For the second time in a week, we ventured out into the unknown to forge new frontiers and discover new (to us) trails for the betterment of our biking souls. This time it was to Belmont Regional Park, some of which I'd ridden, but the majority remaining untouched by my tyres. Mike, Josh and I loaded up the Laser and the Subie and made a short drive to Petone, parked the cars that no-one would ever want to steal, and armed with a map I'd downloaded this morning headed into the hills.
The first part of the ride was along nice, smooth, flat singletrack to Korokoro Dam, bypassing the turn-off to Baked Beans Bend on my advice, at first met with consternation but later applauded by the masses.
This was a common sight for most of the ride, checking and re-checking the map and then on a wing and a prayer we'd proceed. Once I had control of the map again things were looking up.
We thought about our comrade Aidan (Nuts) up in Rotorua, and although he wasn't with us in body, somehow we felt he was there in spirit...
Arriving at a junction at the bottom of Old Coach Road, we took the left option, which resulted in a granny-gear/achilles-stretching-push up the bridleway, with some good views near the top, but not much else going for it. All part of the adventure though... (you can see the climb up to the Trig in the background)
The sky turned a bit nasty as we neared the airstrip (I wouldn't want to be on a plane landing up there) and only Josh had extra clothing... me and Mike hatched a plot to steal his jacket and eat him if things got desperate.
After about an hour of climbing grassy paddocks, then descending gravel road, then more grassy climbs, we were pointing back downhill when we happened upon what may or may not have been a trail called Danzig, which was one of the catalysts for our journey.
Whatever it was called, it was good, and it's amazing how some flowing, twisting singletrack can wash away the pain of climbing so quickly and completely.
At the end of the singletrack, we were back on familiar ground, where earlier we had decided to go left instead of right, and now another decision was to be made... do we go back along the road, or climb up to Belmont Trig? We could see the trail up to the top, and flashbacks of the Tip Track were foremost in our minds. We toughened up and bit the bullet and it was time to abuse our grannys.
The climb wasn't anywhere as bad as the Tip Track though, but still a nasty grunt, and I walked a couple of steep sections while the other two rode the whole thing... good on them!
Once again the pain of the climb was well worth the effort, as my map-reading skills pointed us along the Horokiwi Bridleway, and down, down, down a slippery, technical in places fenceline singletrack. Next thing we knew we were on the Baked Beans trail, with lots of stream crossing, roots, little pinches and some good fun all round... then it was back onto the Korokoro Strean track for some high-speed fun back to the car just as the storm was starting to get into full swing. As we drove off, we wondered what happened to the guy and his elderly mother we saw up the trail a bit, with a decent walk out ahead of them.