THE LAST WEEK

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The Stage is set!

Friday and the clock has clicked over into August and the one man band tries to assess what’s left on the agenda and what must be completed on a daily basis.

A Cub to build, need to get the Cadi power steering leak sorted, and a few other things…….. Oh yes, a 2 Day Trial to finish! All this needs to be balanced with the ever changing weather forecast and the 50% chances of heavy rains, flash flooding, mud slides and in met office terms the plague of frogs. They certainly cover all their bases but so far the Gods seem to have been on my side.

The Day 2 portion of the event has the loop in place and all 12 sections taped and cleaned. Just Start and Ends cards and all the split markers to go in.

Today I must switch back to Saturday’s event and start taping sections. 15 sections for Day 1, two need final cleaning, and one that I spent about 4 hours on gets the heave-ho. So it will be back up that cliff for the first 9 as the last 6 are nominated spectator sections all down along the river.

Back up to the mesa then and widen the track once more adding yellow to the red to indicate the 2 way section. Start at “See Forever” which is running in reverse to last year. All taped and lines are in the mind’s eye.

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Over to section 2 which is “What does the Fox say?” and the reason for the naming was that when I first discovered it there was a dead Fox there which had been partially consumed but the head and tail were still intact. Sort of uneasy feeling when you are at the top of a cliff in thick jungle knowing that another predator has killed and eaten a lower predator on the food chain. Nice section that took an age to cut out with the chainsaw but now that’s taped and ready to go.

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Round my freshly cut loop descending to the next cliff level and then I see what will be the replacement section! A whole bunch of firs need extensive trimming and a lot of branch removal but it will be good, very good!  I have branches everywhere and start a huge pile and sit down on a stump to think what to call it. Its one of those sappy pines that every time you cut a branch it oozes resin……. the mind remembers the Christmas Vacation scene with the Griswolds  finding their Christmas tree and bringing it home.  Then going to bed with Clarke getting stuck to the magazine and then the bedside light and then Ellen’s hair………the section is called “Lotta Sap”

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With hands full of resin sap every page gets stuck and ripped out

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Now stuck to Ellen’s hair and the bedside light

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Section 3  “Lotta Sap”

 

Section 4, called “Four in a Row” gets taped and then the storm rolls in and that knocks Friday on the head so 4 done and 11 to go.

Saturday and Kirtis says he will join me with his Gas Gas. Back to section 4 and now need to rework the loop having dropped Canyon from the running order. That takes nearly one hour and at last I have a way in to 5, “Good Luck”. Seems I didn’t do much clearing here! … so another hour clipping and tossing dead trees around before taping up and rejoining the trail.

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Section 5, “Good Luck” I think the lines are fairly obvious

3 more sections to complete but the loop needs to be more user friendly so yet more clearing of debris and we have a run in to section 6 “The Steps”.  It gets taped and now time has slipped to 1500 and progress is slow.

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Section 6, “The Steps”

No sign of storms so I’ll press on with a new section “Rolling Stones”. This one was supposed to be easy but my “low energy” caption has come on, dry mouth is setting in and the cold frostie beer o’meter is showing in the red zone. Time to get off this hill for another day and wrap these last three up on Sunday morning.

Sunday off back up the hill and up goes the two way route marking all down Merrit Way from the Bridge up to the Mesa. The walk in is shorter as sections 7 & 8 are the closest. A few more branches come off and the tapes get put on. “Rolling Stones” is finished !

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Last one in the group is “Power Line” which is quite simple and we used it last year. So that completes 8 of the Saturday 15.

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Kirtis is out on the Mesa so now its back down to Cat Face which needs all the grass cleaned out and the last action for the strimmer. Tapes are in so Section 9 is done and now its off the hill and down to the river.

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Section 9, “Cat Face”

From 9 I can see the house so give Brenda a call and she comes outside and after some directions she can see me up on the ridge.

Now its time for Griswold 1 & 2 and Enchanted Garden which if I can complete today will only leave the last three up by the bridge on town land. These were extensively cleaned and weeded including the linking trail through knee high grass so this should be easy to lay out. The water levels are acceptable in the Griswolds which are continuous subs and Kirtis tries his luck through the water part. The Gas Gas makes little of it, though it is a bit slippery, but the rear tire looks soft and is running on 2 lbs!

For those wondering why this group is called Griswolds when I first walked it 2 months ago there was this gorgeous little Christmas Tree slap dab in the middle of the changeover point between the two subs. Clearly it would have been destroyed by bikes and tires so it was rescued and has been living happily in my front conifer bed ever since. These two get the Red and Blue treatment and its off to one of my favorite sections “Enchanted Garden”.

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Griswold 1 by the river or Section 10

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Griswold 2 start board just where the tree was, Section 11

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 The “real thing” now living at Cozy Comfort

Over to Enchanted Garden at the start over the big rock with a kicker for the 1’s going over an extra log, wander through the shady trees and roar up on the bank, dropping down again for the compressions in the grass, then a simpler exit to get back up the bank that got pretty muddy last year.

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Section 12, “Enchanted Garden”

So well pleased with today’s progress o’beer thirty is declared and its time for home!

A few beers later the Cadi is emptied of Gatorade bottles and various tools which I’m done with for another year. Now time to turn my attention to the start boards……..

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Time to revamp for 2014

TONY DOWN

 

 

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