Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wednesday Night Godley Wander

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

And another one, Bottled Family.

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

Sunday Posse Loop with mechanicals

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Beeby's Maitland Red Hills Thrashing.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 05, 2017

Queen's Birthday Old Codger

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

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

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Saturday Barnicoat Widdershinvolutionary

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

The view from start of Widdershins...

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

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

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