Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saturday's Sinclair Fitzgerald Tops

At the bach for 3 weeks.  Had a the fatbike with me.  Drove out of the bay and around the Summit Rd, parking on Pettigrews Rd and rode, up up up into scudding easterly clouds. Nice climb then over stile after stile, up Mt Sinclair, stopping to breathe, rather than walking.  Up to where I rode last time, and onwards down the other side, around the side of the cool bush up there, easterly clouds juuust above my head, roaring over the tops.  Across the saddle between the peaks, then into the climb up Fitzgerald.  Stopped to check out the walking track section, just to see how rough it was.  Looked rideable, so walked back to bike and headed on.  Here's where I met the first 'other people', a group of 4 older guys who looked familiar (from all my years of riding the Port Hills).  Then a tiny bit of walking and up to the ridge, then up the ridge to the top.  Meandered across the grasslands towards a nice bluffy peak, and parked myself out of the wind for a snack, cloud ploughing over top of me.

Back on the bike, back across to the trail, and decided to check out the walking track section.  Steep, and technical, with a couple of unrideables, and lots of scooting technique required, but plenty rideable, and on a normal bike probably a bit more.  Not long and I was back down to the main track, riding on, under the speeding clouds, and on up the back of Sinclair again.  Nice and sheltered downwind of the bush up this climb, and across the back and down again, around the last steep corner and there's three picnickers on the track.  One hastily leapt out of the way, while I said "don't worry, I won't hit you".  Back across the ridge and speeeeeed down the track to the car.

There and back again... 14.5 kms with 627m climbed

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tuesday CAP Lap.

Final Pfmtbc get together for the year, at Poms for 7.30, so Nelson picked me up from Washington Way and we went through heinous traffic to CAP.  Initially we were gonna park next to Cracroft Reserve, but then decided to just drive in.  Maybe not next time, the speed bumps are a total pain in the arse for 'normal' cars.  Headed up the steep Uphill track, both of us cleaning all the twisty zig zags, then it was into the howling sou'wester up the gravelly grovelly ridge, and around.  Where it used to spit you onto Worsley's, it now heads up the old guts track, sort of following it's old line past where Fight Club used to be, and sort of along where Tommy's used to be.  Man the landscape has changed from the past, torn to bits, desolate and wasted.  I walked a couple of times up the top of the guts and up another bit, it was just too steep for my lungs and legs to continue.  Nelsie cleaned it all I think.  Finally up the last climb to the top of the lift and Nelson checked out the map.

Into the Summit Connector, fun wee trail, tho Nelson put a hole in his rear tire and the goo came out a bit.  Stopped to pump up, then on downwards.  Met the Nun and he needed more air.  Then we got going, and half way down the lower Nun I pinch flatted on the rocks, so we stopped to patch (my spare tube was still holed from Sunday).  Time was ticking with them supposedly closing the Park at 7 and it was pushing on after this, so it was a quick patch and pump and off we rolled again, me being quite light in the rear end.

Fast down Old Dyers (now called Choir Boy, for some reason?), catching a guy and he let us pass and then blasted around and pedalled the climb towards the end, catching up with the last guy's mates who were wondering where he was.

Dropped into - new to us - Loess Rider, which proved to be a super fun, twisty, jumpy, corner after corner after corner downhill.  Good pace down this and it just went on forever.  Caught up to a girlrider, who let us pass, and then we were gaining on her mates ahead, pretty much catching them by the bottom.

A nice 12 km loop, with only 475 m climbed.  They were a steep climb in parts tho.

Then it was a cruisey drive through town to catch up with the crew who'd done a townie lap via Tone's and Andy'n'Jenna's.  Enjoyed a nice single pint of Hopwired (been a while).

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Stifling Sunday Hilltop Loop

Hot morning, all to meet at Steve's at 8.30.  I had an appointment at 12, so I left home at about 8 and drove to Ferrymead Bridge, parking there, then riding around the towpath, up the Heathcote, through Radley Park, Chichester St, and around to Steve's, arriving in good time with Andy and Jenna, Tony and Robin all in attendance.  Soon after, Pete, Nelsie (with a new toy) and Wayno arrived, and out came Steve. We trundled around the various whole and half Ford Roads, through to the Ramahana and Aotea climbing, heat already pushing us down.   Up we strove, Nelson, me, and Wayne taking the singletrack diversion to the landing strip.  Up here I seemed to lose all power in my legs, suffering I was.  Managed to finally peak out and we all cowered in the shade provided by the roadside.

Onto Vernon, and through... Pete and me getting a lead on the others (due to a muck up with Nelson and another dude on the zig zags up top), through Witch Hill, heat a killer but I kept a good pace ahead of Pete through there.  Then I flatted, front wheel on a rock, so Nelson and me did the speed change, and we caught up with the others up top of Castle.

Into this, and excellent clip on Nelson's tail the whole way down round the hairpin and he heard a shout and Robin had crashed above.  Waited, he got moving, we got moving, and met Jenna in the shade of the stone building.  Cool down.

Up road onto Britten, around, grass heaps shorter now, then into Greenwood, and down the skinny singletrack, then across through the pines and down Richmond.  more crashes with people.  a close call for me before Frog Pond, and on down Panorama, Mulgans, and back round to the car.  good spin.

more details later, maybe.

A 28 km loop, with 800m climbed.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Thursday Night Easy Loop in the Park with the Boy

Quick blat up the lift and down the easy trails, first ride in the park since reopening week before last.  H and me parked and rode.  Trail is a bit boring. 420m of descent.  The place is a desolate wasteland.  Charred logs everywhere, stumps, dust, and easterly wind howling through everything, making us have to pedal into it downhill at one stage.  Views from the lift are improved because there're no trees in the way, but man, it's heartbreaking.  All the old forest we used to ride in over the other side of Worsley's, gone, or just bare black sticks in places - ie where the jumpy trail used to be.  And looking up the gully that Alices/Tommy2s/etc were in?  Mess and bare.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Evening Lyttel-Urumau-ton of heat

Needed to collect O from Lyttelton, and Paul was keen to ride, so figured a couple of birds with one stone. Drove thru and parked on St David's St. Headed up Stevenson's Steep and up to Fosters Tce, and up into the reserve...New switchbacks, then across with a rideable but steep path across to the climbing track, left on this and I was gasping in the heat and with my rumbling infected lungs.  Climb climb climb, which seems to be the norm in here.  Then up Stormer to the very top.  To get a feel for the place, we took Stormer (blue) down the ridge, this was swoopy and fun, eventually down and around onto Grommies.  I stopped a couple of times and Paul was having some challenge, which is good for him.  Grommies was a fun yumpy roll (bypassing the log drop).  At the bottom there's a Do Not Go Beyond This Point sign due to blasting etc.  So, up Sloanstar we treadled, steep switchback corners getting the better of Paul most times.  Around the sunny side, bit of descent and climb back to the hub.

