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).

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Tuesday Explorational Eastern Tops.

Nelson collected me from home after work and we headed for Sumner then Evans Pass. Parked up and he found his dropper post was stuck dropped. He clambered up the first section behind me, standing the whole way, and we decided to explore up the ridge walking track and to find somewhere out of the wind to have a go at fixing the post.  Climb was steep to start, pushing the bikes, riding a little, pushing a little more then we found a nice spot and fettled the dropper.  Got it staying up for a start, and so got riding (and a couple of short walks) again up the fenceline ridge.  Up on the tops, through a gate and following the walkway around the top, past the 329 trig, heaps of windage, and over to the harbour side, dropping down, interesting sections of rocks and descending to a hairpin, then sidling nicely across the back side of the hill, tail wind along awesome flowy singletrack.  This ended at a stile, over this and fast descent down to Livingston Col. 

By this time, Nelson's dropper was stuck dropped again, so he upped the post in the frame to nearly normal height.  Hung a right here and rode and pushed a little up a steep sheep trail which then curved around to sidle across a basin above the usual trail, then spotted another one slightly higher up, so rode up a rocky ridgeline to this, then followed it around til we were overlooking Breeze Col. Found our way down the slope through tussocks til a good sheepline was found, and descended fast down past pfmtbc rock and down to the Col. 

Through Breeze Col, and for a change instead of around the narrow singletrack above the road, we headed up the oldschool steep face trails, Nelson cleaning nearly all of it, me walking one or two bits, til eventually across the top then over a fence and up past the 246m trig, down to the Observation Post, bit of a look around, and then down past a couple of ladies, over stile, and found our way down to the end of the narrow trail.  Into this, it's obviously seen a bit more action lately, and around it in the reverse of usual, fun blast back towards Breeze Col.  Decision time...  Down the Snake?  or back up Goddles...?  With Nelson's seat the way it was (not quite high enough for good climbing) we decided against the Anaconda. 

Off up the Godley track, taking the zig and zag out past the pfmtbc rock (rather than straight up the face like usual), and around over to Livingston, fun on the rocks along the top.  Next up from Livingston, climbing nicely, and trying out the new zig zag bits which work very well indeed for climbing.  Then up the into the valley and out again and up onto the ridgeline / landing strip bit.  Here we hung a left and rode up the ridge back up to the top to check out our initial climb as a downhill.  Mint!  Fun down, interesting rock sections, and some cool tech at the bottom.  Then instead of following the usual trail at the bottom stayed on the ridge and dropped down back to the last corner before the road.  Sweet.

Short but interesting ride, 11.14 kms, 555m climbed.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Sunday Bottled Up Family

T's Aunt and Uncle (in their sixties) are doing the Central Otago rail trail later in the month, and were keen to do some sort of ride, so we showed them around Bottle Lake.  T, H, myself and Jet, and them, all met out at the carpark and headed in.  They're not so fast, so we took the internal route, stopping and gorging on blackberries on the first section, then continuing on.  They enjoyed it, H enjoyed it, T was on my fatty, I was on the Spot.  I trailed along behind a couple times, others was out ahead with H.  By the end, everybody was getting along the trails quite nicely and there was seldom too big a gap when we stopped at the front for the catch up.  After, we went to Under The Red Veranda for lunch.

Usual stuff all altitude, speed, and distance.  Strangely, we somehow managed to get to over 100m, and also nearly 200m in altitude...  These bits coincide with the deepest forest, so obviously some GPS confusion is occuring.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday evening off the eastern beaten track

Pick up from the Countdown carpark and through to Sumner in traffic and off up the Captain at 5.46pm.  Good climb, me not struggling quite as much as usual, even given the small head-cold I'm suffering from at present.  At Evans we spotted a clusterfuck of riders (group of more than 10) heading into the Godley, so decided to try something new.  Into the bottom of Greenwood, and up the worksite track up the ridge above.  STEEEEP.  Nelson cleaned it the whole way, I managed about half and then it got too much for me.  We had a wee look around and then got onto the walking track and headed up through some pines, over a fence, looked down Chalmers Track (into Lytt), and then headed on up some techy rocks and onwards to the Gun Emplacements.  From here we got onto what we usually descend down through the tussocks, climbing all the way up, quite enjoying it, to the stile.  Talked to a guy who didn't know where he was, explained to him how to get back to his car, and then we peaked up.... resting at the top for a bite with one more rider riding through while we were there.

