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.

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