Climbing again, this time, into Looper and following it down.  I'd thought it was going to be something new but it was one I'd ridden before - fun swoopy and easy back and forth back to the hub.  Another climb back up and Looper entrance cutting up to Stormer and I took the black ridge droppy track.  Paul took the blue Stormer down next to me, but I found myself heading to the right around the ridge on I think a trail I'd not been down before.  Found myself at the top of a massive rocky cliffy drop, which was very difficult to clamber down, then made it down to the main track where I found Paul.  We headed on down Grommies again, swoop swoop, bomb bomb, and then climbed back up Sloanstar and around the Sunnyside for the descent back down, steep through the grasslands to the entrance track and then across, bypassing the Fosters Tce exit and down lots of new steps to Reserve Tce.  Then bombed down this and Stevensons back to the car.

414 m climbed in just over 7 kms.  That's more than a 10%er...

Monday, December 04, 2017

Monday Night Big Hot and Grey

Met Nelson at Rangoon after work and we headed up thru Loburn, checking out Journey's End first, but finding lots of No Entry; Private Property; Tresspassers Prosecuted signs, so back down to Feathers and up Mt Grey Rd to park at the bottom of Paringa.  Had a brief chat with a local and his pitbulls then around 6.15, headed up the road, over the locked gate and up a bit to hit up Banks Rd.  Two wheel tracks, slightly overgrown in places, nice surface, easy rolling, up.  It was pretty hot, but mostly in the shade climbing up here, so not bad.  Then a nice rolling descent down to the Okuku Rd intersection, which then led steeper down past beehives, more beehives, another gate, and down to the campground and ford/bridge at the bottom of our singletrack.  The next and longest climb began...  Up up up to Lake Janet, about one hour in, then, instead of up the singletrack, (somewhat misguidedly) we chose the road to climb (thinking the switchbacks would be in full sun and HOT).  This road seemed to go on for ever nearly killing me, but at least it was shady.  For once I actually used my 'lock-outs' front and rear.  They worked pretty good, tho the rear had weird clunkiness when I stood and cranked.  Had a rest at the turn off to the fire lookout, and then headed up to the singletrack.  This was steep but eminently cleanable til much higher up, in the shade, good to concentrate on, and we made the top of the hill at 8.10 pm.  50 minutes left til sunset.

Into the descent.  I got super skittery on the gravel as we hung a left onto the main track, nearly losing it, but dropped a bit of air out of my front wheel and chased onwards, Nelson long gone.  Was a little careful down here, feeling super sketchy, but after the worst (of only 2) boggy bits, caught up to Nelson and we continued on down.  He was trying out his new gangnam switchback stylez the whole way, getting better (and quicker) all the way down.  I had variable luck with mine.  Nose wheelies with a flick to re-align.  Definitely the way to go...  Down through the spectacular forest singletrack, delightfully rocky and gnarly and the usual cornflakes scatterings.  Near the bottom of the pine section Nelson popped a jump and landed sideways giving massive blowout of goo and air.  From here on down, the lower we got, the more bugs Nelson was stirring in my path and the more I was having to contend.  By the last km to the bottom it was getting really bad, and I was having to ride mouth shut and blinking like crazy.  Made the camp site at 8.50, 10 minutes of sun left...

Stopped and chatted with some campers who'd asked for directions while we were climbing and then got climbing.  Long slog, but nothing on what we'd already done earlier.  Finally made the Paringa turn-off, then followed this all the way up (higher than Banks), and then bombed down.  Gravel road flying, well over 60kph and finally arrived back at the car at about 9.15 - 3 hours, of which 2 1/2 hours was riding time.  Not much mucking around...

A whopping 1115 m climbed, over 28 kms

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Roasting Saturday Morning Cashmere Vic Blowenvaled

Had a little time to ride - had to be home by 10am. Parked on Eastern opposite Bowenvale and headed around to Lansdowne thru to Hollis and up. Steep grind up the seal, but with a bit of welcome shade part way up.  Into the walking track, stairs, ride, stairs, push, stairs. Across Longhurst into next section of walking track cruising up under the houses, up the zig zag, under more houses, and eventually into the barbed-wire roots next to the pines track up to the dog park. Up through this and then up to skidder site.  From here I followed a couple of other riders up K2, one walking, one riding and me stopping for a gasping breather before continuing.  Through Brake Free and I stopped for a rest in the shade on the rabbit paddock. It. Was. So. Hot.

Back on and down through rock garden, gums, and hung my usual left, but then further left into a new left off my favourite left.  Bombed down this, some nice wee bermies and a couple of pop-over jumps, then scrabbled into the lower sections of the usual, and then out to the skidder site.  Lots of people walking in here with tools, so I headed up the middle road over to Cool Runnings, that's been newly rebuilt. Passed more of the people heading in to work, apparently, on Tilted Sally. Cool Runnings was really dusty,but fun, - big table top jumpy flow. Then into Bridges where a guy came into the trail ahead of me off Sneaky Ridge jump and was a couple of corners ahead of me but I rounded one and he was gone, cloud of dust. Then I saw him on his back on the trail below! Stopped to see if he was ok. He'd pulled over to let me pass and had toppled over the bank!!  He said he was alright and started hobbling, said he was gonna take it easy from now.  

I continued onwards down nu bridges then down valley and into the Hidden Valley Bonus climb.  Ooosh hot too, and up onto Old Skool for a good blast, finally cruising down the road to car. HOT ride.

11kms and 400 m altitude.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday night Godley 'Conda, out and back Solo Loop

Only opportunity to ride this week so parked up Evans and headed out the Godley. Fun techy rocky start, I kept my own good pace and cleaned everything after a couple of breathers retrieving my gasp back after the cold start on the steep.  Gorgeous evening and good rolling around the top and down, smooth blasting down to Livingston Col.  Momentarily contemplated hanging a right, around the 360/Crater Rim, but played nice and headed onwards on the legal trail and thru to Breeze Col.  A ship was heading out below me in the harbour, but lost sight of it as I got to the Col, so I popped across to see it but it had moved on.  Headed up the wee climb above the road, and onto the narrow trail which was totally overgrown so I took it very easy, wary of subsumption holes.  Rode across to the start of the Breeze Bay track, but then from here bombed down to the carpark to look at the backpackers.

