Following is a series of posts that I made on MTB Dirt back in April 2009, well before I knew anything about blogging. I thought I might import these into my blog as a study of my early mountain biking experience and to see how far I have come personally in that time.
April 1st,2009. Queenstown Ride.
"Well, finally here in NZ and the bike is still in the "Tardis" after four days. The weather has been perfect. Not a cloud in the sky and temps in the mid teens. I am busting to get the bike out!It seems today is the day with the kids worn out and in need of some rest time (read TV) and a wife with sore feet from too much walking (hehe).
So I am given early clearance to re-assemble the TREK. Woo Hoo! I promise to be just two hours or so. How much riding can I squeeze in around Queenstown in two hours or so? It turns out not much without the fitness of Jongewaard!I picked up a local trail map and decided on scooting out the Sunshine Bay track to Seven Mile MTB reserve.
The first touch of NZ dirt is on the Sunshine Track and it is awesome. I couldn't bring myself to stop for a picture until I was out the other end! A few km of sealed road and I am at the Seven Mile Track entrance(6km out of Queenstown) via the walking and MTB entrance. The first few corners and the downhill they are on quickly got my attention! What have I got myself in for? The "walking track" in is steep and rocky. This is to be a theme here in NZ. If you are planning on riding here, ride every hill you can in Brisbane and when you are finished, ride them 100 times again! Then ride the rock gardens 1000 times. This will prepare you nicely.
Once I get to the MTB tracks "proper" I start down "Eagles Nest" and I am in heaven! If you have the Kennett brothers book you can see several photos of this area with the raised log rides. All I can say about this area is that it lives up to it's reputation as an awesome trail network! Heaps of singletrack in a Beech/Pine forest with little streams and bridges.
Lake Wakatipu. A looong way from Daisy Hill.
At the exit of the Sunshine bay trail.
As the sign says!The first taste has been great and I can't wait for more! Total time 2:12. 26 km distance and 570 meters of climbing. More photos to come when I have the time."
And a few days later:-
April 4th,2009. Port Hills Ride.
"Today I packed the family off on the 7am Pac Blue flight to Brisbane, so it is time for some serious play!
The plan today is to ride from my hotel on the northern side of Chrischurch city centre to the Port Hills trails from the western end at Halswell to the eastern end at Sumner and back to the hotel. About 80km of riding and 1200 meters of climbing. I set out along Halswell Rd to find Halswell's quarry and the start of the Port Hills. While I peruse the map at the quarry a couple of mountain bikes tear down the sealed road and a guy passes me and sets off up the climb. Good enough for me! Thats the way to go. On the climb I catch up with the gent that passed me while I was looking lost and he gives me some directions and we have a bit of a chat. I will pass and be passed by him and his son(who has already screamed up the hill)numerous time today and be shown some nice trails as well. It is much easier to have a guide than to try to follow a mudmap! We jump the fence onto Kennedy's bush track and I find I have missed the Crocodile track. It starts at the eastern side of Halswell's quarry. Oh well, I will come back in a few days and ride the Croc.Kennedy's to Summit Rd is about 8 km and 420 metres of climbing, so that had the arm warmers off pretty quickly. Nice easy sheep paddock with a wide trail. New NZ buddies. The young guy had been there long enough to set up camp while he waited! At least I rode the hill.Next I follow my guides along Summit rd to what I think is the Flying Nun. It is hard to keep track of where you are going when you zip along chatting with the locals. If it was the Flying Nun, this is better than Sally Fields ever was! Huge, steeply downhill berms that lead into jumps/rocks and the next berm! I am now in heaven!
Entrance to the Flying Nun. I should change my name....because I didn't!It ends all too soon and I am met by the two locals grinning at me and asking "How did you like that?". I contemplate climbing up to do it again and the remind myself that I have up to 80km to ride today without repeating any.
My guides tell me to fill my camelbak at the Sign of the Kiwi tearooms as this is the last water I will get until Sumner. This done we cycle up to Victoria park where my new friends have to drop down the hills and head for home(there are trails dropping down the hills everywhere. I would love to try them, but the 400m climb back up keeps me to the plan!).
Victoria Park. Farewells exchanged I continue on along the singletrack just below the Summit Rd toward Mt Vernon. Several photo stops along this track and a quick word with passing riders. There are guys and girls out everywhere, this being a warm ,24 degree, saturday morning.
Before I left Oz I found some GPS tracks of the Port Hills that I downloaded to follow if needed. One was titled "Port hills with only one 'dab' on the Mt Vernon track". I had wondered what this meant at the time and now I was finding out! The Mt Vernon trail would be the rockiest on the Port Hills and while I didn't leave any of my skin behind, I was getting good at rapidly unclipping! A challenging, fun trail which I attacked for a while before arriving at Witch Hill for a rest and a bite to eat and watch the absailers on the rocky outcrop.
Resting at Witch Hill.I am glad I had a rest as I then grind up Summit rd to The Torrs. A little more singletrack here before some more sealed road under the Christchurch Gondolla.The John Britten reserve is the next section of singletrack, with breathtaking views off to the left.
A bit more seal then jump into Greenwood Park trails. I saw no green wood here, but lots of rocks and some hooting downhill singletrack to the top of Evan's Pass road. My legs were starting to feel a tad secondhand,even on the downhill, in Greenwood! There are only 40km on them so far!
Bottom of Greenwood Park.There is quite a bit of trail to go if I continue on the Godley Head track, so I decide to drop down the Captain Thomas track. I thought the tough stuff was all over but the Captain Thomas track is unrideable in places for someone of my skill level! Huge rock drop-offs see me walking as much as riding! When I reach the bottom my hands are aching from hanging on so tight!
Locals on the only flat bit of Capt. Thomas track. From here I cycle along the main road through Sumner on to the City, being pushed along by a stiff sea breeze. Just as I had planned it!
Back at the hotel after 60km and 950 meters of climbing. Sounds on par with a local Daisy ride, but the first 13km was flat and the last 16 km was flat. So the climb was in the 31km in the middle. The Monteith's doesn't even touch the sides and the pasta really fills a hole. Another cool,cleansing ale and planning turns to tomorrows ride. Bring it on! P.S. This is a delayed telecast due to technical difficulties with photo re-sizing software. All sorted now though."