Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Burn, Craigieburn

I had the most amazing ride yesterday. Not because the trails were great, or the company was good (I was alone, so it was ok). What rocked was the fact that it was the first real out-there ride I have done, i.e. away from civilisation, in real mountains, at least the most real mountains I've ever ridden in. I felt insignificant in this setting, a speck of nothing on an enormous stage.

After pissing around with passport photos, temperamental laptops and licence applications all morning, I packed the Laser and only got away about midday, unsure whether I would have enough time to drive the 100km or so and still have enough time to get a ride in. The trip only took about an hour and a half, and the scenery on the way bode well for the ride ahead. Vast mountainous landscape as far as the eye could see filled me with anticipation, and I snapped a few pics from the driver's seat as I went. Before I knew it, I was at the carpark described in the book, and I was relieved to see a bunch of hippies camped there, who could keep an eye on my car. I rode out along the road to the start of the ski field track, and it was up the shaley climb...and up, and up.

I beg to differ..... About 7km's of up, steep at first, then a nice easy middle section, and then a brutal last grunt to the ski tow ropes. As I rounded the last switchback I was confronted with the sheer magnitude of where I was, and let out a "Fark" for good measure. Checking the book for directions, I was soon riding across the first of many screes, not too severe, and a lot of adrenaline-filled fun.

The next couple of screes were a bit more hairy, and I opted to walk these ones, not too keen to plummet to my death, or serious injury, not this day anyway. I rode this one......

Each scree would give way to sweet, wooded singletrack, which was still pretty narrow and hairy in sections, requiring full concentration and skill manipulation.

No shit......

After a few k's of this, the track split and I climbed up to the saddle, and then a push up towards Helicopter Hill, so named for the flat area on top for rescue choppers to land and transport out injured hikers and bikers. I wasn't keen to test out this service, so when I got to a point where the trail went straight up the ridge with sheer drops both sides, I decided that'd do. The ride back down was great, nice, flowing ribbons through the forest, eventually spitting me out back on the ski road, and a short spin back to the car. I thought about how Ross had said he wanted to do a ride just like this one, and that he had missed out big time, so if you get the chance Rad, check it out. I was tempted to go back up there today, but computer problems and an only-just-arrived cashcard have conspired to keep me in Christchurch another day. Tomorrow I'll head back towards Nelson, then it's back acroos the strait to Welly, and eventually Rotorua, still the best trails I've ridden, albeit without the breathtaking scenery.

4 comments:

john klinkenberg said...

Hey bretto
sounds like you are havin the mad time over there at the mo....bet you are planning to stay there for some time now it looks a lot like the riding in canada man i wish i was fit enough to come and visit. at least it is close to aus so maybe one day i can get over to check it out. take it easy mate and ill chat to you soon


johnno

Tomkinson said...

That place looks fucking awesome!

Keep pedalling mate

Anonymous said...

Bretto It's Dr Sam - skied there in September last year, awesome place. Move to the south so I can come and stay in winter!

brettok said...

well well, it's the hadley boys! good to hear from u, yeah it's pretty cool riding over here, if u don't mind climbing...guess that counts sam out, and klink, hope u are back on the bike, if not GET ON IT! Hop up Tomky...