Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday Avoiding the Drizzle, Packing the Horse

Hills were totally clagged in by drizzle, but I'd been to Lincoln earlier in the day and noticed that the southern end of them was relatively clear, so after picking me up at Moorhouse Countdown we took a gamble and headed over Dyers. Heavy drizzle up top but past Governor's Bay it fined right up... with nearly clear skies overhead at Gebbies Pass.  One of Nelson's workmates, Daniel, joined us with his brand new hardtail, and we proceeded to demolish him.  He's not ridden much, ex roadie, but bugger all mountain experience and I don't think any hills...

So, rode in the road and then onto the trail, the first bit of descent before the forest, you've got a bit of speed up and suddenly there's a diversion to the left because the main trail squeezes straight into a massive clump of gorse!  I hauled on the anchors and piled around it to Nelson.  Dan showed up and we bombed into the forest, nice steep fast rooty down hill.  Dry as a bone around here, mint.  Down and through along the tight fence and climbing up the rooty section to the first stile.  Daniel rolled up a wee while after us, puffed, but enjoying it.  Next up the paddock, climbing climbing, puffing puffing, got to the top and waited for Dan, then down, over the stile and down the road to the turn off into the douglas firs.  DARKNESS.  Quite hard to see, but fine at climbing speeds, through to the steep ziggies Nelson cleaning it all, me walking a bit, same with Dan.  Then sidling up through Nelson held back to chat with him while I went ahead, through the clearing past the wee bach-hut, and back into the forest taking a rest just after the off-camber corner.  Nelson, followed by Daniel arrived, and Daniel decided he'd had enough.  We encouraged him saying we'd only just got to the good bit, and he said he'd follow on a bit but was stuffed and would turn back and if we saw him we'd see him.  So, on we went and as we climbed the drizzle started to set in.  Mostly, under the trees, it was dry, but open sky areas were damp, wetning up the tires and dirt and making the rocks and roots slicker.  Walked a couple bits but Nelson cleaned everything all the way to 10m shy of the last stile.  Out into the open and it was really damp, quite a heavy drizzle falling and on we went, rocks on the sketch, round under the remarkable dikes and on up around to the hut, bit of wind furrowing through the saddle.  Fire was going in the hut, and there was someone in residence, but he didn't show his face to us.

Back on the bikes in the wet and heading back the brakes squawking like mad to begin with, quietening down as we proceeded.  Bit of pinball action over the rocksy sections around to the stile and back into the forest.  Nelson blazed off, whereas I was a little more cautious, finding the low light very tricky and being careful on the damp roots and rocks.  The dirt, however, was very grippy, and I had moments of good speed, and careful maneuvering too.  Bombing down through, one or two sketches but nicely rolling and flowing.  Through the clearing, Nelson in sight, and into the forest again, no sign of him now, the darkness under the trees and clouds making for line picking tricky.  Down the steep ziggies and then it's really dark under the firs again, weaving down through these and finally out onto the road, all drizzled gone, and sky around us opened up again.  Looking across the harbour the drizzle was set in closer towards Teddington though.  Nelson not far ahead, with a freshly broken spoke.  Up this and over the stile and up the paddock, then fast descent down through tussocks and clay jumps to the next stile.  Down the rooty roots, ever threatening barbed wire jettisoning past at elbow level - tight!  Down the and along the really tight bit and then climbing again, ugh.  Burning legs riding then walking and finally riding again at the top.  Over the grassy trail back to the stile and then the road and side-track out back to the car.

Just over an hour's riding (some weird gps jumps on the way in (Nelson's is much cleaner)), 440odd metres climbed, and less than 12 kms.

