Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday afternoon 'Tour'

Youngest deSpa's 21st birthday party being held out at Little River Campground in the Okuti Valley, and my family headed out earlier in the day, so I figured I'd bike it.  Headed from work at 3.30pm, straight down Lincoln Rd, brief stop at the Halswell Supermarket for a couple of beers and some Powerade, and then headed out round the Old Tai Tapu Rd.  Wind nicely low around here, nice countryside views of all the fancy houses along there.  Golf Links Rd to the main Highway briefly into Tai Tapu, then towards Lincoln for a km or so.  Turned left into Davis, then River Rd meandering around to the start of the Rail Trail.  The head-wind started here and never let up, getting stronger and stronger as I approached Birdlings Flat - reflected in my ever lowering average speed.  Met two touring cyclists racing towards me along here, then further along I caught up to a guy with a pack on his back (and totally crossed gears), headphones on so he couldn't hear me til I went past.  Park Rd past Motukarara then onto the original bit of the Rail Trail.  Onwards for multiple kilometers, into the fricking wind, through Kaituna and then around past Birdlings and towards Forsythe, the wind turning around into my face again.  Ugh.  Getting pretty sore by this stage.  Halfway along Lake Forsythe spotted a few ripe blackberries, so I stopped and gorged myself on them, giving me the energy to continue.  On round past  the pub, then the final stretch to the road where I hung a right and headed up the Okuti Valley.  Final hill climbs really tapping out my sapped legs.  Rolling in 3 hours after I'd left work...  Beer, water, dinner and a good evening had...

58kms, bugger all altitude

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tuesday night Captain GreenHeat Pleasant and back

Nelson picked me up from work in his big blue van and we went to Craig's place to pick him up.  He had a very flash new Commencal that he'd only built up the night before.  Nelson had forgotten his shoes (in his car) so grabbed some regular pedals off Craig.

Hot nor-west day, blustery winds and sunshine, we parked up in Sumnervale and headed up the Captain Thomas.  Craig took the lead and set a really pleasant pace that even I could keep up with, which meant the three of us stuck together all the way up.  He made various adjustments to the new bike as we proceeded.  Cleaned everything we'd normally clean and not those we don't.

At Evans we headed into Greenwood, the first 'new' 50m or so fricking steep, the rest a nice cruise.  This is a great climb, and with Craig setting the pace again I got ahead of Nelson cos he was struggling on rocks so much with not being clipped in.  We stopped for a break at the top of the steepest rocky section (just before Gloomy Gulch) and then got going again, cleaning most until some of the rocky bits up in the corners section.  As we approached the ruins I spotted a new trail over to the right.  I'd heard something of this but had looked for it in the past and not seen it, but there it was, so we headed on up to take it in.  Craig decided here that he was tired and wanted to go home so he headed onwards and Nelson and me headed down into the new trail  Sweet rolling flowing wee trail takes you across above that bush reserve below there and then across to the big trees on the Richmond Hill corner.  From here we headed back up the 4wd track, chatting to a bloke on a big Yeti most of the way.  We peeled right and he headed off down Greenwood.  Around to the road and met another guy here (on an interesting Banshee Paradox (29r Hardtail)) we chatted to for ages - watching roadies struggling on the newly sealed and chipped road, up which eventually we headed into Britten.

Around Britten the overgrowth making it perilous and once on the west side the wind and overgrown tussocks making for some even more bloody tricky riding.  Across the road and into the climb, tail wind helping here and all the way I was in the lead and feeling pretty good.  Clambered up to the top of Pleasant and sat down for a snack.  Up rolls another rider, older guy, but fit (on some crabon 29r HT), just climbed up from Greenwood and proceeds to chat away with us for a good while, laughing about how someone's been feeding the rocks something to make them grow bigger.  Talk about a friendly night out...

