Monday, December 29, 2014

Rumble on the Rameka

Day 2 of the top of the south trip...Finally catching up with holiday ride logs...

After a night of warm muggy rain the day was started slowly to allow time for the cloud to lift and the trail to dry.  So a coffee and feed in Motueka was followed by a fun drive up the Takaka Hill to the Canaan Downs turnoff and I parked in the cafe carpark and Rich disembarked from his car which was later driven down the other side to Takaka by Jo.  We checked it was OK to leave my car there the night and headed up the hill. 

We seemed to have a good pace going quickly which had me struggling to keep up but I eventally caught up to Rich.  Quick snack break at the saddle and down the road until we got to the start of the downs loop on the left.  I hadn't done this bit before but according to Steve it was sweet.  Even though it was a bit soft and wet in places we had a good run but the grit was not good for the drive train so when we got to the Rameka track carpark I pulled of the chain and cleaned and lubed it and the rest of the gears.  We opted out of the rest of the Canaan loop to avoid more of the same gritiness and headed up into the Rameka. 

The wetness was less of a problem in the forest as the track doesn't have the same surface.  I lead in and we had a nice comfortable pace going until I got a puncture which was fixed with a spare tube.  Further in the signs of a big storm were obvious with lots of large trees down, but the track has been cleared nicely.  Stopped for photos a few times and a robin with 1 leg hung around and even sat on my bike for a while. Once we got past the major storm damage we hit the first parts of the descent and more intense riding.  We stopped near the top to eat and an older female rider appeared from the track above us.  She was doing well riding alone at her own pace.  We took off in front and hit the Rameka Project trails. These were awesome as usual, fast and flowing, except for a few granite rock sections that were slippery as.  I lost the back end on one section and had a huge foot down slide to gather it back up again, knocking a big chunk off the side of the track in the process (sorry track builders).  Everyone was having a good time until we hit the 3 jumps near the end, hearing a muffled sound on the last one then waiting where the track hit the road, waited for Rich to turn up.  He came out 30 seconds or so later reporting the noise was him falling off on the second jump after landing wrong and somehow flying off the track.  He had a big graze on the inside of his leg and a sore chest (this was actually a broken rib).  At least he could still ride so we got through the sweet river/rock garden section to the end of the trail and burned off towards Pohara after giving directions to Takaka to the other female rider who had caught us when we were resting up.  The road trip of 8 to 10 kms at good pace (taking turns on the front) was good to take the last energy from the legs.  Not too long after we got there the rain started again.  Good ride once again on a top 10 trail.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Friday Night Escape from Jaws at Kaiteriteri

Left home after much repair work/maintenance and organisation at about 11am en route to Motueka.  At the Lake Daniels carpark Rich and his crew met up and we carried on through making Motueka at about 6pm or so.  We quickly organised ourselves (me putting tent up) then Rich and I shot through to Kaiteriteri via the Hop Federation brewery.  The wet weather was holding off and it was warm and muggy when we headed up into the bike park.  First up Easy Rider then Cruise Control, catching up to another rider here who followed behind us, Glade Runner, Revelation, Ziggy and into Corkscrew.  We had set a pretty fierce pace to the base of Corkscrew enjoying the swooping trails but the long drive and lack of good food started to show so we had a feed and rest near the bottow before heading up with our tail end charlie now well ahead.  No sign of him once we hit the skidder track at the top but the views were good.

We headed back down the top section of Corkscrew and turned right into the new Jaws track.  This was really sweet, lots of swoops and roller coasting along and some good jumps, nice berms and steep climbs into hairpin corners to reduce the braking required.  Hopefully this will keep the damage to the track to a minimum.  Jaws lead into Skulldugery where at the end of that we met up with the other rider again.  He gave us some good advise about which trails to take and followed in behind again as we took Scoot, Swish and via Easy Rider and Half Pipe back to the Jump track at the start/end.  Back out a few hundred metres to the car beside the beach.  We were still pretty hot so stripped to our short liners and jumped into the sea.  It was cool at first but nice and warm on top so I swam to the rocks and back (very slowly).  A great way to refresh after and hot sticky fun ride.  Also the beer at the end helped too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Huntsbury Castle sprint

Left work last night a little early to beat the traffic and picked Rich up on the way to Huntsbury Ave.  Parked at the top and got changed and going at about 5.30pm.  Up the gravel road with a pretty strong easterly blowing accross the ridge.  We kept a good pace up as we had to be at Wazza's at 7pm for the PFMTBC trip DVD premier.  We got to the top in pretty good time and hit straight into Vernon for the decent to Rapaki.  I stopped for a quick drink and to check out what a guy was up to on the road below.  It turned out he was looking for a dog and yelling out it's name.  We couldn't see anything from our higher view point.  Rich took a good lead to start with and I tried to reel him in, making a little progress by the bottom.  Nice and fast but easy going here.  It seems that by making the trail so smooth the speed goes up and therefore the danger level has actually increased.

