Sunday, October 23, 2016

Vegas 4: Back into the Forest Tuesday 18th

Not such a terrible night's sleep, thanks to cough mixture and Otrivin nose clearer made me slightly healthier in the morning, but still potentially not the best for riding.

We chose a different path into the forest, this time riding up Tarawera Rd, and up a little singletrack on the side of the road around to the big water tank.  I collapsed into a coughing-nearly-puking mess at the top of this, managing to extricate a couple of small lung cookies from myself and feeling a little better afterwards.  We moseyed up Tokoaarangi Pa Rd, or something.  Anyway, climbed horribly for a bit, making me walk, and eventually leveled out on the ridge, undulating up and down a couple of times - much nicer.  We made our way surprisingly quickly across til we could see the top of K2.  Explored briefly an apparent trail (unmarked) up top here, but to no avail.  (Tho, I spotted one diving off into the bush up here and thought that would be interesting some time.  I'd love to explore a bit more...).

Around to and parked up top of K2, ready for this grade 5 descent.  Headed off down, Pete and Nelson first.  The very first filter, a rooty drop caught me out and I dabbed through it, but from here on down I managed nicely, cleaning everything else.  Mostly all very fun and rideable, but there were one or two good challenges, with big drops below holding roots.  Nothing a little commitment and roll-through couldn't handle tho.  We sorta regrouped once or twice, and various members of the party struggled on some of the tech, but we all got down safely and regrouped at the bottom, rapt with our performances.  A climb out up to Red Tank Rd (or Pipeline/Windy Rd according to Trailforks (which I think is wrong)), and around to the BRudeNot2 intersection.

From here we dropped into Bunny Juggs 1, which was a ripper of a wee trail, rooty and tight, swerving down through tight forest (immediately next to the end of Sweet'n'Sour).  Back up onto the Direct Rd for a bit then short climb into Bunny Juggs 2.  This climbed in native then was out into cleared chaff, open, new trail.  Fun little thing, some loose edges and jumpies to pump.  Around and back to the road, for the roll up to the shuttle stop.

It was about 12.40 or so here, so we decided to hang out, considering several of us were under the weather by now.  Chatted to the other shuttle driver (who'd visited our house the day before) for a bit here while he waited for his private shuttlers to return.  1pm rolled around and at about 1.15 the Shuttle rolled up, pretty much full.  We gave the few remaining seats to the few singles that had turned up, and we awaited it's return.  20 odd minutes later, we got our uplift. Corners first, or Upper Corners, wafted and bombed this down, all very nicely groomed, tho rutted and soft in places from all the weather and riding of previous weeks, with rideable tabletop type jumps, rolling or launching, all the way down.  Got to a road, and crossed back into the singletrack, taking us around to Corners proper.  This, again, back and forth, jumpy pumpy down, everybody enjoying it profusely, through the forest and out to a big clearing.  Crossed over Little Red Riding Huck a couple times in here too, I think.  Not sure where to go for a start, I pointed Nelson into a (secred unmarked) trail which was called Eddie the Crow, which he said started with a massively rooty gnarly looking drop.  We didn't pursue this.  Back into the clearing and there's our trail in that corner, so, back on it, a couple of quite steep wee corners and then Riding Huck went left and we went straight ahead, and this section, tho it looked on the map like it was quite close to the bottom, went on for ages.  I was wondering when it was gonna finish it took so long.  Poor old Wazza pulled out here, and headed back to base.

Out to the shuttle stop and another wee wait.  Uplift, and this time into Huckleberry Hound.  Nice trail, better groomed than Upper Corners, and had once big drop feature that all but Nelson baulked on.  I rode up to it thinking oh yeah, no worries, saw Nelson drop straight over it, and then I stopped dead at the top when I saw the under cut vertical top...  Bugger.  Not sick, I might have considered it.  Not needing to to nurse my shoulder, likely so too.  Around it and onwards, a few gap jumps appearing on the side of the trail, was still fun to cruise beside these and not hurt ourselves.  Across the road again, and Corners continued directly from here, so down the road a few metres and into Little Red Riding Huck, for more jumpy goodness.  Excellent descending with a mite more challenge than Corners.  Near the bottom of this section before the big clearing there was a roll over jump that nearly had me over the bars.  I think I spoke out loud, "someone's gonna crash on that", thankfully no one did, but I bet they were close.  Out the edge of the clearing and into another steep rutted soft section of trail, with a couple of rooty sections thrown in, that I think caught one or two out, and we regrouped where Corners went ahead and we peeled left, for the final blast to the shuttle.  This section had some cool features in it too, near the bottom a couple of really big swoopy corners, one of which with a nasty soft edged rut which I rolled through and said out loud "somebody's gonna lose it in here..."  And so I rolled out, arms fully pumped, to meet Nelson, and no sign of Pete behind.  Then Steve turned up, and eventually one or two others then Pete, his knee all bloodied up good, from that sweepy corner.  Jinxed.

Uplift number 3.  This time from the top, we decided we were finishing off.  There were 5 uplifts left on the ticket, and Nelson was gonna ride more, so he took these.  Off down Eagle vs Shark we blazed.  Me with the camera on, chasing (read, attempting to keep up with) Nelson.  Both of us on the ragged edge.  Was fantastic.  What a trail.  Extremely well made, predictable, good features, jumpies, corners, roots, fun.  He slowed now and then to let me reel him in, but mostly I stayed on him.  Was probably the best riding I'd done up there this year.  I took my shades off at some point, then we blasted out into the sunshine where it was open for a few corners.  In here a bug flew straight into my mouth.  Rolled it with my tongue out and spat, then spat a few more times for good measure (it felt like a blow-fly, bleugh) - hopefully that'll be on camera.  Kept chasing, the corners kept coming and the speed and flow kept doing it.  It flattened off and there was an exit out to a trail down to the road.  We regrouped here and in ones and twos the rest of the crew rolled in.  Set off again, along the flat section of this trail to an eventual log collection point and forestry roads to follow around for a while.  Red Tank Rd, I believe, tho, called Pipeline/Windy on the 'Forks App.

Where Lynmore Link peeled off, Nelson parted his way from us, and we headed down across a bridge and down into a valley, then up a gnarly rooty pipelined track climb, all off and pushing, up to eventually the watertank.  From here, instead of heading down the road the way we'd come in, we rode and pushed up for some more lung burning efforts to connect onto the Tank To Town trail.  Shared, walk and bike trail, I led off down the downhill bits with gusto and speed, all the while keeping my eyes peeled for any pedestrians - thankfully, we met none on the descents.  Fun we trail this too, easy, but flowy and quick, eventually out to near the road and through open grassland forest, then back into the forest's edge where As You Do dives in.  A couple of false exits later and we found our street, across, and back to base for a well earned rest, and then bike breakdown, box up and packing ready for the morning, while we waited for Nelson to come back.

His adventures became quite epic, and he ended up doing twice as much altitude and distance than any of our efforts.  He rode round from where he left us, the short distance to where K2 came out, Juggs, uplifted to Te Rua, rode around again, uplifted and did the Taniwha DH track, then uplifted with the 'elite' of Rotorua's post work crowd, hooked up with a few of them, and did Billy T, Split Enz, and by the sound of it, No Brains, and Taura, or something new over there, and out to Waipa, then finally back to us (who were all getting fucking hungry by this time...), just on dark.

So, all up, 32 kms ridden (a few of which on the bus) and nearly 1400 descended, with 960 or so of that climbed by bus...

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