I spent the weekend up in Wellington with my mate Russ. Seeing as I left my camera at home I don’t have any photos of it.
There was a whole bunch of riding done and a whole bunch of craft beer consumed. With those 2 things being my 2 favourite pastimes it was a great weekend!
Really good to see all the Wellington track that people have been building. The capital city really is blessed with a multitude of trails right on the city doorstep. For a more indepth report have a look at Russ’s blog.
I love technical singletrack. The Cass Lagoon loop near Arthurs Pass delivers many hours of technical riding and is a favourite of mine. I last rode the loop a couple of years ago, so having a Friday off work was the perfect opportunity to get up there and enjoy it.
Leaving the car at the Cass river there was a 30 min warmup on the road before the climbing began. Onto the track with lovely beech forest singletrack, a little pine forest and then out into the tussocks on the tops with fantastic views while trudging through bogs.
First lunch on Lagoon saddle in the sunshine while surveying the valley dropping towards Hamilton Hut and the fantastic vistas towards the main divide. The technical riding starts from the get go with a few board-walks into bogs leading into rooty challenging beech forest singletrack.
After a while the track pops out into river bed for short sections before diving back into the forest singletrack.
Almost 5 hours into the mission and we were relaxing in the luxurious Hamilton Hilton and eating 3rd lunch. A snooze in the sunshine seemed extraordinarily inviting but the lure of good singletrack got us back on the bikes and heading for Cass Saddle.
A couple of km of grassy flats in the sunshine before heading back into the forest. The singletrack here is mostly rideable as it slowly climbs towards the saddle.
Towards the saddle the track gets a lot steeper and it is a short sharp climb to get to the Cass saddle. Once on the saddle there are fantastic views down the Cass valley and sweet sweet singletrack beckoning.
I had too much fun riding the singletrack on the way out to take any photos. Any tiredness after 8 hours was soon forgotten as we swooped through flowing trails. There was some impressive avalanche damage on the way down the valley. Avalanches had flattened a few sections of forest and obliterated where the tracks were. 9 hours after starting we were back at the car with big grins on our faces. The loop is an outback technical singletrack fix that I have promised myself I will do at least once a year!
This is my current ride. It is a 2005 (I think?) Turner 5 Spot. The classic horst link one. I like it a lot! Light enough for epic back country riding, yet it has enough travel and is strong enough to ride some gnarly technical trails. Nice stiff Fox 36’s up front with travel that flicks between 100, 130 and 160mm make the bike very versatile. 5 and a bit inches of travel in the rear is enough to have fun with. Love the Gravity Dropper for the sort of riding I do.
The only thing that is starting to worry me is the carbon bars that are on there, so I have a brand new set of Kore Torsion Race bars ready to put on there. Better safe than badly injured! I have nothing against carbon bars… I just think they have a life… and I think after 3 years of hard riding mine have had their life.
I do have other bikes in the shed, but the Spot gets pulled out for duty about 95% of the time. The hardtail in the shed is an old faithful. I took the Avanti Competitor around the world with me when I was guiding. It has been thrashed!! It in fact started out its life as an Avanti Aggressor, but I snapped the frame while guiding in Chamonix, France. Avanti sent the Competitor frame as a replacement. I doubt that there would have been many other Competitor frames running 5 inch Marzocchi Z1 drop offs back in 2002… but it made a great trail riding bike and it survived the rest of the season in Chamonix, then Wales, the UK, 2 years of guiding in Bolivia with Gravity Boliva http://www.gravitybolivia.com/ and a year of guiding here in New Zealand when I got home. Calling it the same bike is almost a misnomer. I think it has the original hubs and disc brakes and that is about it!!
I have a retro bike in the shed, as it is fun to get out on an old bike and remember where it all started from. This is an almost completely original Diamondback Ascent (I even have the original Panaracer Smoke tyres!!). Bought it for $90…. which is a lot cheaper than the $1000 or so it would have cost me back in the day!!
I also have a single speed, built up out of bits in the shed. It has some classic retro parts on it like the White Brothers forks (which I must take off and hang on the wall as they leak oil like the Exxon Valdez!!)
There are some bikes that I have owned and ridden over the years that are missing from my current collection such as:
My first mountain bike ever, a Worldrider Mountain Machine. 15 gears, riser bars, steel framed, steel rimed beast. I used to ride it down the local river bed a lot before I got into the mountains. It was so heavy I was able to ride it along even when the water was over the handlebars!! For some reason I remember rebuilding the hubs and bottom bracket on that bike frequently??
My second mountain bike. A Milazo Rock Comp 2. An elevated chainstay behemoth of a steel bike. Full Shimano Deore DX though! It lasted a couple of years before I broke the chainstay, which Milazo welded and sent back to me. A couple more months and I managed to break it through the down tube, at which point Milazo (who had another brand called Extreme) sent me an Extreme Eclipse.
The Extreme Eclipse was a reasonable bike, even if it was fluro green, and it still lives. It currently hangs in the shed at my fathers place, and sometimes gets taken for sedate rides. I would like to have it back in my collection, but might have to build a bigger shed first!!
There have been a few other bikes over the last 20 years of biking like my custom O’Brian unicycle. It was a friends prized road racing bike, which was crashed and subsequently was an insurance write-off. The seat tube, down tube and bottom bracket, along with a pair of BMX forks and wheel made a fantastic 6 foot Unicycle.
There was this fantastic little bike, which we used for our safety demonstrations when I was guiding in Bolivia. Would be fun to have one of these again!!
I think I will leave it on that note!!