Returning, I got onto the original trail below the road - meeting my first 'other person' here. Then down Anaconda, meeting my second person here.  Many blown out dusty corners lower down, and horrific traction on most corners, in the slick dust. Down the Tail, wary, as it's been a while, then straight up the road, and left onto the walking track above Joy's, cleaning this all the way up to where you're riding along the deer fence near the top (meeting my third and final person here). Finally at this point was where I was starting to get tired. Watched a parasailor take off and seemingly plummet, then headed up the gravel to the road, around the corner and up the paddock onto the Godley back to Evans. Careful too, cos it was overgrown and I was heading straight into the sun.  At the end, I took the walking track bit for the final drop down to the finish.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Arvo Jet Spin

Like a week or so ago, took Jet across to Bowenvale Ave and headed up Major Aitken again. Huntsbury up onto the singletrack, then up the landing strip and on up the gravel to the top.  Bit of a rest and a stretch here, then onto the Traverse to just through the first cattlestop, before the Lavaflow, and down the new fun ridge track, jumps fun, and then for the first time in ages, down the old skool entrance to Old Skool.  Further and faster than I remembered to the first gate, where another rider rocked up and it was Matt (Tom's brother).  We caught up chatted a bit and then I led off down the zig zags, looking at, but not exploring all the old singletrack shortcut lines (grass waaay too overgrown).  Jet was a bit slow down here, so needed to wait for him, so when we got down to the pylon I sent Matt off on his way.  Didn't see him again.

Good run down Old Skool.  It's running really fun at the moment, with all the new air and rearranged rocks.  Jet plodded along at a good pace behind and I'd stop at the odd corner for him to catch up.  I's pretty concerned for his over-heating, so I was giving him plenty of drinks from my camelback too.  Into the bottom of the valley and back down the road to the car.

Looks like stupid Map My Ride fucked up again.  Must struggle to get a good signal in Bowenvale Valley and then not kick in until up the hill, cos looks like it only found me at 179m altitude, roughly where it found me last time.  And also there's lots of jumps/steps - gps failures.  So according to it, 8.2 kms, and 235m gained, but considering it started me at 179m, i'm calling it more like 420m, and closer to 10kms.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday night shorty with O and Tane

Parked at the Richmond Hill pines and with O, his mate Tane, and Jet, and we rode up the singletrack from that entrance, to the original Greenwood entrance.  Along this back to the ruins and then we dropped in.  I led the way, popping and weaving and grooving and cruising, while they battled their ways down behind me.  Jet just cruised with me - SO well behaved ignoring the sheep completely.  The boys enjoyed the challenge of the trail, and did really well.  We took our time, I'd stop and wait til they came into view then bomb off again ahead.  At the bottom, I sent the two boys off down Captain Thomas whilst Jet and me headed back up the road to the car.  He trotted along, panting away, and I was surprised at how slow this was, cos normally I'm chuffing to keep Nelson's pace, but with Jet I was barely raising my heartrate.  Got the the car and drove down to Slumnervale to pick them up.

7 and a half kms for me, with 240 m gained.  A bunch more descent for them.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday View Hill Rd fatty downhill with the boy

At the bach for the long weekend.  On Saturday, T drove O and me to the top of the road and we cruised along the Summit towards Okains and hit the paper road across the ridge towards View Hill.  Bit of riding, bit of pushing.  I was on the Fatty.  Around the flanks and onto the proper trail.  Fun blast down to the gate, then we were technically no longer 'trespassing' and off we shot down View Hill Rd, absolutely bombing down to the gravel, then I shot further ahead for the blast down this to Chorlton.  Then it was down the tar seal back into the bay to the bach, tires screaming all the way.

Around 150 climbed, and over 670 descended in 11kms.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wednesday Windy Windy Ridge Ride

That's both pronunciations of windy...

A week out in the bush, walking 10-15 kms each day off-track through usually wet forest.  Nice to get out and ride again, and all that walking seemed to helped my stamina, or something.

After work last night, Nelsie picked me up usual Countdown Carpark and we headed and parked at top of Huntsbury, Headed up, and hung a left, over Vernon, through the clusterfuck that is Rapaki-top, around Witch Hill, onto the walking track above the road (they cant actually put No Bikes on that, cos it's in the Public Road Reserve...  Up to Castle Rock and a good run down this, me in the lead, then from Bridle Path top took the singletrack climb up around the knoll, then down to the saddle and up around to the Tors track.  Bombed down this and cleaned all the droppy bits but not the up-and-over bits, then back onto the walking track above the road, excellent cruise down this and back onto Witch Hill.  Tiresome climb, good bomb down.  Straight through Rapaki-top again, no stopping, and into the Vernon climb which hurt.  Then across Traverse and into the new descender down to Old Skool 4wd start, across landing strip, over fence, down jumpy Huntsbry and back to the car...

15 or so kms with 620 m of gain

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Sunday Jet Loop

Jet and me parked in Bowenvale Ave, headed down to Major Aitken and upwards... I only remembered MMR halfway up and then it didnt actually kick in until I was much further up so its altitude and distance are a wonk - add a couple hundred metres and a couple kms..

Hot day so was a tough climb, but got up and around the summit and Jet was a bit of a slow poke around the Traverse, holding up one tosser of a rider...  Further around near the pond, he was in one guy's way for a few metres, then he jumped in and had a good swim and big drink, and from there on he was fast.  Cautious on the cattlestops.  Into the top of Vic and down to the Rabbit paddock, then into the gums, nice blast down through my favourite (i notice a new trail off the left of it at the start), then through skidder and into Spazzer's, deviating some shortcuts and then into Sneaky Forest, fun drop down through this and onto Bridges etc.

Bottom of NuBridges, I hung a right and clambered up the steps onto the sidling walking track across to Hidden Valley Link, up this, huffing and chuffing, then into the Old Skool for a great blast down and then a long slow cruise with Jet along the footpath back to the car.

So,'d be 13 kms and ~461 m climbed.

Off to Lake Poteriteri on Tuesday for a week, so the Turner and the Troll's back wheel have gone in for some fettling with Josh, and there'll be no riding for me for a whiles.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Wednesday Evening Mt Grey(tness)

Knocked off work early and met Nelson at Sefton at 4.30.  Transferred to his car and headed around and up the hill.  Got riding at 5, up the steep bastard singletrack that climbs up the front. Not quite so bad once you've pushed up the steepest bit, it starts to do these biiig long zigs and zags, progressively shorter til we hit the Lookout tower.  Then I pushed and he rode about half of the singletrack up from here to the road, and then we were onto the singletrack that sidles along the eastern side around and up to the summit.  Awesome techy interesting hard and fun climb.  Took about an hour to the top where we had a rest facing the sun out of the wind (once we'd cooled down a bit) - and noticing a stickiness collected on our left arms from the broom on the way up.  This way up is only 4.3 kms, whereas the usual way

Into the down, brakes honking(!) to start with. Trail basically dry, but some deep ruts, and the usual wet bits were sloppy.  Awesome riding, down through the few switchbacks on this open section, then into the bush, and Switchback-City.  Native Clematis was in flower the upper switchback section, with sprays of it visible in the canopy of the forest - quite beautiful.  Cleaned a some switchbacks, and getting well practiced in the foot-down,-nose-pivot,-swing,-roll-on- ones we weren't cleaning.  The open boggy section was still pretty boggy, but starting to dry a bit, and the forest below this also had a lot of soggy wet bits, but also starting to harden up.  Lots of fun tho, techy rootsville.  Finally out the bottom, before 7.