Off down the trail, I nearly lost it after the first descent losing balance on the rocks on the way to the stile.  Over this, and flying.  I was tight on Nelson's tail the whole way, catching him on the corners, not quite so much on the straightaways.  My cornering was magic perfection.  So fast, and we were down to the 4wd in no time flat.  Down this and left into the old Greenwood start, flying around this, with Nelson getting the goods on me on the couple of climbs.  Before the end/start of the trail we hung the right onto the new track, getting good speed through this down and across above the road and under the rocks.  Awesome blast, tho one of the lower corners could really use a berm - sketchy.  Across the 4wd track, down near the gate, and into the other new one, this one mostly climbing but with a couple of small descents, hovering along close to the top of Jollies Bush, then numerous zig zags climbing up to above the ruins on Greenwood.

Into Greenwood at great speed, fanging down through the rocky top sections, me right on Nelson's tail right through this section, flowing good.  As we rounded through the rock gap and across the pumpy face to gloomy gulch he got the gap on me, and then I started to slow after the gulch where I usually rest, but I pushed on, and got good speed down the rocky section and through the swoopy bits.  I hauled up at the drop jump, and Nelson was in the tussocks just below here, resting.  I pushed back up a bit and then rode down and rolled the drop.  Easy, will drop it next time.  We got going before the next riders came down and bombed it all the way on down, me gaining on Nelson in sections, especially the face down to the first rocky up.  He cleaned this, I dabbed through it, and off again and out the bottom.

Stopped before entering Captain Thomas, let a few riders through and watched for the others who were all out and about tonight.  First, we spotted Robin finishing off Godley.  He rolled up to us and we chatted, then we saw Pete and Alistair doing the same, they rolled up and we all talked.  Robin was parked up here so the rest of us took off down, Nelson, Alistair, me then Pete.  Ali was tight on Nelson's tail for a good while, and I stayed latched on Ali's tail, pushing him harder in places.  Fast run down just over 7 minutes all done.  Good show on the first of the techy rocks with some other riders walking it as we rode through.  They were impressed.

These trails are getting a lot of traffic with the other end of the hills out of action.

All told, 18kms, 578m climbed.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Saturday Kaiteri Scribblings

Nelson and me scribbled or way around Kaiteriteri today. It was fun. Parked at beach, headed into Easy Rider for a start, then across to Cruise Control and up Tank.  Dropped into Remedy, which was fun, with some nice wee drops and pops, across into Shady Lady, which is still as tight as ever, weaving down through handlebar clipping trees.  Then into Revelation, around to and up Ziggy then the Cork Screw.  In here I was starting to struggle.  I'd had stuff all sleep the night before and I was tired, so was gasping and legs were dying and I'd not eaten enough breakfast so my tummy was geting dodgy too.  Struggled up the last bit to the top rest area and had a big rest and snacks and stood in the breeze at the top.

Off down and into Jaws which wasn't nearly as fun as I'd remembered.  I was pretty tight on Nelson's tail most of the way down.  Certainly I enjoyed the lower new bit, that was fun, but the jumpiness at the top half wasn't as good as I'd remembered, and she was getting a little overgrown too.  Anyway, brief climb out of the valley before the last fun section to the intersection.  Bit of a rest here then off up Big Ups, and watched a bunch of groms dropping into to Big Air before we ourselves dropped in.  Funtimes.  Catching good air on everything, even clearing quite a few of the doubly tables.  The groms all bailed at the exit to the intersection and we continued on down, some of the corners getting crazy near the bottom, but fun.

Brief rest at the bottom then off up Zigg again, struggling struggling, me, and then up Big Ups again, and into Skullduggery.  Always a bit of a favourite, narrower and more 'old skool' than those big machine built things.  More climbing than I remembered, but I think I always remember that.  At the Bay View intersection we'd been recommended Tree Hugger, and so we dropped into it.  Definitely fun.  long enough to be interesting and lots of cool features, and narrow and gooood.  Ending at the bottom of ShadyLady, we headed up Puff and around to Tank for pretty much the last biggish climb, in which Nelson got a new set of lungs and powered ahead, while I slowly found my demise.

Into Scoot for a nice short blast across to Swish - a wrong turn off this thinking Humphrey's might be good, but decided it wasnt so we back tracked and headed across til we got onto the Lower Skullduggery and bombed that down and down and down some interesting corners eventually ending up right at the Riwaka end of the entrance to the park and Easy Rider.  Jumped on this and got grinding, me struggling so much on the uphill even tho it was nothing really, then over and down and across to Half Pipe for the last few corners, a couple of fun jumps and out the exit of the park and down for a cool and refreshing swim at the beach, glorious views to be beheld.

