Excited enough to be going back down to Rotorua for a three-day stay, it just got better when I became the relief supervisor at work (meaning I now cover the leave of the other supervisors), got off my regular shift & somehow landed an eight day weekend. Even better, I was able to spend each of those eight days riding!
Arriving Thursday a fortnight ago, I couldn’t be bothered waiting for Luke to get home from work so set off for a short ride while he turned up. Much to my disbelief I got caught in a torrential downpour halfway around the Haro & started sliding all around the place. Since I was already pretty wet (soaked through really), there was only the option of carrying on & sliding & swimming my way down the Grinder (rather interesting when you can’t see a lot) and around the Diamondback. I was somewhat pertubed to see that the gully in Diamondback has been smoothed out, never mind – more speed. Back at Luke’s house, the sun was out again but I still had to wash off with the hose – when Luke finally arrived home, I inadvertently managed to buy a brand new GT Peace fully-rigid singlespeed (that he just happened to have lying around) off him. I am still not completely sure how that happened, but I finally have a singlespeed – even if I wasn’t really look for one – & it is great.
So the week continued in a similar vein – a lot of riding. Taking the Peace out for its first ride, it wasn’t raining so much, but I still got saturated from the mud & puddles. After that ride the rest of the week was perfect riding weather – not too hot, not windy, not raining & trails in great condition. Getting back to the Peace – my first ride on a singlespeed was around the Long Mile – A-Trail – Tickler – Rude & Exit loop. I survived & loved it. I think the shock of a lack of shocks was more to adjust to than just the one gear – it must be over five years since I have ridden a fully rigid bike off road (the ever trusty Hardrock that I got in third form). One gear is quite manageable & oh so quiet. Wasn’t so game to take that dropoff in the Tickler – but that came a couple of days later; one small spill sideways on the Exit from getting stuck in a rut just before the overhanging tree. It is also so much easier to clean than a full suspension rig!
So without going in to too much more detail, the highlights of the rest of the week were riding at Craters of the Moon, Taupo, for the first time in a year – the new trails Mr & Mrs and Better Than P had me grinning & laughing all the way down; riding with Te Puke mates & managing to get the single speed up the steep road to Gunna Gotta; getting confused & crossing over between Corners & the jump track – first time on these trails; and riding all of the trails worth riding. Off the bike it was great to spend time at the lake with Terry & Bronny and catch up with Andrew & Kate – more great hospitality. Also, caught African Odyssey at the Basement Cinema – which I very much enjoyed – the handycam diary of four guys in their twenties from Whakatane who decided it would be a good adventure to ride from Cape Town to London (straight up Africa to Cairo, across to Tunis, ferry to Italy) on their clapped out 250cc motorbikes.
After that great week, it was two day shifts at work (bit of a shock getting up at 0430 after a week of lying in!) & then two great rides down the Luck At Last track just out of Whangamata. The first was particularly good as it rained a lot beforehand and the track was pine-needled, muddy, sliding goodness. By Labour Day the track had dried out quite a bit and we must have been a bit jaded. Now just to wait for my new MacBook to turn up…