I’m coming up your arse!

Last week whilst riding in Rotorua sitting on a shuttle bus full of people, a friend announced, ‘that he enjoyed coming up peoples arses’.

Expressions tell a thousand words as the realisation of what he had just said set it: everyone on the shuttle looked on.

He was of course talking about riding (err of the bike variety), everyone else new that too, but for those non-mountain bikers it would have sounded mighty strange.

The moral of the story: mountain biking is the only sport where it’s acceptable to come up someones arse!

wide-open-fun
I’m on you baby

 

 

Rotorua redux

The Trip

Rotorua is Mecca to New Zealand mountain bikers.  It encompasses everything that is good about Biking. So, when a good friend of mine Lance asked me to join him and his gang for a weekend of MTB debauchery, I naturally accepted.

I’d met Lance a year or so ago in a head-on collision on piece of single track in Aro Valley, Wellington, after we both came screeching round a corner. The resulting argument saw us disperse in different directions, angry faced.

After that we kept on bumping into each other, so we decided to bury the hatchet and have been mates ever since!

Accommodation

So, with Lance and four of his merry men staying in grand lodgings in the centre of Rotorua, my two accomplices and I sought out a three night stay in a youth hostel full of undomesticated twenty somethings.

Call me old fashioned but why is it that people travel round the world only to hang out in the kitchen all day looking at their phones?

Anyway, the standard of our new accommodation was immediately made clear to us by the inclusion of a condom machine in the communal toilets.

At least I am happy to report that our four bed room was clean, even if the forth bed was made up of a different tenant every night. One of which decided to leave at 3am in the morning (perhaps a  consequence of my persistent snoring).

The riding

Whakarewarewa (redwoods) forest is a maze of logging roads intwined with long flowing mountain bike trails, You could literally ride all weekend and not cover the same track twice. My favourites for the weekend has to be Eagle Vs Shark or K2 .

Grant led us off on E v S until he downed himself on rudimentary corner, checking to see if he was OK (usually a quick nudge with the shoe) I quickly put myself into the lead. I passed at least four guys and was smashing the track (it is fast and flowing and 2.5km long) until I popped over a lip into a old tree trunk. Grant swiftly passed me doh…

K2  is a more technical ride with logs to jib over and rough and step technical parts.

Anyhow, with seven guys riding around the redwood forest, things pretty quickly descended into to looking for things to ride off: peer pressure forcing us to hit the biggest things possible. All credit has to go to Adrian though, who not to be out done, decided in the wet, to hit a drop so big it would make the Athertons nervous.

All in all a good weekends riding, and the best part? I came back without a) a broken bike or b) a broken body! The former being the more important of course.

Mountain biking bucket list – top 5

I’ve been thinking about my top 5 mountain bike bucket list, and i’ve so far done none of them.

I’m not about to loose all my dignity and get onto give-a-little but it’s good to have goals right?

Over the next few weeks I’ll get stuck into some of these and elaborate a bit more…

1 Heli Drop into the unknown

2 Compete in a foreign enduro event (e.g. Mexico day of the dead enduro)

3 Own a top end bike

4 Go on a truly epic ride (five day-er into the middle of knowhere, could combine with 1, 2 or 3!)

5 Watch the Valparaiso DH live  (or another world class mtb event)

p5pb12862200
Hmm shall I go left or right?

 

Wainui wailing Pt 2 – nuts!

Just when I thought mountain biking could not get any better a friend of mine told me that last week he combined mountain biking with watching the annual Guy Faulks night fireworks.

Those of you who read my last post would have seen the photo of the wonderful vista of Wellington Harbour from the new bridge they’ve just put in at Wainui bike park.

Now, the friend of mine, who we shall call Richard Hammond decided he would take a leisurely bike ride up to the top of the hill, watch the fire works and then ride back down via Super Plus (the tampon track as it is now affectional known).

Mr Hammond is your typical 90s MTB rider. He’s into Hard tails and single speeds – he enjoys the simpler way of mountain biking: suspensions make it easier, he once told me, as do lights I have since found out from him.

