Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Multi ride catch up...

Been a bit busy to keep up with the ride logs so this is a very brief round up since the Blowhard ride to get back up to date. From memory the next ride was with Keil, Mike and their mates doing shuttle runs.. First run down through Vic park, via seesaw and Sesame Street, then gazza's Shazza's or Dazza's or something then New Bridges.  Next run was Flying Nun and round 3 was the same again on my own. 

Next ride Rich and I did 3 or 4 laps out at Living Springs. 

Last night I rode laps of the Farside (lower Worsleys Spur) with the PFMTBC boys - Steve, Pete, Warren, Andrew, Wayne, Tony and Robyn.  I arrived earlier and had 4 laps done before they got there and did a further 8 laps with the others.  About 1km per lap with 55m of altitude per lap.

Good rides, nuff said.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blowhard Blast

Craig turned up at my place at 9am and we loaded up into my car and headed to the top end of Maori Reserve Road.  Parked up under a nice shady tree and headed up the steep grunty 4wd start track.  This was Craigs first time up here so he was keeping an easy pace which actually made the ride faster by keeping progress steady and not blowing up and having to stop.  The 4wd track had very recently been graded making it loose but smooth.  I found it much easier than the old ruts due to not having to balance so carefully on the edge of the deep ruts.  The usual puddles where it flattens out for a bit were still there, with plenty of mud which I walked around.  The big puddle at the end of the 4wd section was dry for the first time I can remember though.  Craig tried the first steep climb until he ran out of traction then had to push.  I pushed from lower down, trying not to get too much into oxygen debt.  After that Craig started to do the same but was able to ride a couple of sections that I didn't try.  The air in the forest was still as and very muggy making the sweat pour off us.  I had to change my top at the summit as it was soaked.  We pushed and ground our way to the ridgeline before taking a break and having a snack.  The ridgeline trail was dry and fast making the climbs a little easier and we got up to the open section in pretty good time.  Craig was pretty impressed with the view.  Nice blast from here down the scree and further along the ridge, making good progress, passing a walker somewhere along the way.  We rode some good technical climbs and pushed up some too steep stuff and made the turn to the very top having made more than I have before.  The dryed out mud sections making it much easier.  The swamp at the top was also dry so made for a fun section without cloging up the drive train.  We hit the top and had a rest up in a nice balmy 23 degress or so with no wind at all.  15 minutes of admiring the view and resting up was enough and we headed back down.  Across the root fest, the old dry swamp, the scree slopes the forest sections etc, there is so much variety coming at you every few minutes.  We blasted down to the steep scree climb, pushed up that then manage to grind up the other longer climbs before the nice long decents.  At the top of the steep rock garden I warned Craig and headed in slowly.  Before long the speeds increased and control was lost at certain times before being reined in again, but I got down in 1 shot.  Craig also got down but managed to bounce off the track twice on the way.  Swooping fast sections and some tight corners before a couple more nearly out of control steep sections before we got to the bottom.  Sweet ride in 2 hours 45 mins.  Craig continuing another 3 hours back home on the road!!!

Vic Park old Loop.

Drove via a web of roadworks and traffic jams to the lower end of Bowenvale ave and parked under the trees on the south side of the river to get changed/ready.  Saw Craig head up the Ave time trialing it to our meeting point, he didn't hear my whistle due to the traffic noise.  I quickly got organised and took off in the same direction. 

We met up at the carpark where the usual types on big bikes were milling around.  We headed up the valley and into the start of Old Skool and the bright sun/heat.  I seemed to be struggling more than the last ride up here, mucking up a few corners that I had cleaned up no problems before.  We got to the top of the single track and had a quick breather, feeling pretty smashed already with the heat, then headed back down.  As usual a nice run down but not pushing too hard.  Craig had switched to some new ultra thick tubes due to punctures recently and decided the huge extra mass was really slowing him down, but he still managed to keep pretty close to me all the way down. 

We then headed up the lower valley track and up passed the 'hospital corner' further into the valley.  At the first bridge we headed right (left is the exit of Lava Flow) and over another bridge.  This is an old trail we used to do regularly years ago and is a sweet old style cross country loop.  We kept heading up the valley, further than I remembered until the track crosses to the opposite side and meets another trail heading back along towards the vic park trees.  Nice little traverse, slightly downhill to the top of Bridges where we took the usual switchback trail down into the valley before heading up the Hidden Link trail, Craig nailing the top steep section leaving me in the dust.  Then down Old Skool again to Bowenvale and back to the car.  About a 1 hour ride total.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Far Side Lap Dogs

Tuesday evening managed to leave just before the worst traffic and back roads it with Rich on board over to Worsleys Road.  Parking just past the first hairpin we decided to take off minus our normal gear seeing as we were doing short loops no more than a few minutes from the car.  This made climbing a little easier. 

