Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Morning Run

I'm in town for the weekend, brought the recycling down from the lodge in the big blue van. The drive from Arthurs Pass to Christchurch is long but easy on the eye. I've had so many adventures on the mountains on either side of this road. Tramps,TWALKS, orienteering,fencing, mountain biking and only just recently I rode for the first time along it, with Aaron on another sunny Saturday. I'm eying up a couple more trips. I've never been up onto the Torlesse Range, so easily accesible from Porters Pass, and Mt Valiant keeps on poking its tongue out at me from the Hawdon catchment.

After a potluck and catch-up with a few people last night, Matt and Lara thought they needed to run the pudding off me this morning. The first time I had broken into a run in two months and I had to do it with two of Canterburys top mountain runners! We ran from Opawa up the famous Rapaki Track, witness to thousands of sweaty struggles each week, the hub of Christchurch's endurance scene. I have suffered up here many times before (and occasionally glided). The view is always great from the top, straight down valley to Pegasus Bay and the Kaikouras, or down to the Harbour and Quail Island on the other side.

On the saddle we stopped to stretch and hang-out. Road cyclists purred past on the lovely summit hill ride, while the Rapaki Crag was strangely quiet, no one out practising their trad climbing today on natures gym. We moved on towards Lyttleton on the mountain bike tracks then the steep sheep tracks that sidle above the Maori village at Rapaki. We cut beneath the Tors then headed down the overgrown Major Hornbrook track into Lyttleton. This area is part of the rogaine map that Chris Forne and I have developed over the last four years that now encompasses most of the Port Hills. We know it as well as anyone; the ruins in the tree's over there, the onga onga infested gully down that way, the bunker hiding under that long grass. I have organised well over 10 rogaines on the Port Hills now and it has been a great pleasure to get to know them and introduce others to their intricacies.

From the bottom of Major Hornbrook we sidled around to the Bridle Path road and descended steeply into Lyttleton. The destination was the local market which happens every Saturday and has stalls with mainly organic and gourmet foods. We bumped into a young friend of ours Tim Farrant, a top young rogainer who we helped get over to Europe this year, where with team mate Georgia Whitla he won the World Champs in the mixed junior grade. Tim was selling tomatoes but had also brought along a rogaine map from a race in Canada he took part in on the way over to Europe.

We caught the bus back through the tunnel in time for lunch and the paper in the sun...better than sitting on the couch!

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