Into the descent.  Lee of the hill or tail winds, made for fantastic riding, quiet, just the sound of freewheel, tires scuffing dirt and rocks, and flowy.  Had a really awesome blast down, grip in corners was magic and blazed down through the tussocks to the 4wd.  Then down into Greenwood, again, fast, and in pretty good form.  Some stumbling in some rocky sections, Nelson would catch me up, then I'd drop him, only to have him catch up again, then drop him again.  Was a game of cat'n'mouse with him never quite getting me, being pinball pinged rock to rock and losing his footing.  Took a break where we'd breaked before and (stupidly) I let a little air out of my tires.  Off again, blazing down, Nelson dropped the drop (and finding it bigger than he remembered), and then down through Dave's corners, I was thinking my rear tire felt a little washy, but figured it was just grippy...  til through the fence, fssh fssh fssh...  damn!  Quick turn-around replacing the tube and putting plenty of air in, then checked my front axle and found it loose - another thing contributing to the washiness of earlier...  On down, steaming down to the first rocky up, wrong-geared, and then out the rest at speed.

Across the road and I gave Nelson the lead, and we blasted down the Captain.  There was a couple further ahead I'd spotted, but they were miles ahead.  Cleaned everything beautifully and at speed and then both wrong geared on the climby bit, then blasted out the rest, catching the woman of the couple as we entered the cabbage tree detour, (the guy was a little further down, but behind us when we got out of the detour), then fanged it down to the bottom, amped at 9pm.

1 hour 36 riding time, 600m climbed in 18.7kms

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday Parapara round 2 Explorations

Allowed out on the last day of Collingwood headed back round to Parapara Valley Rd and rode up the highway much I did the other day. This time I detoured exploring anywhere I could. Up the 4wd DOC road, checking out a singletrack up the first knoll, with seemingly several options, none of which bore fruit.  Back down to the road and onwards up, past the access points to the zig-zag trail, up the straight and into the sort of hidden entrance to one I'd checked out the other day.  This, I thought was going to go down to the pond, but nope, it just curved back around to the 4wd lower down.  So, on up the 4wd track to the seat and onwards beyond eventually arriving at a funky gate (albeit with crosses on it) of a private Christian hideaway, next gate had lots of "Keep Out Private Property Electronic Surveillance" signs. Turned around, and climbed and rolled and back to the seat for a snack and this picture
(note the tide in, vs the tide mostly out on the previous pic from up here)...
Then zoomed down to the steep trail.  

Faster this time, fun down the steep tightness, bombing between manuka trunks and ferns.  Some flow, but also a bit of brakeage to make it around the tight bits.  Down into the valley...checked out another trail I'd spotted on Tuesday, back uphill for a bit, around a slip and then met tightness and a few steps.  Left the bike and followed it up and up for a while before giving up as it wasn't rideable.  Rode out and on down the trail, checking out another bit of track leading into this one briefly, riding through to a creek and back out and onwards down.  Fun wee blast, again faster than last time but with the stally bits included.  Across the creek and some climbing but not much out to the quad-track.  Now, another explore up a singletrack, which ended at a dam for the pond, back down this and up the zig-zag trail, not a bad climb at all, upwards chuffing to the 4wd track.  

Climbed back up this to the 'steep track' and at the top of this spotted a track heading off towards the Tukurua catchment...  hmmmmmm...  Walked down this 50m or so and could see it continuing down, wondering, wondering.  Walked back up and sat on the bike thinking, "should I? Should I? I kinda wanna. Nah, who knows where I'll end up, Onekaka? then have to bike all the way back around the road or back up...  Should I?"  Decided not to.  Headed down the steep trail, faster even than the previous time, getting into the flow of it more so and relishing it.  Around the first hairpin smoothly and on down, next hairpin, next corner, down through over the bridge and on down.  This time noticing for the first time lower down some evidence of goldworkings (piles and walls of rocks).  Across the creek and up to the quad track, and down, speeeeeeed down here and peeling off to the quarry this time.  Other bike tracks from when it was wet had turned back here but I followed onwards and found a trail off up to the left which I rode through, getting ever slower and less rideable til I was walking the bike. Then I walked a bit, more exploring, finding more gold workings, gullys, trenches, and some really deep holes.  Wandered back to the bike and back along the track to the quarry, and back onto the fast descending trail.  More speeeeed.  Wooohoooooo.

