Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday night rode-y

Riding the Troll, I met Nelson at the usual Moorhouse carpark, him with the skinny-tyred machine in the back, cos with all the rain we knew we couldn't be mtnbiking.  We headed to Woolston, parking by Holy Smoke and got changed then headed thru to the river, over the bridges and through the streets (stopping to look at all the classic cars next to the railway tracks) to Aynsley Tce and around to Rapaki.

Up, both climbing at a good clip - Nelson cos his bike's so light, and me cos my lowest gear on the Alfine is not as low as your average mtnbikes.  As a result, it wasn't long before we were overtaking other bikers.  No one commenting on our 'inappropriate' bikes but I swear some laughter was at my expense as I passed.  Hard work, and Nelson jetting ahead, I just slogged it up.  We regrouped on the flat, then he gapped me out again on the final climb.  I was glad I managed to get all the way to the top - legs truly pumped.

From the top we headed left, around the road, following it all the way, under Witch, under the Tors, past Castlerock, fast descent no brakes over 60 down to Bridle, and around under the Gondola into the wind on the corner, climbing up through the cutting.  A brief detour up Broadleaf Lane to the gate, just for the extra altitude and back, then the blast all the way down to Evans Pass, nice smooth rolling speed, over 50kph, then down into Sumner, blazing down through the red light and good high speeds over 60kph again down here.

Finally, taking a couple of turns slipstreaming each other around through Redcliffs and down the causeway clipping a nice 37 kph, then Ferry Rd back to the car.  Beer and food at Twisted Hop, and home about 9pm.

Just under 30kms, and over 800m climbed...

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Sundaze Farm Vern Witch Hunt

Catching up with York in London put me behind time not getting away til 10.30., so took Jet to Hillsborough Tce parking near the end.  We headed up the Crescent and onto the Farm Track. Not something I'd done for a long while. Hand written sign on gate said "No Bikes, Too Wet - Mt Vernon Management" which I ignored, because it hadn't rained for a few days, and what damage is a single climbing bike gonna do to a farm track?  Overall, I didn't find it "too wet" at all... Climbed the grunty bastard of a climb, taking plenty of rest breaks, cleaning everything bar about 4 metres just up around the corner through the gate (on the southfacing section).  Met plenty of walkers coming down, altho the whole top section I was on my own.

Up onto Vernon and down towards Rapaki.  Nice blast down here, pulling over for a few climbers and some of them letting me through.  Across into Witch Hill track.  This is in really good nick, looks like someone's been through it tidying, or it's had a fair bit of traffic.  But, no wetspots at all, and nice riding.  From here, headed along the Summit Road, and then was thinking, hmmm, 11.40, not really enough time for loop of Castlerock (cos we were booked at Adrenalin Forest at 1.30pm), so at the end of the walking track (just above the road), I hung a left back up onto it and rode it back towards Rapaki.  Across the road into Witch Hill, howling easterly on the climb, up over and around, then climbed Vernon, good pace, catching a guy ahead before the top, and dropping another guy behind me in the process.

Then onto the Traverse along through the first cattlestop and hung a right onto a new downhill line that's been scrubbed into the tussocks exactly as I've always thought we should do, all the way down to the entry to Bowenvale downhill and the landing strip.  Down the openlands and over fence onto the Huntsbury singletrack.  Good for a start but around towards the first big jump it got mucky as for a bit (where Quetty crashed last time).  Past the jump it improved down to the fence. Over this, and there's a few new wee jumps at the start of the jumpy section.  As I got further down it just got wetter and muckier, so I bailed out onto the Huntsbury Track proper, and headed down to the road.

Jet made friends with a dog down here and took ages to get away, then down at a slow pace (him trotting along) down the road, catching Derek and Babs carrying their old foxy Poppy for bit, chatted and rode with them, then headed on down, right into Aotea, and down to the corner.  Walked the top steps, rode next to the next lot of steps, and then blasted down the sealed track to St Martins School.  Then round the last couple of streets back up to the car.

Jet having had a lovely time.

A relatively honest 600m climbed, over 14kms.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Wednesday night, Fatty and Skinny strike out *post 900*

Met Nelson at Countdown carpark after work, on the fatbike, and then I proceeded to get a call from an old friend, Bat, who insisted she had to come and see me to tell me something that she couldn't tell me over the phone.  I'm thinking, great, someone's died... but who?  Helen? Jen? were the ones I thought of, as mutual friends we have and don't really see much anymore.  But no, it was much worse.  Matt, my best friend of 34 years since week 1 third form 1984, R.I.P. of a heart attack on this morning, Wednesday 2nd of August, 2017.

He joined us riding once, and, being a roadie himself, was always in awe of us mountainbikers and the intensity of our workouts coupled with the technicality of the riding.  So, i thought it fitting that I continued with my ride tonight, in his honour.  The whole thing seeming unreal and not quite believing it to be true... I'm so glad we caught up when I was in Melbourne back in June.

So, Nelson and me headed out to Moncks Bay, parking in the carpark of the Yacht Club where I took a call from Pete Gillespie, then we headed up Mulgans, first time for a lonnnnnng time (coincidentally only a couple of weeks before that ride with Matt).  Steep mother that it is, it was actually pretty good.  Walking the steps, but riding everything else, up to Panorama Rd, then along this up to Clifton Tce.  Over the stile and up to the rooty singletrack, Nelson's slicks spinning him out continuously.  Into Frog Pond track, which was super mucky in places leading to a bit of walking to save the trail, then once up on the ridge it was smooth clean riding to the trees.

Hit the Summit Rd down to Evans, fatbike tires screaming in agony and a slight headwind and thick cool damp air acting like a parachute on us.  Onto Godley Head Rd, climbing around til I got a call from another old friend Jase, then continuing on right out to the end of the road.

Through the carpark and onto the track over to the right, down the zigs and zags, then up the zigs and zags and over to the top, grabbing a snack stop here, another phonecall incoming, then off down to Boulder Bay and back around towards Taylors.  Met a couple of riders heading outways just near the beach.  Down to carpark and the final slog up the hill.  Nelson disappeared off on his super skinny tires, and just after the last dark corner he appeared back downhill towards me, and we rode the rest of the way up to the top of Scarborough together, before my ears were deafened again descending at over 60kph down the Scarborough Rd.

Across the Esplanade and back along under the cliffs to the car.

Just on 24 kms and a staggering 879 m climbed...  Pretty good for a 'road' ride.

And!  This has been blog POST NUMBER 900 ! ! !

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday 2nd ride, with O and Jet

We got O a replacement for his stolen bike, a nice Surly Instigator, so we took Jet up into Vic Park, parking at the 19th Batt. Memorial. Rode up the skidder, past Brake Free then around the Traverse to the Lava flow and back.  A good run, a bit of a head wind on the way round, then tail wind back.  Otis was loving his new bike and Jet had a wonderful time.  At the rabbit paddock on the way back we headed down into gums, taking my usual favourite little trail, Otis enjoying it, but walking the steep corner in there, and then down the singletrack (very messy) and back to car.

Just over 6kms and probably 200 m of gain, (I forgot to turn MMR on til up the skidder site, and then it was stuck paused til I 'resumed' at Brake free...)

Sunday Orton Plantley.

Early pick up of Pete for Lyttelton by 7.45am and 7.50 early ferry. Wazza, Wayno, Andy, Tony, and Steve and us, Steve the last one to show up.  Headed up the hill from Diamond Harbour, right up through and onto Bayview, which took us around and up and down, quite scenic-ly to Charteris Bay, then another non-main-road, another up and down over Anderson's Rd, whizzing down to Orton Bradley.

In here, caught up with Ian (manager there) and then headed up and did a loop of the bike trails up the valley.  Nice easy climbing on the walking track then diverting onto purpose build bike trail and then rejoining the walking track.  Across a bridge and back down, quite fun, then a bit of a wait in the sun (haaarrrdd frost this morning), and then planting Trees (from 10am) for Canterbury. Reasonable turn out to the planting so plants in ground reasonably quickly and down for a coffee at the school house, a sausage, and then back round the main road to miss the 12.30 ferry, thereby allowing Steve and me to have a beer at the Dark Star.  1pm Ferry back across and home in good time after that.

MMR struggling today (and i didnt start it til half way up the hill, nor turn it off til on the water).
20 odd kms, just over 400 m gained.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Volcano Trail, Infinity Mtb Tours, Bali.

Found Infinity on the web and they sounded good, so I got picked up by the driver at 7am and we headed through the urban mass, picking up the ride-guide, Ajus, in Denpasar on the way. Hour or so of madness on the roads and we collected Lukas (from Austria) in Ubud. The two of us chatted as we drove another 40mins to the caldera crater rim overlooking a lake and Mt Batur (one of Bali's 2 live volcanos (Mt Agung (at 3800m) being the other)).
From this view point, a little further along the crater rim road and then we parked up.  Quick brake swap on my reasonably new Giant Reign, and we were off. Hour or so mostly downhill, pretty fast; down ridgelines, into gullies, trails of pumice sand, alongside rice paddies, awesome scenery galore. Snack stop at a little local warung (shop), some tasty traditional Bali 'cakes' snacks, then next section was a few ups and downs, mostly down,
Through sort of gardened jungle.