22kms and only 550m climbed...  felt like a lot more.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tuesday pre-meeting blat.

New office, downtown now, so skedaddled and met Nelson in the Countdown carpark, Moorhouse. Limited time having to get all riding in before the 7.30 TFC meeting.  Traffic hell til we hit the hill, parking up same place as the other week on Parkridge off Longridge. Headed up the steep new single, both cleaning all of it this time (and gasping for air as a result). Around and up the usual Britten then around to and up Broadleaf Lane.

At the top we walked up to the Trig to have a look into the Harbour, seeing fires burning behind Governors Bay - not to mention all the smoke and choppers working.  Back on the bikes and heading down, the steep start here loose as and almost traction-free which threw me out a little but propelled Nelson pretty much off trail.  Battered our way around to the stile and over.  From here it was smooth flowy blazing.  I was tight on his tail all the way, weaving and grooving down and across through the tussocks.  Down the 4wd and into the original Greenwood entrance as if heading back up towards Mt Pleasant Rd, keeping a really good pace around here we turned onto the new trail we'd climbed last time, finding it to be quite a cool flowy wee descent.  Flew down this and into the other one we'd only descended before, finding it to be a really fun climb, with really not that much climbing, ending just up above the Ruins.

From here it was back up the Greenwood entrance, out to the road, up the road and into Britten, for the fang down here, me leading and keeping a good pace, railing around the bermy corners and then across the way we'd come up, flying down the steep descent and back to the car.  My watch said it was about 7.15, (but Nelson's car said 6.40something, which he thought was really slow), so we headed down and made it to TFC dead on 7.30... (nelson's car saying 6.56)... gates were locked and I was very confused, rang Steve to see what was up, and him saying it's only 7! watch had somehow wound itself ahead.  Oh well, gave Nelson and me time to get some food, making it back just in time for the meeting...

So, all up a short ride, but was intense and fun...  under 10kms, and only 320m gained.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday, hot hill work

Out on my lonesome leaving home about 9.20, drove and parked at bottom of Bowenvale on Eastern Tce - and caught up with an old friend, Ben, who I'll definitely ride with sometime soon.  Headed up Major Aitken Drive, figuring there might be a bit shade on the way up.  There was, tho it was still pretty warm getting up there.  Ground away and got to the gravel and grabbed some shade up the first section on a nice singletrack next to the gravel.  Then out in the open thankfully a bit of breeze around.  Under the pylons and then up to the high part hung a right and climbed up onto the singletrack, heading for the landing strip then up the last gravel, feeling a bit weak from the heat and the downhilling yesterday.

Brief break at the start of the Traverse, breeze cooling a bit, then I was off.  Good ride around here, tho the wind was a headwind for a start.  Met a couple of uni-cyclists (one of which was a young girl (9 or so?)), and was sort of chasing a guy on a carbon XC steed.  Good blast down to Vic Park-top and then through Thomson and Thompson and across an insanely busy Kiwi, cars clusterfucked everywhere...  Up the road slowly gaining on XC dude, catching him juuuust at the top of Worsley.  Cooled right off here in the breeze under that big pine and chatted to a few other bikers.

Off down the Body Bag, hugging the left hand lane (on account of a guy riding up the middle), which only gave me a little bit of gorse sting on the way down.  Into the park, climbing up the steep trail, and touching base with Paul and family who were celebrating Luka's birthday down at base.  Into Yeah Yeah Gnar and then a little way down decided Tommy2's, why not (just over a year since last down here).  Into here, it was cool, following pretty much exactly where it used to.  Bloody dusty as hell, but fun, and familiar and I rocked my way down it, cleaning everything.  Out the bottom and into DOHC, blasting.  By the bottom my arm pump was mental, and quite sore.  Popped into the base and said happy birthday and caught up with peeps and had a beer (nothing else on the menu or in the fridge appealed!).  Then off again, down the road, freshly watered, so not dusty, and then around the foot of the hills back to the car.

A smidge under 20kms, 660m climbed, 1.5 hours.  Hot.