And the climb began back up the road to the car, which I reached about 7.10pm. Nice 2 and half hours spent damned well.

13.8 Kms, 679m climbed, mostly steeply.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday Captain Ridge Green Captain

Nelson was working til 3 and picked me up afterwards. Out to Scumner, parking in Slumnervale, and off up the Captain we trundled.  Not a bad climb, once I'd gotten over my wheezing, which took until about the short downwards bit, and the two rocky ups.  Rest of the way wasn't so bad.  Made the Summit and headed up to the Greenwood exit (or entrance, for us).  Here multiple people turned up down Greenwood, every last one of them having come up Rapaki and across.  Nelson knew one guy so we all chatted for a bit, then the two of us headed up the steep-ass ridge track above Greenwood to above where they're blasting for the Lyt-Sumner Rd.  Peaked along here then down to a small saddle, where we popped over the fence for a look.  Wouldn't be that hard (or stupid) to put a trail from here across to Urumau Reserve.  Could be quite a nice gradient with a couple switchbacks here and there below the cliffs.

Back on the bikes and up the walking track to the copse of pines and stinging nettle, then over the fence to top of Chalmers Track, and then walking for a bit, up the steep bits (where we met a mum and some boys walking) towards the gun emplacements.  Rode the last few hundred metres to the concrete embattlements, Beasterly wind howling across the tops, and decided here to head down to the singletrack that wends it's way across to the Richmond Hill corner pines.  Nice blast down here, with me pumping well having played at Kyle Park BMX track on the fat bike with Hugo in the morning.  I seemed to have much more easily gained speed than Nelson.  Once we hit the ups tho, it was another story.  Up the singletrack to the original Greenwood entrance (exit for us, today).   Around Summit Rd to Britten Reserve for a repeat of the long grass tricksy-ness we did on Tuesday.  Around the front and back to the cattlestop then up onto Mt Pleasant climb.  Peaked this and had a bit of a rest in the wind (or, out of it).

Off down, for the final blast.  Good flow down from the top, then around and down onto the Greenwood proper.  Feck it's boney.  The winter has made all the rocks bigger and it was haaarrrd work getting down.  We played good speed, but it was just such damned hard work.  Hardest damned downhill I've suffered in a long time.  Into Captain Thomas, and good run down here, not as bony as Greenwood.  Part way down we found these two indian guys, one of whom had crashed off the trail, and his bike was halfway down to the bottom of the valley.  We all had a good laugh and the two of us continued on.  Rest of the way down was fast as usual, but both were pretty knackered by the time we made the car.  

18 or so kms again, with 614 climbed

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tuesday Night Overgrowth and New Places

Countdown pick-up and down Ferry to the mead. Parked in the park and rode around to McCormack's whereupon we trundled up the hay-feverish asthma-inducing hill - me walking more than usual but then getting all but one of the upper switchbacks. Up the roads into steep under-the-pylons Britten.Up top, long grass overgrown round the top front trail; long grass up to our ballbearings.  Not much better once we were below the road with hidden rocks jumping out to catch us multiple times.  Up, across the road over the fence and quick zig to zag up to the Mt Pleasant trail, flying down this over the stile and across Cavendish Saddle, to climb the zigs and zags up the back of the Gondola building.

The signs up here now say that Mtnbikes are allowed on this section of the 360 trail, including the stretch down back to the Major Hornbrook track and Cavendish Saddle...  Anyway, down the steppy bits and on down the rocks cranking and clushing through to the Bridle Path.  From here, climbing up the walking track (Crater Rim / 360), up, up and around, brief jumpy-off-rocky descent and into a grovelly climb up towards the ridge above the Castle Rock.  Bit of a break here out of the (blasting) (b)easterly, and then into the fun descent below the Tors, cleaning the techy descent rock bits near the bottom, but not the poppy-over bits, which required small dabbages of foot on rock.

Down on the saddle, horrible wind powering through, and just before the walking track above the road starts, we jumped over the gate and headed up the ridge up a cattle track for the top, eventually pushing through the tussocks to a high point of rocks, where I found 'the track'.  Started off, a nicely scratched singletrack heading off down to the right side of the ridge, progressively exploring more and more interesting droppy features over natural rock.  This is Port Hills mountain biking at it's best.  Sketchy, techy, steep and interesting. Down then to the left of a rocky knob, with Nelson checking out a super sketchy wooden feature up on the right.  On down, a little further finding the trail to the right which took us down more techy drops, and on down the ridge.  Super long descent, at surprisingly low speeds, arses over back wheels.  Nelson rode most of the super techy stuff, while usually I found ways around.  Eventually, we got to the bottom, a big pylon, and fences and gates.

Proceeded over these, and followed a singletrack around towards the block of pine forest on the right, in which we found an insane number of trails and jumps, yuge jumps.  Down we meandered finally cruising out along the bottom edge of Mary Duncan Park, onto Port Hills Rd, under the motorway, then Martindales, Trustcott and through the park to the car.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Labour('s) Day Short Sinclair Fatty.

On the way home from the bach in the Fiat loaded with kids bikes (T had the kids in the Hyundy) I stopped for a quick blat up Mt Sinclair. Parked on Pettigrews Rd and rode, strategically ignoring the "Closed for lambing and calving 1st September to 25th October", on account that that was only 2 days away, and how 'sensitive' could lambs be by this time?  I did however abide by the No Dogs sign, leaving poor little Jetty in the car.

Climbed up the farm track keeping an eye on some magpies who were croaking around above.  Over the first stile into a paddock with some sheep and (quite big) lambs, then next stile and climbing to the next stile, into the bush, over another stile, climbing up to another stile, and then climbing again, this time to another stile.  Up through bush and open, amazing views all around, to, you guessed it, another stile, nope, actually, a gate that was open, through this and on to another stile.  This was the top of Sinclair and as I'd remembered half way up that the rear passenger door of the Fiat doesn't lock on the Central Locking, the car was therefore unsecure.  Damn.  Was kinda planning on peaking Fitzgerald too but felt I should get back to Jet.  So, turned around and bombed.  Quite wet under tread, cos it'd rained heavily maybe an hour before I parked, so I was duly spattered all the way back.  Lots of downhill, over all the stiles, and eventually a fast blat down to the car, untouched, and a happy Jet.

