Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Whatd ya reckon we get to wreck'n


I wake up

I eat and I go

To climb these hills

To circle these shores

It’s my life now

And every night

I drift off

And hope it never ends

-Scenes from any given day

It's been nearly four weeks since break, only two more weeks of classes left! I snapped right back into life plus some. Refreshed from time off the bike, I was eager to get back in the saddle and have since hardly rested. Here's a rewind of the highlights from the past few weeks.

Mt. Gray Mission with the club (May 12)

Mt. Gray, a small peak (1500m) sits less than an hour and a half outside of chch. Four tracks make their way to the top, a gnarly abandoned hiking track see sign below, unfortunately we didn't until we hit the summit, a washed up 4wd track, a spectacular track we made our 2 hour descent on, and a track yet to be explored by the Canterbury mtb club, that is, until this Saturday!

Nick still had some fun with the climb

Narv and Louise make their way up the final pitches after we finally reconnected with the 4wd

Last pitch!

Snowcapped Southern Alps

towards chch

towards the inland kaikouras

Two paths diverged on a windswept ridge in New Zealand

what goes up...

notice how we started in a tussock grass environment
fought our way through head high shrub land
and into some amazing beech forest

All in a single descent, that's New Zealand for ya

That's my pony on the outside.

somehow this is street legal, and by that, I'm referring to both the van and the contraption on the back

Damn good day, My Gray in the far off distance. I was so stoked by the ride I asked if we could do a return trip and check out the other track off the top, maybe even take the 4wd route up and save ourselves a little trouble. I'll be leading that mission this weekend.

Rapaki and such May 11

Toly rented a bike for the day. I brought the camera along. Unfortunately it started to rain, as I hoped to get a few more pics from a typical mtn. ride.


The Rapaki track, a part of one of the three mtn loops I ride in the porthills. This is by far the easiest way up. The other two loops I'll ride during the week challenge riders with lung busting climbs at knee snapping grades or ruts so deep they could swallow a rider and bike whole.

Hamner Springs Ski Area, May 5

Cal, who lives down the way from me here in Ilam, and I attacked a blustery Hamner Springs ski area. We started out from the little mountain town of Hamner Springs about 2 and a half hours north of chch, riding narrow dirt roads out of town up to the base of the access road. The area went unused last season (the owner was on a long holiday in Europe and didn't feel like coming back) so the last few miles to the base were pretty awash in some places.

Every switchback brought us more and more magnificent views.

After a solid three hours of climbing we reached the lodge. shelter, meals, beds, its all right there in two shacks. The hill featured two 'nutcracker' as the call them, lifts. Scree and gooey mud forced us to leave out bikes behind and push to the summit on foot.

The wind tore over the ridge at well over 100kph. We crested over a low summit and faced a hail of gravel and sand mixed with the occasional drop of rain. Back in the lee side we prepared to make a mad dash for the top. Watch Cal narrate our summit sprint.

Sunny on one side of the range, raging storm on the other, classic New Zealand


One of the best shots I've ever managed

So, after a well earned descent, Cal and I rode back into town and took a dip in the sulphur springs. That's the way to end a great ride-

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Break Part 2

Hardly 12 hours after getting back from my bike trip I loaded up on a bus and headed back into Arthur's Pass for a 4 day field trip in the southern alps with my Ecology Class. It ended up being a bit more rigorous than I expected, and some how I managed to forget my sleeping bag...hahaha. Anyway it was a good trip in beautiful country, and I got to know a whole bunch of my Kiwi classmates much better than I would have otherwise.

Among other things I also left my camera behind, though I admit I was pretty tired of taking pictures. I yanked this from the class website.

Rarotonga-Day 1

After two rest days back in Chch, all the IES kids sans 2, met at 430 Monday morning to head to the airport.

Two flights, and one international date line later, we made it to paradise, sometimes called Rarotonga...

Day 2
The Cook Island Parliament building.

This tree is only 12 years old

Views from our short group hike

Narv and I rented some shweet bikes to get off the main drag and see the island at our own pace. As you can see, we were dealing with a pretty aggressive pieces of equipment.

Cameras always do hills an injustice. This climb was steeeeeep and super rutted, even for steeds of speed.

I'd never seen bananas on a tree before, I thought they grew in cardboard Dole boxes :D

Airport lagoon beach, a nice place to cool down after the ride.

Hammock back

Sunset at the hotel, it was like this everyday

Day 3

The third day we received a cultural welcoming. The guy in the lower picture was one of the van drivers, and no, he didn't wear that outfit while driving.

We made sarongs, this is not mine

Traci and Samir

This is mine... it didn't make it back to NZ

Day 4
Every morning we had a lecture at the University of the South Pacific. The school does quite a bit of internet and satellite programs, but also has a small campus in Raro.

Outrigger racing. The team on the left is one of the Raro youth groups. Watching them row is pretty amazing, their strokes are in perfect unison.

Muri beach
Day 5
So on the last day the driver accidentally dropped us off at one of the dancer hostels. Raro hosted a multi day traditional Polynesian dancing competition during our stay, attracting hundreds from all over the South Pacific. This was about as dodgy as things got. With only 4-6000 people and no where to run, if you decide to go on a criminal streak it won't take long before you find out you've robbed your cousin or your uncle. The biggest criminals are probably tourists and the likes. anyway, after 5 mins some kids noticed the random and awkward group of white people mulling around their pad and came out to talk try and get us to play games.
On that note, Narv and I may have founded a new Cook Island national sport at the fruits of raro beach on Wednesday. Its called, 'throw the rock at the coconut' (in the surf), we had three kids running up and down the beach chucking rocks at drifting coconuts chanting all afternoon. You just wait and see, I bet it sweeps the Pacific in a generation.

This was dodgy. Ferrel dogs roam the island. During the day they're no worries, but at night they group up and make a ruckus for people and other dogs like this one.

Back on campus, a group of locals showed us how to husk a coconut in 10 seconds, then had us fumble around and try the same.

If you've never seen a coconut on a tree, they actually come with smooth hard outer husk lined with a dry flaky fiber, as seen pictured on Traci's head.

Unreal. So if a stick isn't your thing, try and husk one with your teeth. It took our van driver about 15 seconds, though the hardest part is making the initial bite.
Kai gave it a shot, less successfully.
Someone order chicken?
Dante Pedro! Well, we're not sure, but Narv named a dog that looked pretty similar a few nights before.

This was last years youth female winner, but pics weren't allowed so this is all I got.
Friday, 1.30 am, Dante Pedro and several other locals came to the airport to wish us well.