I took over the lead up Witch Hill and had a really good climb, which as I noticed at the top could have been to do with my fork being locked out.  It probably was also locked out on the way down Vernon, but as it is so smooth I didn't notice.  Out onto the road we battled up to Castle rock with some head winds on the lower section but a little more shelter on the top section of the road.  We breifly stopped to talk to  a young dude out running at the top of the trail.  I lead in again but found the flow difficult due to grass hiding the trail and rocks.  Still kept a reasonable speed on most of it until I punctured near the lowest part of the track.  When I took the wheel out I found that the tip of the valve was bent over about 45 degrees so took out my mini pliers to straighten it so I could get air into it. When I put the pump on it thought it broke off so couldn't be repaired.  It was only on its second ride.  I put in my spare tube and we turned around for the climb back up.  I quite like the challenge of this climb but still stuffed up the last pinch which Rich managed to clean.  At the top we met a roadie sitting on the rocks sipping a Woodstock.  Clearly not your average roadie.  We talked with him for about 10 minutes as he was pretty interesting.  Turned out he had been a pro in his earlier years and had also been a trail digger at Wairoa. 

Rich lead off down the road and I pulled up to check out a possible line up the bank giving him a 300+ metre lead.  The tail wind along the lower section of road gave us a super fast entry to the Witch Hill track again which I held all the way to the top and into the decent section.  Nice flow down here for a change.  Normally I seem to get hooked up on  a few of the rocks somewhere along the way.  We carried on straight up into Mt Vernon with a pretty good pace.  By the top of the steeper lower section we caught up to a couple of others and sat behind them until they turned off towards Farmtrack.  Made it up the next steep push and criused along the flatter section down to the road and into the Traverse.  At the bottom of the rocks it was tempting to keep going but we turned around and headed back towards Huntsbury and out to the runway.  We crossed the fence, noting that the wire has been tighted, and headed along the ridge where the strong easterly was making balancing difficult.  I went around the big jump on this section as it was too windy but lower down we hit the next lot with no dramas as the wind wasn't too bad there.  About 200m from the end I felt the rear tire go down and pulled up, Rich went on by and I walked back to the car. 

Back to the car at about 6.50pm and to the super market at St Martins for some food and a beer then off to Wazzas for the DVD showing.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Worsley Nun Hang'n Loose

Rich met me at work just before 5pm so we were loaded up and ready to go right away, managing to get a bit of a head start on the traffic we got changed at the park next to Worsleys Road and moving around 5.40pm.  Neither of us were feeling super fast to start with so a steady pace was held up the road, then below the 4wd track for a bit then back over the fence onto the now very washed out and rock 4wd track.  The track was a little damp in places but mostly pretty grippy.  I managed to get right up the Body Bag (first time up here for ages) and Rich most of it.  We didn't wait at the top due to cold wind and a few spits of rain about.  Up from here to the top of the Nun we pulled up for a snack at the top where we were sheltered from the wind a bit. 

The rain was threatening more so we didn't hang around too long.  I lead down the hill but didn't feel super quick, possibly due to the wind at the top and a few greasy patches on the track here and there.  Rich was feeling about the same so I wasn't holding him up. Then he dropped his chain again so dropped back a bit.  Half way down we passed the track builder digging up a section so slowed down and went around dirt heaps he had piled up.  I had a good run down, despite not feeling fully confident but still haven't figured out how to make the last section flow properly yet.

Back out onto the road we headed back up to the top of Worsleys and back down the Body Bag, Rich on the right side and me on the left, both finding the line not very good, the centre line probably being the best.  At the fence we turned right, back up into the forest and right again up to Tommys II and Hang Loose.  I lead again into Hang Loose, very slowly as the track up here was still pretty greasy.  As we got lower it was dryer though.  Stopped at the start of Yoda and walked a little way down to check it out.  Looks knarly but cool, might have a go at it in the dry soon. 