Another trail entering from the left in one of the last corners, I stopped and rode a wee way up it, finding a wee bridge over trench of a creek, then steps.  Walked a bit up this, deciding it must be coming from the walking track I'd found earlier, and also finding an old goldworking tunnel.  Deep, couldn't see much up it.  Scary.  Back to the bike, rode back to the main track, rode out to the road, and back along the gravel to the car.

More than the other day, with the extra climbing... 467m climbed and 14.4 kms covered

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Aorere Gold, Wednesday 11th

Today, family headed round to the Devil's Boots and parked at the gate at the end of the road. O and me riding, the rest walking. The two of us headed up the 4wd track (the others, the walktrack that we'd ride down later). Steep heat, hot sun pounding down, hardly any shade, resting in it when we could. Got to the turn off left and headed into some trail I'd never done, but some of the boys had come thru on the Golden Bay trip of a few years back.  More up and down than I'd expected, but eventually we got to where the ill-fated Bedstead Gully track came out (having been cleared apparently a couple weeks after O and me ride it last year). Last couple of climbs and we descended to Druggans Dam. Snacked here and got going again dropping the tech down to the water race, O crashing hard on the steep - front wheel dropping into a hole and OTB onto a prostrate tree, scuffing his four corners.  He lay there a while before getting up, but soldiered on brilliantly, keeping up with me on most of the waterrace from there on around.

Around the water race to the caves, popped down to both, nice and cool in the Ballroom cave, total respite from the muggy heat outside, but the others weren't at either, so we kept going down the trail. Woot!!! Caught them up, giving them a hell of a fright, then bombed onwards the car, meeting some other riders on their way up.  Loaded up our bikes on the car and then drove cloading it up and driving through the gate and further up to the beginning of the tracks to wait, only a few minutes, forty the family.

Roughly 10kms and a hot steep 270m climbed

Mill Rd, Parapara trails, Tuesday 10th

Staying at Collingwood, rode along the beach 4kms to Milnethorpe for a bit of a leg stretch.  Whilst there, I bumped into one of the Ground Effectors, who has a bach at Milnethorpe, brief chat and then I rode a couple of slightly dodgy (but sweet) tracks back to the beach, and then back the 4kms along the sand to the house.  Later in the day him and family popped in and visited for a bit.  He knows his way around these parts, and so told me about the local riding: built and maintained mostly by Martin who runs the Takaka bike shop.

So, on his advice, later on, I drove round and parked at corner of Parapara Valley Rd, then headed up the highway a km or so then up a DOC access track. Climbed to the seat at pretty near the top,
somewhere around 300m.  Had spotted about 3 different options off the climbing track on way up, so hooned back to the last one, chasing a falcon spectacularly on the way, and dropped in (bars unable to fit one of the entrance options). Tight rough single track meandering quite steeply down thru the regenerating scrub, manuka trunks trying their darnedest to snag my bars. Eventually down into valley bottoms and flats across, a couple creek crossings, then opening up and out to a quad bike sized trail.

Headed upwards and found my way onto what turned out to be one of the earlier tracks off the climb; zigged and zagged my up it back to the DOC track, up this a little way then back down to and down that which I'd just climbed.  Fun descent back to where I'd come out earlier.  (Spotted an exit here right next to where I'd come out earlier - filed for future reference). On from here down fast descending on quite open trail, regen bush, flying, one other option to explore next time, then more valley bottom rolling, out to a groovy gate and a driveway down to the road and then back along a km or so of gravel road to the car.


Totes and the Rameka Projection Fatstas, Wednesday 4th

Fat bike on holiday...

One ride from Totaranui, up the road and over towards Awaroa, down to the car we'd left at the top of the Waiharakeke Track. 200m up in 4kms, down a hundred if I's lucky, in about 1.5kms...

Wednesday 4th, O and me headed out of the bay, brief detour thru Takaka, then up the Rameka Valley. Parked at the bottom of the Klicks and ride up the road to the top of Great Expectations. The last km I pushed both bikes as he just couldn't keep up the climbing.