Still buzzing from the 10 minutes of glitzy heart shaped fireworks and Katherine wheels, once the fireworks had finished Mr Hammond set of at pace down the mountain.

old classic with style

His bike, a fifth hand Purple Specialized from the early 2000’s, is the epitome of the classic riding.

With crowds of people still milling around waiting for the next spectacle Mr hammond set off, unwittingly pinning it down what can only be described as a cliff edge with a freshly cut drainage ditch at the bottom.

It would seem that the entrance to the tampon track had been moved to make way for the new bridge and accompanying vista…

Without so much as front suspension Mr Hammond proceeded to absorb the brunt of the cliff drop with his testicles slamming hard down on the top tope of the bike.

With crowds of onlookers, still a gaze, he rode off down the trail like it was a planned manoeuvre, done a thousand times: slumping down into a heap of pain round the first corner.

His nuts btw are now the same colour as his bike, except luckily they’ve done there lives work and are happily retired… unlike his bike 🙂

Wainuiomata wailing

On Sunday I took a ride in the Wainuiomata bike park, which has recently acquired an over-road cycle bridge.

Located about 30km from Wellington City, Wainui is probably the most underrated place to bike in the area.

The bridge to somewhere was lined with mtb goodness
The bridge to somewhere was lined with mtb goodness

It has some long gnarly advanced tracks with drops, root sections and natural and man-made jumps. The recently built freewheel track is a 6 minute (5 if your really fast or your GPS is cr@p) descent taking you most of the way down the ridge of the 348 meter Towai hill.

The Wainuiomata trail project are responsible for the development of these new tracks and they’ve been doing an almighty good job, so thanks!

The next track which will be fully operational is Super Plus (is that not a type of tampon?) which goes from the top of the bridge all the way down to the Griffin biscuit Factory (yes I own a biscuit company too).

Peace out

Specialised Stumpjumper FSR Elite 650B – Review

Last week I had the pleasure of testing a Specialised Stumpjumper FSR Elite 650B at Manly Dam in Sydney, Australia.

The full spec can be found here.

All I can say is wow, what a bike!

The first thing you notice is that It’s more playful than a six week old puppy. Around the Dam I was popping off everything in sight. Manuals are a breeze on it and 150mm worth of suspension was more than enough for clattering down the single track at the dam

The wheels are a strong point too, a 29mm inner width means the tyres sit very wide, so the bike sticks to everything (which saved me a couple of times sliding round some of the wide sweeping corners at the dam).

The obligatory Pikes behave just as you would expect them too and the Fox auto-sag shock is absolutely brilliant, you don’t bottom out at all, even on big drops.

Shimano SLX brakes and X1 (11 x 1) drivetrain are all great and consistent.

What a beast!

The sizing was a slight issue for me a large was not quite big enough (i’m 6ft 1″)  and I had some major pedal strike (due to a low bottom bracket). Also it has a slightly old fashioned cockpit with high 20mm bars and a 65mm stem, but they actually worked well and didn’t inhibit the ride at all.

However, it all left me wondering – how much better is the Enduro (with 160mm suspension)? I can’t wait to compare them.

A very Manly dam

Last week I visited Australia with the family and whilst in Sydney managed to sneak a ride in at the famous Manly Dam.

The boys at Manly Cycles hooked me up with 2016 Stumpjumper Elite 605B. You can test ride all the current Specialized range at their shop. The guys gave me a first class service and took the time to set the bike up just right for me.

Manly Dam is not like anything i’ve ridden before. The basic loop is a 10km track that goes round, you guessed it, a rather large dam. Sydney is basically built on sandstone and a lot of this is exposed on the trail. There’s some awesome technical single track with loads rock obstacles on it so your constantly pulling up on the bars. There’s even a couple of major step downs and a virtuous gap jump near the end of the trail. A great all round experience.

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Picture: taken by Mal Bull / location (not actually Manly Dam!)