Friday, October 10, 2008

Return to the Hills

It would be fair to say it’s been a decent amount of time since I last went for a ride up a hill. In fact it was back in July and it wasn’t very good. With that in mind I was pretty sure that this week’s return to Kennedy’s Bush was going to be “interesting”. I hadn’t planned going anywhere near the hills on Tuesday, but after making a deal with myself that I could have some of the extremely delicious (and healthy) Cyclops Chocolate Yoghurt if I did 2 hill repeats of the Kennedy’s Bush road I headed off. Hmmmmm. Things did not go well. Unfortunately much as I expected. My lovely road bike has 2 chain rings up front, meaning my choices for gears for hill climbing are somewhat limited. Even in the very lowest gear I’m still about 5 gears higher than I would be on my mountain bike. It was bloody hard from the word go. I quickly reassessed my goals for the ride and decided that if I could get past the stone wall ¾’s of the way to the second corner I would be happy and anything past that would be extra good. First attempt. Past the stone wall, and about 50m short of the first corner, no standing, but very sore legs and lungs. Second attempt. Crikey! Legs screaming right from the start but manage to make it to the end of the wall, but only just. So all in all, a little bit disappointing, but I still felt I’d earning my yoghurt.
The next day I rode my lovely full sus bike to work as it was heading in for a service at The Hub. They did a fantastic job on it, sorting out my rear derailleur issue and fixing my brakes. So after work Pete and I headed up Kennedy’s again. After the previous day’s effort I was keen to see how my legs would actually go on the MTB. Amazingly they went freaking brilliantly, yay legs. I got up the road in my fastest time ever and didn’t get down into the easiest gear once. The first time ever that’s happened. In fact once I hit the single track climb and then 4wd track up to the first down hill I still hadn’t got down that far and my legs were feeling really good. Fun blast down the little bit of single track, but I had a couple of guys right behind me which I found quite unnerving so not as flowing as I’d like, but it’ll come. Then back up. My legs were beginning to feel it, but it was still better than any other ride up here I’ve ever done. I didn’t quite make it to the top, Pete was freezing in the nasty easterly, so I turned round when he went past me going the other way, but I did get almost to the top and I felt really good. Back down was great. Brakes felt good and I was getting used to being back on my “real” bike. Back up my favourite bit of single track and my legs were working great. Down the techy single track by the 4wd climb and I was a nana. Sun in my eyes, track full of ruts and nasty (fun) wee drop offs (I’m sure Pete didn’t even notice them) and I was taking it easy. Fantastic fun though. Blasted down the last swoopy section and lifted my bike onto the cattle stop to head down the Croc for the first time. It was exciting. Lots of work has been done to smooth it out after winter, but it’s still rougher than I’ve ever ridden it before and the sun was in the worst possible place meaning in some place sI couldn’t see anything. After the first couple of switchbacks I remembered how to ride them and found my flow. I managed to avoid the first gapping chasm I came to and stay on the bike, but I had to walk round the second one. I couldn’t see the bottom and the hole was large enough to completely swallow a wheel. As usual I wussed out on the rocky bit. I’m going to have to bring my pads up one day and session it till I can get it. Bloody thing scares me silly. I was happy that I managed to ride all the switchbacks, including the 2nd to last one where the track has been narrowed significantly on the exit and it would be all too easy to head down the bank. The climb out of the valley is just silly hard at the moment and even pushing up wasn’t that easy.
It was a fantastic ride and made me feel a lot more confident about the Molesworth. Which is lucky as Pete and I have entered the Moa Beer Moa Hunt in Kekerengu, just north of Kaikoura on the 29th of November. The fantastic news about that is Pete won the early bird prize of a case of Moa Beer, a case of Allan Scott wine (mmmmmmm) and a free entry to the Rainbow Rage. The bad news is the profile for the race. Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

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