Not often is it you're provided a couple days away from the office during the week. In fact it's a real treat to most of us. Now, how about being told you were off to ride on of North Island's oldest and historical MTB trails with an overnight stop in a shearing shed?
Well for a group of lucky riders this little dream came true. Meeting mid morning, the banter and jokes had clearly already begun by the time everyone had kitted up. Even though this was supposed to be a very social ride, it was clear there was a little pride at stake between friends. Leaving our idyllic surrounding in the heart of the North Island, the adventure began.
The area was at one point heavily invested in logging, much like the rest of New Zealand removing the largest old growth for the timber trade. Luckily some of these giant trees were inexplicably left by the loggers, providing us a constant reminder of the unique and gigantic species that once covered the whole of New Zealand. They're still there to be seen if you make the effort!
The trail we rode is a mix of singletrack, gravel trail and huge swing bridges. Although the singletrack was as sweet as ever, it was the swing bridges that really made people "ooh" and "aah." Spanning chasms over 100m wide, it must have been a serious engineering feat to not only get the material to these locations, but then go about installing the initial ropes. The chasms are as deep as they are wide, with rock filled rivers providing those who are brave enough some stunning "looking down on the world" style views.
Day two of the trail was fast, very fast, and flowy. A 10km descent with a slight gradient provided half an hour of unadulterated wind in the hair and bugs on grinning teeth. As we rattled over more swim bridges, one of the final engineering marvels is the sprial. A 270 degree tunnel takes riders down round and under, into pitch darkness before shooting them out into the daylight amongst high cliff wall covered in ferns and fronz.
A tired but stoked group emerged from the trail after two excellent days in the backcountry of New Zealand. Until next time guys!