Here is a short video from my gopro helmet cam from Grundy’s Track in Queenstown, New Zealand. This track is basically a link between a couple other trails. Fun track.. enjoy!
Posts tagged i heart mountain biking
Woke up way to early – 5:30am. Not sure why as the hostel was quiet, but for some reason I was up. I watched The Big Lebowski and managed to doze back off to sleep around 7ish. I woke up at 8:30 and packed my bags. I then dropped it in the storage room and headed off to find a coffee.
At 10am I was first mountain biker on the gondola and up the hill! I knew that I wouldn’t get the full morning session in as I had to break down my bike and get to the airport by mid afternoon, but I was hoping to get in at least 10 runs.
I started the day by riding Hammy’s track twice… what a fun trail! It is so wide open that you really don’t have to worry about crashing. It is not technical, just fun! I did see one mountain biker run into a tree, wrecking the front wheel and dislocating his shoulder. Shitty for him it was only his 2nd run down and he came up from Christchurch for the weekend. If you didn’t know – Moon Man, Ken Ring predicted that another earthquake would hitting Christchurch around the 20th of May, so a lot of locals left Christchurch trying to avoid another major shake. There was never another quake, but I did meet quiet a few mountain bikers from Christchurch in Queenstown. To me he was just being a fear monger!
I did a circuit of tracks like earlier in the week. Vertigo, Hammy’s, Ants, Thingymajig, The Oringinal, Shit Sandwhich.. I was taking advantage of all the amazing downhill tracks before I had to pack up.
The end of my riding came too soon. By 2pm I had managed to get my 10 runs in and it was time to head back to Nomads and grab my backpack. I then headed to Fergberger for one last amazing feast! I love that place! I took my burger to the park across from the bus pick up ate it and then broke down my bike, changed out of my riding gear and repacked by backpack.
I was at the airport only a ½ hour before my flight, not a good idea when flying with a bike. In the end I made it on my flight and I was off back to Auckland after 5 days of glorious downhilling!
Even if you do not downhill mountain bike you should give it a go in Queenstown. It will cost you roughly $100 for a full suspension downhill rig, full protection gear and your lift ticket for half a day. Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, so while you are there bungee jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging you may as well huss down a hill on a bike! You never know you may just love it!
This week I am off to Queenstown to ride the gondola and shred some downhill! Pretty stoked to get down south and on the bike. I was in Queenstown last year for work, but it was only a day and I didn’t have anytime to ride or play! I haven’t ridden in Queenstown yet, but from what Ive heard from my mates, it is the place to be! This is the first year in while they’ve had the gondola running taking riders to the top of Bob’s Peak! STOKED! Ive got the bike in check – new break pads, fresh bleeds, new tires – should be good to go! I have no idea where I will be staying. I do know Ill be camping, which could be a bit cool as they had some snow on the ground in Wanaka last week. Brr. I know it didn’t stick around, but it could be chilly in a tent.
My mates from down south spent a week riding in Queenstown about a month ago and have raved about it. They managed to get 27 runs down in a day and want to break the record on this trip. 27 runs is CRAZY! I have no idea how I will hold up, but Ill give it a go! I believe we will be hitting a couple other spots while in Queenstown. Im hoping to get up Cornet Peak and maybe over to the Sticky Forest for some single track riding as well. Im sure whatever is in the cards will be gnarly, sketchy and heaps of fun as that is how these trips usually go.
My first week back to work was a grind. Anytime you return back from a couple weeks off its painful settling back into you’re your old routine. Though I really cant complain too much because I really do enjoy my job! One of the first things I did once back in Auckland was of course get my baby ie my bike into the shop to fix the lower linkage. The shop was going to try and get a hold of giant for me to see what they were going to do. I told them I had wanted to ride that weekend and were able to switch out the linkage with one off of there shop flow allowing me to ride. Once they heard back from Giant with the redesigned linkage they would swap that out. Sweet deal.
That weekend I had planned to head to Rotorua for a full day of riding on Saturday, but a Friday night on the piss cancelled those plans. This is the first time since I have been in NZ that I wasn’t able to ride because of a big night out. After a painful Saturday it was off to rock’n roll in rotorua on Sunday. Up early and keen I was on the shuttle by 930 heading up for my first run. First run down, sweet, felt good, bike was working – nice! Second run down – hitting a couple jumps, railing some berms – Sweet! Third run down, got my flow on, hit this section of three jumps in a row; first one smooth, second one real nice, third one – ah fuck! I believe I carried a bit too much speed and landed long on the transition bucking me from my bike and landing full impact on to my shoulder. It hurt. I jumped up moved my arm around in all direction – that’s my medical check. It seemed to be fine. Nothing was dislocated and I was guessing it would be good bruise. I jumped back on the bike and continued down the track. By the bottom of the track I knew my day of riding was over. I really couldn’t raise my arm above my shoulder and it was already swollen.
