Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blowhard Part II...End of daylight...

Second ride back from my hiatus and why not go for another leisurely jaunt up the Blow Hard again? After all we failed to make it to the end last time due to lack of light and being unsure of the decent under lights. Of course that was not to bad if you actually had a light that was operational...
Anyway I met Chris at my place after work (Rich had a prearranged whanau commitment so was unable to make it) at my place and he unloaded his new 7'' travel Marin rig and we loaded it into the trusty Corona with my Genius/Merida on the rack and headed off. 15 minutes later and we were enjoying the sweet smell of the bush at the bottom of the track and getting ready. On up and it seemed a lot tougher than last week right from the get go, or possibly I was going a touch faster, but either way I was on the limit in middle ring from the get go. We ran into a hunter coming back down the track who said he had had a good day, but didn't elaborate any more and was not carrying any wild beast either, so maybe it had just been good weather? At least it was OK down below where we were, with no wind and no cloud so that was good. The problem was the sun was going down faster than we were going up and I was keen to make it to the clearing in time to take some photos and check out the view. With that in mind I was pushing myself harder than last time but not trying to ride as far up the steepest sections as I could so that when I had to stop and push I still had some O2 in the blood and could move forward at a reasonable pace rather than have to crawl for the first 30 seconds. This tactic seemed to work better and we managed to keep a steady pace up and with Chris pushing the big bike I was about the same speed as him for the most part. We got to the top of the steep section and I didn't have to stop for a food break this time and we continued on, riding more than last time but still pushing a few sections we should be riding really. On the short decent sections across the top I was feeling slow, but better than last week, so I was happy with that. Chris was pretty sharp on his new bike though of course.

Finally we broke out of the bush with a few rays of light still creeping over the Alps, allowing a good view and a couple of pics but the wind was back to normal up there, howling! The result being that the photos in low light and high wind being pretty blurred and crap really. Never mind. We cruised down the steep drop beyond where we turned around last time and made our way back up the ridge towards Mt Richardson. Had to skirt around a bit of muddy stuff a few times but other than that the trail was mint. Had the odd issue with the wind and lack of fitness and then low light (this was the last night with daylight saving in place) so switched on the light to low. I forgot to charge the battery so figured after the last ride it should be good for several hours on low still. About 5 minutes later though it went out and I was left in near darkness. I carried on up to where Chris was waiting and told him about the light. He was keen to go back now anyway. I slowly made my way back down barely able to see the track and Chris waited for me a few times. We decided to go back the way we came rather than go down the walk track to Glentui (I figured it could be a fast way down and my light should go on low for another burst maybe 5 or 10 minutes if I was lucky). I borrowed Chris's backup light and mounted it on my bars which made it point of centre to the left a little but was heaps better than riding in pitch black (no moon either). We made surprisingly good time across the top and at times I was able to ride close behind Chris and see with his light. At the top of the steep decent down to the bottom I stopped and put my light on low and crossed fingers it would last. Chris bombed down and I picked my way down the top section getting near the flatter section before clipping my bar on a tree and coming off. I landed mainly on my back so was protected by all the soft clothing in my bag so got up as fast as possible to not waste the light and re-mounted hoping the bike was OK. It seemed to be anyway and I only had a bump on the elbow and a scrape on the leg which was pretty good seeing how far I fell down and the rocky stuff I was riding. I think I landed on some loose rocks so not to bad. On down I went and was enjoying the decent and could see by the marks on the track that Chris was also...Was near the top of the 4wd section when the light died again, so had to slow right down to get down the last 2 to 3 hundred metres or so and then crawled the 4wd road section. The off centre light meaning I had to scan to the right to see the track properly and right bends in the road were blind as. This lead to me not seeing a rut in the road on a right hand bend in time and nearly coming off again. I had to half bail into some broom bushes but stayed upright at least. Got down in the end and started to load the car when a guy on a quad bike came up and started talking. We had a chat for a while and it turned out to be a guy I knew from school years ago. Chris said only in NZ!!! Came home and had a couple of beers. Nice.

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