Friday, April 18, 2008

Fresh Snow!

Sarah & Miro have come south, so it's lots of short family times and day rides in the Southern Lakes region for the next week. Yesterday Sarah's brother David Drake and I headed up into the snow in the mountains near Cromwell.

As David pulled the bikes off the rack in a hurry, eager to get climbing, he blurted out. "Kennett, you FOOL! Your front tyre is completely flat!" For some reason I just about wet myself laughing at that one.

David thinks of himself as a soul rider, but those of us who pedal with him know him to be a hammerhead, especially on the climbs (Colorado residents might have heard of him - he won the Durango 100 a couple of times). We set off up Devil's Creek Track and were into granny gear and oxygen debt almost immediately. This is one severe ascent. Before we knew it we were getting snowed on and then up onto the tops in amongst some extremely crisp air and freaky rock formations. At the top I glanced at my watch and exclaimed that we'd been hammering for a good 45 minutes. "Longer than that", David replied. I checked my watch and relealised it'd been 1 hr 45 mins. Time flys when you're having fun (or suffering like a dog).

Gotta go - Miro's calling.
More of the same over the next few days - lots more snow dumped on the hills overnight.

Part B:
Our second ride yesterday was a middle ring climb up the Roaring Meg Track - 500 vert metres which felt relatively easy (neither of us felt like attacking). The scenery was almost devoid of any native plants - not an uncommon thing in these parts, but I still find it slightly disturbing. We could have been in Switzerland or Colorado. What does the future hold for NZ species in the region - extinction? Probably not. But isolation to Dept of Conservation land, probably. In many parts of NZ local communities have countless forest restoration projects on the go. Perhaps it is the harsh climate that makes it all seem too hard here? Or perhaps the majority of locals are happy with the landscape the way it is.

Today I squeezed in just one ride: Minaret Burn Track. It was a solid 35 km around West Wanaka with a refreshing mix of vege including some patches of manuka, beech and even some kapuka forest. The views were often stunning - big vistas of the lake, scary rock outcrops and brilliant stands of golden poplars. Lots of snow on the distant mountain tops.

Went to Racers Edge where David works and got my tyres sorted with some fresh Stans sealant. No more 'FOOL Kennett' for me. : )

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