Friday, August 28, 2009

Skyline Epic

While Helen was out tramping I was riding my mountain bike. On their way out of town Helen and Anne-Laure dropped me off in Johnsonville at the northern end of the Skyline Track. My plan was to follow it all the way to south coast.

The proposed route

The track started out friendly enough, but quickly turned a corner and went up a steep grassy slope. I was off the bike and walking. Shortly, the slope started to mellow out and I was back riding again. The track wound its way up and over a ridge giving me my first glimpse of Mt Kau Kau. The Kennett Brothers have built a bunch of new singletrack along the track to make some of the climbs easier for cyclists as well as adding cattle stops to bypass most of the gates.

The track continued to climb up towards Mt Kau Kau getting quite steep near the top. From the top of Mt Kau Kau I had 360 degree views: down to city and up to Porirua and Pahatinui Inlet. Now, finally some downhill! The track down from Mt Kau Kau was a bit bumpy and I managed to catch some air a few times. This was bit scary as it was fairly windy at this stage and if I left the ground I got pushed sideways a fair bit as well.

City view from Mt Kau Kau

The rest of the track to Makara Road went really smoothly. All the hard work by the Kennett Bros meant I was able to ride this whole section without getting off the bike once.

Johnston Hill

After crossing Makara Road, I entered the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park. I was back on trails that I knew well, only I was riding them in the opposite direction to normal. I rode up Varelys and Zacs to the summit. From there I decided to try riding down Ridgeline, which has become quite feral over winter. I had an over-the-bars moment which ended up with me landing on my feet, but a steep slope such that I tripped over. I managed a funky roll which left a bit shaky but unharmed. I managed the rest of Ridgeline okay and continued down Ridgeline Extension and Lazy Fern.

At the car park I stopped for a bit of rest and muesli bar. After a wee rest I was back on the bike and heading up Salvation to the top of Wrights Hill. From there it was along the Sanctuary Fenceline towards the windmill. When I finally reached the tarseal near the windmill I was faced with a decision: carry on down to the coast as planned or go straight across the road into Car parts Extension? It was still pretty windy and quite cold when hit by it full force. I decided to keep to the sheltered singletrack and went straight.

Car Parts Extension and Car Parts are some of my favourite tracks in Wellington. They are fast flowing tracks that have a bit of a drop-off on the side to keep them interesting. From the bottom of Car Parts I shot across the road and down the Roller Coaster. From Denton Park I took a track to Holloway Road and then rolled into town. From there it was up Marjoriebanks street to the top of Mt Victoroa and then home.

All up, the ride was about four hours and maybe 40-45km. A big morning out and I spent most of the afternoon on the couch recovering.

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