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.

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