 Across a stream or two
 Overlooking flooded rice paddies,
 This bat was at the restaurant we stopped at for lunch, just hanging out.
 This was the view from lunch.  Lovely.  And that's Mt Agung hiding in the clouds in the distance.
Then in the last hour or so mostly flat and down, stopping for one last photo before a singletrack around a hill and down some fast steeps to end at the car waiting for us.

They'd gotten another driver to take Lukas back to Ubud and Ajus, my driver, and me headed back down directly to Denpasar, dropping Ajus off at a crazy big roundabout, then me back in Kuta.

Mapped: started at 1400m, finished at 357, with 200m climbed in between, so a total descent of around 1300m.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday Family downhill rice paddies and temples.

On an organised thing, included breakfast and lunch. Driven in a bus by Darma, navigating the crazy traffic to Ubud area into a very touristy area for breakfast then headed inland further to over 1100m altitude, to pick a bad bike from worse bikes for a downhill all the way back to the breakfast place for lunch and a Bintang and a swim in their pool.  Fun family activity.

Mapped: 26 kms, mostly all down hill from 1181m to 303.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Wednesday Night Packy Muckhorse.

Port Hills full of muck, and we figured everything would be closed so we headed over to Gebbies Pass on the off chance the Packhorse would be good - turned out it wasn't. Rather than leaving the car on the main road, we went through the gate and parked up at the end at the first stile. 

First 30 metres of trail were ok but then Nelson turned around saying "nah!, ankle deep sludge."  So, off we went down the forestry road bypassing the first half or so of the singletrack.  Fun fast smooth gravel, a little splecky, down, then a longish climb up to where the usual track meets it. 

From here down again to the 'dark' section of singletrack.  Headed in this and it was mucky, but not quite as bad under the douglas fir.  Definitely some traction issues, with me walking some of the steeper bits to start.  Up to the first of the switchbacky sections, and walking again, then across to the bach/hut, Nelson somehow riding heaps and me just losing the back end constantly and having to walk.  The grassy area was shocking, through to the forest again, which had sections of total quagmire, at each of which we would discuss turning back, but each time we decided to push on, just to see if it got better.  It didn't really.  Finally made the stile, Nelson somehow managing to ride most of that final climb.  I got a bit better, with a weight shift assisting grip, but obviously my old Magic Mary on the back is not so magic anymore. 

Over the stile and the track was a splecky wet mess.  Nelson managed to ride a lot on the grass to the side, but every time i tried to my backend would just spin-out, sliding round and stopping me, leaving me to work my way slowly up in the muck.  Around the Remarkable Dykes, we rode into mist, which got more horizontal movement as we approached the hut, moving pretty quick when we got there.  Brief stop, no one there, and back on the trail.  Much better on the way down, except that the muck splecked higher.  Nelson, again, rode heaps off the track, and I just couldn't, so resigned myself to the mess.  Lots of skill testing slippery rocks and exposure and skittering around.

Back over the stile and fun began.  Roots, rocks, slippery dirt, pine-needles, barely any traction.  Mint.  Rode it all, surprised how few dabs.  Even the couple of switchbacks in this area the roots and grease leading into it were rideable, if with little control.  Nelson tried the 'shortcut' route and ended up miles below the track having been unable to stop.  Rolling again, dabbing through the worst of the quagmires around the small creeks.  Through the open section I walked the climb, but Nelson rode it.  Back into the forest and down to the dark forest switchbacks were carnage creating - front wheel sliding through the curves.  Final blast do the forestry road was fun.  Our drivetrains were hating us.

Into the gravel road, climbing up around the less steep route then I was surprised how long the downhill here was, lots of speed, flying down, down, down, then climbing again, grinding up to the last top before a short descent to the car.

Muckfest 10 km total, there and back, 381m climbed, 1 hour's riding.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Sunday a.m. Early Grey

All the tracks in town were closed so I thought getting out might be good. Didn't put the global word out cos I needed to make it an early start / early finish, and the bigger the group the slower it moves.  Paul got to mine about 7 and with Jet in the car and me with the Fatbike, we headed out north, pulling up at Lake Janet just after 8 to find Nelson getting ready to roll.

Off up the 4wd road, 8.17, Nelson on the singlespeed honking off ahead, and me finding the fat tires tiring trying to keep up with Paul.  But, what doesn't kill you and all that, I just muscled on, lagging slightly.  A couple of times we caught up to Nelson having a wee rest, and then we'd all get rolling again.  Detoured and stopped at the Lookout, (9.06 am according the these pics) and checked out the view of the plains engulfed in cloud,

Herbert and Bradley, Fitz and Sinclair, islands where the peninsula is. 

And the rolling turbulence over the Weka Pass limestone country was amazing too, Kaikoura Mtns to the north east.

Off rolling again and up the steep section, then Nelson suggested the walking track.  Nice tight singletrack, not overgrown (like I'd checked out in the past), climbing through broom and scrub then into a nice patch of beech, before rounding out onto tussock below the towers.  Stopped for a rest in the sun (and around, out of the wind) up here, Jet antsy to get rolling again.  

Over and around and down into the descent.  Trail in good nick, having been weedeaten recently, and not too much mud - to start with anyway.  Some tricky ruts (sending Paul off the track at some point), and then the usual wet muddy spots (one of which kinda tweaked my shoulder strangely), and on down into the first couple of switchbacks.  Met a woman runner and her collie down here.  We all rode the rocky-shortcut corner and rolled on down into the bush.  Switchback City, cleaning hardly any but some, and it's obvious Nelson and me have the technique down, cos we put a big gap on Paul who was getting off the bike on a lot of them.  Excellent spin down through here.  Crossing the creek, a couple more switchies then around through the more open forest on top past the lookout turnoff, then down into where the switchbacks started to get a bit mental and you're above the creek again.  In here we ran into a big group of walkers, all friendly.

Out of the bush and into the forestry again, and then into the quagmire.  Greasiest I've ever seen it, it was insane.  No traction, sliding, front wheel taking it's own path, rear wheel following or not depending on how it felt.  It was nuts.  Lots of feet-out as out-riggers and a couple of close shaves, but then back into the bush and rutty clay rooty sections - lots of fun - and around into the nice dry forest again for a few more back and forth legs and switchbacks, and on down into the final reaches.  God these trails are good.  Finally, over the bridge, last couple corners and descending, then out to the road and ford.

Rinsed off the bikes in the river here and chatted to a guy and girl biking through, and off up the road for the final slog back to the cars.  Saw the runner woman and collie again heading to their car, and then Jet disappeared ahead, as we gained on them we found out why.  A group of riders with a female 'Jet', who my Jet was getting a bit humpy with...  Got him moving again, and then on the final climb she caught him up and we had to extract them again.  That group of riders were just riding the forestry roads, having come in from Loburn, and were turning back at Lake Janet.

Great ride, 15kms with 707m climbed, back at the cars 11am.  Went and grabbed coffee at Pukeko Junction before home by 12.30.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wednesday Night Godley Wander

(Replaced the zip-tie holding my brake-pads in, with a short length of spoke, elbow at one end and bent at the other, excess length being ziptied to the hose)

Nelson arrived at mine after work and we had a bit of a feed with the family before we headed to Taylors, arriving there sometime after 6.30. Took Jet with us in the car too. Got set up and headed up snake's Tail, quite a tech wee climb, for a starter, then just at the end of the Anaconda we headed down onto the walkway and climbed and descended and rolled out to Boulder Bay, Jet having a lovely time running ahead, beside and behind depending on the upward or downwardness of the trail.  No tech to be found, and not really any wetspots either.

I delayered at the hairpin before the big climb and we headed up over round past the gun emplacements then up to the lighthouse Head.  Through the DOC zone and then down the other side, ziggy zaggy, followed by climbing back up past the barracks and up to the carpark.  Jet had a big drink at the tap.  Next up was up to the Breeze Bay track, over the stile and into it, best in this direction, around the back with the glow of Lyttelton scorching orange in the low clouds ahead.  A few spots of rain started here, but we figured it was just a shady-side of the hill effect.

Over the stile and onto the around-the-front-above-the-road-skinny-trail, which was tricky, as parts have gotten very deep and pedals strike good.  Rode to the end and across to the Breeze Bay track stile again, working out what to do.  A plan was made: to ride back around the skinny, then back up the Breeze Bay track, so off we toddled.  Skinny trail better in this direction, with more down, but still tricky in places, with slickish rocks spitting wheels sideways occasionally.  On the final downhill the rain got heavier so at Breeze Col we decided to bail down Anaconda, knowing it would be greasy as crap lower down and figuring we'd just deviate around it or walk or whatever.

Once off the gravel 'road' (that is now the start of the Anaconda), we were down through the first few corners and decided to just go straight down the steep walking track pretty much from cattlestop cattlestop to the Tail and the gate on the Boulder Bay track, and so we did.  Steeeeep down, total brake control the whole way, not so much grease that we'd skid, but the wheels were certainly not turning quite as fast as they should have been.  All the way down to the main walking track, and decided to just roll down through the rocky walkway we used to use and through the back of the houses, back to the car.

Grand totals of 11kms, 460m climbed and a very happy dog on one hour's riding time. Good to get out.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

And another one, Bottled Family.