Then, driving back the drizzle was set in right through to Teddington, and heavy all the way round.  Stopped at the Gov's Bay pub and had a couple beers and a feed, then over the hill, dank-as foggy misty drizzle from near the top all the way over down to below the Takahe.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday night hikes with bikes

Lots of up tonight, much of which was on foot. And down some never before travelled.  Newly regular pick up from Countdown Moorhouse and followed the sheepletraffic east, Ferry Rd, Causeway, to Sumner and up the hill to Evans Pass.  Parked and rode upwards, onto Greenwood and climbing this, meeting only one descender, up round the corners and at approximately the drop-jump we headed through the gate and followed a sidling-climbing sheep trail towards the ridge, then up the track we'd ridden couple weeks back, through the stinky macracarpa and over the fence.  This time we headed down Chalmers Track.  Steep, and once in the bush, greasy as all greasiness, rocks, and wet dirt accumulating on tires, proving sketchy as.  Rode and walked bits and rode, and explored and got to the bottom eventually - talking with a farmer lady cutting fly-blow off her little lamb.  Down the road, a long way, and left into College, climbing steeply up to the left, not really knowing if we'd find an access into the reserve from here.  Hmmm...  We did, but.

Found a wee singletrack at the end of this dead end street and started pushing.  And pushing, and pushing, and pushing.  Altitudinal insanity. Calves burning like crazy walking up this steep shitslope, eventually ending up on the ridge above Urumau Reserve.  Phew.  Down a skinny techy singletrack and onto the main track, into Looper, then Stormer, climbing and finding it a tad greasy.  over the top, steep techy descent then caught up to Nelson waiting and off he led, down the first steep arse drop, rolling down to the next, where I baulked, but then wheeled back and rode, and down over the next roller.  The straight-ahead track here was gonna be carnage, so we took the left hand, and rolled down around, a few greasy techy sections including the very steep section at the bottom which I walked.  Then around to the left, sidling and dropping, greasy corners, front wheel washouts, slipping and sliding.  Nelson dropped one of the log drops, I slid around it.  Then the trail got nice, with big roller dippers, and then it was time to climb again.  A few greasy corners, but pretty much all rideable (until you got to the track we'd gone down).  Next up it was round the sunny side of the hill, sidling across then climbing back up to the main track.  Climbed this, zig and zag and back up onto the ridgeline.  Sun was starting to lower, so we figured we'd find a way up the ridge, or across to Chalmers, rather than descending all the way down to the streets and climbing them.

So, up the ridge, pushing and carrying, a long way up, sketchy wee ridgeline track, with newly cut steps in places, and spectacular views, and carrying the bike.  Mostly pushing it to start, then picking it up sometimes, then near the top it was easier for me to just flip it up onto my shoulders, Mt Oxford style, and carry it, trudging up to the top of the ridge.  Did I say spectacular?  Well earned food rest up top here, watching the sun getting lower and lower to the hills, and then off again, past Chalmers top and up the way we'd gone two weeks ago, walking a bit again, the riding up to the gun emplacements, and across onto Greenwood.

Good blast down Greenwood, rocks slick-ish, but not so bad as to be uncontrollable.  Good pace, all the way down, meeting 2 climbing guys, and then around into Gloomy Gulch and rolling through and down, good pace, but Nelson getting away on me a bit down here.  He dropped the jump, I rolled the sideline of it, and we were off down through Dave's corners and around the way we'd come up.  I was exhausted by the time we made the rocky ups, and bailed for the first.  Then blasted down to the car. 

Bonus extra for me, I headed off down Captain Thomas, while Nelson drove down the road.  I had a pretty good run down here, fast in the top section, fast through to the first of the rocky techs, then cruising around and down to the next rocky techs, cleaning the first, but my front wheel slipped just before the second, so I got off and walked it.  Cleaned down the next bit and into the climb, walked 2 metres of that, then blasted down the rest of the trail and he picked me up in the cul de sac.

