Stories of Zane riding his Mountain Bike in New Zealand

Evening Blowhard

Its been a while since I went up Blowhard. I remember it being pretty damn good fun last time and so when an evening mission was planned to go ride it I was keen. Away and out of town and battling the cross winds on the plains to get out to Oxford. A quick stop for essentials such as beer and chocolate and we were soon getting on our bikes at the bottom of the track.

Mike Hucking

No such thing as a warm up, we were soon sweating our way up the track on a perfectly warm and windless summer evening. Definitely a stark contrast to the Mt Grey gale we rode on Sunday! The track up follows a ridge and has endless steep pinches followed by rideable flat or slightly down sections. As you climb the steeps get steeper and rockier until you end up having to walk, but even these ups are interspaced with fun little downhills and plenty of riding up the hill.

Laurence Grinding

Once you get up to the ridge there are many open sections and again it steps up and down as you climb towards Mt Richardson. There were fantastic views out over the plains, Lees Valley and the other foothills. With the sun low in the sky we kept moving towards the top.

on the top ridge

A couple of hours and we were on the top watching the sun set over the Southern Alps. Food in mouths and lights were put on the bikes.

food at the top watching the sun set

Laurence, Cherie and Mike at the top

The trails on the way up look like plenty of fun going the other way and we were all keen to hit them up and have some fun! Along the top ridge there are some fast wide open sections interspaced with tight forest sections and rocky/rooty trails. We were soon zooming down the trails only really needing the lights for the forest sections. The tracks are super fun to descend with twisting chutes that act like berms to throw you around the corners.

Once we had traversed the top ridge and started dropping back down towards the van the fun started in earnest. The trail is chunky and rocky and has been water eroded over time leading to very amusing corners with chutes and lots of rocks and ledges to pop off. Further down the trail turns into a choss pile of steep rocky loose baby heads which had Laurence giggling uncontrollably at me managing to stay upright on a bike which was heading every which way and all over the trail underneath me. We made it down somehow managing to keep just within the limit of out of control and loving every second of it.

Some fast 4wd track sections soon had us back at the van finding the beer and food. Blowhard is a fantastically fun piece of trail that does not get ridden anywhere near as much as it should!

On another note, my new Mavic Alpine XLs have now been on a couple of rides and I am finding them good. Stiff on the bike and very comfortable to walk in. There is some pressure on the top of my foot just in front of the ankle from the metal buckle where the velcro strap folds back, but I think this is likely to disappear as the shoe wears in. I have only had short walks carrying the bike so far but I think they are feeling promising for a much longer walk. I will report back once I have done a carry of over an hour up a hill. At least the Blowhard track managed to get a bunch of mud and dirt on them. The white colour is on the way to being covered up!

4 responses

  1. Pingback: New Shoes – Mavic Alpine XL « Mountain Biking Zanes' Blog

  2. Pingback: New Shoes – Mavic Alpine XL « Mountain Biking Zanes' Blog

  3. Great show choice. I spent a frustrating day searching NZ for shoes that would work for riding and walking on the sort of bush rides that make riding in NZ so good. After my local stores suggesting either cheaper recreational/commuter shoes or high-end race shoes (thanks for that) i turned to the internet. These looked good, so I put my concerns about white shoes to one side, guessed a size and bought them.

    And 15 months later I love them. They don’t look so white now, but there are no signs of wear. They are comfy and work absolutely perfectly for the good riding. I’m just amazed that shoes like this aren’t available here. I’m now thinking of buying a spare pair for when these start to fail.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    • Zane

      Hey Paul. Yes, the Mavic Alpine XLs are the best shoes I have found for NZ outback missions where you are likely to need to walk as well as ride. I had a pair of Pearl Izumi Alp-X shoes previously and they were pretty crap compared to these. Gave me blisters (even after a year of wearing in), soles were too soft (sore feet on downhills), ratchet busted off the side and holes through the mesh over the foot. I would recommend the Mavics to others, even though the colour choice of white is not to my taste.

      After 6 months mine are wearing well and are hands down the most comforatble and the best pair of mountain bike shoes for the sort of New Zealand mountain bike missions that I do.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 157 other followers