After pushing up a bit of a steep pinch, I came over a small crest and for the first time could see what looked like the top of the trail, loping over a crest in front of me. I waited a second for Kim to come up behind me, and as I was about to set off, I heard her say “your back tyre is looking a bit flat”.
Not thinking much of it, I reached back and gave it a quick pressure test only to be hit by that sinking feeling as my fingers pressed deeply into an overly soft tube. I had a flat.
Somewhat in denial, I got out my pump and tried to push the tyre back up towards 40 psi, but it was no good, I could see and hear the air rushing out of a hole near the valve. I had tubeless tyres, and I was stuffed.
Going back to the beginning, there were several rides I was keen on chasing up over on the West Coast, and when Kim decided to join me for another riding weekend, we decided to head over to do just that. We headed over to Queenstown on Friday night to maximise our time over there, and were liked young kids when we pulled up at Derwent Bridge just on dark with snow falling down around us. It was a perfect start to the weekend.
After chatting to a couple who worked at the Renison Mine, we had a pretty darn good, though slightly pricey, dinner at the Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel before continuing on over the plateau with snow settling around us on the road, and with the snow flakes themselves creating this hypnotic kaleidoscope of light as each flake charged into the cars headlights.
We were a bit lazy on Saturday morning, starting with a hot breakfast in Queenstown and not really getting out of town until well after 9am. We headed out on the B28 up past Lake Plimsoll towards Tullah as I’d never been on that road before (it’s a great little road, and there were several interesting trails for future exploration). Just south of Tullah, we looped around back onto the Murchison highway and headed back to Zeehan via Rosebery, the main purpose of which was to see if I could find my way onto some trails up Mt Black that I saw on Vertigo MTB’s website. No luck on that front, so instead we went back to Plan A which was to do a 30-50km circuit out from Zeehan over to the Spray Tunnel, along the old tramway and then over a series of old 4WD tracks that skirted along the base of Mt Heemskirk which I’d located on Google Earth.
The ride started out really well, though Kim was pretty under-whelmed by the spray tunnel, and (I think) my pfafing around taking photos.
However we next headed onto the old tramway line, and the riding through big deep puddles and slippery mud more than made up for that little disappointment. I sensed this as Kim came charging past me whilst I timidly skirted around the deeper looking puddles trying to keep my feet and backside dry a little longer . The old tramway drops out onto the paved C248 highway through a mine site after a few kilometres.
We turn right, and followed the paved road for about a kilometres before turning off onto another gravel track to the left. This track led us steeply up under some power-lines onto a small hill top with great views, before descending rather menacingly back down again. I found the ride down a hoot, with plenty of deep ruts, washouts, loose rocks and sharp drops. Kim found it a little less pleasurable and pushed a few of the trickier sections.
The weather just started to close in on us on the way back, but fortunately because we’d done the car shuffle, we avoided the 9km ride back into town along the highway. This worked out well as it was getting on past 4pm anyway and we were both thinking of hot showers and meals.
Sunday we planned to do a ride out along Ocean Beach, so we headed down to Strahan fairly early, fueled up on Banjo’s eggs and bacon then drove down to the Beach.
Much to her credit Kim ran straight out into the surf (her first time on the west coast) whilst I more sedately shivered in the cold southerly breeze and snapped off some pictures whilst deciding whether to do this ride or not.
|Lake St Claire|
|Laughing Jack Lagoon|
All up, another pretty darn good weekend and another trip to add to www.tassietrails.org … just not tonight.