Awesome 13 and three quarter kilometres, and just over 700m climbed.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday arvo, before and during the rain

Plan was Nelson'd finish work at 3 and we'd meet across at the end of Bowenvale Ave for to ride up the hill.  Paul d'Sp' was joining us too.  Meet we did, but the rain was sort of looking like it was getting a bit more serious, so Nelsie decided to bail (on account of not wanting to get all mucky and have to clean his just-cleaned bike again).  So, Paul and me (and Jet) headed on up the valley.  Going was good, up the valley-bottom track, and then we headed up the walking track to the left, riding, pushing up steps and riding, up to the stile on the Old Skool / Hidden Valley Link trail.  Down this, around the first two hairpins, then hung a left onto the walktrack that sidles across above the lower section of the trail.  Once or twice having to get off, cos rocks were slickity slick.  Then down the rocks and steps to the valley track (bottom of Lava Flow), and up this valley, climbing as per the Thursday Night crew of several months back.  Clamber clamber, off a few times and riding some more to the intersection where we hung a right, sidling down valley this time back down to the start of Bridges, up this to the bottom of Brents. 

Here it was a choice of up around to the right of Brent's, or up the valley.  We chose the latter, cos I'd not been up there for ages, negotiating our way up the steeeeep 4wd trail crossing through Tilted Sally and Cool Runnings then up to the corner start of Rad ^ Sick and on up to the skidder site.  Been many many years since I'd climbed any of that.  From here it was up the main grovel of a climb (K2 extension?) and up past Brake Free into the rabbit paddock where the extent of the fires could be seen.  Grass had burned (but already had green fresh growth), and the trees on the west side of the hill above the (see-saw) fence.  Climbed up through this, the burnt smell everywhere, and the trees immediately above the see-saw were fine (except for a couple) and the native plantings on the right (below the top track junction) were all burned through (cabbage trees should survive?), and then Thompson's entrance was 'Closed' and everything from there on was burned.  As well as above the road here, up towards Sugarloaf - those few big pines all cut out, nothing but black stumps now.

Turned downwards here, towards the Traverse, then around in the trees and back across above the see-saw, fast blast down the rabbit paddock and into the rockgarden.  Slick-as through here, and fire had burned to this point too.  Into the gums and they were all intact.  Around, greasy greasy, and then into my little favourite lefty, blitzing down this and careful on the steep corner (it's got some roots (wet) I'd never noticed before), and across and around and back and then back around out to the edge (where that jumpy trail is) and the fire had made it to there too, but hadn't got the gums (altho we could see some of the tops had burned) - man that was close. 

Back to the skidder site and into Shazza's.  Careful down here, and then down to Brents, careful in here too.  Mostly dry under the trees tho, so all those roots weren't actually that bad.  Then into Bridges, and starting to get pretty slick here, the wetness was visible on the surface of the clay.  Around this and into Flow, under the trees dry enough but that last rocky corner was dodgy.  Down valley here to Hidden Valley Link and up this, climbing climbing, rocks slick out, but dry under the trees. 

Finally, onto Old Skool.  Pretty good at the top but the rain was increasing and the lower we got the more mucky the trail was, mud actually making splecky sounds under tires.  Traction was never a major issue, slight drifts around corners and the requisite rockslips but all good.  Finally down the last and back to the cars, filthy bikes, filthy people, and a dirty wet dog...  Smiles all 'round.

Less than 10 kms and only 374 climbed (felt like more, what with all that steepness).

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Tuesday Explorational Eastern Tops.

Nelson collected me from home after work and we headed for Sumner then Evans Pass. Parked up and he found his dropper post was stuck dropped. He clambered up the first section behind me, standing the whole way, and we decided to explore up the ridge walking track and to find somewhere out of the wind to have a go at fixing the post.  Climb was steep to start, pushing the bikes, riding a little, pushing a little more then we found a nice spot and fettled the dropper.  Got it staying up for a start, and so got riding (and a couple of short walks) again up the fenceline ridge.  Up on the tops, through a gate and following the walkway around the top, past the 329 trig, heaps of windage, and over to the harbour side, dropping down, interesting sections of rocks and descending to a hairpin, then sidling nicely across the back side of the hill, tail wind along awesome flowy singletrack.  This ended at a stile, over this and fast descent down to Livingston Col. 

By this time, Nelson's dropper was stuck dropped again, so he upped the post in the frame to nearly normal height.  Hung a right here and rode and pushed a little up a steep sheep trail which then curved around to sidle across a basin above the usual trail, then spotted another one slightly higher up, so rode up a rocky ridgeline to this, then followed it around til we were overlooking Breeze Col. Found our way down the slope through tussocks til a good sheepline was found, and descended fast down past pfmtbc rock and down to the Col. 