Once back at the car I knew this wasn’t just a simple bruise. I managed to load the bike into the back with one arm, take off my gear and then it was time to hit the road for the long 2 hour ride home. It really didn’t hurt that bad as long as you didn’t move it. When I finally arrived home I didn’t bother collecting my gear, I just left it in the car and cycled home. I had called Michelle to make sure there was ice in the freezer and that was the rest of my day. Sitting on the couch with ice on my shoulder. I was a bit pissed off, not just because of the injury, but that I only got 2.5 runs in before I hurt myself. 2 hours is a long way to drive for 2.5 runs..argh!
I decided I would hit up the doctor the next morning because there was a noise when I moved my arm a ceratin way, kind of like a clicking. So I was back at the same doctors office when I tore my mcl.. ah fun memories! When I got to see the doctor, she didn’t think it was broken but wanted to get some x-rays to be sure. $30 later it was confirmed – no breaks, no fractures. SWEET! It ends up I tore part of my supraspinatus. Off to physio I go. It looks like it will be another 6-8 weeks before it is all healed up.
Now I havent been on my bike in a week and a half since it was christmas, so i was keen to get out for a ride. Nelson has some amazing tracks and I had already researched 8 or so that I wanted to ride. Day 5 was my day to get out on my bike and enjoy. I had been looking forward to this since we decided to come to Nelson for the holidays.
I woke up early to the birds – this happened everyday so far – argh! The sun comes up, the birds start chriping and I get out of bed to make coffee. It wasnt a struggle to get out of bed today since i was excited to get out and ride. After a small breakfast I loaded my bike into the car and I was off. The tracks were only about 15 mins away. As I approached the park I was stopped by security to ask if I had a permit to ride. I told him I just got to town and didnt know i needed a permit. He let me pass but told me to stick to the dirt roads and not to ride the tracks since I didnt have the park pass. Yah right. I agreeed to it knowing all well that as soon as I came to the track enterance I would be in the bush riding.
After reviewing the trail map board and knowing the tracks I wanted to hit I headed up! As I started to ride up the hill I noticed the bike wasnt running right. There was a knock in each peddle stroke.. i couldnt peg what was wrong but my initial thought was that I snapped my lower linkage.. FUCK! This isnt something you can fix on the trail. Acutally it is a design flaw with my make of bike. Ive been reading about other riders with the same model as mind the Giant Reign X series who have snapped there lower linkages under peddling duress. When i orginally heard about the problem I went to speak with some Giant retailers who said that if it did break it would be warrantied. Great, but if i am in the middle of the wop-wops riding and I break it my ride is fucked. Not good. I wasnt 100% sure that was it, but since I was now at the top of the hill decided to ride the downhill track down. Wholy fuck – steep and rocky as hell and toss in some sharp turns and you have yourself one amazing downhill track. It was great fun to ride!
I come out of that track pumped full of adreniline and then head to ride some single track. I rode Supplejack, which is a technical single track with rocks, roots and switchbacks and runs down throuugh a rocky creek bed.
After tha track I hit up Matai which runs down through native forest and like Supplejack is filled with rocks and roots.
I also rode Sharlands Creek Track which has several creek crosings and a couple carries as well. It was a fun track.. farily easy.
The final track of the day was R and R Rush. This trail had a couple different sections. You start off on some single track. It does get a little trickers as the track narrows and gets a little more rocky, and also has a pretty good drop on one side of the track!
The tracks were great, but to be honest I didn’t enjoy the ride as much as I would have liked since the bike was working to well. It was a pain to peddle, so by the last track I was ready to quit. I would be keen to come back to the Hira Forest to ride again. They have heaps of trails to play on!
The day before I popped into a bike shop – RIDE – to talk with the mechanics about trails and places to ride so I headed back tothe shop with my broken bike. I walked in and told the mechanic what i thought it was and it said ‘naw man it is just the i bolt here on the shock -$20 fix and I can have it back to you in a couple hours.’ SWEET!
I left the bike in his hands and went back to the park to grab michelle so we could get some groceries and chill out in town. We hit up a couple shops, Michelle picked up a nice hoodie, we were able to skype my brother from a Star Bucks and then I headed back to the bike shop to pick up my bike.
Well, I was right. The mechanic told me I had snapped the lower linkage on the drive train side and that there was really nothing I could do. He is not a a Giant retailer so he wouldnt have the parts and plus since it will be under warrenty I will have to hit a giant dealer. My riding for this trip was over. FUCK! I really didnt even scratch the surface of what I wanted to ride, but what are you going to do?
