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.