Monday, September 14, 2009

I’ve Done a Big Ride

With the help of friends and K Bars

Yesterday, with the help and support of friends, I achieved a long held goal. To bike from Kennedy’s Bush to Taylor’s Mistake and out to Sumner in one day. For me this is an epic ride. Sure I’ve biked further and I’ve ridden for longer and I’ve done more climbing, but not on technical, rocky tracks, some of which I’ve never been on before. It was hard, but it was fun and today I’m shattered, more so than I was last night.

Knowing that this was going to be a big day I started out conservatively and eased up Kennedy’s Bush. We had to stop just before the last climb and adjust my brakes which were misbehaving. I opted to skip the Nun, not wanting to blow out from the climbing and nervous of riding it on my cross country beast. I, of course, regretted this when everyone else came flying out grinning, but I had enjoyed the second half of the Nun so all was not lost.

After a water stop at the Kiwi we headed up the hill to the Traverse and it flowed so sweetly. The bike was handling well and even though I don’t ride the Traverse in that direction often it was brilliant. We opted to spin round the road to Castle Rock from here as none of us, especially me, were too keen on scaling Vernon or Witch Hill. I’ve never ridden Castle Rock before and it was fantastic. Rocky, but flowing, not too fast and but fast enough that you can glide over everything. I loved it, and it gave my newly strong arm muscles a really good work out. I zoomed over rocks and down little drops, flowed round switchback corners and powered up and over rocks on the climb out. By the end of it I was grinning madly, as usual, and felt like all the Nun repeats had taught me so much about bike handling over rocks. I was really surprised how not-scary it was on the short travel bike. I’ve definitely learnt a lot from riding with scatter about letting my body do some of the suspension work. I’m very lucky to have such talented and patient women to ride with!

From there it was a climb round the road to John Britten, another piece of track I’d never ridden. Unfortunately I was so excited by my great ride at Castle Rock that I didn’t realise I was actually bonking from lack of food. That was until I went over my bars on a relatively flat bit of track in John Britten. Of course I did this right in front of my poor husband who was very worried because the crash looked rather spectacular. I was fine, as I’d landed in a nice soft patch of thistles, but it was then I realised how wobbly I’d become. We inched our way to Greenwood and caught up with Scatter and Slim and I devoured a sandwich (roast chicken and parsnip FTW) and a bit of K-Bar that the wonderful Scatter had kindly given me.

After this brief fuel and chat stop we were off and I was like a new rider. I cleaned everything! I was riding more confidently than before and was able to pick good lines and lift my front wheel up things I couldn’t before. The Anthem is made for tracks like Greenwood Park and held its speed really well which allowed me to tackle all the bits that scared the bejesus out of me last time I was here. My arms got even more of a work out and it turns out my front forks did too. When we stopped at Evan’s Pass for an ice cream, (ICE CREAM!! The ice cream truck is coming!), I discovered I’d blown the seals in my right stanchion of my forks and oil was pissing out. Booo. Luckily it wasn’t the left or it would have been ride over with oil on my front disk. After an ice cream in the sun we headed up Godley and I did a fair bit of pushing in the first section. I was feeling pretty shattered by now, but was still able to ride a few of the rocky bits. Once it levelled out it was all good and we were zooming off grinning. At the bottom of this section Scatter and I sensibly elected to sift around the road, as our little legs were feeling the burn, while the boys were all tough and climbed the singletrack.

At the bottom of that section of singletrack some engineering works were required to prevent someone killing themselves on the cattlestop that had disintegrated and we met up with Rita, who was having flat tyre troubles.

Then it was onto the Anaconda. So very sweet and flowy. All the pain was worth it as we flew down. Unfortunately Rita’s tyre troubles were passed to Slim and he had to pause to replace his tube. The Anaconda was riding brilliantly and I was very happy indeed. At the bottom I lay on the grass smiling and trying not to think about the climb out of Taylors. We were pretty happy campers, laughing at the stupid lowered cars scrapping over the speed bumps. I was surprised how good I still felt and as we spun up the hill, it didn’t hurt quite the way I thought it was going to. Flying down the other side I got to bed my brakes in really well as the traffic was crawling along.

For me it was an epic ride. And it was a dusty ride. We were out for just over 6 hours, and for me that was 4 hours of riding. Although it was only 40kms for me, the others are harder than me and rode home while I scrounged a ride from Rita, it was 40 bloody hard kms. Last time I set out to do an abridged version of this ride I broke my arm, this time it was fantastic. I’ve got my first race of the season next weekend and I honestly think I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. I’ve got muscles where once there was only flab, I’ve got confidence on technical tracks and I’ve the right bike for the job (once I get the forks fixed). I’m so excited about this summer’s riding I can hardly contain it!


Zane said...

Wooot! Go Tinks!

CrazyChris said...

I love the west->east traverse from Halswell to Taylors. I also did it recently, and might be doing it again this weekend. You would find the Mt Vernon and Witch Hill tracks are not as hard as you think, and are easier in the west->east direction than the other way round. And yes, the Godley track from Evans Pass is all uphill and hurty, but once it drops to the road again, the rest is a great bit of track to Anaconda, much easier and more fun at the end of a long day.

Always a sweet ride - starting with Flying Nun and ending with Anaconda. Fantastic views, awesome tracks, very little road (unless you're tired) and puts a smile on your dial for days afterwards.

If you ever decide to do it again, I'm keen to tag along!

Tinkerbell said...

Might have to take you up on that Chris!