Monday, April 25, 2011
Blowhard to Richardson. Part III
Had a day off for Easter Sunday and had planned to ride with Chris up the Blowhard again, during daylight hours this time for a change having decided not to travel all the way to ride with the PFMTBC boys and SWTCHBCKR on the Twin Fenceline track on Banks Peninsula, as I wouldn't have time to get back for T's family dinner afterwards. I finally contacted Chris on Saturday and found he was busy all day so decided to go on my own seeing as I had also turned down my own family Easter lunch as well. The weather dawned fantastically with little wind and about 24 degrees or so by the time I got to the start of the track at 11am. The track was drier than last time but still felt plenty steep and I resorted to granny ring on the 4wd section early to try and preserve my legs longer for the steepest parts. I was determined this time to make it to the top of Mt Richardson, as I had plenty of time and no light issues to worry about. I was feeling pretty slow for the first hour though, which is normal for me in the morning for some reason. I got to the top of the steep stuff in 1 hour which included talking to a couple of hunters for about 4 or 5 minutes just below the top. The ridgetop section was dryer also and made for easier climbing and the few descents were much faster, although having perfect lighting was helping that also. I got to the first clearing faster than I was expecting and had a look about, took some more photos and had a muesli bar. I spotted someone across the clearing about 300m away in an orange flouro top and watched them for a few minutes, I think they were doing the same... I dropped down the sketchy as ridge line and back up towards the flouro guy and saw him walking towards the track. I got there after a few minutes and had a chat, he was hunting and had walked up the Mt Richardson track. After leaving him a few minutes later I came across a tramper having a rest near the top of the Bypass track summit but didn't stop this time. Heading past the Bypass track I noticed the sign said 3.2km to Mt Richardson and guestimated when I got to the point we turned back last time when my light died we were about 1.5km short of the top. The track from then on though is the best although there were a few sections I had to walk still on the way up. I turned left at the intersection and picked my way through the muddy rut track to the top which was mostly rideable and enjoyed the great views out to Mt Oxford and the Torlesses. I then heard more voices and passed 4 trampers heading the opposite direction and a minute later made it to the top. I took a few pics and called home (good reception on the cell there!!!) Then headed back at 1pm. I also checked the altitudes at the car park (299m) and the top (1048m) so the climb and decent where 749m each. I guess with the ups and downs included there would be about 1000m total.
I picked my way across the very rooty top section and through the muddy rut trying to avoid spraying mud all over the bike. Then hit the main trail. It felt great and I had much more confidence right away being able to see properly. I was still a little careful seeing as I was on my own though. Really enjoyed the trail across the top this time and loved the variety of surfaces to ride. I passed the trampers again on a rocky climb and made that look really difficult but made it to the top, then met up with the first 2 hunters I passed on the way up, giving one a fright as he didn't notice me coming. I stopped before them and had another yarn before bombing down the big open clearing and into the steep sketchy climb again. I took the climb sections along the ridge steadily and found myself at the top of the big steep section way faster than I expected. Came down that carefully but nice and clean and then started to bomb the way down, feeling really smooth and grippy in the corners it was a real blast and you could really let the speed climb being able to see clearly what was ahead. Got down to the 4wd turn around puddle and grunted up the little climb there before the last exit section to the car. Got there at 2.15pm so all up 3 hours 15 minutes (including lots of stops to look around and talking to the hunters) and 1 hour 15 to descend from the top. So finally I have made it all the way to the top and back, this time with no incidents either (and I have the photo to prove I was at the top too!) Excellent ride.