Family, fat bike and dog for a spin at the pond after dropping off a musical instrument in North Beach.  We followed a weird and convoluted route due to a certain grumpy child, but we got there in the end.

Sunday Posse Loop with mechanicals

Boys were meeting at Steve's at 9 and heading for St Andrew's Hill, so I figured I'd head down Linwood Ave and meet them at the bridge.  Pete ended up catching me up at the Eastgate lights, thinking he was running late and that they were heading up Huntsbury, a quick call straightened that out and we continued the length of Linwood and round Humphreys to the Ferrymead bridge.  We waited not so long til the boys to roll up. Was good. I hadn't ridden with these guys for ages so was good to catch up with each in turn.  Up St Andrews, climbing away nice and easy at Steve and Robin's heart-conditioned paces, then up to the old entrance to Britten, with it's new little extra entry.  Up here was into fog, getting cooler and damper the higher we got.  I blazed on ahead needing to keep the pace on myself to regain anything I'd lost over the last couple weeks.  Didn't have much of a wait and one by one the boys rolled up.

Down the road and into Greenwood entrance, deciding here to head down the new track having a nice roll down this, the odd off piste on the off cambers.  Then the next new bit towards the ruins, a bit sluggardly with the soft dirt.  Wetspots have had some good work, and climbing the switchies up and then up the 4wd to the climb up Mt Pleasant.  Sticky greasy on the rocks up here, but the rest was fine.  Lots of dabs and quick slips, but all made it eventually, then straight ahead to the gate, Robin vanishing from view before he got to us waiting...  Had caught one of the hidden rocks and toppled off the side, landing upside down and trapped by his bike...

Off over and down, lots of rear end slippage in the corners at the top, but the rest was sweet, slowly descending out of the fog. Round under gondola, with a bit of a stop to check out the view over Lyttelton before heading into Castle Rock.  Good wee climb this.  I dabbed on the first hairpin but cleaned up the rest, conserving energy til the last blast to the top, where I had one small dab, spinning out and wheelying to a halt, got going again tho and headed on to the top.  Regroup, and then off down the road, with Pete and me taking the single track above the road, which put us behind the other boys, but saved our tires a bunch. 

Into Witch Hill, and around and I popped one of the rocky sections as a jump, hearing what I thought was a rock hitting the spokes, but at the next rock I tried to grab some rear brake but there was none.  Stopped and looked and NO PADS!  Huh!  Quickly ran back to the jump and found the spring, then the two pads, phew!  Pete gave me a zip tie and continued on to let the others know.  I did my trailside repairs, replacing my lost bolt (and circlip) with the ziptie, and headed on down to meet at the top of Crapaki.  When I got there I was told Pete had clipped one of the rocks and busted his derailleur cage, but it seemed to still be going, so he led off down.  Bombed down the new singletrack, weaving nicely all the way down and then getting some real speed towards the bottom.  Pete popped a bunnyhop over a ditchy thing at the bottom and when he landed the derailleur spat itself into his spokes, snapped off, broke several spokes, pierced his tubeless set up, and locked up his back whee.  Hmmm...  a walk ensued.  Andy sped off to get his van, the rest of us rode the rest of the way down Craphappy and around to Fava, and Andy and Pete arrived not long after. 

I split and headed home across town after coffee... completing 32 kms, with 784m climbed.  Not a bad effort.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Beeby's Maitland Red Hills Thrashing.

On our way back from doing a bit of work at Nelson's bach we parked at the bottom of the Red Hills Track (573m trig nearby) and starting at 3pm rode off up the road towards St Arnaud a few kms, hanging a right onto Tophouse Rd into uncharted territory.  Around the road a little and found the entrance to the Beeby's Knob track.  A steep 4wd road, it proceeded to well and truly thrash us.  Managed to pedal for a while but eventually it was steep enough to walk, patches of perma-frost underfoot or tread as we went.  Higher and higher up the ridge we went as the sun got lower and lower in the sky, not that we could see it, other than across the spectacular valley behind and below us the whole time - and we could even see the North Island beyond Blenheim.  And cold - the wind made me don a jacket halfway up.  Just over 1 1/2 hours after leaving the car we got to the turn off to the Maitland Ridge track at over 1300m altitude.  Rest stop and a snack here.

This is a relatively new trail, built by MTB Trails Trust, (according to the sign-) an Expert level, grade 4+ single-track thru cornflake strewn beech forest. 4.40 we took off, into a sweet downhill, and taking off first I soon found myself ahead and stopped to wait for Nelson.  Fun, and at times insane, rooty descents ensued, some of which were fricking steep, and then some climbing, all in quite stunted beech forest.  The odd bit of the climbing was soul destroying (I walked a bunch and towards the end cramped some too). Then there'd be a wicked downhill and steep and rooty and technical, handlebars skimming trees, wheels drifting.  All the fun.  But then in the climbs I'd wonder why the hell I was there.  It was getting darker and darker as we rode, tho the first 300 odd metre descent was all light enough, low lights in the climbs, brighter for the next descents.  A couple of times we came out onto open sections with spectacular views over the Wairau below and across to peaks galore.

Finally a few zigs and zags seem to be making for a small ridge, and the vegetation changed to a more manuka based scrub (indicating the ultramafic Red Hills landform) and a descent began that was wide open and mental.  We bombed down this for what seemed ages and finally broke out onto a wide track with a sign pointing one way to Porters Creek Hut (4 hours?), and in the other direction there was Red Hills Hut.  Checked in here (nice and warm inside), then headed off again - 6.10pm.

Off down a super fun, rough as guts, steep, 4wd track descent, flat tack down 400 odd metres in about 4 kms.  Numerous small creek crossings and patches of permafrost and really cool looking rocks.  over 40kph in stretches, it went on for ages and ages, with no real idea of where we were or how much more to go, it just stretched on and on, the vegetation around us slowly getting taller and taller, until eventually it was actual beech forest again.  Finally at the bottom there was a gate and the trail skirted past that into the bush, singletrack again, and ugh, some climbing...  Up and down over old river terraces, never huge but killing me, and at one point both legs cramped so bad I couldn't even get on the bike.  Had to wait for a bit and ease myself back on but got rolling again and cruised on through.  A few smallish creek crossings along this section too, then finally we got back to the car, 7pm nearly on the dot, making it a 4 hour loop.

(Apparently only 2 hours of riding), 22 km loop, with over 1000 metres of climb.   Proper mountainbiking.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Queen's Birthday Old Codger

Took Jet into Codgers for a spin. Forgot to turn on the MMR til just up the road. Headed up the main trail towards Tantragee, overtaking a dad and his kid.  Hung a left into Pipeline, around and then up Jack's, which had a fair bit of grease under tread. Spotted a couple of riders ahead, catching them up in the bushy part of Jacks, and then finding a couple more waiting for them at the Middle Rd.  Hung a right here and headed up to Fireball Rd where I found some dude waiting - I asked him what Turners might be like after the rain overnight.  He didn't know cos he was from Chch too.  We exchanged stories a bit then he headed for Smasher, while I headed off up the access link to Turners.  Cool 'Reign' seat/sculpture thing here.  Dropped in to the trail and it was good.  Greasy in places so's not to be too careless, and carefulness was needed in one or two bits.  Bombed down swooping and popping, to the bottom and then headed up Take Me To Your Leader, nice steep wee zig zaggy climb. Big skidder site here with Fireball to the left, and heading up round to the right I rode up to top of Lollipop (also the top of Hot Buns and Top Dog) for a look. Walked down a ways to check it out but decided not to ride it - was looking scary greasy.  So, from the parkbench I headed down the top of Top Dog, fun, not tooo steep, interesting trail through fir and pines and gum, rolling out to the road again.  The trail continued downwards, but I didn't wanna climb all the way back up, so figured I'd go check out Smasher.  Headed back down to the skidder site and the up the start of Fireball and into the Smasher Climb.  Steep little bastard through trees (last time, with Ian and Leigh, this wasnt here), that got me walking near the top.  Into the start of Smasher and I remembered how cool this top section was.  Once through the open bit and back into the forest the trail sidles nicely for a while before starting into a few corners back and forth that just get steeper and steeperer and steepererer until I had to walk.  One, then another.  Then, 'oh bugger', another one, then 'uh oh, shiiiiit' another one, then uh huh...  but once into the gums near the bottom all good and rolled down through the rest of it back to the Sunday Hole swimming spot.  Jet was pretty grubby from mucky bits on the trails so I chucked a stick in for him and he washed off.  From here we cruised back down the Maitai, him meeting lots of new friends.  Passed by Nile St and headed further down to stop in at the Suter Gallery where the family were and found them just leaving, so I headed back to Flamedaisy and cleaned up before they got home.