The first climb we took was up the rutted single track adjacent to the road.  Lots of gorse encroaching too, so high risk of punctures.  We made it without any issues though and headed down the first trail to the left Valhalla.  Nice 'n' techy but not overly hard.  Lots of fun.  As with all of these trails they seem to go on a lot longer than you expect.

Lap 2 and we rode up the tarseal from then on.  Next track (second left) was 1 Trick Lucy, and another more or less carbon copy of the first trail.  Plenty fun again, lots of tight squeezes between trees and off camber corners.

Lap 3 (missing Far Side as we have ridden this several times) into Utopia and again another similar track.  Super cool and faster lower half. 

Lap 4 was Fluffy Sheep which we expected to be fairly average for some reason but was really cool, a good entry level trail but ride if faster to make it fun.  Nice and swoopy.

Lap 5 we hit Far Side, the top being unexpectedly but not surprisingly rutted out by skidding riders.  This almost caught both of us out but we got a handle on it before the corner at the bottom of the steep entry.  From here on the trail was pretty much as per normal bar a little extra dust.

Lap 6, Rich in front we hit Valhalla again.  The dust from behind was a problem causing a few moments along with the proximity of trees and off camberedness.

Lap 7 We decided on 1 Trick Lucy but I missed the start and Rich went ahead.  This resolved the dust issue and the run went pretty well apart from a slight loss of control on one of the droppy straight sections that took a bit of gathering in. 

At the bottom we quickly packed up, headed off for food from Noodle Canteen, Beers and PFMTBC meeting at Petes.

Bowenvale Loop Slog

Thursday evening ride with Craig.  Drove to his place in Beckenham and cruised the roads towards Bowenvale ave from there.  Up past the groms doing shuttles in the carpark and up the valley access track a little to the exit of Old Skool.  Up this managing to make 99% of it apart from where I got stalled behind Craig on a rocky as section.  He managed to ride about as much on his early '90's ridgid steel beast too.  I had an acceptable pace up here but as soon as we hit the steeper 4wd section my legs blew out and I was crawling up the steep bits at best and riding as slow as on the short flatter sections.  Luckily Craig was taking it easy too, so I was only about a minute behind him at the gate near the top.  From there we rode together up to the start of the Traverse track below the road.

We randomly decided to climb up Mt Vernon which we used to do regularly.  Great view at the top (managed to ride about half way up before hiking).  Then I lead down, taking some pretty bad lines but managing to get safely down the rock sections then wafting along the lower half.  Craig also made it down cleanly which was pretty impressive considering the rig he is running.

We continued along below the road onto the Traverse with Craig taking a sizeable lead pretty easily as my legs were shot.  We caught some lone ranger who Craig passed on the midway 4wd section and I got stuck behind.  In the end we pulled up just before Vic Park and he carried on oblivious.  We took the Gums down to the skidder site, me via the SeeSaw and headed down one of the old worn trails (no idea which is which any more).  Once below the bush section we took the switchback trail to the valley floor, Craig staying hard on my tail.  Then up the Hidden trail to the Old Skool single track, and down, Craig had 1 off trail moment before we both had one similtaneously on different parts of the track.  No crash just having to pull up off the side of the track.  I was ahead and Craig thought I was waiting for him, so I could have gotten away with it...

Nice run from there to the bottom and I took the old well washed out exit and we cruised via the streets back to Craigs.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Summer Sumner loop

After work ride with Rich back from holidays but still nursing a broken rib.  I drove to his place and we slowly organised our bikes and ourselves before making our way by C'rona to Sumner.  Parking on a side street to give a little warm up before climbing up Captain Thomas.  I had a good clean run up the whole way, making several pinches I haven't managed for several years (although the track was closed for a few years due to rockfall danger post the 'quakes).  At the road intersection we stopped to yabber for a few minutes before heading up into Godley nicely rested but given the steep sections right at the front this normally causes problems due to not having a good heart rate.  I find it easier to go into this part with a good heart rate going from the start.  I was surprised then, that I managed to clear both tricky steep bits perfectly before waiting for Rich at the top of them for a few seconds.  At that stage the heart was pounding pretty much at it's max though. 

