Imagine a four day whirlwind trip, taking in some of the best winter mountain biking of North Island and a few cultural experiences too. Welcome to our Winter Weekends. Steve & Max arrived in New Zealand treated to perfect blue skies, a weak yet warm sun and the impending four days of fun ahead of them.
Waking up to a beautiful lake view doesn’t really get much better, especially when everything surrounding it is covered in a glistening frost. Merino layers were the call of the day, pedaling out under the clear blue skies, a chill in the air but overwhelmed by the beauty of crunching through a frost on the sides of the trail, a little like the rumble strips on the roads warning you you’re a little off track. After a few flowing trails, ending up at the “stump lookout” with views overlooking the lake & surrounding areas was inevitable – this lookout always puts a smile on everyone’s face! Some more flowing trails finished the days ride before dinner, drinks and trail chat ensued.
Days two and three saw a move onto the shuttles. Always an excellent way to gain some height and save the legs for the 2 hour plus backcountry loops that can be linked up. Dropping through the dense trees, spits of rain created exceptionally tacky trails, allowing the guys to push hard into turns and feel the tyres gripping, and gripping, and grip some more– something totally new compared to the loose Aussie trails they usually ride. Confidence on a high, getting the feel of the trails, the group embarked on the classic corners challenge – 3km of flowing berms, rollers and jumps. The challenge here is to ride it in one, a flowing rollercoaster of g-forces and whoops, and with arms sore, legs aching and grins wide, the boys popped out of the trail – high fives all round, “best trail ever”! No weekend of shuttling would be complete without a lap down the much favored 3.5km intermediate trail taking it’s cultural-ish name from Taika Waititi’s film. If you want to show someone the possibilities of mountain biking, they should ride this trail. Fast flowing, jumps, berms, flat corners, switchbacks, native bush, high lines, off piste enduro lines, everyone who threads a lap down this trail, whether beginner or racing pro loves it! Rolling out the trail, the guys declared that it was the best trail ever– there was no point riding in Australia after that!
Hiking through the magnificent Redwoods after shuttling provided a great opportunity to see some of the nature they’d spent the day riding Mach 4 through. Followed by a dip in the natural thermal hot pools – what better a way to relax the muscles and rejuvenate the body!
Day four provided the chance to recap some of the weekend’s favorite trails. Better a second time round, with a knowledge of what was coming up, the trails dispatched at a much higher pace at second calling. A lap of the skills park gave a chance to ride the dual slalom track, a fun 30 second trail of smooth berms and rollers, a chance to practice the technique and have some fun with those cornering and jumping skills learned over the past few days.
A quick visit to the mud pools, experiencing some of the geothermal marvels of the area, billowing heights of steam exhuming from thick bubbling mud. A natural wonder and a great way to stretch the legs before heading back to the airport!