After the heat (and worry) of the lunch time challenge had died down I was quickly hankering for a semi-organised Gravel Grinder. The invites went out on Facebook as I already had a route in mind. The tour de grace was to be the Puketiro Road climb which links the back of Moonshine, via Bulls run road to Battlehill Forest Farm. I'd done it a few times while getting in some miles for the Tawhio Brevet and figured it needed a bit more exposure to the skinny wheeled (cx) brigade. It developed a name; the BCGG (Boganville Casual Gravel Grinder) Spartacus Challenge, in honour of Fabian Cancellara (nick-named Spartacus) who was doing battle in Paris Roubaix later that night.
I got a good response from some of my old Kiwi Brevet buddies who are typically always up for a challenge. Two Owens, an Andy, Rico from Iride, Dave and a special guest appearance by the only sub 3hour Karapoti rider alive today, or in the past, and most likely the future (Peter Reynolds). In lieu of Cleetus who was suffering food poisoning, Calum took over the seismologist slot and we had a quorum.
All riders convened at the Kelson lights in deepest Boganville and we hit the River Trail of redemption looking for gravel and hills ! A short stint of tar-seal and a dive under the Moonshine bridge and we were onto the Riverstone Roubaix which is a nice little Upper Belgium secret. We emerged from the fun little segment of single track and exited out on to Riverside Terrace proper and then rolled down to the bottom of Moonshine and ambled up the steep side, a ride I was appalled to hear Andy had only ridden once before.
|Calum on Puketiro Road Climb|
After descending the other side onto Bulls run road we hung a left onto the Gravel of Puketiro Road, and made our way to the top of Battle Hill via some awesome wide logging roads. Pretty smooth and plenty steep. 12% for 16 minutes. All was going sweetly until the first little piece of decent when the go-fast crew; 4 of them scored 5 punctures on one corner ! DOH! Novices.
The downhill proper was a blast as we snaked down the eastern most side of the Battlehill loop amongst the pines; the surface was good, a bit loose but dry and fast. We snuck out of Battlehill on the periphery of a horse gymkhana. We hit the tarseal for the Belmont Road ascent which takes you from Judgeford up into Belmont Regional Park. Its a nice farm 4WD trail, a much more pleasant route than the scary Haywards Road.
By the time we were descending onto Belmont's Hill Road it was starting to feel like it had been quite a long day. In truth it was only 4 hours but it was a value packed ride with only three short downhills in it. I went home to recover while the more hardy (younger) dudes did the right thing - staying up into the small hours to watch Spartacus smash them all in Paris Roubaix.
|Dave Sharpe replaces some lost carbs - featuring the official coaster/pennant|