Once underway again the top came up pretty quickly and riding was good over the rocky sections.  The descent giving us a good rest before the next climb, which is also rocky and tecnical so quite an enjoyable challenge.  Over the top and the next descent into the PFMTBC rock was good apart from a 2 wheel slide around a right hander sending me to the inside of the track where a large thistle had appeared.  I could see my entire right leg was going to smash through it so unclipped and lifted it so to avoid this fate but unfortuantely I still wore the top of it just above the ankle.  The feeling was probably like getting a tattoo, I would imagine, but I carried on to the road crossing anyway.  After pulling out the copius prickles from my shin and deliberating about which way to go, we decided to take the high route above the road and follow the newer, narrow sheep trail which meant we didn't need to climb so far to take the route around the back of Godley head on the Lyttelton side.

This trail was really nice, if a little overgrown with grass etc, and being nice and dry the grip was much better than our last time around.  Even the hidden rocks were pretty grippy.  We stopped about 2/3s of the way around to rebuild a rock ramp we had worked on a few years ago as someone had recently decided to roll some of the rocks down the hill.  We found those and quite a few more so had a really good ramp built at the end which I tested at speed several times.  Works great.  After climbing the fence at the bottom I needed a feed so we stopped for 5 minutes for a 1 square before heading down the Anaconda.  Nice run as usual down here, catching another rider right at the bottom who diverted onto the walk track.  I had a really good flow through the tail too.  We climbed out from Taylors at a steady pace catching the other rider who was a Sumner local via the UK.  Then we shot down through the park from the top and through the maze of old trials through the houses perched along the cliffs then back along the esplanade and to the car.  About 2 hours all up ride time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wharfedale Hut return trip

I decided I needed to ride after the Christmas excess and having no takers to a  ride decided to head to the Wharfedale on my own.  It was a nice warm afternoon but the wind was threatening when I got to the View Hill carpark.  I big group of walkers were sitting around when I was getting ready and they had been up Mt Oxford but had a hour or 2 to wait to get picked up.  I took off up the trail going too fast to start realising that I wouldn't last long like that.  I passed a few more walkers which were the last I would see on the whole ride. The trail was nice and dry and clear mostly and progress was faster than usual without having to stop to clear trees off the track as per usual. Most of the trail has been tidied up where trees have fallen or slips have taken out the trail.  I made nice steady progress up until the last of the gorge creek crossings (the one with the steepest, longest climb out) where the track has been widened just before the hairpin that leads down into the creek itself.  I tried to ride the corner as usual but the loose material from widening the track is all on the lower part of the corner creating a slick soft grip free zone which sent me out over the bank towards the stream bed.  Luckily there was a small tree close enough to grab and it held my weight.  I managed to extract myself and walk down to the stream where I had a break a feed and a dip of the head in the cool water.  Refreshed somewhat I walked up the rock strewn climb out and up the the less steep part before heading up the last section towards the saddle.  I was expenting/hoping the switchback near the top would have been tidied up to clear the water and puddles but it is still about the same, although the dryness made it much easier to negoitiate.  I cleared it up the the second switchback where I lost balance on the steep pinch out of the corner.  The last swampy bit right at the top was almost dry so no muck to deal with for a change.  Quick break at the top and then the decent to the Wharfedale hut.  I started pretty slowly with some of the old trick sections being washed out, 1 requiring a walk over a 150mm ledge after a slip had removed the track.  After these the newly cleaned up track begins and the flow increases.  The copius water bars making for tiring decending as you had to pop them to avoid slowing down too much or even launching off the track at speed.  I got down pretty quickly, splashed through the river, pushed up the half washed out steep section then bounced down the other side to the empty hut. Again I was hoping this section might have been fixed up a little, although it is good to have some technical challenges along the way.  Another short break, feed and visit to the river and I turned around and headed back up.  Grinding at a steady pace I was surprised to be at the saddle again only 45mins after leaving.  I was expecting an hour or more.  The ride from the saddle back to view hill having the usual grunty climbs to contend with and long flowy sections but no major dramas.  I got back with time to spare before the sun dissapeared.  Total ride time of 3 hours 15 minutes.