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.