I let him lead down. Awesome ride, such a great trail and he really enjoyed it, as did I. Across the creek at the bottom and into the Klicks, taking in all of them, no broken ribs this time, fat bike handling nicely thank you.

9.4 kms, only 270 m climbed

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday Mt Oxford Epic

Rather large ride today, and likely the last of the year for me. 

Paul and Luka arrived at mine at 7.15 and we Brava'd out to Nelson's. Weeded my garlic in short time then we hit the road for Coopers Creek, Nelson following in his own car.  Parked at the end of Mountain Road and got riding about 8.50... When I say ride, all was well for a start, but eventually ducked down over a bridge and there was a bit of a walk, then rideable climbing, but it got steeper and steeper with less opportunities for riding and more opportunities for walking. Eventually we were all walking, pushing at first, then carrying. One or two small taunts of riding and then above the treeline we were all carrying (tho Luka held out and managed to push (rather than carry) most of the way).  All of us found a method of carrying that worked for us - Nelson, kinda seattube across his soulders, back wheel behind his head, rest of bike hanging down behind; Paul - either arm through the triangle, top tube on shoulder, pedal in elbow, hand on front wheel; me - sort of top tube across my shoulders, wheels out either side, but for a long haul I somehow managed to have it similar to Nelson, with maybe my pedal hooked on my pack and I was hands free walking, trudging, up the incline. We probably carried for an hour, at least. It was very long and quite arduous, taking around 2 hours 40 mins to reach the top.  A couple of women and 3 kids up there when we arrived, tho they'd gone by the time Nelson got there.

Bit of a break and feed, then off down the ridge to the west. Passing the family on the way.  Some steep stuff, and a little bit of climb. Then down the side into the bush and wicked steepness. A few nasty climbs thrown in for good measure just to keep the rinsing, and rooty gnarl and steep steep steep. Stopped at one stage and Nelson took out his brake pads to see if the spares he had were any good, they weren't, and the ones he'd taken out weren't as worn as he'd thought, so got going again.  More steep rooty goodness, with a few really flowy sections chucked in.  Then finally(!), Wharfdale hove-to and we hung a left and clambered up this to the Link Track. 

This held a HELL of a lot more climbing than I'd ever recalled, and lots of getting off and walking/carrying over rooty boggy bits. Met a few walkers on on their way up while we were on the way down too.  We were all getting pretty rinsed by the time we got out, just over 5 hours after we'd departed

We climbed 1075m in total, over a 19.25 km loop.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing Day Picnic, Park, Home

Eight Hundred and Fiftieth Post!!!!!

Big extended family picnic in Vic Park, so I took the bike and rode from there, - up the hill thru skidder site, up the steep bastard, past Brake Free, and up into the Thomsons.Across the Kiwi, txting-base with Nelson who was doing laps in the Park,  planning to meet at the top.  Up the road to top of Worsley and fanged it down the Body Bag.

Through the gate and chatted with some guys here before heading up the uphill track to the Chair, 3pm. Sat there expecting Nelson to show any second, to no avail. So rang him as I needed to get going, they still hasn't hit the lift, so off I went on my own. Considered doing the old favourite Throw the Goat, but figured I should explore a new one, so headed down Lord of the Possums... Berms berms and more berms. Through familiar country including an area from Wayne's World to Fight Club (R.I.P.). Caught up to some guys near the bottom, so mustn't have been going too slow.

Big open area with only 2 choices today due to some Muppet having crashed on the one I wanted to do, DOHC and requiring helicoptering out, so, it was either the easy riding green track, Active Rest, or the black option, Airtearoa. I chose the latter. Boost after boost after jump after jump, taking it pretty easy and never giving momentum too much free reign against gravity. Eventually made it down in one piece and headed down the access road (a surprisingly long way out!), then hoofed it into the wind home by about 3.45pm.