Through Breeze Col, and for a change instead of around the narrow singletrack above the road, we headed up the oldschool steep face trails, Nelson cleaning nearly all of it, me walking one or two bits, til eventually across the top then over a fence and up past the 246m trig, down to the Observation Post, bit of a look around, and then down past a couple of ladies, over stile, and found our way down to the end of the narrow trail.  Into this, it's obviously seen a bit more action lately, and around it in the reverse of usual, fun blast back towards Breeze Col.  Decision time...  Down the Snake?  or back up Goddles...?  With Nelson's seat the way it was (not quite high enough for good climbing) we decided against the Anaconda. 

Off up the Godley track, taking the zig and zag out past the pfmtbc rock (rather than straight up the face like usual), and around over to Livingston, fun on the rocks along the top.  Next up from Livingston, climbing nicely, and trying out the new zig zag bits which work very well indeed for climbing.  Then up the into the valley and out again and up onto the ridgeline / landing strip bit.  Here we hung a left and rode up the ridge back up to the top to check out our initial climb as a downhill.  Mint!  Fun down, interesting rock sections, and some cool tech at the bottom.  Then instead of following the usual trail at the bottom stayed on the ridge and dropped down back to the last corner before the road.  Sweet.

Short but interesting ride, 11.14 kms, 555m climbed.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Sunday Bottled Up Family

T's Aunt and Uncle (in their sixties) are doing the Central Otago rail trail later in the month, and were keen to do some sort of ride, so we showed them around Bottle Lake.  T, H, myself and Jet, and them, all met out at the carpark and headed in.  They're not so fast, so we took the internal route, stopping and gorging on blackberries on the first section, then continuing on.  They enjoyed it, H enjoyed it, T was on my fatty, I was on the Spot.  I trailed along behind a couple times, others was out ahead with H.  By the end, everybody was getting along the trails quite nicely and there was seldom too big a gap when we stopped at the front for the catch up.  After, we went to Under The Red Veranda for lunch.

Usual stuff all altitude, speed, and distance.  Strangely, we somehow managed to get to over 100m, and also nearly 200m in altitude...  These bits coincide with the deepest forest, so obviously some GPS confusion is occuring.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday evening off the eastern beaten track

Pick up from the Countdown carpark and through to Sumner in traffic and off up the Captain at 5.46pm.  Good climb, me not struggling quite as much as usual, even given the small head-cold I'm suffering from at present.  At Evans we spotted a clusterfuck of riders (group of more than 10) heading into the Godley, so decided to try something new.  Into the bottom of Greenwood, and up the worksite track up the ridge above.  STEEEEP.  Nelson cleaned it the whole way, I managed about half and then it got too much for me.  We had a wee look around and then got onto the walking track and headed up through some pines, over a fence, looked down Chalmers Track (into Lytt), and then headed on up some techy rocks and onwards to the Gun Emplacements.  From here we got onto what we usually descend down through the tussocks, climbing all the way up, quite enjoying it, to the stile.  Talked to a guy who didn't know where he was, explained to him how to get back to his car, and then we peaked up.... resting at the top for a bite with one more rider riding through while we were there.

Off down the trail, I nearly lost it after the first descent losing balance on the rocks on the way to the stile.  Over this, and flying.  I was tight on Nelson's tail the whole way, catching him on the corners, not quite so much on the straightaways.  My cornering was magic perfection.  So fast, and we were down to the 4wd in no time flat.  Down this and left into the old Greenwood start, flying around this, with Nelson getting the goods on me on the couple of climbs.  Before the end/start of the trail we hung the right onto the new track, getting good speed through this down and across above the road and under the rocks.  Awesome blast, tho one of the lower corners could really use a berm - sketchy.  Across the 4wd track, down near the gate, and into the other new one, this one mostly climbing but with a couple of small descents, hovering along close to the top of Jollies Bush, then numerous zig zags climbing up to above the ruins on Greenwood.