1 hour 20 ridden, 15kms, with 500m climbed.  Not bad for a post-hungover morning spin.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Saturday Barnicoat Widdershinvolutionary

In Nelson, so took Jet for a spin round the Barnicoat Widdershins Involution loop. Surprised how short it is, clocking in at under 12 kms, but plenty of altitude (around 600m), all climbed in under 5kms, which means the descent is longer than than the climb...  and serious climbing it was.  Near the start a rider passed me coming down.  Mostly a gravel access road, about 45 minutes in granny or 2nd or 3rd at times, up through pine forest.  I was overtaken by a van load of parasailers heading up for launch, and there were a couple of them floating around in the spectacular views to be beheld west of me, over Richmond.  Up under their launch zone, enjoying the cool breeze they use for lift off as I passed by.  Not long after this I met a woman and her doggy.  A bit further up and around and maybe even a short descent and I got to the start of Widdershins.  Last time I rode up this way (with Stu) this wasn't here and we'd followed the road along the ridge to the top of Involute.

The view from start of Widdershins...

Open singletrack to start, then into the bush, and a few ups and downs and quite a few nicely rounded hairpins.  Good climb just below the ridge and finally out to the top of Involution where I had a nice rest on a log and put some water in a bowl for Jet.

Off down this, remembering it from the last time and finding it a lot of fun.  I'd blast ahead down the straights and then slow on the corners and wait for Jet to trot into view, big panty smile on his face, and then I'd blast off again.  This proceeded all the way down.  Heaps of fun.  Didn't meet another person til right near the bottom, and older guy walking his dog up.  Across the 4wd track and into the trail either side of the creek, splash splash, then out onto the final descent down to the car.  A couple getting ready for their ride.  Loads of cars, but I don't know where anybody was, cos I sure didn't see them.

Lots of up, and long winding down... and only 1 hour 12 minutes riding!?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mucky Wednesday Jettison

Nelson picked me up from my place, and as Jet hasn't had a good run for a few days we dragged him out too. Parked on Parkridge Pl and headed up Britten. I got the wheeze, sounding like a flock of Canada geese. Jet had a lovely time roaming off after rabbit smells and then coming back to a whistle, then settled in nicely between us, Nelson out front and me slowly dragging further behind, wheezing, even after a blast of inhaler.  A couple of quite sloppy bits on the way up, but easily avoidable.  Realised at the top there that I'd forgotten to turn on the MapMyRide, so did that here.  Around the front of Britten and then along to the road and across, resting just over the fence up here, watching a bunch of lights rounding under the gondola and up the road towards us.  Turned out to be mtnbikers, on the road.  We took off up the hill and they watched as we ambled slowly upwards.  Up in the zig zaggy bits the trail got REALLY greasy, with no traction on the flatter bits, so we walked a bit, then it got okay and on over the top to the gate.

Over the fence here and across the sort of new bit to the usual trail and over the rocks to the A frame stile, then downwards.  Not so bad to start, but the back face above Lyttelton had some slop so I was taking it pretty easy.  Then lower down through the tussocks was better, but still taking it pretty easy in the greasy, and keeping an eye on Jet behind.  Nelson was awaiting us at the bottom of this section, and we saw a newly sprayed (and slightly ridden-in) new line from here, bypassing the 4wd section, so off down around it's curves across above the trees and then coming into the top of Greenwood right where the newby trail starts (above the ruins).  Decided here that Greenwood would be diabolical so we headed off down the newby, finding a bit of drift and not a lot of traction.  Fun, tho splecky, and rolled it through to the big pines and around onto the climb.  Here we stopped and cleaned up our drivetrains a bit for the climb.  Onwards up, good climbing, plenty of traction bar one or two spots, and through up to the top of Greenwood entrance. 

Up the road, bunnyhopping off a bit of muck, and then into Britten for to descend.  Slowish going for me, not trusting the slop or grease (and post-crash of last week).  Jetty had a nice sprint behind me, cutting the corners to catch up, then under the pylons and across the slope and into the fun descent back to the end.  Good doggy had fun and so did a couple of mucky boys.

My ride from part way up, vs Nelson's...  so, we did just under10kms and around 300m climbed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Night, Hunts, Verne crash, Witch and Castle.

Now regular Nelson pick up from Countdown carpark, and we headed across to and up Huntsbury - parking at the top.  Took a bit to get MMR going, when we finally got moving another vehicle had arrived and I'm sure there were a couple of lights approaching up the road.  Headed up the gravel, surprised at the running water in places.  Good pace up here, me managing to stay with Nelson for most of the first half, only easing off in the upper reaches, but even then not too far behind.

Straight up onto Vernon, up the rocks and along, trying to stay out of the odd puddle up here.  Just before it heads over the rocky section I was avoiding one of these puddles and my front wheel dropped off the left of the trail, dropping me onto the ground.  "oop, here goes the shoulder again" I thought as I plummetted to the ground and slid painfully on my elbow and knee..."Ow. Ow. Ow..." Picked myself up, and my handlebar light was hanging from it's cord, the mount snapped off from the impact.  Nelson was a wee ways ahead and had taken the high line and so I figured I'd coast down to where it meets back on the trail, but then he'd crashed too so I sat down and groaned for a bit, sorting my crap out.  He came back and we headed on down, me being much more carefuller than I'd been, getting some reasonable flow, down to Crapaki, although, I was overthinking and overreacting to stuff, which spoiled my flow a little.

Into Witch and the clambering and climbing was good.  Definitely didn't need the Track Closed sign on it - not a wetspot in sight. Up and around and over and on the down I was ultra cautious.  We regrouped at the road and another biker turned up from behind us.  Turned out it was Quetty (Kwiti? Kuiti?) who we'd met a couple of times before.  Chatted for a bit and then he tagged along and we all rode up the road and chatted.

Onto Castlerock, me taking the backseat on account of my injuriousness.  Cautious Colin heading down here.  There were a few wet bits, but it was not too bad.  The worst bit is where the worst bit always is, ie, around on a stretch before the first hairpin where you're below the road and it's really really rocky, and the water was all sheep poos and wees - yech!  No sloppy mud to be seen tho.  Around the hairpin and I was feeling okay.  Usual sketchy angle rock across here I managed alright, and around the next hairpin then climbing, climbing over and down to the road again.  Chatted here for a bit and 2 other riders headed through.

Across to the carpark and up the walking track Nelson and me have taken to riding.  Steeeep climb up to a bit of walking, little bit more riding, hopping up rock steps, and then walking again to the last ride to the top.  Nice views up here.  Then down towards the Tors, yumpy steppy then climbing, walking a bit but Nelson cleaned heaps, and then riding a bit around above Castlerock entrance and a rest.  My sore bits were a bit achey after this break, and I was ultra cautious on the descent here below the Tors.  This trail is different every time I ride it.  Dabbed through the worst bits near the bottom and rode heaps more than I'd expected to.

Across the road and onto the singletrack above the road.  This was great, nice and flowy, mildly techy.  Then across the road again and into Witch.  Another good blast through here and around to Rapaki, up Vernon, grind grind grind, I hate bits of this climb, especially at the end of a ride.  Met a whole huge heap of riders coming the other way on the climb before my crash location.

Across the top and across the road and into the Traverse, cruising around here then dropping down through the tussocks and rocks and down Huntsbury gravel into the landing strip and Quetty had never been in this entrance before.  Over the fence and along the singletrack, some horrifically greasy spots.  Not far above the first big jump (that Nelson had cleared), Quetty got rutted and slid to a rolling crash in the tussocks.  We got rolling again, out and down to the gate.  Over this and heading for the jumps.  The lower we got the greasier it got.  Disgusting mucky greasy sloppy crap.  Sprayed and splecked and coated, I bypassed as much as possible and skipped pretty much every jump.  The bottom ruts had been dug but were greasy as hell and gross.

Said our goodbyes to Quetty and hit the road home.

15 kms, over 600m altitude climbed.  Painful and cautious

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Hanmer School Camp Fatso Escape

In Hanmer for most of the week on school camp at the Forest Camp with H.  Had the fatty with me cos the Turner was with Josh receiving a fettle.  We finished our Code Breaker activity early, giving me some time to escape out for a quick ride.

Headed out of camp and into the Mach1 trail, climbing it, first time in this direction I think.  Quite good, got my lungs pumping pretty quick, Climbed and descended, repeat, then across the road below Detox and through to cross the main road and on up through to the Dog Stream bridge.  Up onto the road and into the Fir Trail, climbing this, very pleasant track, reminding me of all those years ago when I did the Day Nighter, riding it in the opposite direction.  Out the top of this and into Bigfoot for the steep clamber, tight trees, zigging and zagging up to the top.  Cleaned it all headed over into the descent.  Fun bomb down and around, stopping briefly to deflate some air for smoother riding.  Finally out the bottom, most of the trail flows nicely but the last few corners dont quite work.

Briefly down the road and into the Detox climb, always longer than you remember, grind grind grind, up and around and across to the big skidder, making a lap of that, then heading into the descent.  Taking the non-easy way, dropping over the rock and into the clay rut descent, fat tires gripping a treat as I fanged down the trail.  At the bottom, jumped back on Mach 1 back upwards, across the road and up to the bridge, crossing this and heading down the road-like section of Dog, lots of speed down here and then hung a right to head up to Joliffe Saddle.

Long cruisy climb up this to the top and into the Red Rocks track.  A little way into the climb I heard some piggies, obviously spooked them, and saw two little squealers, one black one grey, running off up into the trees.  I made a bit of noise in case their mama was nearby, then kept riding, climbing to the top and hooning down the first descents, weaving around the ruts and rocks, dropping down, and continuing left (instead of right as per the last couple times).  An interesting detour line off to the right, over some red rocks, then back onto the main blast, with lots of jumps all the way down.  Fun.