Short and sweet, a measly 9 kms, with 381 m climbed...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday Gondola Gonzos

With Pete's broken wheel and Robin's broken frame we decided to head to Queenstown to play on Skyline. Twas fun. Not sure of exact order but started with Hammy's and Thunder Goat. Then Vertigo and Singletrack Sandwich. Then I'm not sure, Vertigo and Huck Yeah (with good drop to start), and Thunder Goat with a detour off to the right down something interestingly tech, and Singletrack Sammie again but with Jungle Adventure. Then we stuffed up thinking we were gonna find Thingamajig off Hammy's but it wasn't then I've no idea exactly what but included Original, some of Battle Stag, and other laps included Rock Garden, and Coal Pith, and Armageddon and repeats of others. At 12.55 I was at the top, the others were getting coffee, and I reckoned I couldn't just maybe get one more run, so Nelson and me hauled ass down Vertigo and Thunder Goat making it into the gondola at 1.01 for my last uplift. Pete was a couple cars behind so once back at the top the 3 of us did my final run, Vert, Thingy, Single, and Jungle. 8 uplifts in total for me.  Nelson and Pete continued for a few more laps of their 4 hours while I went and caught up with Bex at Bespoke, just down the hill. 

My mapmyride went a completely mental, but overall I must have descended over 3 kilometres.  Nelson's rode pretty much the same, but has 2 or three more laps on it., 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday Flat Top, useless Alex, and Sluicings Awesomesauce

Flat Top was fantastic.
Alex was closed for lambing.
Bannockburn Sluicings were pretty cool, except that Pete completely toasted his rear wheel, and we discovered a big crack thru Robin's headtube.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Dean's Blank and Sticky Fun

Started the day at Albert Town. Dean's Bank Track. Basically your local's Bottle Lake track. About 500m contained some interesting bits but the rest of it was a bit blah.

Then into Wanaka for some early kai and then up to the Sticky Forest. Brilliant fun had in here. Dunno what Map My Ride is thinking but pretty sure we must have done more like 800m climb. Up and down ten times or so

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday's Nase Be.

Cruised thru the countryside to Naseby and parked up.  Checked out a Trekka, and talked to a the owner and also checked out his bikes.  Headed up and explored - a bit.  Lots of good stuff has been trashed by the logging, so it'll be a few more years before stuff re-establishes.  Still, we found some cool bits and pieces.  As always, we wandered around lost for a bit, then finally got into a groove and found our way around.

Friday Tekapo Road Trip Break

Brief stop at the Lake Tekapo Regional Park.  We arrived and my front axle was missing, assumed fallen out along the road.  I was like, damn.  And wondered if a trick was being played, but had resigned myself to sitting out this ride and seeing about where to find a new axle.  Wazza turned up with the goods a few minutes later, funny ha ha, so I got ready and we rode.

Not rivetting, but a fun loop none-the-less.  It certainly had enjoyable sections.  We clambered to a high lookout point, and did any other extra bits.  Bikes all performed flawlessly.

Not even 8 kms, with a massive hundred metres of altitude.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday Evening Red Zone and Non, meander

Town bike ride tonight following a shitty wet weekend.  I'd hoped to get a good ride in Saturday morning, but nope, woke up to solid rain which lasted til this morning.  Nelson came round after work and we jumped on our townbikes, me on the Troll, him on his skinny.  We headed down river from Swanns Rd bridge on the Avonside side, staying on that side all the way to the end of the trail.  Along Kerrs Reach we rode on a newly built track which ran out half way down, and the dirt on the sides was soggy as hell.  Nelson managed to ride down it, sinking almost to his hub, but stupidly I walked down the bank, winning for a start til my both feet sank into slurry.  ugh.  Cleaned our tires off in a puddle, and further downstream I washed my feet off too.  Crossed Anzac Drive at the bridge and onwards downstream, bumpy rough packed shingle stopbank trails.  Past  Andrew's old place and right to the end of the line.

Then we headed through and checked out the old bmx track, now munted, then into the wind along Dyers Rd, taking turns to slipstream, to Brookhaven, through Charlesworth, and over onto the Ferrymead Tow Path round the back.  Brief break near Ground Effect for a snack, then up Bridle Path Rd, and up Morgan's Valley Rd, right to the top.  Hard graft up the last steep seal, but 80 kph on the return back down.  Wheeeee.  Light was starting to get low at this stage so we headed on up Bridle Path and then Port Hills Rd through to Opawa Rd, a lap around Steve's block just for a laff, and then straight shot up Opawa, Shakespeare, Wilsons, Nursery, Stanmore (into supermarket) and home.

All up, 34.5 kms, apparently 251m climbed which was slowly accumulated around the traps with the 100m boost of Morgans Valley.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Thursday Night Solo Loop

Nelson had a crook neck so I was out on my own tonight.

Installed new PD530 pedals (5 grams lighter than the XTs, and half the price!), oiled chain and put grease into all suspension pivots before departure. Parked same place we did last time and headed in Major 8ken Drive. Felt like a bit of an explore so rode into that catchment pond park in the gully. The track headed seriously up with numerous flights of steps and steep bits in between so there wasn't a lot of riding. Sort of told off by a dog-walker, but I reassured him I was walking my bike, and wouldn't be riding down (tho, at night, some time, might be a good one...).  Last section across to Vista Pl was ok, then up this and on up the road.  A nasty beasterly wind blasting across made me chuck my top on above the pylons.

Up onto the singletrack then up the landing strip and up the gravel to the top. Onto the Traverse across the tops, tail wind helping me along.  Overtaking a guy moaning on the side of the track just before the Lavaflow.  He'd come off navigating that rock just there, and was suffering a post crash calf cramp.  Good toodle round the Traverse, tail-wind, and slowly winding in a guy ahead, but not much.  He was stopped at the end when I went past and straight into the trees and down to the Rabbit Paddock.  Brief breather here then off down into rockgarden, then gums, my usual left hander fun blast.  Tires were both feeling a little low pressured and rolly (would've been burping if tubeless), and I even heard a clunk I expected to turn into a pinchflat at the top of the gums.  Luckily not (cos i still hadn't patched my tube from last week), so at the skidder site I chucked some air in both ends.

Into Spazzer's, weaving and grooving down this, then straight across and into Sneaky Ridge, fun wee drop over the rocks and down through here, spotting a guy ahead as I came into the deciduous section at the bottom.  Nice pop over the jump onto Bridges, and then across and down the usual zig zaggy way, slowly gaining on some other guy (or the same ?) towards the bottom.  Fang down the valley bottom and hooked a right into Hidden Valley.  Man the creek crossing and climb out is a hole now - walked it, then remounted to take in the first hairpin.  Balance was wonky but juuuust about cleaned the second hairpin.  Good climb from there on around and up.