This here being the start of my ride...  it seems to stop around where I stopped to turn ON the clutch on my new derailleur, part way down Possum.  263m gained, and wouldn't have gained much more than that as it was all downhill from here.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Morning Fat Posse

9am meeting at Steve's, and I was on the Commando because I'd only gotten the parts (SLX 11spd cluster, shifter, chain, and derailleur + Blackspire Snaggletooth) to repair the Turner's drivetrain on Saturday afternoon and hadn't had a chance to put them on it yet.  So, angry bees buzzed across town to find Steve, Tony, Andy and Wayne waiting on the corner for Pete (who didn't show) and finding me instead.  Then I got a text from Paul saying he was 5 minutes away.  The boys took off at a leisurely pace and Paul arrived and we chased, catching them just after Grange.

Around Aynsley Tce and then on up Crapaki - busy as always.  Reasonable pace up here but Steve was complaining of his guts when we headed into the Full Monty.  I stopped to adjust my suspension - ie, let a little air out of the tires.  Nice climb up and around with me at the back, then fun bits, with only me taking the 'harder' option, getting in behind Andy and Steve for the next section rolling across the face of the hill.  Fat tires gripping so so well on the off camber corners; very sure footed.  We stopped and peered down at Glenelg spur (just now realised Glenelg is a palindrome) looking for potential ways up here.  Steve, here, decided that he'd be bailing when we got back to the main track.  We cruised the climb through to the end, Steve bailed and I led the way up the singletrack above the main drag.  Good roll up here, the fat bike feeling pretty good.  All the smooth trails were sweet on it, but the rough stuff is hard work.  Only Paul and me stayed on the singletrack, the others choosing the easier climb, and I blew up at exactly the same place as last time, just before a rocky steep.  Walked that and then rode the rest just fine, peaking before the others, then a regroup at the top.

Up around Vernon, easy riding, and then into Traverse, speaking with a clusterfuck of riders all seemingly taking turns at attempting to fix some guy's tire...  Left them to it and had an awesome run around the Traverse.. Regroup at the usual spot, and let some riders through, then on around to Vic Park for another regroup before the trees.  Into the trees and down past the see-saw then down through the rockgarden and my favourite gummies trail.  Even this was fun on the fatty, tho the roughest stuff was hard, and the seat doesn't drop easily, so it was oldskool stylez.  Rolled out to the skidder site and there's a guy under a space-blanket being tended to, blood on his head, not looking too flash.  Usual over cooking of the jump, landing nose first and being polevaulted head first into the ground.  Ambulance on it's way.

Off down Spazza's, the lower rooty bits bloody difficult, battling the bike with who's steering it.  Then straight down between Pono's and Brents and out the ridge straight ahead, and into a new wee one I'd done a wee while back on my own.  Sweet steep entry, then a couple of techy features, then more steep and then zigs and zags in an oak forest, then onto Flow (or bridges?).  Down this main trail into the lower swoopy zigs and zags and down the bottom of the valley.

Into Hidden Valley Track, I cleaned the creek nicely and was just making my way up the steep bit after it when I couldn't hold onto my balance and started tipping.  Left foot wouldn't eject and over I went, landing upside down, bike pretty much still on the trail, with me attached, lying in a big old pile of blackberry.  Elbow blooded, and knee must have smacked the bike somewhere, and arm a little shredded by the blackberry, but managed to climb out and get riding, cleaning the first and last two switchbacks but not the second.

Into Old Skool.  Mostly a good run, some of the rocks proving a bit pushy, but I reckon I'm getting the jist of this fatbike thing, and quite enjoyed it til the last few corners.

Down Bowenvale, and Paul and I went our separate ways (and it looks like Andy, Tones and Wayno went for coffee).

So, what with all the riding across town and all, totalled 31 kms, and climbed 585.

Replaced the drivetrain on the Turner when I got home, and then we headed out to Bottle Lake for a family ride with Lisa and Tane, and Ollie...  Alas, Hugo had a big smash on one of the jumps on the pump track before we left for the ride, smacking his head and scraping up his whole right side.  I took him home and the others went for their ride.  However, the chain on the fatbike snapped when they were most of the way out and T had to walk back.  (my bad I think, I should have checked the click -- click -- click -- I'd noticed on the way back across town in the morning... ooops).

Also.  On Saturday, Mark had his first session in the Chch Adventure Park, and Nelson had his first day on Monday...