Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reintroducing Ourselves to the Three Sisters

Today, Brett convinced us to recce a proposed new track for the Blue Mountain Blast as our old one has been wrecked by those bloody foresters! He had found a new way to get from Valley Station to King Rd and it only took hime 12 minutes on his 400cc motor bike!

So the Boss, Hedley, Roger, Karl and Kate and I headed off from Hanaia and met up with Ross and Mike at Waiaua where Hedley put a new chain (not bought from Hickey's!) on Grant's bike who then drove to Young's where we picked him and Bruno up. At the skid we met Louise who joined us and Brett who was on his 70cc motor bike.

It was fairly uneventful to Valley Station Rd (though it is always a tougher and longer climb than I remember each time) and we charged down the Dip, turned off, went the wrong way, backtracked and then ended up walking most of the way up some steep ridge to King Rd which only took Brett 12 minutes on his 400cc motor bike previously! This photo and others in the album (click here) show the terrain he took us over.

It was great to reach King Rd and hurtle down, full of anticipation and trepidation. towards the waiting, and particularly grumpy, Three Sisters. They did not disappoint and looked as if they had a hard time and wanted to take it out on us. Grant was a Three Sister's virgin and hurtled himself down and, despite a few skid outs and minor falls, conquered them well. We all had minor incidents but to impress were Roger, Hedley, Ross, Kate and Louise who rode quite a bit. I stayed sort of attached to my pedals, seat (by way of stomach) and handlebars for most of it. but Grant struggled to call it riding.

From there it was a great charge up the Mangakirikiri and it's many creek crossings with a beautiful swim in one deep pool to cool off.

When we met Vaughan and his son at the skid he told Mike ( who had turned up at cycling 2 weeks previous without a helmet) that he had locked his car for him at Waiaua as Mike had left it open!

We got back to Hanaia for coffee and baking supplied by Hedley and then a few of us headed to the Harbour Swim to be kayak safety people.

Hell, we have a lot of adventures!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Counter Sabotage

What's happened to my counter? One minute I'm surging past 8000 on my way to the party for 10000 and the next minute I'm back to 3000!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mangakirikiri Revisited

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago as I was attempting that famous final creek crossing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Te Waiti With a Hangover

Barry's 40th was last night and I know I should know better, but I had a hell of a hangover on Te Waiti this morning!

This photo shows where Samantha went over the edge attempting to ride the slip that we all (apart from Shane Armstrong!) walk. Sam, who is at the front here, was only prevented from plummetting at least 10 metres down this slip by the protruding ponga log sticking out in the foreground.

The Boss, Roger and Hedley headed off from town, while David, Samantha and I drove to the Pakihi East bridge, and then Ross picked us up closer to Te Waiti where we met up with Teleri and Kate who drove to the start because they had Bruno the dog.

This is a spectacular track with some fine native bush riding, some scary steep falling away from the track stuff, some tricky and slippery creek crossings, small bridges and larger creeks to cross. Check out the photos here.

I only went over the edge once but Hedley was there to save my bike. I never thought I would be so pleased to land with legs either side of a tree at the top of the drop off!

The hangover made it hard work and my head felt every bump on the ride. I also got little sympathy. All enjoyed this beautiful ride with Teleri testing her little fear of heights in places.

It was great not to have to ride all the way home into a strong northerly and heavy squall as the Boss, Hedley and Roger did. We then enjoyed very strong coffee and cakes and muffins (thanks Ross and Roger) back at Hedley and Teleri's.

Maraehako Holiday

Last week we spent Wednesday to Saturday camping at Maraehako, a wonderful piece of paradise we try to get to every year. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and after setting up camp and cooking dinner we sat around the fire with the Shove's, Pease's and Destry and Nicky.

The next morning, after a run, I decided to explore likely fishing spots in the kayak after listening carefully to the fireside talk. I planned to not be a whimp and paddle out in open sea. The sea was perfect so I spent 90 minutes paddling up to a k off shore, heading east for 3 ks and then back west and around Whanarua Bay where I was attacked by a jet fighter-pilot-like seagull about 8-10 times. I had to beat it off with my paddle.