Finally, up onto the Old Skool.  Awesome run down this, seeing someone across at the stile as I was going under the pylon, I'd caught him before the lower zig zags, overtaking and leaving him behind.  Then a nice cruise down the road back to the car.

Just under 14kms, with nearly 500m altitudinal gain

HOPEfully I'll get a couple more rides in before the Annual Trip, next Friday 13th.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Sunday No-View Hill

Over at the bach for the weekend, with the Fat bike.  Everyone else seemed to have a good ride on Saturday, with Pete and Nelsie heading up the Blowhard, and Steve and the boys doing some mileage on the Port Hills.  Sunday morning I jumped on the fatty and headed out.  MMR wasn't playing ball so I just started it and hoped for the best, heading up the road (it finally kicked in up by Factory Rd).  Usual 15-20 mins to the start of the steep (Misty Hills gate), then around 45mins from there to the top, pain in the arse steep that it is, grovelling away in low gear the whole way (one km with a top speed of 6.8kph).  Up into the bottom of the clouds here, with a smattering of spittage falling too.  I contemplated Mt Pearce, but decided against it, and hung a left along the Summit Rd, finally enjoying the lack of steepness.  Up to the corner saddle (between L.Ak and Okains), and over the gate out across the ridge, riding cattle trails and clambering over the rocky ridgeline.  Up to a gate where I stopped for a quick rest and snack.  Then over the gate and on up and around the back side of View Hill, then up the farmtrack, zig and zag, and up to the top, highest point, having another rest here and finishing the last 1/4 of a OneSquare.  Totally in the cloud up here, about 100m visibility.

Then it was time for descending.  Down the top ridge, down the zig and zag, down onto the paper-road, fat bike friendly speed.  Over the gate into the doublefenced run, and down down down, getting faster and faster as the road got smoother.  Top speed of 65kph reached on the gravel, bombing, fat bike tires gripping so comfortably.  Down to Chorlton, around the corner and half deafened by the tire noise on tarmac as I tucked and flew down the road, past the beach, then back up the road and in our gate.

19kms, and 785m climbed.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Thursday evening short family Vic

Bikes on back we drove to top on Vic Park. Rode down thru to Brake Free and did a few laps in here, the boys loving it, and O especially liking the 3 jumps in a row (after the Sesame St turn off). After my second lap I rode off into the rabbit paddock, following a barely sketched singletrack across to the rocky knob, giving Jet a sniff for the rabbits, and then back to the fambily waiting at Sesame St.

Into Sesame St we headed, T struggling on the first rocky steep.  O disappeared into the gums, so we followed him, me letting H go first, guiding him from behind, with T following me, and walking lots.  Regrouped at the skidder site for a play on the pumptrack, then we split, the others heading down to my folks house while I rode back up to the car.

Map My Ride took too long to find me so I bailed on it.  Wouldn't have been more than a couple of kms and a hundy or so metres of climb.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Meandering Night Monday

After-work pick-up from my place, and we drove across to park by the bridge opposite the end of Bowenvale Ave.  Craig showed up not long after we'd headed up the start of Bowenvale Ave and we all headed up valley.  He was on a new (to him) 1992 Diamondback.  We headed up Old Skool, me dropping back somewhat, but them waiting after long hard bits.  I was feeling fricking awful on the climbing, like I had no lungs and no legs, or like whenever I turned the pedals there was something like a 40% drain of my power.  Walked a couple of bits I've never walked before.  Eventually we made it up to where you either turn left up under the pylon or right and head down Hidden Valley Link.  We turned left, and at this point Craig turned back saying he had some stuff to do.

Up into the zig zags, I started to die.  Then, I actually did die - and suffered hell for the duration of the climb.  At the gate we regrouped and Nelson had cleaned the whole damned thing.  I managed to ride from here, up onto the new descending track from the Traverse (that's next to Huntsbury).  We bumped into Robin near the top, who was on his way down.  Then it was off round the Traverse, Nelson chasing some XC dude, and me just trailing along feeling like Captain Slow.  Through the top of Vic trees, the sun boring straight into our eyes, and into Thompsons for a swoopy fun ride through the burned terrain.  Across the road and up it, my struggling legs barely managing the climb to the top of the Nun.

Good flow down the top section, reeling Nelson in then not, and then once around the rocky corner into the slightly lower stuff I started feeling tired, maybe?  Anyway, pinchflatted somewhere after the wooden bridge bit, and ended up having to walk the last 20 m or so to the carpark pull out.  Nelson had stopped in those corners, so we got to it and changed the tube in record time, he got my old one out while I put some air in the fresh one, then he got that into while I folded up and put everything away, then I finished off the pumping-up.  Was careful on the rear end for the rest of the way down, then under the Kiwi and back up the road into top of Vic Park, me gasping and dying on the climb.

Sun had set, and it was gloaming time, so we headed the most direct way down, through Brake Free, into Sesame St, straightlined down Spazzers, then across the ridge line into the new bit straight ahead, fun tech down this, then zig and zag (in some muck) and over the wee jump onto Bridges, weaving down the rest of this and blasting down the valley bottom out, all in near darkness.  Finally, down the road back to the car by about 7.45pm.

Twas 18 or so km, and we climbed 633m.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday Soaking Night Rodey

Nelson met at mine after work.  Wet weathers on, and we headed out into the worst of it. Across town, Stanmore, Nursery, Wilsons, Eastern, and up the Major Aitken, bit of a jiggle up top there then up onto Huntsbury, me walking steepest sections.  Rain thicker, coming in sideways, into cloud to the top.  Hung a right along Summit Rd, down the Ell, zig zag down Cashmere and back across town. Wet...

29kms, 570odd m climbed

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday Night Crock and Dile

Countdown carpark pick up and over to Halswell Quarry park, parking at Cashmere Rd entrance. Headed up and into C2, then up the new 'easy' which sidles alnng nicely thank you above the original Crocodile. Onto Crocodile just above Deviation turn off, and up this to the Low Rd.  Avoided the muck for a bit then detoured onto the main Kennedys, but got to the gate at the top which was telling us to Go No Further. There went that plan out the door (of going to the top, doing a lap of the nun and back) , so back off down Low Rd, finding it actually pretty dry, (worst wet was just above the houses where we'd already come up) and then onto Crocodile bombing down the original line all the way to C2 and hanging a right on Murphs, fun slightly techy down hill, finally rolling out into the valley bottom.

Checked out the Upload track, twisty turny up steep, then down Download, dropping through where Nelson's tire burped a bunch of air out.  Topped that up and off up C2 again, huffing and wheezing, and up the Easy again, this time wanting to check out Deviation, which we soon found closed, so we checked out Al's Alternative, down the valley onto the original Crocodile switchbacks, and then up the Gorge track back onto Al's Alternative, then across the bridge and up the 'access to Deviation', one very muddy switchback, then across and into the forest trails of old.

