Working six days a week can really suck. So can riding the road all the time. So with Nigel back from his European odyssey, I had my first non-Sunday off for five weeks. I realised the Stumpy hadn't seen any action for a couple of weeks too, due to rain and the lure of long rides on the Langster. Only one thing to do; hit Makara! The sun was shining again in the land where "it always rains" (still trying to work out who the idiot was that said that before I left Australia) and the toes were tickled by a chilly breeze. I think I'm used to the cooler weather, because it doesn't seem to worry me as much as the locals, who always seem to be complaining that it's cold. I've probably ridden more here this winter than I do at home in the same season. The trails were in superb condition, only a few puddles along the singletrack, the traction perfect. I soon remembered why I love riding the dirt so much. After Koru, Salley Alley and Missing Link, I stopped briefly at the start of Aratihi to check out the fauna. I heard some riders back down on Link, then headed off up to the start of Leaping Lizard, and looped back down Nikau to the same spot where I'd started. Up the climb of Aratihi, I felt that pushing around a fixed gear (yeah, and sometimes the freewheel) on the road has really helped with my strength. Maybe it's just a placebo, who knows, I'll take it. At the top I ran into the group of riders I'd heard before.
They took off down Ridgeline not long after my arrival, and as I watched them crawl their way along the top, I decided they might be a while, so I took off down Zac's Track. This is an awesome trail, winding along the side of the hill, before dumping you out at the start of Vetigo. I climbed back up the fireroad to the Peak instaed, so I could enjoy Ridgeline, unfettered. I had the flow going all the way down to the Extension... twisting through the trees where Josh had his head-cracking off last night ride, then the best way to finish a ride ever, SWIGG and Starfish. The other bunch had just got back, so my timing was perfect... as was the day, reminding me just why mountain biking in Wellington rocks.