Back riding again and apparently onto Goat track which then joins the other trails out at the logging track back up to Worsleys.  I put some power on in the climb to see how I was compared to the Packhorse ride where I had no power at all.  I got to the top of the steep section through the gorse and had to back of a little but didn't feel too bad, better than Tuesday anyway.  We then headed back up the forestry track and got up to the clifftops before taking Waynes World down to Fight Club.  Fight Club being nice and dry and super fun.  Back to the log skidder track back up and I managed to power up the steep piece again feeling pretty good.

Back down to the road end via a grassy exit track to the left.  We cruised down the road taking the odd off road option and hit the top of Far Side.  I lead in and had a really quick roller coaster run, a few close calls and almost turned left on a right hander.  Big smiles at the bottom and we headed back up the steep section of road to the start of Far Side again for a repeat run.  Waited at the top for some others to get ahead as they didn't look like being super quick.  The second run was even faster in places although I managed to bollock myself with the seat on a big G out but didn't have to stop.  Back out to the car by 8pm.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Packhorse Blast

Picked up Craig from his place and headed up Hackthorne Road to Dyers Pass (lower section of Dyers is still closed) and over into Governors Bay then out to Teddington and up Gebbies.  On the way up Gebbies Pass we could see a logging truck coming out of the road were the track starts.  We figured this would probably mean the track was closed, but the signs all said track open at the top so we headed in.  My cold had now enveloped my lungs so I was struggling right from the start to keep up with Craig as he has just come back from 300+Kms last week up in the North Island so was attacking the climbs at high velocity in the big chainring.  I could only spin along and watch him dissapear.  He filled in the time waiting for me by turning around and riding back to me then hooning off again. 

The logging crews have been busy in here, but the track is still fine and the top section of forrest is still all standing.  This section was fun, but with only half the normal lung capacity I was struggling.  In the end on the steep switchback section half way up I got further than any other time due to the corners being wider, but blew up and had to walk for a while.  Made it eventually to the top of the trees and then out into the open, less steep section.  My legs had no strength left though, so I was spinning along slowly to the top.  At the hut it was pretty windy so we only checked out the few for a minute or so then headed back down.  I took the lead seeing as I had gravity helping and Craig was on a fully rigid bike.  I had a blast finding some new lines and popping off some of the rocks, but had to be careful as some of the corners ar pretty tight and close to the edge.  The drop off the side wouldn't be much fun if you went over it too.  Craig was a few seconds back at the fence where the forest starts due to the lack of suspension on the rocks, but from there down was pretty close behind on the decents.

The forest section is much smoother and flowy so we had a sweet ride down with some really fast sections and fun swichbacks thrown in too.  Had a few close calls with the long grass pulling on the bars on some narrow off camber sections and had to push off a tree that has now grown to big to get around on the track.  There are 2 like that on the lower section and lines above them have started to form.  We hit the logged area and I grovelled up the hill while Craig caned off again.  Over the open farmland section I found some awesome lines giving a real roller coaster ride down to the fence crossing into the treeline.  From here we cruised up and out to the logging road then found the trail just below the road which is now covered in grass but has a good line on it.  I was expencting it to be pretty bad but it was actually quite fun and definately better than the road.  Back at the car we loaded up and headed back the way we came.  About 1hr 20 but it was a good tough workout with some awesome fun trails to keep the spirits up.

Tuesday Tootle

This ride was from 1 week ago....

Picked up Swtchbckr from his place and headed up to Upper Major Hornbrook Road to meet up with the PFMTBC boys.  Only Warren, Robin and Andrew were in.  We headed up Britten and left at the top to the end, then flicked left along the Summit Road, up Broadleaf to the top of Mt Pleasant.  I was fighting a cold so wasn't able to push too hard but we made it up in decent time.  Over the top we headed and I lead down to the top of Greenwood.  A bit slow over the rocks at the top but getting a flow on along the lower section.  A quick regroup and we headed into Greenwood.  I wasn't feeling 100% energetic so cruised the easy bits and attacked more on the tecknical sections.  I seemed to have a better run than last time.  We all got down without any major dramas although Rich dropped his chain a couple of times.  At road we decided to split as Rich and I went back up the track and the others took the newly re-surfaced road. 

