Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday Whakarewarewa explorations, Vegas Vol. 3

After a week of field work, climbing up through steep bush hills in the Coromandel, Kaimais, and Ikawhenua Range, I found myself with most of the day to kill in Rotorua, so Friday night I got on Vorb and asked who was best to rent from and 2 came back to say Outdoorsman, so, this morning, rang, and then went there and rolled out at 10am on a Scott Genius.  Fox Talas fork was a bit stiff, and Shimaingo shifters are just plain weird after running Sram for so long, and over time the sag on when on full squish seemed to get lower, having me clipping pedals on stuff over roots and stuff...  but anyway.

Rode in Nursery Rd, and up this through to Katore Rd, round and up to top of Gunna Gotta, the top logged since last I rode it, the whole way down thinking "rear brake left", "rear brake left", "rear brake left", "rear brake left", into the native and way more fun, not as tech as I'd remembered it, which, considering it's only grade 3 is no surprise.  Back to Katore Rd, and up to the A-Trail, cruising me round through to The Tickler, down through the open and across and up and down and up and down and up and finally to the big junction at the start of B Rude Not To.  First half of this wide open, all the trees gone, and quite floaty and fun and fast, then into the forest again and it got much rougher and like how it was in the past.  Blasted away in here and down to the end, across the road and straight into Mad If You Dont, which was better still, wafty and blazin'.  Towards the end, weirdly, there was sprinklers going in the forest.

An hour since I headed in, and onto the 'Easy' Ball and Chain and up to another map board which I perused deciding where to go next, with the main option being riding up Hill Rd.  Chatted to some guys here (two of them on nice steel hardtails) and they offered me to join them, but I really wanted to hit up a trail above Billy T that I'd not done yet, so, they went their way and I went mine and caught up to a guy (from South Canty, working for NZFireService training staff up there regularly) on another steel hardtail (a Singular) and we cruised up Hill Rd chatting til he peeled off onto Spring Roll and I rolled up just as the bus and trailer did, and there were absolute fuckloads of bikers all waiting for it.  I joined the end of the queue and got the 2nd to last spot on the trailer and paids my $10 for uplift and sat down in nearly the last seat on the bus.  Got chatting to the guy here, down from Auckers for the day, trailbuilds at 440 (some articles, here, here and here).  Looking at the topo, the bus saves you the climb from about 380m to 700m.  Pretty good!

At the top, I cruised up the road, past the entrance to Billy T, and on up to the top of Tuhoto Ariki.  Caught up to a guy with a black trail dog, and chatted with him all the way.  Local, and when we got to the top his riding buddies, a couple other guys and a girl, caught up to us.  One of the guys had just done a heli drop on Mt Royal, in the Richmond Range, that leads down into the Wakamarina, with some Chch locals (Monsieur Sutcliffe couldnt make it, apparently) - said it was the best down hill he'd ever done.  Anyway, while we were yarning, a couple headed off into the trail ahead of us (and another group waited til we'd all gone - never saw them again).  I followed these locals into the dark, and not having a pocket to put my sunnies in I was committed to riding in the near dark...  The local guy with the dog I lost in no time, but eventually overtook the woman of the earlier couple, then caught up with the group as they took a left line into the new trail down to Blue Lake (which is meant to be pretty cool), while I continued on my own down T.A., blazing.  All native, it's rooty and interesting all the way.  Loved it.  Bit of a climb in the middle then this weird clearing and not long after, the turn off for Hatu Patu, a black line.  I took this and I can see why.  Not anything so techy we cant ride, but I'd have preferred my own bike.  I didn't trust the rental.  I had one OTB, where I landed on my feet, and the pedals kept slamming shit - otherwise it was a sweet wee trail with heaps of features to keep you keen.  Eventually it ended (last few hundred metres) down in forestry (the Rotorua kind, biiiiig trees, all understoreyed by ferns).

Down the road a little, past the exit of Billy T, and then hung a left into G-Rock.  Swoopy funtimes ensued and at the end of it and start of Chesnut Link there was a group of guys who I gave a good headstart.  Bombed on into this and caught them all at the end.  Then followed them into Rollercoaster and was having to curb my speed for their tailender, then passed him and then they'd all pulled up so I fanged through and did the rest of Rollercoaster with the thought of them on my tail.  Eventually they all pulled off onto Moonshine (which now I think I should have done) and I continued down and had the struggle of the climb on Chop Suey, then across to the Spring Roll, and then the Sweet, and mostly the Sour of Sweet and Sour, up up and down and up and up and down over and again, wearing the shit out of me.  Getting on for 12.30 by now, with only water for sustenance I was lagging.

Finally I got out to the road where B Rude starts, and decided on the Dragon's Tail, other side of the road.  Sweet trail here blasting down, all this time switching to Locked Out for climbing, 'Trail' for flat bits, and 'DH' for all the downhill, I got quite adept at changing as the trail changed.  Most of the way down Dragon's Tail there was an exit line which I grabbed which took me across the road and back into the bottom of B Rude, and from there I took a right hander that chucked me down in perfect positioning for accessing the Lions Tail trail, which I followed some faster guys into, for the climb, which I was starting to really hurt on.  Some amazing big gums near the top of this.

Then along an offshoot of and then Katore Rd for a bit and I (kinda stupidly) pulled right into Turkish Delight (and bits of Soakhole) which climbed again, but then kinda swooped all over the joint and eventually threw me down and out by big intersection in Easyville.  I rolled through this, spotting a big dude on a fatbike, onto Exit Trail, which had a small climb to start then a blast.  Hehe, this was cool.  A few neat jumps and drops, and my switching of suspension setting was exactly what was needed, with the final shutey out all on the DH setting blasting down and then out, and along the road, sore and worn out, and down to the shop to return the bike almost exactly 3 hours since renting it...

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