Finally, the last sweet singletrack through big trees before exiting on to Dog Stream, heading down around to Camp Trail, heading into the new Base Camp track, and bombing through and around this.  Quite good in this direction, cos the second half flows nicely mostly downhill back to Camp.  Out onto the road and down towards the Forest Camp, instead of heading straight into camp, I hung a left up a forestry road up around the back of the camp, and headed down a fun little final descent into camp. Rolled into camp happy and utterly splattered in muck.

Mucky 13kms. 350 m climbed just over an hour of riding pretty much non stop

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thursday night Greasy Scramble

Had to pick up H from school so Nelson came to mine after work.  We had a small dinner (that I'd cooked) with the family then headed out, parking up Mt Pleasant in scudding mist, on Parkridge Pl.  Wind was fair howling through, and quite cold to start with, fast moving clouds providing a spectacular view of the full moon, clouds speeding past it in the foreground.  Up into Britten we trundled, via the 'new' track under the singing-pylon and across, me getting a good dose of asthma and having to walk a bit on the steepest parts there at the start.  Up around, trail not quite greasy, but certainly not dry - but no soggy wet areas like last time.  Headwind near the top, but stopped to have a puff of the inhaler in the shelter of the rocky outcrop just shy of the top, then on we went in the fog.

Down around to the Greenwood entrance, and then onto the new trail below this.  Cool little blast down this, tho I had one close call.  Quite wet grass all around, and foggy, but not too bad.  Next into the trail from the big pines up to the ruins, back to Greenwood, sidling and climbing zig zags up, fog getting slowly thicker, then up the 4wd, barely 6ft visibility, commenting on how lost you'd get if you didn't know where you were going.  Up the trail to Mt Pleasant, just before the rocky sections started we rode out of the fog, leaving it behind.  Sketchy as greasy rocks climbing up here, dabbing and walking several sections through sheer lack of grip, and the wind didn't help along the exposed ridge either.  Finally at the stile, fog miles behind, tried out the new sidle across to the road gate, instead of climbing all the way to the top.

Across into the descent, I was feeling sketchy, so took it pretty easy down here.  Got some flow, but not fast.  Down and around to Cavendish Saddle, then climbing again, up the back of the Gondola, ziggy zaggy, struggling for grip and air.  Peaked here and I tightened up the new cleats on my new Shimano shoes (which are fantastically warm (and goretex water'proof')).  Then off down the slippery slope.  Wooden steps greasy, but fully rideable, and some interesting moments lower down on the less than predictable rocks.  Bit of dabbing through our 'rideable' detour around the worst stepped and rocked area, then on through to the Bridle Path top, and straight into the walking track climb,with lots of walking up through the tight broom and greasy track.  My right foot seemed to struggle to clip in up this stretch, making me think my cleat had come loose or was in the wrong position.  Over the top and fun descent, jumping off the rock steps, and then through the saddle and up towards the tors, bit more walking, then finally, Nelson miles ahead, I actually looked at the pedal I was struggling with, and found it had come loose.  Rode down to top of Castle Rock and proceeded to try to fix it - to no avail (the spring was pushing it out - ie, needed a clamp or vice or something to hold it).

Off down Castle Rock track, taking it pretty easy due to the greasy rocks, but I was surprised how dry it all was otherwise.  I was going slow and carefully the whole way - not feeling confident in my lighting view, but Nelson had a really good run.  I noticed on the climb how bony it's all become, and then it was off around the road.  Tail wind assist under the gondola, then around and up, headwind in Cavendish, tail wind up through the cutting and onto Britten, wind chasing us around here.  Around below Broadleaf, and Nelson bollocked himself in a small off, I arrived to find him painfully nursing his privates on the ground.

Off again, final descent, excellent speed and I finally felt like my light was set right, so I was smooth and fast, keeping tight on Nelson's tail.  Around and back and around and under the singing pylons across the slow, and down through the fun rocky steep descent under the last pylon and back to the car.

All up, 15.6 kms, and 575 metres climbed - 1 hour 20's riding...

Sunday Planting Styx in the Ground

Forgot entirely to post this...  We rode to the first planting of the year on Sunday.  Met at Petes: Pete, Wayne, Steve and myself.  Rode Avonside Drive, Kilmore St to the park and found the Salisbury footbridge closed, so continued up to Harper and along the pathways there.  Found Paul DeSp at the crossing by Girls High, then Andy and Tones at the railway tracks.  Headed north on the Railtrail, all the way to the bitter end, then up Cavendish Rd to the top end, and into the Reserve, on paths marked No Bikes.  Around, marvelling at the great job we've done in the past.  Planted a bunch of stuff in the difficult, jarring ground.  Sossie sizzle and then back the way we'd come.

All good.

An L shaped ride... 27.6 kms, a whole 71metres of altitude found along the way.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Tuesday night eastern loopage

Countdown Moorhouse carpark pick up around 5 in the big blue van and off out to Evans.

Feeling the cold, got changed and hit up the trail, gasping for air in the first 100 m of Godley, then slowly getting it under control and very shortly no longer worrying about the cold either.  Lights off for a start. Then Nelson crashed off, caught his pedal on a rock which propelled him off backwards down the steep hill.  I emerged around the corner to find him clambering back up to his bike... Trail is definitely a bit bonier than recent past, musta been all the rain washing the dirt out from between the rocks.  Decided it wasn't really light enough to not have lights on.  A few more muppetries and we were at the top, into the descent to Livingston, I struggled to find my groove, dimness of vision contributing to this.  Next up over to Breeze, a good climb and spin around and down over PFMTBC Rock, Nelson launching it as usual.

At Breeze Col, were considering straight down Anaconda, but I suggested a zig and a zag, out the skinny trail above the road, then headed across towards the stile for Breeze Bay track, hanging a left just before this and straight down a direct fast track to the carpark, through this and onto the original mtbike track below the road.  A couple of holes and tricky sightage with long grass glaring in lights blocking the view of the track ahead in places.

Back at Breeze Col, off down Anaconda, gravel boredom to start (but word is here at work a whole new mtbike trail to be build in this area), not trusting the dirt after the gravel into the fast corners, Nelson putting some insane burst of speed, while I was cautious Colin blazing around and nearly crashing in the first ruts I came across.  More careful after that with adrenaline pumping.

At the bottom we hung a right and headed out the Boulder Bay track, fun little blast, then up the climbs to the gun emplacements and over and around the head.  Met some riders descending to the head before we climbed up to the old buildings, taking some stairs down into a room with no exit, then on up to the carpark, and back up the way we'd descended earlier to the stile into Breeze Bay track.  This trail is completely non-technical now, even riding under that flax is easy.  There is however, a very loose off camber corner on the last stretch down to the stile.

At Breeze Col again, headed back up the Godley Track, long climb over to Livingston, and then a rest on the hill here, before the final plod back up the trail to the high point and a final bony blast down to Evans to finish.

Quite long for a week night... 21kms, and 800 odd metres climbed

And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Blog...  12 years old on the Cinqo de Mayo.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday Huntsbury to Nun and back

Nelson picked me up from mine and we were at top of Huntsbury about 6. He was on the singlespeed, so tore up the hill while I struggled away at my usual pace getting quite a bad wheeze on the way up. Up on the gravel under the pylons and then hung a right below the knob and sidled around and up onto the singletrack, flowing this over to the landing strip.  Lots of sheep poo around, so we kept our mouths shut and rode on up to the gravel for the last climb to the road intersection.

A few other riders around, we waited until an enduro-dude got going, gave him a gap then got going before some descenders on the Vernon approached.  Into and around the Traverse, some dudes were having a break just after the first fence (before Lavaflow) and they got going as we approached, which was annoying.  The first one pulled over just after the Lavaflow and then I was on the other guy's tail the whole way to the usual stopping spot under Sugarloaf.  He must have thought I was his mate, but he just wasn't quite slow enough to barge past (not that there's much opportunity), but not quite fast enough to be fun.  Him and his mate stopped at the rest spot and we got past, having a trouble free blast the rest of the way round to the top of Vic.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the Thompsons open, so down through the scorched earth and trees of these, tho only able to see what was lit by our lights -  nice flow, then onto the road and across Dyers Pass and up the road, good pace up around, Nelson grinding away on the SS.  Scorched earth around Worsleys Rd was impressive - they should build a zig zag climbing trail up that face while it's all clear!  Final climb to the top of the Nun and a short rest up here.

I led the way into the Nun, popped and wove my way down, rather enjoying it but never getting too hairy-fast.  Lots of visibility now, with the scorched earth all around, and the trail is in as good a knick as it's ever been.  Nelson was not far off my tail most of the way, but I think the 80mm forks and hard-tail got the better of him in the rockier sections, so I paused briefly to wait for him at the midway carpark point.  From here he was well on my tail the rest of the way.  I had a good blast, flowing nicely, suspension doing it's thing beautifully.

