Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday Huntsbury to Nun and back

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Tunnelled and Water Raced

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

A whole 60m climbed, and only 3.7 kms long

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

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Mahinapua Family Wilderness

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

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday. The Family Wilderness, and Spurring in the Blue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Family Sidling

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

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Midday Fatso

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

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tuesday night Godley Grease

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

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

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

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Sunday Morning mid hill posse

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

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

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

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

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

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