We stopped on the first big bend to check out the drop over the side and then yarned to a rider coming down.  Off again we climbed steadily enjoying the tecknical challenges but not pushing on to hard.  I big bunch of about 20 riders came by at the top, big range of abilities with the tail enders walking some of the rock gardens.  We passed the ruins and headed into the old Greenwood entrance, the first time in ages I had been on it.  A few rough patches have been improved and it was quite flowing for a change.  Along the road for a few hundred metres and into Britten again, we had a fast run down with little wind to slow us and push you off balance.

Not a big ride but a good blast to keep fresh.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Worsleys Wanderings

Tuesday evening after work I headed over to Cashmere, fighting the usual traffic woes.  Conditions had been wet earlier in the day but the warm breeze was drying things out quickly.  The PFMTBC  ride plan was to meet at the top of Worsleys Road at 6.20.  I was at the base of the hill by about 5.55pm so decided to park up, get changed and ride from there.  That way I could catch the Far Side Tracks on the way down.  Mark and Maree pulled up in the car beside me just as I was getting onto the flat after the steep first section of road and offered a lift.  I decided to carry on riding as there was still plenty of time before the others were due.  Lots of traffic was streaming past, almost all with bikes racked on the back.  The fumes were pretty bad on the steep section too.  Tony also went past but I didn't recognise the car until I saw his bike on the back. 

I met the others at the carpark and Maree and Mark carried on up at a nice leisurely pace and planned to meet at the bottom of the forestry.  I went back down to where Tony had parked (150m below the carpark as it was full) and waited for the others.  Andrew quickly arrived also by bike and then Warren and Wayne and Stevie with Robyn.  We got organised and rode up to meet the others at the forest and decided to ride up the forestry track to take the original line down from the cliffs.  Wayne having a good fast climb up at the front and Tony riding the whole thing non stop for the first time.  I followed Andrew down and we took a few wrong turns here and there as the trails criss cross everywhere now.  We all seemed to agree this is a real problem. Then we accidentally took the new retarded shortcut that avoids the first awesome section of fight club and regrouped at the bottom of that.  That piece of track would have to be the most pointless in all of the port hills.  We carried on with me in front but having problems on the fast corners as my tyres were too soft and were rolling on the rims a little.  Not a nice feeling at speed on off camber tracks.  I stopped at the bottom and put more air in both before catching the others on the climb out.  We headed back up the same way to the cliffs with everyone climbing pretty well.  Regrouped and decided to head further up as most of the crew hadn't gone up from there before. They found the going pretty good with a few of us having enough energy to have a few go's at getting up a steep rocky section (but nobody quite making it).  Also a few being surprised at how quickly we got to the intersection at the top.  From there we went further up towards Tommy's II etc but turned off into the link to Debbies.  We stopped at the first ruins to show the guys, as nobody else had seen them.  We deduced that it was build by the Chinese more the 2000 years ago.  We headed onwards with the intention of turning back up to the left to do Fight Club again but missed the turn off and went straight into Alices Restaurant.  This got pretty steep and technical in places before we regrouped on a flat after the first wood bridge.  Everyone seemed to love it though, so we carried on down.  From there it got really steep but Mark and I managed to ride it all and the others walking a few particularly steep bits below the rock outcrop.  Below these sections we got a really good flow on and shot out to the 4wd exit track in no time.  A big group of riders from several groups assembling at the same place.  We all took off up at the same time and I decided to see how far I could get up at near full noise.  I got in front and put the foot down on the steeper section and made it to the last corner before having to back off a little.  I waited for the others for a minute or 2 and we headed down to the cars.

I figured if anyone was keen we could all ride down via the Far Side to my car and I could ferry the drivers back up.  Had a few takers (Mark, Marree and Warren) with Andrew riding anyway and Robyn being picked up at the bottom by Steve.  We had a great run, getting in just in front of another large group.  Everyone came out with big grins.  The track is really flowy even though it is pretty confined and twisty.  Good work trail builders...