Down download again, and up C2 lots of lights wafting around, with an Orienteering even on.  We waited while some of them went down this track ahead of us and off down into the short black diamond track we followed, scattering them lower down.  Fun little techy down, but not that long, and ending at the bottom of Murphs.

Off round for one more climb up C2 to the top of Murphs, down this for a fun blast down and then back up the original finish of C2 and down through the dog park back to the car.  1 hour 13 of riding.

My Mapmyride did some crazy shit, so here's Nelson's track.  Around 12 kms, with 312 climbed.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Saturday Afternoon-Evening Eastern Loop

Nelson finished work at 3 and picked me up. We parked in Sumner and headed up valley and into Sumnervale, onto the Captain Thomas, which was dry to the point of almost being dusty, except for the odd wet spot.  Made good time up here, tho taking it easy with my legs still tired from the 80kms earlier in the week riding and kinda hungry from lack of eats in the day.

At Evans we headed up onto the bottom of Greenwood, sidling up the chainlink fence to look over the view of the harbour, then up the old track around the orange plastic fencing onto the main track and climbed.  Cruising and enjoying the techknuckleness, only meeting two men lower down, and up around the Gulch, two ~12 year old boys struggling with the boniness.  Clamber clamber up through the rocky upper reaches, with Nelson crashing off near the top, then through to the ruins and a bit of a break and snack.  Cold nor-west blowing across the tops.

Up here Nelson set up his new gimbal for his GoPro.  Got it all running and the sun was lowering in the sky, so off I led back down, him filming.  I had an excellent run, weaving and flowing smoothly all the way.  A couple of stops to align the camera, and onwards, flowing fast and smooth.  Excellent blast, tho I was getting bloody exhausted by the bottom.

Sun well behind the hill, but still plenty of light left, we headed up onto Godley.  First section all good, but second section the bony rocks were chucking us all over the place. Nelson seemed to struggle to stay on a bit more than me, but I wasn't finding it that easy either.  Once up on tops it was better, except for that cold nor-west blasting across the hill, so we stopped just around the corner through the cattlestop, and before we hit the descent Nelson got the camera going again.  Another awesome blast, with some massive speed being carried through the lower section towards Livingston Col, with whoops and w00ts when we got there.  Camera stayed on as we climbed up the next bit, enjoying the techy rocks and then a good blaze around towards Breeze, mind the nasty wetspot heading across the slope above the PFMTBC Rock, and just before it too, I bailed out to the right, whereas Nelson kept flying through the mucky bit and over the rock.  Blasting cold breeze through Breeze Col.

So I chucked on my vest and we headed off down Anaconda, not knowing what to expect, but expecting the worst.  Top half was mint, second third was mint, lower wiggles were okay - one hole I avoided but Nelson smacked a back wheel through, and one wet bit that was below where you rode, so no problem.  Into the Tail and cruised the first, then I's getting sorer towards the end, (which I always do if I don't stop at the bottom of the snake), but enjoyed the final rocky bits and down through the paddock, me slowing right down for the muckfest before the bridge.

Last slog, up the hill, light getting pretty diminished (street lights may even have come on, actually), over the hill and down into Nicholson Park, Nelson turning on his light, but I found I could still see okay, taking the steeeeeeeeep drop down to Flowers, then three switchbacks in there then across the narrow trail between the houses and down Whitewash Head, blasting through onto the esplanade and cruising back to the car.

Good blast, 21kms, 740 m gained

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Tuesday Night Threes Ride Night

With trails posted shut or otherwise likely to be mucky we did a weird thing and rode three different rides in three different locations...

First off was checking out Farside which we hadn't been to since before the park closed.  Parked just up hill from the corner.  Rode up, rode down.  It wasn't mucky, but it wasn't exactly hardpack either...  no spleck, but plenty of grease and a fair bit of fun.  Short and sweet - 1.16kms, 60m gained.

Drove back down around and up Hackthorne, Dyers, parking at the halfway Nun park.  Headed up the walking track, and right at the start noticed what looked to be a newly built trail...  hmmmm... Nelson wandered up and looked and came back, then we got riding up the walking track, walking around any mucky flat bits and up the various steps, onto the road and past all the Nun Closed signs, actually finding that the Nun would have been fine, except that we saw the new trail entrance, unfinished, and decided to explore...  Fun, DH oriented trail, one or two reasonable sized drops (off big rocks), but mostly pretty rideable, and in nice condition, no damage done.  It petered out when it crossed the old 4wd track in there, so we followed it's route down through the scorched earth scrub to find the Nun just before the final bends into the carpark.  Short and curly this time (with a big MMR skip).  2.45 kms, 109 m altitude.

And finally, drove round the Summit Road to the top of Rapaki, and headed into Witch Hill, (past the Track Closed sign, again, it needn't have been there, there wasn't a wetspot on the whole thing).  Climbed over and around, across the road onto the walking track, this is quite techy in this direction, and only 2 puddles and one cowpoo the whole way.  We'd thought about exploring over the fence in a new area of trail Quetty had told us about, but decided it looked too cattle pugged and mucky, so off up the road to the Castle Rock corner.  Up above the corner onto the Tors track, and a wonderful blast down this.  Two flat wet bits, and the most techy rock also had water and muck over it, so I walked that (but Nelson rode it, of course!).  Last tricky descent was a bit clipped out but rode it all.  Then back on the walking track just above the road, around, and up Witch Hill, stopping for a nice rest out of the wind and to look at the moon and view, before a final fast blast around, enjoying the boniness of the trail back to the car.  Slowly increasing in ridings - There and back again, 4.8kms, with over 200 m gained.

Making a grand total for the night, 8.4 km, 375 m altitude gained.  Third day of riding in three days (nearly 80kms ridden), my legumes are burned OUT.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Monday Night Roadlings

Nelson picked me up from home after work and we headed out and parked where we usually park for riding McCormack's Bay. I had the Troll and he had his skinny-tyred commuter. Hit Glenstrae, hard climb up, standing to the first hairpin where I was gasping, then we swapped bikes for the next leg, up to where it flattened off, then swapped back for another standing working hard the whole way climb up to the Moncks Spur turn off. Up this top of Moncks Spur section, sitting mostly but slogging away, to Mt Pleasant Rd.  This dragged on all the way to the top seeming oh so much longer than I've ever seemed to remember it.

Summit Road, and jacket on, ready for the downhill.  Rolled off, coasting nicely, sometimes tucked, raising up for airbrakes into corners, or not, then coasting again, I barely pushed the pedals at all, my superior weight propelled me effortlessly downward, easier and faster than weight weenie Nelson, who said later it was like he was wearing a parachute.