That afternoon we went fishing around the rocks. We saw some good-sized fish, but only managed to pull in a very small snapper which was sent back to grow. That night we tried surf-casting but just got dealt to by small fish.

I was up and gone by 7am the next morning and was concerned to see there was quite a swell running so my plans to head out to open sea were shelved and I decided to drift along fishing close to the far eastern point of the bay.

I immediately caught a small trevally which I cut up for bait and then promptly landed 3 nice tarakihi, losing at least 2 other good fighters. That was enough so after hooking another trev for tomorrow's bait I headed in after having hunted and provided.

After fishing we wandered up to the Macadamia Cafe at Whanarua for lunch. We then had another afternoon enjoying the process but not the product of fishing. After a great feed of fish that night we joined with the firesiders and had a few beers watching an impromptu fireworks shows ans spotting sputniks.

The next morning was even rougher so I went to the same place. It was quite uncomfortable with a swell and strong wind. I lost my first tarakihi over the side as I was transferring it from net to sack but caught another and a good sized trev which we brought home and had for tea.

We had a great time away and got back in time to go to Barry's 40th, hence the hangover today.

Check out the photos from Maraehako.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Day in The Redwoods

Leigh, Lucy and her friend Sam, and I had a great day in the Redwoods today. This photo shows Sam and Lucy racing around the berms on the perfect tracks in the Redwoods in Rotorua. Click here for the rest of the photos.

Leigh spent her time riding the Tahi, Creek and Dipper several times for about 3 hours.

Me and the girls headed off over Tahi, Creek, down Mad If You Don't and then slugged it out for about 45 mins up Hill and Tawa Rds to the top of Billy T. This was an awesome 10 min grade 4 swoop down some neat but bumpy and tricky trails. We then hurtled down G Rock, Chestnut, the Rollercoaster, Chop Suey, Spring Roll and Stir Fry before hurtling down the great Be Rude Not 2 and then finishing on the sweeping berms of The Dipper.

All-in-al we were cycling for 4 hours! Tomorrows race from Magpie Park to Torere and return is looking like hard work now.

We had a great day in Rotos finishing up with a humungous feed at Fat Dog.

To top it off, when we dropped Sam off her Dad, David, offered me the use of his Giant TCR as he was sick of my grizzling on the blog about my heavy hunk of steel!

Maybe tomorrow's ride mught not be as bad!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hectic Week

On Monday night a few of us gathered at Marg's for a dinner to farewell Pete who is off counting fish for 7 weeks down in Timaru.

On Tuesday it was road cycling night and once again my big hunk of steel (i.e. my road bike) proved burdensome over the last k where I find it difficult to foot it with the others in the sprint over the final hills. Those buggers who don't take their turn at the front early on need to lie awake at night feeling guilty. This sort of riding should be a team sport where we all work for the good of the group.

Wednesday saw our first Round Taupo Relay traing run. This was quite difficult with Jarod, Destry and Brian setting quite a torrid early pace while Rachel walked off for her training. We managed the Woodlands loop in 30 minutes which is quite solid for our first run. I immediately developed my regular back and hip aches so Leigh dragged me off to buy new shoes to replace the sad, old tired three year old ones.

It all caught up with me on Thursday's mtb race where I finished last. I did the High Course and struggled in the heat though I managed to ride as much of the uphill as I usually can. The goat track was as awesome as always but I did slip a pedal coming out of the hairpin and further on my haandlebars hit the side and I nearly bounced over the edge. The bush section was not as slippery as it has been but I did have 2 falls. The second fall resulted in my chain ring punching into the back of my calf and tearing flesh. It was a painful ride to the finish.

I'll attempt a run this morning if my calf is ok. Today brings doing maintenance on Lucy's bike to prepare for a day in the Redwoods tomorrow and helping Lucy to prepare her room for painting (a green aand purple ombination - that's my girl!) As well, Lucy and I plan to go fishing with Kurt this afternoon and evening,

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Another Outstanding MTB Adventure With The SOBS

This picture of Sam anticipating the next few seconds is what our adventures are all about!