Took the drivers up  in the car then returned to pick up the bike and gear about 8.45pm.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Macs Bay Mistakes

Thursday evening ride.  This time on my own.  After battling traffic I managed to get out to McCormacks Bay and park up next to the football field.  I cruised off up Glenstrae Road and onto the trail making sure I didn't push to hard early as the incline ramps up as you go meaning you need to keep the legs fresh for the really steep sections.  As seemed to be the order of the day I was riding nicely on most of the track but complete shagged up bits I normally clear easily.  So the switchback corners up the top were a real mixed bag.  On reflection I am thinking the rear tire needs to be swapped as it is rounding off on the edges making traction a problem on the hard pack.  I felt good still after the grunt up to the road and criused up the road and into the new subdivision where I got out of the seat to push up the steep section.  Then I took the 4wd trail now formed beyond the lower section of road to where it meets the next subdivision and then onto Britten.  Nice climb up here enjoying the warmer than expected temperature and lack of wind.  Near the top I took the right hand, struggling to see for grass though, and carried on along below the road right to the end of the original John Britten track.  At the road I flicked left and went back to Broadleaf lane.  I chased a bunch of roadies up Broadleaf who turned back and headed down again at the first gateway and begrudgingly said 'hi' as they passed by.  Typical angry roadies, I guess they are punishing their depressed selves by riding skinny tyred bone shakers all the time.  Past the first gate the road has been worked on, 100m of river run gravel and then graded flat from there.  Not to bad to ride. but a bit soft still.  Got to the top and climbed up to the very top of the hill for a look over to the harbour.  Great view on a perfect evening.

I headed down towards Greenwood, with the usual issues with not being able to see the trail due to grass growth but got better towards the bottom.  Grip was excellent so I was really railing the corners. I hooked onto Greenwood and immediately ran off the track on the first jump.  Had to go back and do it again properly, then a minute later as I ran past the ruins into the rocks I lost balance off the big rock in the track and crashed off into more rocks.  Not to much harm done but I was not well pleased with my riding.  Again I back-tracked and hit it again properly.  I seemed to ride better from there, great run through the rocky sections and cornering well until just before gloomy gulch I picked up a snakebite.  Stopped and decided to remove what I suspected was the offending rock from the track, which required the use of a large boulder to smash down onto it.  This took about 10 minutes, then another 10 mins to fix the flat.  A group of 7 or 8 riders passed going up as I moved off.  This was about the only people I saw from then on.  From here down the run went well apart from going too fast into the first rock climb and missing the easy line causing me to stall out on the rough ground.

Headed into Godley without stopping and felt much better on the first climb due to having a good heart rate to start with.  Cleaned the first section but just slipped up on the second tricky bit.  Went well from there and had good pace, not in granny gear for a change.  3/4 of the way up on one of the tricky rocky bits I managed to get up over a high spot going faster than normal, then dropped both wheels into holes which stopped my momentum instantly.  This threw me into the bars and picked up the back wheel.  It happened so fast I didn't even stop pedaling, doing 2 complete cranks with the wheel in the air, going nowhere.  Luckily I didn't go OTB and just dropped back down with no damage done.  Got moving again making the top and decent down to the water tank without any further drama.  Hit the next climb without stopping for a rest and had a clean run through the technical rock sections and headed down to the top of Anaconda.  Big group of cars with bike racks parked in the way at the top which made me wonder if there might be some traffic coming up but in the end didn't see anyone (must have been the group I saw heading up Greenwood).  I took off down the hill and about 30 seconds in decided I was feeling a bit buggered so stopped for a feed.  Was a nice spot sitting on the side of the hill with a great view and no wind.  Got moving again after 5 and had a pretty good run down the gully and out the tail, managing to hold good pace through the rock sections to Taylors Mistake. 

Not many surfers about today.  I headed straight up the road to Scarborough.  The 1 square I ate taking affect with plenty of energy being burned all the way up but no blowout, in fact each time I flicked up a gear going over the top it seem nice and easy to accelerate away to the next gear.  I dropped down into the park at the top of the hill and followed the route Rich and I found a month or 2 back which was quite cool with some hairy bits to negotiate in the middle.    From the bottom I cruised along the Sumner beach front and then gound my way below the cliffs to Redcliffs and through to the start of the causeway and back to the car.  About 2 1/2 hours ride time all up.

