Three days was the morning.
My focus three days old.
My head, it landed
To the sounds of cricket bows...
Thrre days away from work, before five weeks of six-days-a-week working.... what better way than to head north to some of, actually THE best trails I've ever ridden.
I loaded the Stumpy into the Starship Laser and left Welly at 8 on Friday, stopping by the shop to get my tunes and to kiss Matty goodbye. He punched me in the face. Must've mistaken me for a customer.
First stop Taupo. I got to the Craters at 1, and was on the trails in no time, lapping up the pine needle covered delights on a perfect sunny afternoon. I thought about all the unlucky people stuck in offices, and laughed.
After climbing to the top of the Grinder, I decided it was time to check out 'Cole's Killer', supposedly a nasty downhill. I thought of Col, and laughed.
The trail has a few stupidly placed jumps, and some soft, sandy edges, but wasn't overly 'extreme' or really much fun. Next time I'll stick with 'Buzzard', that's a beauty.
I headed over to 'Young Pines', and hit the dip at warp speed, G'ing out at the bottom and launching myself into the opposite bank. That's my tyre skid mark (the long one at top of shot) and my body and bike indentation nearest camera.
Then it was over to 'Outback' and Luge, a fantastic twisting, fast trail. I thought I'd take a few snaps of myself riding between these two trees. I decided that it's easier to take someone along and give them the camera...
...or just get creative with some shadows of your bike leaning against a post.
This big fallen tree is on the singletrack that runs under the highway to get you from the car park to the trails... a cool bit of trail in it's own right.
Then it was on to Vegas. I spent the night eating crap food and watching Sky, and enjoying a shower with more than a trickle of water coming out of it. Saturday morning dawned another perfect day, no need for arm warmers or even an undershirt. I thought about going pants-less, but wisely decided against it when I remembered I had company. Jackie arrived from Auckland about 11, and we were in the forest by midday.
We headed up to Gunna Gotta, then A-Trail and Tickler. That's me tickled pink to be riding these works of dirt-art again.
Then it was up the climb of Direct Road for a bit of suffering, to get to the top of Hot-X-Buns. I gave the 24t ring on my XTR cranks it's maiden voyage on the way up.
The view up there is pretty good, but not as good as looking over Wellington. Put Jackie in the frame though, and it's way better. The ride down 'Buns' is a real hoot.
Next stop, Billy T, so more climbing was in order, up Hill Road. Long, but not too steep fireroad. At the start of the climb we passed all the downhiller goons waiting for the shuttle bus. We discussed the merits of shuttling, and agreed that they are a bunch of girls. This was reinforced while passing some of them down Billy T, with their big bikes and full-face helmets and knee-pads, but the skills and fitness of a gnat. Ok, that's unfair on gnats.
After the flow-fest of Chestnut and Rollercoaster, we linked back through the Chinese Menu (Chop Suey, Spring Roll and Sweet n Sour) then B Rude Not 2, one of the best. Pig track linked up to a new (since Feb, to me) trail which was of course up to the high standard of flow and smile-inducement I've come to know and love. This berm was great, I hit it 3 times, to get a pic and just for the sake of it. We finished up with some of the 'beginner' trails near the carpark, still better than most other trails anywhere else.
This morning it was raining a bit, and with tired legs from 70km of singletrack in the two days previous and a six hour drive ahead, I left Jackie to take another lap on her own, all the time thinking I should've gone around again too. But as it pissed down all the way through Taupo and back to the Desert Road, I wasn't too unhappy, having spent a great weekend riding, drinking beer, eating Indian food and with good company to boot.
But even though the trails are great, both Taupo and Rotorua don't have anything else going for them as towns. No pulse. Vegas was dead both Friday and Saturday nights. Driving back into Wellington, I said to myself, "this is home..."
Now it's five weeks of working off my free cranks, thanks Nigel... enjoy your holiday.
Lots of night rides coming up....