Today, Shirley, Boss, Nicole, Karl The Visitor, David and Sam joined me, Leigh and Lucy for coffee at Hanaia before we headed off up the Motu Rd, Gaskills Rd and Block Access Rd to journey down the Mangakirikiri and out the Pakihi. We met up with Grant and Dog on Block Access Rd.

We hurtled down the Mangakirikiri track with Lucy and Sam catapaulting into a prickly bush, Karl going over the handlebars after running into a low-hanging branch which David then hit and got bloodied and thrown from his bike. Karl, Sam and I also came to grief attempting to ride the slippery logs.

The 40+ creek crossing were quite difficult with a lot of water and rocks. Leigh impressed with a growing confidence and technical ability. Unfortunately Shirley insisted on following my advice and ended up having a couple of swims with one involving a painful knee knock!

The final creek crossing is in the photo attached where most of us attempted an impossible crossing. I hope to receive Karl's photos of my complete submerge on my second attempt (and then destroy them!)

We then rode back to town for coffee and muffins at Two Fish (thanks for having a credit card, Nicole) before the final haul home for Xmas cake.

Check out the full set of photos here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Leigh leading up a tough climb

Originally uploaded by
Here's Leigh leading Hedley and Barry up a tough climb on Armstrong's Farm! See the previous post for link to full set of photos.

Super Seven!

Seven superbly honed athletes were able to successfully manage the tight, downhill hairpin on the goat track on Friday's MTB ride. There ere a couple of firsts: Brent is the only rider to fail on his first attempt, walk back to try again, look down the track and then walk it again! Barry is the only rider to walk it from 20 metres before it even starts to drop.

The super seven are me, Jarod, Aaron, Dion, Roger (on second attempt), Ben and Karl.

Ben also impressed the crowd with a clean leap over The Mud Hole and in the process bent his seat post!

The bush section was very slippery and provided some specatcular slips and falls. Roger had the best dismount, leaping clear off his bike to avoid travelling with it into the creek. David slipped out of control and took the photographer out! Further down the track Jarod had a spectacular crash negotiating the mud. But like several other intrepids throughout the ride he didn't let it beat him and he had another successful attempt.

The photos are on flickr but I must have bumped a setting and many of them are in large format so I hope they don't take too long to download.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fish of the Week

This is not about my recent successful fishing trips, but it is the title of Steve Braunias' latest book which we got for Xmas. It is a collection of his columns from the Sunday Star Times since 2005. He has a neat perspective on both major events in New Zealand and the mundane events which usually pass the rest of us by.

One of his columns is about blogging and just about made me want to give up.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Long Time Between Posts

Once holidays start I get out of routines, one of which is keeping the blog up-to-date.

It is the first day of 2009 and I'm sitting in bed drinking good coffee while Leigh reads interesting bits out of yesterday's Herald.

We had a quiet New Year's up at the Boss' where we caught up with the Sykes' who are camping there and also with Cath Kan and Simon who turned up to camp as well with their two neat boys.

Xmas day seems quite a while ago. It was a neat day with my sister Janine and her two kids and our son Thomas home. Adrian (from work, not the Shields one) spent the afternoon with us and we had a BBQ for a late lunch.

Activities since include fishing at Blakes and catching 2 snapper, a 2m shark and 2 stingrays last Sunday, having 15 teenage friends of Lucy staying for the night and lounge floor on Sunday night, tidying the garage and store room on a wet Tuesday, and spending the day with the weedeater bringing my walking and MTB track under control.

I'll post some photos when I can get myself, the computer and camera together at the same time.

Oh, I nearly forget, I'm a skyper now and can't understand why we never clicked on to it sooner. I've aalready spoken with 3 long lost friends: Ron (ex Galloway St flat from 1976-77) from Gisborne, Chris (ex same flat) now Deputy VC at James Cook Uni in Townsville and Brent (ex same flat) now in Rotorua.

See you in cyberspace!

Have a great Ne4w Year!