Into Greenwood at great speed, fanging down through the rocky top sections, me right on Nelson's tail right through this section, flowing good.  As we rounded through the rock gap and across the pumpy face to gloomy gulch he got the gap on me, and then I started to slow after the gulch where I usually rest, but I pushed on, and got good speed down the rocky section and through the swoopy bits.  I hauled up at the drop jump, and Nelson was in the tussocks just below here, resting.  I pushed back up a bit and then rode down and rolled the drop.  Easy, will drop it next time.  We got going before the next riders came down and bombed it all the way on down, me gaining on Nelson in sections, especially the face down to the first rocky up.  He cleaned this, I dabbed through it, and off again and out the bottom.

Stopped before entering Captain Thomas, let a few riders through and watched for the others who were all out and about tonight.  First, we spotted Robin finishing off Godley.  He rolled up to us and we chatted, then we saw Pete and Alistair doing the same, they rolled up and we all talked.  Robin was parked up here so the rest of us took off down, Nelson, Alistair, me then Pete.  Ali was tight on Nelson's tail for a good while, and I stayed latched on Ali's tail, pushing him harder in places.  Fast run down just over 7 minutes all done.  Good show on the first of the techy rocks with some other riders walking it as we rode through.  They were impressed.

These trails are getting a lot of traffic with the other end of the hills out of action.

All told, 18kms, 578m climbed.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Saturday Kaiteri Scribblings

Nelson and me scribbled or way around Kaiteriteri today. It was fun. Parked at beach, headed into Easy Rider for a start, then across to Cruise Control and up Tank.  Dropped into Remedy, which was fun, with some nice wee drops and pops, across into Shady Lady, which is still as tight as ever, weaving down through handlebar clipping trees.  Then into Revelation, around to and up Ziggy then the Cork Screw.  In here I was starting to struggle.  I'd had stuff all sleep the night before and I was tired, so was gasping and legs were dying and I'd not eaten enough breakfast so my tummy was geting dodgy too.  Struggled up the last bit to the top rest area and had a big rest and snacks and stood in the breeze at the top.

Off down and into Jaws which wasn't nearly as fun as I'd remembered.  I was pretty tight on Nelson's tail most of the way down.  Certainly I enjoyed the lower new bit, that was fun, but the jumpiness at the top half wasn't as good as I'd remembered, and she was getting a little overgrown too.  Anyway, brief climb out of the valley before the last fun section to the intersection.  Bit of a rest here then off up Big Ups, and watched a bunch of groms dropping into to Big Air before we ourselves dropped in.  Funtimes.  Catching good air on everything, even clearing quite a few of the doubly tables.  The groms all bailed at the exit to the intersection and we continued on down, some of the corners getting crazy near the bottom, but fun.

Brief rest at the bottom then off up Zigg again, struggling struggling, me, and then up Big Ups again, and into Skullduggery.  Always a bit of a favourite, narrower and more 'old skool' than those big machine built things.  More climbing than I remembered, but I think I always remember that.  At the Bay View intersection we'd been recommended Tree Hugger, and so we dropped into it.  Definitely fun.  long enough to be interesting and lots of cool features, and narrow and gooood.  Ending at the bottom of ShadyLady, we headed up Puff and around to Tank for pretty much the last biggish climb, in which Nelson got a new set of lungs and powered ahead, while I slowly found my demise.

Into Scoot for a nice short blast across to Swish - a wrong turn off this thinking Humphrey's might be good, but decided it wasnt so we back tracked and headed across til we got onto the Lower Skullduggery and bombed that down and down and down some interesting corners eventually ending up right at the Riwaka end of the entrance to the park and Easy Rider.  Jumped on this and got grinding, me struggling so much on the uphill even tho it was nothing really, then over and down and across to Half Pipe for the last few corners, a couple of fun jumps and out the exit of the park and down for a cool and refreshing swim at the beach, glorious views to be beheld.

22kms and only 550m climbed...  felt like a lot more.