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On the road, Part 1; the North.

Posted in Beats, Beer, Bikes, Epics, General, MTB, Riding, Roadtrips by brettok on March 18, 2010

This was it.  What I was looking forward to after Karapoti, which was more a case of “just get it over with”.  Getting on the road, with good mates and great riding, for the fun of it.  And of course a little concert to kick it all off.  Mikey and myself set off on Thursday morning with the Subie semi-loaded, and pointed it north.  Ross was in transit from the States, and would arrive in Auckland around the time we would hit Taupo.  

After more coffee stops than completely necessary, we were soon on the trails of the Craters Of The Moon.  Ratas had told us of a couple of new ones, and ‘Mr and Mrs’ and ‘Better than P’ helped clear out the head and set us up for a great start to the trip.  The traditional beer in the spa topped off Day 1 nicely. 

It was on to Auckland.  Driving in on the freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic reminded me why I hate big, impersonal cities (and why I like Wellington) so much.  

We made a beeline for the hotel, where Ross had been sleeping off his jetlag.  We pounded on his door despite the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and rang his phone repeatedly with no signs of life.  The front desk soon called and said there was a Mr Schnell to see us.  Probably why he wasn’t stirring was because he wasn’t in there… the lady across the hall came out every time we knocked though.  It was great to see Mr Schnell, and the beers and anecdotes did flow into the night.  

Then, onto the main event; Pixies.  I’m not going to do a review, but needless to say, when you’re seeing your all-time favourite band after a twenty year wait, they could play the worst gig ever and it would still be an event.  They didn’t play the worst gig ever, and 12000 happy people can attest to that.  A magic night, which we paid for the next day on the drive to Vegas.

Our afternoon was spent with a quick ride on the lower trails of Whakarewarewa, and it was just the tonic for our hangovers.  And we needed it, because on Sunday we would be getting dragged around the forest by Cabin, railing his hardtail on some of the best, most technical trails in the park.  Tuhoto Ariki and the new offshoot Hatutapu are super-fun, twisty, rooty and off-camber.  We were joined by Jason, who had stepped straight off his flight from LA and onto his Ibis Mojo.  A 4 hour ride beats a 12 hour sleep to cure jetlag any day.  Jason was well impressed with his first ride on NZ soil.  He snuck off to bed pretty early that night though.

Monday we headed east of Vegas to ride the newish Moerangi track in Whirinaki Forest, a 38km point to point ride requiring a shuttle to the start, courtesy of Scott and Vanessa (and Bill the Huntaway) at Jailhouse Farmstays.  

This ride came highly recommended by Gaz Sullivan of NZO, who kindly gave us directions and Scott’s contact details.  The ride was well worth the trip, through ancient rainforest, sidling along riverbanks and with several huts along the way to replenish the water supplies, eat some food and catch our breath.

A long, fast downhill tops off the ride, and we were back at the Jailhouse after around 4 hours.  

The next day (they are all starting to blend into one, long ride) we headed back to Taupo, to await Caleb who was driving up that night.  We took a sifty pedal around Huka Falls, down to the Aratiatia Dam and back through some nice easy singletrack.

 The following morning Lester (SPOKE contributor and helluva rider) lobbed up with much needed coffee, then we were back in the cars and out to the Ti Iringa track.  

This trail is an old walking track that goes up and over a freaking big hill.  We rode, carried, walked, slid, carried, rode, and carried our bikes to the top, stopping along the way to get some sweet shots.  To get 7km it took about 5 hours.  Mainly in photo time.  

The ride down the other side was awesome, flowy, techy, twisty, rooty, rocky all thrown at us in a couple of k’s.  A bite to eat at the stream at the bottom, then turn around and repeat.  

The downhill back was even more technical, and Ross, Lester, Caleb and Jason handled it a lot better than myself and Mikey.  I think I biffed about 4 times, but had a ball.  8 hours after we mounted our bikes, we were done.  Literally.  Pizza, beer, bed.

Now we’re back in Welly, ready for some local goodness, then onto the South for more of the same, yet different no doubt.  

The boys went out to Wainui on Thursday, doing Rata Ridge and the park trails while I took a rest and cooked some proper food and had a much needed shave.  Friday we headed up to Makara, down Deliverance before I discovered a heap of damage to my bike after a week of abuse.  The boys did a few photos and a loop while I headed to the shop to prepare my bike for the second round of abuse in Part 2;  The South.  Stay tuned

Good times.

One Response

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  1. ADVENTURE DAY 1 | the Blower said, on March 24, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    […] Brett has a bit of a write up on the day over at his blog HERE […]

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