Later Edit:  the next day the fires started, burning for a week, over 2000 hectares, including most of the park, and the Thompsons, top of Harry Ell and Marleys, and all the way across the top of Worsleys Rd to Kennedy's and into Gov's Bay.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday Parking with the boys

Took O and his buddy Tane into the park, buying Tane a 10 pass for his near-future-birthday, plus one for O. We lifted up and did the green all the way down to get Tane's eye in.  Rough as, but everybody enjoyed it.  I followed for a start, and Tane crashed in about the third corner, a high-side that he leaped off and ran with, then a little lower down I got past him and then O.  Then I stopped and turned on the MMR.  Caught them again and overtook and sped on ahead.  On Active Rest I zoomed ahead again, getting quite a lead, then stopped and waited til I could see them coming and got going again.  All good.  Both boys enjoyed it and were game for more. 

Round 2, hit Possum Lord and DOHC. Tane REALLY liked these ones.  We all had good blasts down, I think Tane offed a couple times but he was fine.  Back to the car for a bit of lunch after this run.

Then round 3, we headed down Yeah Gnar.  Pretty dusty, and I caught some rookies (who probably shouldn't really have been in here, I mean, they were really struggling).  I got past them and then the boys did too.  Then some faster guys got past the boys, and I let them by, but a little lower down they let me by again cos I was definitely riding it quicker than them.  The boys walked the worst steep bit, but rode everything else.  Across the midpoint and into DOHC again. This was another good run and faster than the last.  I'd been texting with Paul a bit earlier, and he was in the vicinity so came in and we caught up with him at the base, juices for the boys and an iced coffee for me. We were talking about another run, but after a quick blat on the pump track (while I hung with Paul) the boys decided they were knackered enough that we didn't need to do a final fourth run.

I forgot to turn the MMR off til most of the way down the access road...

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Wednesday Night Adventure Climb Worse Nun Traverse Lava OldsKool

Pick up from work and across town to park on Ashgrove Tce next to the bridge into Ernle Reserve.  Over this and a mellow cruise up the Heathcote River past Cracroft and then up the gravel into the Park.  Straight into the Uphill climb, ziggy zaggy, jiggy jaggy...  we caught up to some other guys and sat behind them for a while, got past one and were happy enough having a rest behind the next guy, til it opened up and we plodded on ahead, up and over and down and through the midpoint and then on upwards the old way we used to climb out of Fightclub etc.  around and through the gate and up the techknuckle grovel little bitty shitty rut-city.  Cleaned our ways up this and then had a bit of a social rest outside the gate of the park, chatting with others, snacking and resting before heading off up the Bodybag.  Cleaned it a long way up.  Nelson got it all the way, but I blew out pretty near the top, rested, breathed and then got going again, cleaning up the rest.  Nice - best effort for a long time.

Over and into the Nun climb, quick piss stop and off down.  Nelson on fire, me chasing and struggling a little, flying down the Flying Nun, popping and grooving.  Big fuck up on the trail just after the big corner closest to the park - the Pioneer Race had been through on the weekend and all the muppets had fucked up the entrance to that rock you used to jump over...  On down through the rocky sections feeling pretty good, keeping Nelson in sight, but struggling a little to keep up.  Past the carpark and bombing through the lower section, no wuckers, Nelson still getting away but not too far ahead.  Strangely we met some dude riding up, near the bottom, and we finished it off. 

Across Dyers Pass and up the road, Nelson taking the lower Thompson, me staying on the road.  Up here were some dipshit boy racers with a lowered ute, mashed up front and tires off the scuffed up rims.  Dumb-arses had lost it into the barrier.  "Ohh, That doesn't look good.  Whoops" from me, and "Looks like you're gonna need a wheel alignment" from Nelson, to which they slung him some abuse, little shits.  Lucky no one had been riding or driving up cos they'd crossed the centre line to hit the barrier, obviously at some speed, the skid marks were lonnnng - hope the little fuckers get done for dangerous driving.  Into the upper Thomson for us, dropping down the recent wood-chip entrance, laughing at their misfortune all the way.  At the top there was a couple with electric plus-size bikes with kid trailers hitched up.  They'd come up Bowenvale Valley and the K2s!!!

Into the Traverse and a good blat round here, meeting quite a few other riders.  Legs were getting tired on the last few climbs, ending up at the top of Lava Flow.  Guy and a dog were here getting ready to go down, so we headed in and Nelson rode everything...  I walked one or two bits, but rode a heap I'd never had thought of in the past.  Was fun. It's a cool track (7 years since I'd last attempted it).  At the bottom we headed up the steps next to the 3rd bridge (we'd come down them one night back with the Thursday Night Crew).  Bit of a hike, but once you're up it's a cool singletrack across to the Hidden Valley Link Track - avoiding losing altitude on boring track, the creek crossing and the first two hairpins.  Into this and climbing climbing up to Old Skool. Great blast down this, seems to have been cleaned up a bit in the middle traversing section and looks to be seeing quite a bit of traffic.  Fast down the bottom and then out and down the road and round the river and back through Ernle to the car.