Onto the road, and back up to top of Vic, back into the Traverse, I was in the lead for a bit, but once the climbing got going I struggled to stay ahead of Nelson, and eventually handed the baton over and he ploughed on ahead, me never gaining on him except on the few downs.  By the time we got to Huntsbury he was well ahead.  Fast descent down here, into the landing strip, sheepshit flying everywhere (mouths firmly shut), and over the fence and into the singletrack for a sweet roll down.  Tussock dodging and weaving, over the fence and down the last jumpy trail, popping most, and nearly going over the bars on the fastest jump (near the fence) cos my back end popped waaay too far.  Managed to wrestle it back under control and back on track and struggled with ruts then last jumps and back to the car.

So, my MMR screwed me around showing I'd been to nearly sea-level somewhere along the summit.  I've replaced it with Nelson's to be more accurate - giving us 15.6 kms, and 487 climbed (instead of 580 m).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday: Morning Blue Jet Spur then Family Rail Trail to Ross

Jet Spur
Jet and me went for a quick morning solo blat up the Blue Spur.  Up the gravel road past Seesaw and for the first time taking in Slow Girls, which was a fun wee trail, with a few whoops and doops through, then on up the, at times, grindy gravel road past first The Cutting (and Logarithm), then Bad Boys and up to the top of Stags Drop.  Headed out and checked out top of Rehab Ridge, but not so game on this black track on the fatty, so rolled back and headed into Stags Drop, finding it heaps shorter than the other day for some reason, then into Bad Boys, again, shorter than remembered, and then The Cutting, which had more climb in it that I'd recalled from just a couple of days, but was longer and fun.  Then it was the gravel climb up to beginning of Slow Girls again, past Tunnels and Seesaw, and, for the first time, out on Doolittle - which was cool, and way longer than I'd expected, and actually really fun.  Finally, down the gravel back to the car.

7 and a half kms, with just over 200 m climbed.  Sweet blast.

To Ross!
Then, family headed south in the car on the main highway, past Mahinapua, and at the corner at Ruatapu, turned off the main road onto the Wilderness Trail section, and parked near the end of the side road.  Headed onto the rail trail here, a clear 13 or so kms to Ross, along an old railway line, very very straight, and barely any gradient.  A few cool streams, the really cool Totara River bridge, and some cool swamp lands, with very stunted kahikatea forest.  Long and straight and flat... 13kms each way. Totally wore out the boys.  Last day of the holiday and even I was relieved not to have to ride my bike for a day or two...  26.9 kms, and surprisingly 115 m of alt (most of which is probably the climb up into Ross).

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Tunnelled and Water Raced

Couple of not particularly long rides...
First off, T and H dropped O, Jet and me next to The Station Inn and we rode up Reg Cox into Blue Spur to ride Tunnels while they walked up from the bottom end. We had Jet in tow. Fun wee blat down, meeting the other two just above the tunnel and having a trailside picnic. Then down and back to the car, playing a game with Jet, getting them to call him back then calling him back to us.

A whole 60m climbed, and only 3.7 kms long

Still earlyish so we dropped the dog back at base and headed out to park at Lake Kaniere.  Hit the Wilderness Trail again, a muchly upgraded version of what we'd ridden years ago on the (pre-blog) Annual Trip.  Nice pleasant easy ride, family spinning along, mostly downhill, following the water race til Wards Rd, then the original trail continues, but the new Wilderness Trail heads down Wards Rd, over the Kaniere River, and a new section of trail heads down hill from there.  Awesome scenery and setting, and nice easy cruising.  Nearing the end of the rimu forest I turned back and headed back up the way we'd come.  Turned a good speed and up Ward Rd hill and onto the waterrace and bombed back up this to the car.  Loaded the bike on the car and bombed it back down to where Hurunui Jack's is, and along a big waterrace for the power scheme here to the end, finding the family and surprising them for how little time it took me.

This one was nearly 10kms, and a little more altitude, just shy of 100m.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Mahinapua Family Wilderness

Headed south parked at the Mahinapua Walkway carpark to ride another part of the Wilderness Trail, one we'd done before, 5 years ago... Nice ride on boardwalks and really gentle gradients and straight lines of old log-tramways, through swamp and forest and forestry and nice dense bush.  Very pleasant, and at the end we rode up the road to the Treetop walk, ate some food and did the walk (pretty cool!), then rode back, nice rolling downhill back to the trail, and then the trail, gentle climbs and electric bike like rolling downhills.  Hugo and me diverted on the Picnic Point side track, and got some rooty tight techy singletrack under our tires.  Rode on and caught up to H and O, who were talking to Jenny, one of my workmates, who happened to be riding through.

20kms travelled, 157m climbed.  Good family fun.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday. The Family Wilderness, and Spurring in the Blue

Family Bit
Couple bits of riding today... First off, headed out to Lake Kaniere in the car, bikes on back, and out Milltown Rd, parking just over the Arahura River.  A car pulled up, a guy who does a bit of support on the Wilderness Trail, and said "you're not supposed to take dogs" but after chatting a while (him enjoying our bikes a lot!) he kinda said we'd probably be okay - keep him on a lead etc.  So, rode in and up 4wd bit to start then onto the plush groomed switchbacks that flowed up the paddocks in and out of scrub and eventually into some nice bush. Rode thru to Cowboy Camp where we stopped and had a drink and some fries (and were told that the dog would be attacked by cattle - "Just don't say I didn't warn ya" - he wasn't.)  and rode onwards a short while to the big gulch and swing bridge (MacPherson's) before turning back and rolling, mostly down, back through Camp and more down all the way back to the car. Happy Jet trotting along off the lead for the last while - slowly getting slower (and very worn out sleepy tonight). 

No MMR cos it failed due to lack of reception when we started, but I think it was probably only 4 or 5 kms each way, with a bit over 100m total climbed.

Me time
Then about 3.35 I headed out on my own, back towards town from where we're staying, then around the giant wheelbarrow and up Hau Hau Rd, climbing, climbing, around into Blue Spur Rd and hung a right on Reg Cox Drive. Gravel climbing here, let a little air out of my tires, and climbed up til I hung a left on Seesaw. Great wee blast down this, some fun steep chutes ending up down in the valley around 4pm. 

Last time I was in here I'd hung a right at the bottom here, and headed up the valley, but this time I figured I'd try left and check out the Blue Spur Range Rd as a climb.  Ugh...  Long. gravel. grind.  When I thought I was maybe nearly at the top I checked out Trailforks and found I was only half way up, so kept on grinding.  A couple of quite steep pinches that had the legs and traction trying it out a bit.  Finally reached the 'top' and rolled down a bit to where The Edge peeled off.

This was cool.  Steep and narrow, next to (on the 'Edge' of?) a rough as guts skidder/quad track dropping a fair bit of altitude all at once.  This led to Gravel Pit which had one option with "Caution Caution" above it.  I had a phone call here so while I was talking I clambered down to see...  Steep into a sheer vertical drop of a couple metres into a good roll out, but I wasn't game so took the bunny route to the left instead.  Fun drop down still, over a couple table tops then around a bit and into the next one, Stags Drop.  So named due to a gnarly couple of rocks drop near the start - scarred by chainrings.  The rest of the trail was fun a few cool drops, looping down and around to Bad Boys which was also pretty cool.  Then The Cutting which was variable, but good, the odd bit of climbing but lots of fun features and drops and stuff.  Map My Ride obviously lost it here, and has me all over the place.

End of Cutting led into Logarithm, which I didn't realise til too late was heading down into the valley again.  Ugh, more climbing??  Oh well, fun descent, some steep bits and was a bit more raw than the other trails, obviously newer, as it's not in the 2014/15 Kennett's book  Hung a right at the bottom and headed up Elevator, which gets you up pretty quick but had a short walking section, but the fat bike gives pretty good traction on these steep bits.  At the top I passed on doing the Cutting again (didn't feel like I had the legs anymore), and just cruised the 4wd road (Reg Cox) down(ish).

At the exit of Cutting (also the exit of Slow Girls - still didn't ride that), the 4wd has a bit of a climb that tired legs didn't like, and eventually I got back to where Seesaw heads off - opposite this is the steeperer entrance to Tunnels. Down this rather steep chute into a hellish looking rock filled gulch, which then turned into interesting slick(ish) clay ruts and more steep rounded slick rocks.  Great fun!  Blasting down and around and back and forth and then across (obviously following an old water race) for a while and then ups and downs and more downs finally to the tunnel.  Cruised through this kinda chest/belly on seat, and onwards down sweet trail eventually across a flat to a gravel road.  MMR completely lost me in there with a couple of big skips.

Hung a right on the gravel road, looked longer ahead of me than I'd remembered, up around a bend, a right on Hau Hau, a couple more bends and climbing bits (one of which I added air back into the tires)and back up to Blue Spur Rd.  Back onto tarmac for a high speed blast down hill back past the refuse station and finally to the giant's wheelbarrow and a short blast through Preston's Bush trails, across the road and back along to the house, just over 2 hours since I'd left.

A very wobbly gps track, only 510m climbed, and 23kms in 1 hour 47 (so, not a hell of a lot of stops).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Family Sidling

On our way to Hoki for a holiday we stopped at Broken River for a quick leg stretch.  Unloaded the bikes, me with the fatty, T on her new midi, and the boys, and headed into Sidle 73.  Everyone did good on the starter climb and then we sidled around the trail.  Jetty ran and panted and had a great time.  Rode through to the gravel Craigieburn Valley Ski Rd, and headed up to check out the start of Coal Pit Spur track.  Rode down this to where it heads over into the Craigieburn Cutting, and then turned back.  Nice roll back through and down, meeting more family peoples climbing, loads of kids on really small bikes, and then down across the creek and back to the car.