After returning back to Tahuna the park had filled up even more. I guess lots of people planned to do some camping over new years as most of the sites were now gone. In the avro we hit up the beach and then chilled at our site. It was New Years Eve so Michelle and I had some sausages and sald plus heaps of beers and ciders to consume. We cracked the case of cider and i mourned for my bike ahaha. It wasnt long before we struck up a conversation with our camp neighboors – Tony and Lynn from Invergargal. We brought 2011 in together having a wee yarn and some good laughs.
The weekend after I got back from riding on the west coast I was inspired to check out some other local tracks in the Auckland area, rather than just hit up Woodhill Bike Park. As I have said in earlier posting, Woodhill is sand based so it is great when wet but pretty shite when dry. When dry it is just a tough slog through all the sand. Ive also rode at Riverhead, which is in the Auckland area and found that it had some decent tracks. It also has some pretty stupid tracks, meaning stumps in the middle of transitions, dumb ass jumps and gaps… just some stuff that really isn’t very well thought out. As for the good, they are spread out and have to be ridden in the dry as it is clay based and if you choose to ride when wet you will be slipping and sliding everywhere. Not to mention a good two hours cleaning your bike. Now that winter has passed I will be heading out their a little more often, but want to give it a good month to dry out. The week of constant rain hasn’t helped that plan! The new tracks I was going to check were in the Hunua Ranges.
Ive researched these tracks and they sounded ok, pretty much some single track in native bush. I set off to Papakura which is about 35 mins outside of Auckland. Once I found the car parking lot and the tracks I set off on Moumoukai Farm Track & River Track and also hi the Mangatahiri Challenge Track. It is tight winding single track that twists through forests and fields with some gravel road riding in between. There were some steep ups and downs too. Maybe it was because I was spoiled from the west coast riding but I was not overally impressed with the tracks. I didn’t like how they laid gravel down in some areas. Too easy to wash out on and I much prefer sticky earth and the natural soil to the area.
I don’t think I will be heading back to these tracks, just wasn’t very impressed. I will hit up Riverhead once it dries out. Woodhill is great when it is wet and will pretty much keep it as my local riding spot. Next I think I will hit the Whitford Forest, which is supposed to have some decent trails. I of course will be hitting Rotorua as much as possible as nothing in the Auckland area has anything that can compare with those tracks.
Today there would be no riding, which I was ok with since I was exhausted from the 6 days of straight riding. I had to be at the airport around 2ish and Mark had to take care of his radiator problems. After breakfast Napalm showed off his collection of bikes – he had a variety of hard tails and a couple downhill rigs. Napalm will ride a down hill rig everywhere. Cross-country, single track, downhill, to work or the shop – anywhere. Downhill rigs are usually about 40lbs and now known for being easy to peddle – they are built to huss down a track fast and take a lot of punishment. I think you have to be a bit mental to ride around a bike like that – of course he was a bit of a nutter and he proved that when he took the corner at Craigieburn way too fast and went flying off the track. He is working a new build and told me how he scored a 2010 Giant Faith frame for $100. It was dented along the down tube in the earthquake so they couldn’t sell, so he picked it up cheap. That frame is usually worth a grand or so. The dent really wasn’t that bad either. It wouldn’t really compromise the ride or the strength of the frame.
I then had my first shower in 7-days. I thought my fellow passengers on the air new Zealand would appreciate it. Once all cleaned up I packed my bags and had Mark drop me at the airport. I was there way too early before my flight, so I was unable to check my luggage. For the first hour I broke down my bike and then I just people watched until I was able to check my bag and bike. Once everything was checked in I headed to the bar for a couple pints and a burger. The trip was over! Overall it was an amazing week of riding. We managed to do 2 rides a day – which was pretty tiring, but well worth it.
My favorite place to ride was Craigieburn and Kirwans. The day of shuttling the walking path was pretty crazy too. One thing is forsure, this trip has allowed me to see a totally different way of life and ride some of the best tracks a long the west coast of New Zealand.
It was another early morning. We were all a little worse for wear because of the beers the night prior, but that just the way it is on the West Coast. After a feed we loaded up Purples black van (think A-Team) and decided to ride a track called Charming creek. It is a pretty chill ride. It takes you over suspension bridges, through tunnels, under rock faces, around huge trees and waterfalls. The track is all old mining trail. I guess they used to mine coal in these parts and the old rail track is now a cycle/walking track. If you do end up walking this track it has lots of info and old machinery a long the way to give you an idea of what and how it was used. Pretty cool. This really wasn’t an overally challenging track, maybe Grade 3, but it was a decent warm up to the day.
