Friday, April 15, 2011

Eastside Fogfest...

Met up with Chris at his place about 5pm and headed out towards Sumner after he finished fixing a flat from dropping off the massive crack in the road beside the river on Fitzgerald ave. Saw some of the damage out there from the quake with the cliffs at Redcliffs being the most incredible even after seeing pictures of them. We decided to pull up at the end of Redcliffs and headed up Mulgans track. The bottom part had a bit of rockfall on it which had been cleared a little to make a tricky little chicane and the rest of the track was pretty good from there. Apart from it being fairly steep and the switchbacks super tight. I managed to ride the first section apart from most of the corners and then all but the steeps at the bottom of the next section which was even steeper. It took me about 15 seconds to get going on that as it was so steep. Then walked most of the last steppy section as I was pretty buggered by that stage. We made the road in about 10 to 15 minutes I guess so it was a very fast way to get up. Cruised the road to the start of the single track from the top of the houses that leads to the summit road. The fog was rolling in here and the pines beside the road were doing a great job of combing the water from the air and dripping it like rain all over the track!!! It was still firm, but a bit greasy in a few places and this combined with my lack of fitness meant I was owned by most of the little steep techy climbs and got dropped by Chris. We pushed on through the thickening fog and both noted the eeriness of the scene as the large pines at the top loomed into view.

From there we cruised along the road in thick for towards Greenwood track. Along the way a couple of long board riders sailed by through the mist and then about 300 metres from Greenwood we cleared the fog and could see the last rays for the sunset leaking over the Southern Alps and the huge bank of see mist rolling inland. It looked pretty clear out home still. We headed across Greenwood to the old gun emplacements without lighting and this and my lack of finesse on the rocky parts slowed me down a fair bit, although Chris had the luxury of 6 inches of travel to flatten out those bit somewhat. At the top we set up out lights and headed down into the mist again. The poor visibility making it fairly impossible to see what was on the track on the fast sections. I was quite pleased to be not far behind Chris for the first 2/3 or so of the track but was getting tired and caught out at the 2 little rocky climbs near the end also which slowed me up considerably. I definitely noticed how much slower I was after not being on the track or that kind of terrain for so long, but slowly gathered a bit of confidence. I am sure it would be much easier without the fog though.

With Captain Thomas still closed due to quake danger we headed along Godley Head track. I managed a good deal of the first steep climb before losing traction, but Chris cruised up no worries on his tractor/bike. We picked out way along OK until about 15mins in on a little climb I somehow pushed the front out wide to the right against the bank where it connected with a piece of rock jutting out about 50mm about midway up the wheel. This stopped the bike instantly and despite no going overly quick I cannoned forward until I hit something, likely the rock wall beside me or just the front of the bike, most of the impact was on my knee against the handlebar stem and my ankle on something else. I rebounded back and to the left over the side of the track leaping off the bike and running down the slope until it flatted a bit (about 8 metres or so). As I was running I thought I was fine and then as I neared the flatter spot the pain started to increase in my knee. I dropped and writhed about for a minute as it ramped up until I was about to vomit (like when you get kicked in the nuts!!!) I felt like I hadn't done any major damage though and hoped it would ease soon enough and I could keep going. I had fingers crossed it didn't swell to much though. After about 5 minutes it wasn't to bad and I got back up to where my bike was beside the track and found the rear flashy had fallen apart in the impact with the ground and reassembled it again. I gingerly continued on and about 1 minute later met up with Chris who was coming back to see where I had gotten to. We continued down in the fog which forced a very slow pace and then I took a wrong turn and had to go back. I was looking for the new section that was being worked on last time I was there, but never found it. By the time I got to the last climb before Breeze Col and the Anaconda my knee felt pretty good again. I remember thinking though that the technical rocky bits coming up were going to be tough though, but I managed to either pick my way through very skilfully or they had been cleaned out a bit to make them easier??? Anyway I cleaned them well and met Chris at the top of the Conda.

We dropped in just in front of some runners and in some parts you couldn't even see what the track surface was or what shape it was so it was pretty freaky going at a reasonable clip down. I surprised that I managed to keep pretty close to Chris all the way down, but was still slower than normal and not getting much air on the jumps. We both avoided the new jump as you could see nothing beyond it with the lights. Had a nice run down though and enjoyed the Tail ride out to Taylors also, although the last 2 sections have got really rough since I last rode there.

Slow climb out of Taylors without the customary race to the top and headed down through the park where I forgot to put my light on full, the cruised across the seafront at Sumner. We had a little race around the waterfront to the car which I was behind for most of but eventually Chris's big tyres got to much for him and I got past in the last 100m. Got back to the car and headed to Maccas Linwood and dinned in the 'Restaurant'. Then dropped Chris home and headed home via the supermarket myself.

My knee was pretty good in the end, used the ice from my drink at Maccas to help bruising and had to chuck a sticky plaster on to keep dirt out of the cut. All good now.

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