Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nothing too exciting

It's been a couple weeks & it's been the usual mix of working heaps & riding. The riding has been curtailed a little in the last week due to the inclement weather. Summer has well & truly ended with some determination - it's been cold & it's snowed a few times in town. The highlight ride for the last two weeks has been a new trail called Razor's Edge that word of mouth told us about. It starts near the end of the downhill from the Barrier Lookout (a ride Alex & I have done quite a few times now) & apparently comes out on the TransCanada. Friday before last was reasonably nice & I was keen to explore - so Alex & I parked on the side of the highway after work & rode up Quaite to the top of Jewell Pass. This is Mt Barrier (just right of centre) taken from high up at the cement plant.
We had to ride & push up the downhill trail for a few hundred metres before finally spying the trail branching off to the left. As the trail was quite newly cut, the traverse around to the next pass was quite soft & slippery (thankfully there were not too many roots). Before long we were at the pass - which we had to go along, not over for a change. It was pretty rocky & we appropriately spent quite a while riding along the Razor's Edge. There were some good slippery drops of which we could do some, & some we weren't going to attempt knowing that we didn't really know how long it would be before we got off the trail. It's always quite neat riding along big slabs of rock. We lost the trail proper at the other end of the pass, but with a bit of bush bashing following various coloured ribbons we were back on the trail climbing up & then around the next peak (the one on the left of the photo above, I think). The descent through the trees (we were by this stage on the reverse of the unknown peak) started off really step & slippery & not all rideable for us - it flattened out a bit, & became really fun before climbing a little & then dropping on to the final descent to the highway. We were a long way above the highway & the trail soon turned to being completely big slabs of rock. It was little hard to know exactly where the trail was, but there were sufficient cairns to make our way down eventually. There were some neat little rollovers & chutes to zoom down. One just had to be careful to stop & take the left turn twenty metres from the highway - or else some poor motorist would have had a MTBer flying off the cliff & landing on their hood. It turned out to be a two hour ride to do only ten kilometres, & it was a little epic in places (hence the slow pace) - but the downhill sections were both rewarding & challenging.

While I've got them here, here are a couple more pics taken from the cement plant - looking up the Bow Valley (Canmore is further up there, around the corner a little). It may even be a more scenic setting than NZ Steel; actually, it's much nicer than the Manukau Harbour & dairy farms.
It was pretty wet in general last week, so not too many outdoor activities. Friday morning there was a good few centimetres of snow in town & even more out at Exshaw - when it cleared that afternoon, leaving work was really beautiful (even more so as it was the weekend). Saturday was unexpectedly clear - so I took the opportunity to pop up Ha Ling to get a good view over the Bow Valley & up the Spray Valley. I hadn't been up there since February, when there was bit more snow around. It's the easiest summit around here (about an hour up & just under an hour down - the descent time does tend to depend a bit on how slippery it is). The snow was melting by now, but there was still quite a bit around - out of the trees there was about twenty centimetres in some places - & a few chipmunks scurrying around. Nice to have some blue skies & a view for a change.

A nice ride after the hike around the G8 & that was Saturday afternoon. Sunday was a good day for watching TV programs & chocolate chai. The weekend ended on an unexpectedly expensive note after Alex spied a nice pair of alpine touring skis, bindings, boots & skins. They turned out to be in really good condition - so now I have a nice pair of K2s & it doesn't really matter so much now if the snow comes in a hurry, as I want to go & try them out.

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