That afternoon Brian and I paddled the upper Waioeka section as he has a new waka, Saracens, and was keen to try it in the river. It was cool to be paddling again. He only had one spill in what looks to be very stable but quite fast boat. I completed a successful roll in it and then gave some help to Brian whi is almost rolling. Quite a tiring day.
Sunday was to prove to be very demanding. The Boss, Dr Kerr, Brian, Roger and I set off to do the Gnarly Old Hands in the Blue Mountains which I hadn't done before. I felt flat right from the start and knew it was going to be tough. As we turned off Valley Station Road we had an awesome single track downhill which was quite testing in places. Getting up the other side was challenging and involved some walking. Up on the 'main road' we were joined by Ross, Colin and Brett and we teared into the first military track which was beautifully carved out by Brett and Colin and others. They have done a wonderful job so that we can all enjoy the area. I was struggling energy wise but enjoyed the bush, spotted a pig and rode over the log bridge!
After a brief rest on Kings Rd we headed back up to the 'main road' and hurtled down the second military track which was largely downhill with lovely berms. Awesome! After gathering back on Kings Road we headed onwards and met at the top of the dreaded 'three sisters' where we sat around building our bravado. This is an awesomely steep set of three downhills that are deeply rutted clay. I followed Colin, Roger, Ross, Brett and Kerr down with the Boss and Brian coming behind. I chose the approach of wedging the seat into my stomach and virtually sitting on the back tyre. This proved successful as I went past a lying down Kerr on the first sister and then came across Brett a long way from his bike and Ross helping him at the bottom of the second and steepest sister. It was impossible to stop at this point so I skidded onwards and downwards and successfully made the third and final. It was a huge thrill to stay on my bike all of the way down, one of only 2 of us I think.
It was a tough ride for me back up the Mangakirikiri and home but was pulled along well by Colin and the others. If you read this Margaret, tell Christopher that I successfully rode over the three logs on the Mangakirikiri track.
All MTBers must get out and enjoy these tracks as they will be logged in a couple of years. Every time you do say a little thanks to Brett and his team for the hard work they have done. Perhaps we need to start thinking of how this area could be preserved. What about a tourism trail for MTB and walking all along the military track to Toatoa. People would travel the world to enjoy it.
Oh yeah, sorry Lea V, we missed you. Get better soon.