Monday, 21 December 2009

Makara Peak shuttle day by unicycle

Makara Peak had a shuttle day on Wednesday 16th, to which I took my 29er unicycle - finally got round to posting about it.

4WD lifts to the summit allow you to do as many downhill runs as you have time and energy for. Due to a slow puncture which I wasted a lot of time messing with, the warmth of the day, the exhaustingness of mountain unicycling, and my general beginnerness, I had time and energy for only two. (Some of the fearless speedy downhill mountain bikers did dozens.)

First I tried out some of the tracks on the back of the hill - Zac's track, Varley's, and down through the woods via Wahine (at least, I think it was Wahine) to Karori Park.

Zac's was a bit narrow and slippy-sandy for me at the moment, and hard work in the heat - no shade - but should be increasingly fun as I get better.

Zac's Track

View towards Makara Cemetery and the wind farm

Varley's endless switchbacks were a bit overgrown with long grass, resulting in an interesting dismount into a spiky tree (barberry probably) as the slowly deflating tyre, the grass-hidden side of the track and my steering conspired to send me flying off the downhill side, scraping up my upper arm nicely. I was glad of the elbow pads. I actually managed quite a few of the switchbacks though - starting to get the hang of them.

Wahine was pretty steep through the woods, but an interesting change from the trails on Makara Peak itself. Lots of dismounts. Fortunately today was dry - I think this could be too slippery for one wheel when wet.

Once at the bottom I headed to the nearby bike shop to get my second spare inner tube of the day (long story) as a precaution against the worsening slow puncture. Then at Karori Park I refilled my nearly-empty 3-litre camelbak (that's a lot of water for just a few kilometres), rested a while and ate sandwiches.

Recovered, I decided to ride up Koru before going for a second shuttle run - after chatting to some folks by the BBQ at the bottom.

This time down Aratihi (by far my favourite downhill at the moment) and Missing Link (rode the whole rocky downhill part this time, but still walking the uphill). Then after surprising an upward-bound 4WD, I had another go at Ridgeline Extension. Getting better, I can do the woodland parts well enough, but still defeated by some bare rocky bits - when I'm not dodging hurtling downhill bikers!

Finally down Lazy Fern (favourite finish), then I had to struggle up to St Alban's Avenue where I'd left the car near the shuttle pickup.

See the gallery for more pictures, and captions.

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