All up, 634 m climbed, in 22.1 kms over an hour and three-quarters riding.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Thursday Night loopy loopy convolutey

Nelson picked me up from mine and we headed east not really knowing where we might go - considering Lyttelton or Mt Pleasant localities.  Low easterly cloud (that had drizzled earlier in the day) was scudding across the hills, and for some reason we headed up into it, parking up on Parkridge Place.  Some sun to the west but also fast moving dampness ploughing in from the east, we headed up the new track I'd come down when riding with the boys (that they'd missed) back in November.  Quite a crunty wee climb, with even Nelson having to get off and walk a little, then across the face of the park and onto the old well trodden path up.  We held a good pace up here, ensconced in the fast moving fog, grass and tussocks rather damp, and Nelson only dropped me a couple hundy metres from the top.  Around the 'long' way across the top of Britten with the tail wind pushing Nelson off the trail as we rounded the top of the ridge, I took the lead from here through to where the climbers park their cars.

Across the road and up the Mt Pleasant access climb, but turning right and bombing down the steep single to the stile and over and down and into the ziggy zaggy climb to the Gondola building.  Sunglasses had to come off as they were steaming up big time.  Grunt grunt and clamber, up we went, the fog chasing us, and spectacularly swirling out over the bridle path.  At the gondola building we headed down the Crater Rim steppy section towards the Bridle Path top, with the fog starting to burn off and the sun shining through.  Good bomb down here, seemed bonier than usual, and we struggled to find a good way onto our sidling-around-the-munty-bits track (that hugs the fenceline just above the road).

At the Bridle-top we headed up the Crater Rim / 360 degree track that we've come down a couple times now, and found it quite good most of the way.  Further up than we remembered coming down, but got up through the overgrowing broom and steps.  We took a break on the way up and watched some loony riders climbing the Bridle Path, doing well.  Around the ridge top and downhill began back towards the Tors and CastleRock, nice flow down here with fun rocks to jump off.  Then across a light saddle and climbing again, up around to above the Castle Rock, final fun little descent down to there.  Sat and snacked and watched the loony climbers climbing up Castle Rock track, all three of them cleaning it to the top.  Chatted with them a bit, they'd come around from Gov's Bay, and were the builders of the steep singletrack over there, the reknowned "Governors Bay crew"...  They took off and a guy that'd chuffed up the road dropped into the trail ahead of us so we gave him some space and then Nelson led the way in.  I mumbled my way through the first descent and rocks, but once around the bend I started to flow, and quickly reeled Nelson in gaining on his tail before the first hairpin.  Around this and chasing again til the climb when I started to drop back again - just not enough oomph up the hills.  Easy roll out to the road and he was really huffing as we started our way along the Summit Rd under the gondola.

Around the bend just after the gondola the winds funneling through here nearly had us stopped.  SO strong.  Battled our way up around and into the singletrack at Cavendish Saddle, climbing up the steep mother and onwards up to Mt Pleasant, fog now but a memory, just damp tussocks and a little bit of dirt to show for it.  Straight into the descent from the top of Pleasant, fanging down through the rocks and over the stile.  From here, looking down on the Greenwood entrance, I spotted a new ribbon of singletrack coming up the hill to that entrance, filing it for later...  then onwards down, awesome blast down the singletrack, weaving through the tussocks and out to the 4wd track.  Into the Greenwood, but only to the first jump, where we peeled off to the left and onto the new trail I'd discovered last time up (the other week).  Great wee weavy trail, ducking and diving across the slope towards the big Richmond Hill pines, we had a very hurried and urgent time.  Out to the gate and 4wd, and found the entrance to the new climbing track (back up to original Greenwood entrance) that I'd spotted from above.  This was a great wee climber, zigging when it needed to, and looking quite established and like it's been there a while.  How we'd ever missed in the past I don't know.  It's even got gravel in places that would have been wheelbarrowed in.  Made our way up (and would be a fun down too) to the original Greenwood entrance and onto the road, climbing back up this short stretch to Britten.

Bombed into Britten, me tight on Nelson's tail the whole way, til the sun came piercing into our left eyes as we rounded down to the corner...  This sun made most of the rest of the trail quite tricky, but we found the left hander easily enough onto the new stretch of trail and absolutely flew across the slope and down the new techy bits back to the car.

A hard won 16kms with over 600m climbed, nearly all minty singletrack.