Old Skool Lappage II

Tuesday evening ride.  With Swtchbckr away with work for a week I contacted the boys from PFMTBC to see if they were riding and if so could I tag along.  They were and as it happens, had planned to do a carbon copy of my last ride.  I picked up Phatboy (who kindly gave me a yummo feed first) and we loaded up the 'Rona and met the others at the end of Bowenvale ave.  This time I had 3 clean climbs up to the top, bar stopping at the creek crossing to watch the others attempt to ride it.  There were a mix of successes and failures but everyone gave it a go.  I also had 1 dab when following Helmut up to the second hairpin where I was too close and got stalled in the rutty bit.  This time it was pretty windy up the hill so it was a bit tricky on the narrow trail at speed.  I felt pretty good though and had a good run on all 3 laps but did manage to go way off the trail half way down after a jump from one of the rocks on the trail. 

After so many laps in a row I was feeling pretty dialled in to the track and despite the wind the last lap would definately have been my fastest run. I seemed to be able to rail the corners and maintain my balance/line pretty well all the way down.  We caught a few riders on the way down giving 1 a bit of a fright and causing him to bail off the track in  a panic to get out of the way.  After the 3rd lap we cruised back to the car and headed home.  Helmut impressing us by cleaning the super dodgy exit trail to the right at the bottom of old skool. 

Old Skool Lappage I

Finished work and headed over to Swtchbckrs where nobody was home yet so did some overdue bike maintenance on the footpath.  Eventually everyone arrived home and Rich fixed a front puncture before we headed off for Bowenvale ave.  Parked up at the end of road carpark and rode up the gravel track into the valley at a steady pace.  Having not been on the bike at all last week or more I was feeling a little taxed by the time we topped out at the turnoff to the hidden valley link track but headed up without stopping.  For the first time in forever I cleaned the creek crossing and grunty climb to the first hairpin.  Someone has moved some of the rocks around so they don't roll around any more making the crossing pretty good.  I actually managed to make the climb to the fence crossing without dabbing, which was pretty good considering I was a bit tired already. 

I led off down old skool and had a reasonable run down, no major dramas, feeling pretty good, Rich sitting in the slipstream with no problems.  At the bottom we turned left back up the valley for lap 2.  This time I gimped up on the first dry creek crossing to the cattle stop on the 4 by track but cleaned everything else.  Rich lead down this time and I kept his wheel pretty well to the bottom but we were moving along a little faster this time.  It was good to see the different lines he was taking.  Again at the bottom we turned left.  Mucked up the first hairpin on the link track this time but cleaned the rest.  I led off again this time and we had the throttle well opened this time, having memorised most of the track and studied each others lines once each.  I had a bit of a moment trying to pop off a rock about 2/3rds of the way down when my foot came out of the pedal causing a major loss of balance on landing.  Managed to gather it up before going too far off course and carried on though.  This time we turned right at the bottom and headed out to the exit and carpark.  Had a yarn to some young guys before it started to pour down forcing us to quickly load up the car and take cover.  A good ride on a day the weather wasn't meant to cooperate but allowed us to fit in an hour and a half or so, was fun too.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mission: Day 2

After the efforts of the night before I was expecting to take the usual gentle 7.5km ride to work as usual.  However upon noticing a flat rear tire on the car in the morning and also realising that both front tires were well passed their used by dates I pumped up the flat with the floor pump.  It was audibly leaking but not super fast, so I drove to the Cust garage and put more air in there before driving to my usual tire shop in sunny Kaiapoi.  As I had no appointment booked they couldn't do anything right away and had to get my tyres in anyway.  So I got the bike out and rode from there.  It took 45 minutes to do the 20km or so into a 40 to 50 km/h head wind which was also whipping up a lot of dust.  I had my fingers crossed the wind would remain until I came back. 

After work I got back on the bike and noticed the wind had died considerably.  Luckily there was some good gusts along the way though and I was able to ride most of the way in second from top gear.  This time it took around half an hour and I was a lot less buggered at the end.  Still a lot more riding than I had bargained for when I got up this morning, but good training when added to last nights jaunt.

Trans-Traverse Solo Mission

Has been a while since my last post, although most of my rides have been posted on the SWTCHBCKR blog for anyone interested.  Anyway with last week being more or less washed out and time being short over the weekend I hadn't been on the bike for nearly 2 weeks.  Coupled with a wet winter limiting riding opportunities the fitness levels were well below par on my last ride.  I figured with Rich away I had better just get my A into G and go out on my own seeing as there were no other takers of a ride around.  To avoid the worst of the wet mucky areas and to get a good high intensity aerobic ride in I figured parking half way up Dyers Pass and riding the Old Dyers Track would be a good option.  So after dealing with a drunken vagrant invading the store after closing and having to wait 20 minutes on the phone while talking to the Police Comms centre before they arrived to collect him from the street outside, I arrived at the parking spot at about 6pm and got changed.

