brakes worked hard to reel me in from around 60kph for the corner, and then it was a nice blast down the rest of it, with an ice-cream headache forming by the time I made the bottom.  Brrrrrr... My pfmtbc doo-rag saturated with sweat was collldddd.  Around to Dot Com and coffee and snackages partaken of.

Onto the road and around through Redcliffs and the Causeway, all slipstreaming, first behind Steve then Pete.  Pete and me split from the other two at the Bridge and continued our merry way round Humphrey's and Spinwood homewards, home well before 12.

Over 30kms and 567m climbed in all.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Wednesday night, Worsley short shrift - before the snows?

Late start departing my place, Nelson and me, to the top of Worsleys Road and a nice cool southerly blowing through there.  Rain earlier in the day, we figured maybe under the trees somewhere would be dry enough to ride.  But first, we headed up the main drag of Worsley Track, marvelling at how dry the lower sections were...  Further up, not so much.  A lot of wheezing earlier on, and various muckfest sections later, with a little mucky walking, and we were entering the bottom of the cloud at the bottom of the Bodybag...  Checked out the Park sign here and their access roadage and then headed back down and into Braille.

Fun little track, except for the bigger gap jumps.  Nelson tackled the earlier ones, I tackled one or two, even going back up for a couple of them, but not really allowing myself to give them everything, due to the greasiness under-tread.  Bombed on down, bypassing the worst humps, and continued on down, dropping into the lower section below the access track down towards the lower pylon, twisting and turning our way down to the end.  Back up the climb-out, and then back up the 4wd track amongst Braille to the top again, chuffing away, wondering where next.  Decided on another Braille run, and Nelson cleared a few more of the jumps, or better anyway, this time, me, worse than before...  Decided I really need a service, my rear is squeaking annoyingly and my fork needs some fettling.  On down all the way again, and we found ourselves climbing again - "Weren't we just here?"

Upwards to the top again, and this time back across towards the main Worsley Track, through the wee dip, and all the while looking left to find the track we'd explored last time we were in here...  Hmmm, someone's been digging.  Very nice wee fun (quite easy) track has been built here, pretty much following the main Track from just inside the trees, a good distance down.  We got some nice speed through here, and there were one or two interesting features on the way.  I noticed at least 2 or three alternative (less ridden or dug) lines off the left side, dropping into the valley more, so there's plenty of exploring to be done, and scope for way more trailage through this area.  Popped out on the climbing track, at around about the steepest bit, and found our way down to below the powerlines, where there's a wee creek.

Climbed up through the powerline clearing, then headed left down into the jumpy track.  Nelson knows this well, so let it go and jumped the jumps he was comfortable jumping, including the fence gap.  I toodled around most of them, including stepping over the fence gap...  On down through the last of it, ducking and diving, then dropped onto the climbing track, skirted some mud pugs, and climbed up to the final Epitaph - which I rode quite carefully on account of the slippery dirt.  Nelson, not so much.

440m climbed, in 8.3kms...  short and sweet.