At Evans we explored a nice little section of singletrack. skinny and slick town tires greasing around all over the place in the short mucky section, and fun tight rolling the rest, coming out at the first hairpin corner.  Then it was off down the road at greater speed well over 60kph, wondering if I was going to get taken out by a possum on the road, and then a cat, doing a good rate of knots into the 50 zone, and rolling down into Scuznor, tucked and coasting for as long as possible past Van Asch.

Rolled around thru Moncks Bay, drafting each other through Redcliffs (til Nelson dropped me) back round to the car.

1 hour round trip, 543 m altitude climbed, thru 15.3 kms.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Sunday Father's Day micro-Tour.

On the Troll, headed for Bottle Lake, through Banks Ave, backstreets, Horseshoe Lake Rd, Lake Terrace, Burwood, sneaking along the edge of the forest and in the side onto the singletrack, up past the gazebo and down (nearly losing my bag - fastening it better) then through ponds, out to the beach trail, and headed north as far as I could go overtaking a couple of girls and their dog.

Then it was on the road from Spencer Park thru what was once Brooklands, left and along to Stuart's Gully hillbilly camp, feels like deliverance riding through their street, and finally found my way onto the 360 trail.  This became a nice little singletrack along the Waimak edge, twisting and turning, then eventually under the two bridges.  Headed along Coutts Island but realised I'd gone a little far, so backtracked (through a Fulton Hogan gravel yard) to Dickies Rd, riding down this and checking out the new motorway.  Past the Peg Pub, and found my way through to the Otakaikino Track, back under the new motorway, and following this thru to and through The Groynes, in behind Clearwater, then further upstream past previous year's and last week's plantings, Stopped for a snack at Omaka and some texts on the 40km mark.

Got going again, and headed through past the lakes and over the hillock onto Sawyer's Arms Rd, (with a brief detour down Veitches Rd and Cavendish) to one block of the Railtrail, then onto the new cycleway down Sawyers Arms, past Northlands, down Grassmere, Rutland, and Trafalgar St to Edgeware Rd.  Along this and finally home via the Supermarket for a well earned Berkenhead Ninkasi.  Rather tired I was.

55 km loop, 170 m 'climbed'...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sunday Planting non-existent ride...

The boys (plus Jenna) were all riding to Otakaikino planting, but I couldn't make it cos T was away leaving me on childminding duty.  So, MY boys and me drove out to the end of Sawyers Arms Rd, passing the crew at the big roundabout and as we unloaded our bikes they rolled up and we treadled the last couple of kms in with them, past the lakes and through the tunnel and past Omaka and down the stream to the planting site.  Jet galloped along having a lovely run, and we all caught up.  H was slow but kept up, good - considering he was just coming off the back of a puking sickness of a couple days before.  Did the planting, planting a lot of plants, ate some sossies and then rode back, not quite the way we'd come, me choosing a slightly shorter route than the others (on account of H.).

About a 5-6 km round trip.  Not a lot and didn't bother to MMR it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wedknees Night Victoriana Witch Sugar

First off, yesterday saw me ride to Joy's for dinner, 9kms with a good climb up Canon and Pleasant on the Troll (except the stupid MMR skipped me from High St to Cannon Hill, missing my detour around the south side of the river/estuary from Tunnel Rd past the golf place and Ferrymead Historic.

Tonight, usual post work pick up from the Countdown carpark and over to Bowenvale Ave. Rode up the valley, a group of 3 other riders ahead most of the way, grunting up K2, right onto a wee singletrack section, up to the 23footer, then up under the pylon and up to the 40footer.  The other three were tweaking one of their bikes and set off ahead of us again, us following up past rad^sick, around the zig zag and on up to the skidder site.  Climbed more from here straight up the 4wd, thru brake free, up through the fence and then left along and up Worm to the Traverse.

We could see a tonne of lights coming towards us all the way around the Traverse ahead, but set off anyway, meeting the first few just after the dipper.  More at the usual stop place, and then one dick on the rocky drop after the pond, who didn't say anything and made Nelson stop and nearly got me as he came over the rocky jumpy bit.  Obviously oblivious to the general give way rule of thumb....On up and around, I was feeling surprisingly good all the way still, and at top of Huntsbury, just past the Lavaflow, we headed down the new line I'd found a couple weeks ago.  Nice flowy downhill, swooping through the tussocks down to the landing strip and start of downhill into Bowenvale.  Back up the gravel Huntsbury to Vernon.  Again, loads of lights around.  Common as muck these be-lighted mtnbikers...

Good run around Vernon to Rapaki, meeting only a few riders and a couple of runners.  Flew through the top and around into Witch Hill for a good rocky climb up and around to the highest point.  Rest-stop and a bite to eat here, watching Quetty(?) out on ridge between Avoca and Horotane Valleys.  On down towards the Summit Rd, then turned around and back the way we'd come.  The climb starting to get to me.  Flowed around, meeting one on a blind corner, and back down through Rapakitop, a whole bunch waiting for us before they entered Witch.  Up around Vernon, the climbing really getting to me this time, slower and slower.

Instead of across the road into Traverse, we headed up and into Scotts Knob, nice climb up and fun descent, roots and rocks, finishing with steps, then a walk up the next section wet rocky bits, more climbing and switchbacks than I ever remembered, followed by a sketchy techy slicky rocky dropping descent back down the road near the pond.  Into the next section of walk track, open ground, climbing up to a rocky section then descending to the carpark where a couple of fire trucks were packing up after some sort of exercise.  Staying on this side of the road, we headed up the side of Sugar Loaf, carrying the bikes for a little bit (upon later looking at g.maps we probably should have ridden Gilpins Track, and then up onto ridge from it), then getting onto a walking track around the front, fun riding, to the car park, and on down the ridge to Vic Park.

Down through the pines, mucky rabbit paddock and into the rockgarden and gummies.  Usual left into the old favourite, good traction and no muck, down through this and out to the skidder site.  Yet another group of riders here.  From here it was up the secret singletracks towards the top of 19th memorial, and over the back across and eventually down through the blind drop to a walking track, past a 'No Mtbs in this area' sign across the walking tracks, a couple of zigs and zags, and then steep fun down (another sign), into the drop zone, steeeeeeep, and new lines since we'd last ridden in here, dropping down down down into the gulley.  Nelson railroaded the curves, while I lost all traction in both wheels and careened to a halt, having to walk down the insanity he'd just ridden.  Across the creek, short walk and dropping again down to walking track and finally valley bottom just above the bridge that guy died at a few years ago, letting a string of riders through first.  Final bomb down the wide open track to the bottom and we were done.

A struggly 770m climbed, over 17.7 kms...

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* - In Memoriam

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.