Within about 50 metres of entering the 4wd track I had hit a muck patch with was across the whole track.  Seeing as I had spent about half an hour the night before meticulously cleaning the chain this was particularly annoying.  I pressed on through a number of similar patches until entering the single track itself.  This was wet too, but more tacky and not so likely to get into the gearing.  Still I took note to come back down pretty carefully as there were plenty of slick ruts and holes to get through.  Once I hit the steeper section things really improved, firstly due to the better runoff and secondly due to the well formed trail and drainage systems where the trail is now well groomed.  I really enjoy climbing this section as it has a good flow.  This time though I was too unfit to really enjoy it much.  I had to just keep plugging on to keep the momentum going.  I got to the top just above the Sign of the Kiwi in what felt like a reasonable time though and kept going up the road.  All I could manage though was a steady pace and no more.  At the top of Worsleys Spur I turned up all lighting, unlocked the front fork and headed straight into the Nun.  Being on my own and not having seen a single mountain biker out as yet I carried on cautiously rather than at full pace.  Half way down where it gets fairly rocky I could hear/feel the back wheel pinging on rocks because the tire was too soft.  I was sure this would result in a flat so pulled up at the road saddle and checked.  No hissing was heard and the pressure was still OKish so I carried on.  The pinging continued further down though so when I got out of the track back at the Sign of the Kiwi and part way up the road to Thompsons track I pulled over to put some more air in and have a banana.  I boy racers' ute slowed up and a dreadlocked teenage checked if I was 'all good' as he hung part way out the window.  I replied 'yeah bro good as'.  Then headed up the 2 Thomsons sections.  A group of about 6 riders passed by as I was exiting the nasty ramp at the end of the first section.  No greetings, just a check to see if there were more riders behind me as they whizzed past.  On up and into the Traverse and the legs still had a good amount of energy but not much left after kicking up the little steep sections.  Still, good enough pace around to Vernon.  Across the road and up the first rocky section then a nice flow around and down to the top of Rapaki.  Had to pull up a few times as more and more riders began to emerge.  Passed Rapaki and into the newly re-opened (was it ever really closed???) Witch Hill section.  The newly paved in grit section at the start now sucks and then enters the good natural techyness.  I cleaned all but 1 little dab which was much better than my last gimpy effort.  Seemed to have more power now up to the top and was able to keep plenty of speed up over the little rock steep bits.  At the high point I stopped and had a breather.

As I sat about 10 lights appeared on the road below coming from Castle Rock.  I watched as the snaked along thinking they were roadies.  But as they got near the entrance to Witch Hill I could hear the sound of disk brakes being applied as they entered.  Why you would do that I don't know, as the more speed you can carry in from there the easier it is if you ask me.  I decided to wait until the nearest riders were only a few seconds behind me before heading back the way I had come.  I took off and managed to flow nicely down most of the track bar a couple of small mistakes.  When I got back to Rapaki the first riders of the group behind were about 100m back, apart from 1 who had gone around the road and was 50m up Mt Vernon ahead of me.  I caught him pretty soon and he pulled over right away.  The legs were now starting to slow up so I paced myself around to the top before getting a small rest on the last little decent over the rocks where I took a pretty average line.  Back across the Traverse I passed a few more oncoming riders and saw a light ahead as I got to the halfway mark.  I waited for him to come past and he stopped for a chat for a minute.  Got going again for the last section pushing hard before grovelling up the last little climb before dropping back into Thompsons.  Missed/dabbed the first hairpin due to high entry speed and to high a gear.  Got the second easy though.  Back to the Kiwi and into Old Dyers.  The top section flowed like mermaids hair, it felt like a roller coaster but was over way to soon.  Now that the slippery grit has bedded in or washed off it is awesome.  I thought that is the type of trail that would be great switch backing across the slope from the top of Blowhard.  From there down though it was just a matter of slowly tip toeing back to the car at the road.  Back there at 8pm.  Picked up a feed from Burger Wisconsin, which for $15 was pretty ordinary tasting although fairly large, and headed home.