The real challenge was going to be the bridal path. We had to drive up the mountain and into the clouds to get to the start of the trail. We decided to just do shuttle runs as everyone was beat to hell after Kirwans track and to tired to peddle/push back up. Now this track is a walking trail and it is not supposed to be ridden on a bike, but we kinda ignored that. We met the group of riders we ran into on Kirwans track and after showing them the start of the track they packed up there bikes and bailed with out even attempting to ride it ahaha. This track is Purples backyard so he was quite familiar with it. He was all geared out, which kinda made me a little nervous. I was thinking ‘if this guy is wearing full gear and it is home track, maybe I should be rocking gear’, I didn’t have any gear so that thought quickly passed. The sheer steepness of this trail was intimidating! There were two corners that I didn’t even try to ride. Both were all rocks covered in moss with a quick right hand 45 degree turn and if you didn’t make the turn, it would be a whole lotta hurt. Only Purple attempted to ride them and he only made one corner successfully. There was one section of the hill that totally washed out from a landslide. I guess Purple an and a mate cut a path across and strong a rope so you could hold that in one hand, your bike in the other and then inch you way across this tiny track. You definitely didn’t want to slip here as it would have been a long way down and something would have gotten broken and I am not talking about the bike. Overall the track was great! Being that it was an old gold mining track it was about 4-5 feet wide so you could really fly! The corners were a little sketchy, but you just had to watch your speed coming into them. There were a couple spots you had to get off and cross a stream/rock boulder garden or where a tree had fallen across the track, but overall it was an amazing trail. We shuttled it 4 times and then we were beat.
After the ride we hit up the grocery store for some grub. We ate like kings – 3 roast, heaps of veggies and even deserts. Of course the beers were flowing once we got back to the housetruck and we ate fairly late, but another epic day. The rides just keep getting better and better. Day 3.. wicked!
At 3am I’m usually coming home, not rolling out of bed starting my day.. argh! Ah well it’s for a good reason. I’m off to the south island to ride for a week.. hells ya! When I do finally get to the airport I have to wait 15 minutes for the domestic airport to open. Never had that happen before. This time I had no problems checking my bike or my luggage. I was thinking I was going to be over weight since I was taking clothes, tent, sleeping bag and yoga mat to sleep on, but I came 1.5 kg underweight. Sweet – no extra charge! Flight to Christchurch was good and only took about an hour. After collecting my bike and luggage I grab a shuttle to my mates (Hubby) house. He was off to work by the time I rolled in, but his partner Dee was around so she let me in. For the first hour or so I chatted with Dee, had a coffee and then I built my bike back up. She was heading into town and offered to drop me at the end of Columbo St and I could then ride up into the Port Hills.. sweet deal! I’ve ridden the Port Hills before and know where to go.. it is a long slag up.. like 45mins all up hill on 4×4 tracks. Once at the top I have a breather and then start to session the track ‘the flying nun.’ This has to be one of my favorite tracks up in the Port Hills. It’s fast & has heaps of flow. There are great berms/switchbacks and little kickers and jumps to play around on. I rode the track for about 4 hours, just going through it again and again. I then headed down one of their downhill trails into Victoria Park. I forgot to check the name of the track, but it was heaps of fun. I then had to find my way back to Hubby’s place, as we would be hitting the road shortly.
Once back at Hubby’s I played with his dog, Leroy and super energetic dog that can leap a 6 foot fence! Hubby got back from work after 5 and Mark arrived from Dunedin shortly after that. We loaded up the car with all our gear and bikes and then headed off through the Lewis Pass to our camp site. The drive through Lewis’s Pass is a must do – Stunning! The doc site was awesome! It was in a valley, surrounded by mountains. We got there in the dark so it was fun trying to figure out how the tent went up (it was the first time I used it). After a week bit of a struggle I got it up and it time for a couple beers. It was a great night; clear skies with heaps of stars. We had Nina Simone cranked on the car stereo, which was odd and eerie when you are in the wop-wops! Day 1 a complete success.. bring on more riding!
Tomorrow morning I am up at 4:30am so I can catch the bus to the airport for my flight down to Christchurch. This has to be the earliest Ive had to get up while in NZ. My flight is at 6:10am and I should be in Christchurch by 7:30 am.. I think it will be early to bed tonight! The reason I took this early flight was because all other flights into Christchurch later in the day was $150-$200 more, so it was a no brainer! Get up early, save money! I’m working late tonight, so I will head home and double check my backpack to make sure I have everything, break down my bike and I should be good to go!
Ive looked at the weather in the south Island and it looks like a warm front is moving in. Fingers crossed the weather will be nice and sunny!
Don’t expect any posts for a week as Ill be in the mountains.. sweet! Big update when I get back to Auckland next Thursday.