Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wednesday Night McBlustery Pleasant Green

Nelson picked me up out front of work and we did the traffic jam tango the length of Ferry Rd, parking at McCormacks Bay.  There was a bloody bitter easterly blustering the city, and our carpark wasn't particularly sheltered.  Nelson realised he'd forgotten his shoes, so his options were either not ride or ride in his slip-on laceless Chucks...  Naturally, he opted to ride, and suffer the consequences.  5.45 or so, I got going a little ahead while he faffed with something, hitting up the straightline climb and getting a bit of a wheeze on.  I kept checking back and there was no sign of him, so I stopped briefly til I saw him on the move.  On I kept, climbing and cleaning everything, through the first hairpin and then stopped at the second.  Finally he showed up behind, so I got walking up the steep bit and then stopped to re-adjust my pfmtbc tube-doorag.  Quite sheltered here in the valley.  Onwards climbing up and through, cleaning all the little boardwalks (with their cycle-traps) and into the first of the upper hairpins, no worries, second - spun out.  Spun out on another one and then we walked the steps.

Up the road, wind blowing around a lot, then up past Longridge, and trying out the wee singletrack in the park we often come down.  I wondered, and was surprised when we both cleaned it up no spin-outs no problems...  Then it was up over the fence by the bath and into Britten.  Here, Nelson's gears packed up...  A piece of flax had wound it's way around his jockey wheels, totally knotting and locking everything up.  He had to remove it to clean it all out, it's so tough!  Riding again, full force of the wind in our faces as we went.  Hard work, pushing through it and the climbing.  Around the bend and tail wind pushing around to the next corner, then cross wind and tail wind a bit again to the top.  Around the turnaround and then climbing the original and taking the lower loop out, into the wind for a bit, then awesome push around the ridgeline, popping around and pushed up and around towards the Summit Rd.  Nice.

Across the road, over the fence, climbing again.  Wind alternately pushing or stopping as we climbed to the top.  Finding some surprising shelter downwind of the natives up top there.  I led into the descent, taking the newer drop-line, my newly serviced fork playing very nice, wind a fucking gale.  Down and around, nearly blown off the track into Lyttelton on that edge with the big exposure, then nearly blown to a standstill coming around into it after there.  Down through the tussocks, massive gusts pushing, pushing, releasing, making for rather interesting times.  The lower (usually very fast) section I got pushed by the wind, front wheel rut-stuck, started to fall, front wheel bit, rear wheel caught the rut edge and started to slide and I finally stopped completely sideways to the track.  Close call.  Wind was howling across the top here, so we didn't muck about only stopping briefly before taking off down towards Greenwood.

Leading the way, into Greenwood, the wind was a factor, yet again.  Carried good speed past the ruins and into the first section, and on round to the right, but as I came around the next left hander, the wind and the rocks conspired and the speed dropped right down.  Took some effort to boost it up again, and down through the corners there were sheep with new lambs scattering off the track, only to meet us on the next section.  Finally, tailwind pushing around through the rockgap and around through the pumpy section towards Gloomy Gulch, good speed carried.  Pumped through the next bit then into the fast rocky descent, still mostly tailwind, nice rolling.  Spotted a new drop on the lower end of this section, and stopped afterwards to look back at it - next time.  Hoofed it around into the wind again pedalling to go downhill into the corners.  Over rocks, around bends, lost my chain somewhere in here, had to stop briefly to replace, and could see Nelson still a fair way back.  Got going again, and popped and rolled and pumped around into the gully and back out down the backstraight, dabbed my way through the first rocky up, rode the second and fanged on down tot he bottom.  Looked back up the trail and Nelson's light was stopped.  It flashed a couple times then got moving again.  He'd stopped to rest his feet, which were suffering badly from battering his small metal pedals and thin soled shoes were inflicting. 

Up the road, steady pace, nice and calm below Gloomy Gulch, but bloody horrible for the next stretch into the wind, and around improving, then relatively sheltered all the way up to the pines.  Then pretty much a tail wind the rest of the way up, Nelson bolted up here, getting to the top miles ahead of me, while I just plodded along. 

Into Britten, headwind making for pedalling to keep speed, then around and jumping and smooth across the slope, around the bend, and pushing hard into it to the bad off camber corner, then blasting down the final slopes to the bath.  Over and down, smoothly smoothly through the steep gravel, and coasting down the road to Craigieburn Pl, and into the trail.  I walked the steps and Nelson rode the whole lot, with only a dab at the bottom of them.  Then twist, twist, turn down the McCormacks Track bombing the bits we could see, and rain just starting to drop drops on us - perfect timing.  Awesome run down this singletrack, especially the lower swoopy section below the two hairpins, then flat-out blasting down the straight, confusing the bejeebus out of a car coming up Glenstrae towards us...  Out to the car, not long after 8.30.

So, in nearly 3 hours of real time, we'd ridden for 1 and a half hours, covering 18.5 kms, with 765m climbed.

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