Started the MMR late, so, was probably closer to 5 kms... still, only 20 minutes actual riding.  Profile's got some weird dips there that arent real neither.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Midday Fatso

At the bay for the extended Easter break. Finally managed to get out and ride after some splitting and chainsawing of firewood.  Headed up the road to Chorlton, steady pace, then up the View Hill Rd gravel, climbing and grinding up the steeper section and around the knob up there.  At about the 400m mark, I could see ahead, at the big pine and trail-split intersection, that the farmer was herding a mob of cattle down towards me.  So around I turned, flat out blasting back down the gravel, fatbike sticking to it like glue, getting to over 60 kph here.  At Chorlton again, I continued straight ahead and down, down the road heading for Raupo Bay, and zooming (over 60 again) all the way down to the end of the road to where you park when you go to Raupo.  Turned around here and grunted back up the road to Chorlton again, and hung the right, tires screaming as I sped down the tarmac again back into the bay.  Left onto Lukes Rd, and down - reaching maximum speed of 64 kph on this bit - then through the tennis quarts and back up to the house.

55 minutes ride time, 470 m climbed over 12kms...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tuesday night Godley Grease

Countdown pick up with a bit of weather around so thought we'd give the east a look.  Drove through Sumner and parked up at Evans Pass.  Headed into the Godley to find mostly good conditions aside from a bit of slickness and grease applied to the rocks.  Made for some interesting times.  I was puffed as all hell after the first couple of efforts, as always struggling from a cold and intense start.  Eventually got into a kind of groove and we struggled onwards.  First ride for Nelson since our Packhorse meander, him having had some tropical Samoa times in between.  After it's leveled off a bit there's a couple of very rocky sections and these were trickling with water and muck, making them diabolical.  Beyond that tho was pretty good.  Around past the 'landing strip' and into the downhill, trail in good condition and no wetspots from here on down, but I was still Cautious Colin on the lower sections before Livingston Col - never quite trusting the slip - and finding the dim light quite tricky.

Climbing over to Breeze was a breeze, but again on the descent I took it pretty easy, and even rolled around PFMTBC rock.  Again, the low light was really making me struggle with speed.  Down the hill and into the col.  6.15 here.  Debated Anaconda down and up, but figured it'd be mucky, so decided to head around the recently gravelled Breeze Bay Track, finding it quite the nice all-weather surface.  This'll be a good one to combine with the Taylors to Boulder Bay (and beyond) track in the middle of winter when everything's closed.  No technical skills needed at all.  Still managing all this without lights, when we got to the end and parked up on one of the look-out roofs, it was pretty much dark enough.  Lights on and into the wee narrow track back towards Breeze Col above the road.  This was fun, but tricky with balance under lights still taking a bit to get used to.  Back to Breeze, 6.35, and we hit the road for the next stretch, re-entering the singletrack at Livingston Col for the climb.  First part is a grind,but the further up you get the better it is.  6.50odd at the landing strip so got cruising and proceeded to slip and slide the rest of the way back to Evans.  Man, how tech is greasy wet rock?  Quite.

All up another shorty, just under 12 kms, and 429m climbed.  Back in time to grab dinner and head to the TFC trust meeting dead on time.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Sunday Morning mid hill posse

Andy (on his hardtail), Wayne, Paul (on his new full-sus) and Steve were all ready to roll outside Steve's when I turned up, and Pete arrived shortly thereafter. Off round Hanson's Park and up Ramahana.  As soon as we hit the hill Steve started getting chest pains and had to slow accordingly.  The rest of us were happy to have a rest while he plodded on, slow and steady.  Then catching him and getting ahead and then waiting while he'd ride on past us at the top of the tarseal, then took a bit to catch him that time reeling him in at the pylons, then onwards and up eventually regrouping at the top.

Across the road and onto Vernon, good blast around here tho lots of climbers who we either had to stop of or off-piste past.  Steve was feeling gooood at the top of Rapaki, but knew that he'd get the pain again on the next climb, so bailed here.  The rest of us continued, with varying degrees of success ranging from total cleanness to a couple of dabs.  I had a great run.  On the road, up to Castle, and I needed a snack.  Then we got into it, me in the lead, having a great blast down with a good gappage on Pete, tho I paused at the first hairpin to see whether he was coming or not, and he showed up and from then on I could feel him breathing down my neck.  Out onto the road and we moseyed around under the gondola and up, Paul's first time on this section of road since the quakes(!).

Into the Mt (un)Pleasant singletrack climb, Andy and Pete in the lead, grinding up.  I was catching up to the hairpin and around then getting gapped again.  Nice break at the top of Pleasant, where Paul decided he'd backtrack to Bridle Path and head down to meet Mike at the Record Fair.  The remaining 4 of us headed down Pleasant and had a great blast down through.  A couple of mucky wet spots on the Lyttelton facing section, but all good the rest of the way through the tussocks.  Down to the start of Greenwood and then I led the boys into the new section, weaving back and forth for a start then heading across towards the Richmond Hill pines.  Several very soggy wet bits along this but otherwise all nice rolling.  Then we headed up the other new bit, climbing away towards the original Greenwood entrance.  One very boggy spot just near the top (right before the steepest little pinch).

Onto the road and around to Britten, good blaze down here except for the several quite long soggy sections.  The new blast across the face of the hillside was sweet and the boys enjoyed the new section of trail down to the end.  In particular the last steep rocky bit.  Over the fence, and down onto Longridge, then blast down Mt Pleasant Rd and into Craigieburn and walking the steps and riding the zigs and zags.  Last couple of corners had some sogginess, but the rest of the trail was drier than it ever used to be - drainage work must have worked.  Overgrown by toi toi in places, and one flax stalk got me in the chest then Pete in the face.  Otherwise and excellent blast down to the bridge, then an even better one from here down, especially the lower section.  Brief regroup before the last straightaway speedfest to the road.

Finally, around the roads, split up at the Ferrymead Bridge, Pete and me taking Humphrey's and Linwood, spinning out the kms home.

All up I did 36kms, and over 900m altitude climbed - 2.5 hours riding time...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Quick Short Fat Wet Wednesday Jet Shorty

O and Jet and me headed up Mt Pleasant into the fog and driving mist to ride a little bit of trail. Parked up top of Mt Pleasant Rd, and headed down to Greenwood entrance, Jetty galloping alongside, til he came unstuck, or got stuck, in the cattlestop...  Greasy start to the trail, and we peeled off left onto the wee new one. Nice wee bomb down this, O had a small off, and if I got too far ahead I'd lose all sight of him, the fog was so thick, and wet - droplets building on eyelashes and clothes damper by the minute.  Down to the bottom the big pines next to the road dripping like crazy, and then we headed up the other one, sidling and climbing around and up to the ruins.  Stopped here and I explained what other options we had, and O decided we should go back the way we came, so, turned around, enjoying this trail back the other way, mostly down hill and quite flowy, then at the dripping pines, headed up the way we'd descended.  All the while, Jet having a lovely time and not hassling sheep whatsoever, not even showing any interest in them.  Good boy. Good climb back up, easier near the top, til the last couple of grunts, and we were back.  A couple of riders came through, with completely clean bikes - not for long.  Once on the road an posse of about 20 riders, male and female, came bombing out of the mist down the road and into the trail.  We headed for the car, and headed home.

A whopping 150m of altitude, in 5kms.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday Avoiding the Drizzle, Packing the Horse

Hills were totally clagged in by drizzle, but I'd been to Lincoln earlier in the day and noticed that the southern end of them was relatively clear, so after picking me up at Moorhouse Countdown we took a gamble and headed over Dyers. Heavy drizzle up top but past Governor's Bay it fined right up... with nearly clear skies overhead at Gebbies Pass.  One of Nelson's workmates, Daniel, joined us with his brand new hardtail, and we proceeded to demolish him.  He's not ridden much, ex roadie, but bugger all mountain experience and I don't think any hills...

So, rode in the road and then onto the trail, the first bit of descent before the forest, you've got a bit of speed up and suddenly there's a diversion to the left because the main trail squeezes straight into a massive clump of gorse!  I hauled on the anchors and piled around it to Nelson.  Dan showed up and we bombed into the forest, nice steep fast rooty down hill.  Dry as a bone around here, mint.  Down and through along the tight fence and climbing up the rooty section to the first stile.  Daniel rolled up a wee while after us, puffed, but enjoying it.  Next up the paddock, climbing climbing, puffing puffing, got to the top and waited for Dan, then down, over the stile and down the road to the turn off into the douglas firs.  DARKNESS.  Quite hard to see, but fine at climbing speeds, through to the steep ziggies Nelson cleaning it all, me walking a bit, same with Dan.  Then sidling up through Nelson held back to chat with him while I went ahead, through the clearing past the wee bach-hut, and back into the forest taking a rest just after the off-camber corner.  Nelson, followed by Daniel arrived, and Daniel decided he'd had enough.  We encouraged him saying we'd only just got to the good bit, and he said he'd follow on a bit but was stuffed and would turn back and if we saw him we'd see him.  So, on we went and as we climbed the drizzle started to set in.  Mostly, under the trees, it was dry, but open sky areas were damp, wetning up the tires and dirt and making the rocks and roots slicker.  Walked a couple bits but Nelson cleaned everything all the way to 10m shy of the last stile.  Out into the open and it was really damp, quite a heavy drizzle falling and on we went, rocks on the sketch, round under the remarkable dikes and on up around to the hut, bit of wind furrowing through the saddle.  Fire was going in the hut, and there was someone in residence, but he didn't show his face to us.

Back on the bikes in the wet and heading back the brakes squawking like mad to begin with, quietening down as we proceeded.  Bit of pinball action over the rocksy sections around to the stile and back into the forest.  Nelson blazed off, whereas I was a little more cautious, finding the low light very tricky and being careful on the damp roots and rocks.  The dirt, however, was very grippy, and I had moments of good speed, and careful maneuvering too.  Bombing down through, one or two sketches but nicely rolling and flowing.  Through the clearing, Nelson in sight, and into the forest again, no sign of him now, the darkness under the trees and clouds making for line picking tricky.  Down the steep ziggies and then it's really dark under the firs again, weaving down through these and finally out onto the road, all drizzled gone, and sky around us opened up again.  Looking across the harbour the drizzle was set in closer towards Teddington though.  Nelson not far ahead, with a freshly broken spoke.  Up this and over the stile and up the paddock, then fast descent down through tussocks and clay jumps to the next stile.  Down the rooty roots, ever threatening barbed wire jettisoning past at elbow level - tight!  Down the and along the really tight bit and then climbing again, ugh.  Burning legs riding then walking and finally riding again at the top.  Over the grassy trail back to the stile and then the road and side-track out back to the car.

Just over an hour's riding (some weird gps jumps on the way in (Nelson's is much cleaner)), 440odd metres climbed, and less than 12 kms.

Then, driving back the drizzle was set in right through to Teddington, and heavy all the way round.  Stopped at the Gov's Bay pub and had a couple beers and a feed, then over the hill, dank-as foggy misty drizzle from near the top all the way over down to below the Takahe.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday night hikes with bikes

Lots of up tonight, much of which was on foot. And down some never before travelled.  Newly regular pick up from Countdown Moorhouse and followed the sheepletraffic east, Ferry Rd, Causeway, to Sumner and up the hill to Evans Pass.  Parked and rode upwards, onto Greenwood and climbing this, meeting only one descender, up round the corners and at approximately the drop-jump we headed through the gate and followed a sidling-climbing sheep trail towards the ridge, then up the track we'd ridden couple weeks back, through the stinky macracarpa and over the fence.  This time we headed down Chalmers Track.  Steep, and once in the bush, greasy as all greasiness, rocks, and wet dirt accumulating on tires, proving sketchy as.  Rode and walked bits and rode, and explored and got to the bottom eventually - talking with a farmer lady cutting fly-blow off her little lamb.  Down the road, a long way, and left into College, climbing steeply up to the left, not really knowing if we'd find an access into the reserve from here.  Hmmm...  We did, but.

Found a wee singletrack at the end of this dead end street and started pushing.  And pushing, and pushing, and pushing.  Altitudinal insanity. Calves burning like crazy walking up this steep shitslope, eventually ending up on the ridge above Urumau Reserve.  Phew.  Down a skinny techy singletrack and onto the main track, into Looper, then Stormer, climbing and finding it a tad greasy.  over the top, steep techy descent then caught up to Nelson waiting and off he led, down the first steep arse drop, rolling down to the next, where I baulked, but then wheeled back and rode, and down over the next roller.  The straight-ahead track here was gonna be carnage, so we took the left hand, and rolled down around, a few greasy techy sections including the very steep section at the bottom which I walked.  Then around to the left, sidling and dropping, greasy corners, front wheel washouts, slipping and sliding.  Nelson dropped one of the log drops, I slid around it.  Then the trail got nice, with big roller dippers, and then it was time to climb again.  A few greasy corners, but pretty much all rideable (until you got to the track we'd gone down).  Next up it was round the sunny side of the hill, sidling across then climbing back up to the main track.  Climbed this, zig and zag and back up onto the ridgeline.  Sun was starting to lower, so we figured we'd find a way up the ridge, or across to Chalmers, rather than descending all the way down to the streets and climbing them.

So, up the ridge, pushing and carrying, a long way up, sketchy wee ridgeline track, with newly cut steps in places, and spectacular views, and carrying the bike.  Mostly pushing it to start, then picking it up sometimes, then near the top it was easier for me to just flip it up onto my shoulders, Mt Oxford style, and carry it, trudging up to the top of the ridge.  Did I say spectacular?  Well earned food rest up top here, watching the sun getting lower and lower to the hills, and then off again, past Chalmers top and up the way we'd gone two weeks ago, walking a bit again, the riding up to the gun emplacements, and across onto Greenwood.

Good blast down Greenwood, rocks slick-ish, but not so bad as to be uncontrollable.  Good pace, all the way down, meeting 2 climbing guys, and then around into Gloomy Gulch and rolling through and down, good pace, but Nelson getting away on me a bit down here.  He dropped the jump, I rolled the sideline of it, and we were off down through Dave's corners and around the way we'd come up.  I was exhausted by the time we made the rocky ups, and bailed for the first.  Then blasted down to the car. 

Bonus extra for me, I headed off down Captain Thomas, while Nelson drove down the road.  I had a pretty good run down here, fast in the top section, fast through to the first of the rocky techs, then cruising around and down to the next rocky techs, cleaning the first, but my front wheel slipped just before the second, so I got off and walked it.  Cleaned down the next bit and into the climb, walked 2 metres of that, then blasted down the rest of the trail and he picked me up in the cul de sac.

Awesome 13 and three quarter kilometres, and just over 700m climbed.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday arvo, before and during the rain

Plan was Nelson'd finish work at 3 and we'd meet across at the end of Bowenvale Ave for to ride up the hill.  Paul d'Sp' was joining us too.  Meet we did, but the rain was sort of looking like it was getting a bit more serious, so Nelsie decided to bail (on account of not wanting to get all mucky and have to clean his just-cleaned bike again).  So, Paul and me (and Jet) headed on up the valley.  Going was good, up the valley-bottom track, and then we headed up the walking track to the left, riding, pushing up steps and riding, up to the stile on the Old Skool / Hidden Valley Link trail.  Down this, around the first two hairpins, then hung a left onto the walktrack that sidles across above the lower section of the trail.  Once or twice having to get off, cos rocks were slickity slick.  Then down the rocks and steps to the valley track (bottom of Lava Flow), and up this valley, climbing as per the Thursday Night crew of several months back.  Clamber clamber, off a few times and riding some more to the intersection where we hung a right, sidling down valley this time back down to the start of Bridges, up this to the bottom of Brents. 

Here it was a choice of up around to the right of Brent's, or up the valley.  We chose the latter, cos I'd not been up there for ages, negotiating our way up the steeeeep 4wd trail crossing through Tilted Sally and Cool Runnings then up to the corner start of Rad ^ Sick and on up to the skidder site.  Been many many years since I'd climbed any of that.  From here it was up the main grovel of a climb (K2 extension?) and up past Brake Free into the rabbit paddock where the extent of the fires could be seen.  Grass had burned (but already had green fresh growth), and the trees on the west side of the hill above the (see-saw) fence.  Climbed up through this, the burnt smell everywhere, and the trees immediately above the see-saw were fine (except for a couple) and the native plantings on the right (below the top track junction) were all burned through (cabbage trees should survive?), and then Thompson's entrance was 'Closed' and everything from there on was burned.  As well as above the road here, up towards Sugarloaf - those few big pines all cut out, nothing but black stumps now.

Turned downwards here, towards the Traverse, then around in the trees and back across above the see-saw, fast blast down the rabbit paddock and into the rockgarden.  Slick-as through here, and fire had burned to this point too.  Into the gums and they were all intact.  Around, greasy greasy, and then into my little favourite lefty, blitzing down this and careful on the steep corner (it's got some roots (wet) I'd never noticed before), and across and around and back and then back around out to the edge (where that jumpy trail is) and the fire had made it to there too, but hadn't got the gums (altho we could see some of the tops had burned) - man that was close. 

Back to the skidder site and into Shazza's.  Careful down here, and then down to Brents, careful in here too.  Mostly dry under the trees tho, so all those roots weren't actually that bad.  Then into Bridges, and starting to get pretty slick here, the wetness was visible on the surface of the clay.  Around this and into Flow, under the trees dry enough but that last rocky corner was dodgy.  Down valley here to Hidden Valley Link and up this, climbing climbing, rocks slick out, but dry under the trees. 

Finally, onto Old Skool.  Pretty good at the top but the rain was increasing and the lower we got the more mucky the trail was, mud actually making splecky sounds under tires.  Traction was never a major issue, slight drifts around corners and the requisite rockslips but all good.  Finally down the last and back to the cars, filthy bikes, filthy people, and a dirty wet dog...  Smiles all 'round.

Less than 10 kms and only 374 climbed (felt like more, what with all that steepness).