Monday, April 21, 2008

New Ground

Wow! The new rides just keep on coming. I'd hoped to do a couple of the old classics this week, but no time.

Yesterday it was up early to check out McPhies Ridge in the Lindis Valley. The water bottle left out overnight had ice rattling round inside it and I set off with a balaclava on and frostbite having a go at my finger-tips ... six km from the start I was not happy to see the Old Faithful bridge across the Lindis River was out. Too deep to ride. Shoes and socks off and a minute later I was out the other side with daggers in my toes. Time to get the blood flowing with some tempo riding up the long Goodger Valley... farmland ruled by dry stock...big herds of merino gathering on the road infront. Silly animals. Gotta thank them for my top and socks though.

After a stiff wee climb onto McPhies Ridge there are awesome views and a long, very enjoyable descent. 53 km all up, but some slow farm track in there so it took 4 hours.

Took an hour and half to get to the start of the Mt Rosa Track - a "4-6 hour mini epic" according to the 6th edition of a certain guidebook. I had 4 hours until dusk.

The first half is simple - 1100 vert m of climbing in 13km. The top half is very steep ... very, very steep for tired legs. The descent was a bit of a puzzle as the tracks are not marked on the topomap, but it all came together OK. Even steeper than the climb and super rough...had to stop near the bottom to wait for my eye-balls to stop rattling around. It was nice to be down and heading back to the ranch well before dusk.

Today was the start of the Queetstown leg of the tour. There are 8 new rides here that look worthy of the 7th edition - one of them is the new tracks at Seven Mile. They were the highlight of the day - amazing berms, nice forest, groovy structures. I was well schooled by local lads Lance and Martin. The Queenstown MTB Club (with DOC's blessing) have done a world-class job. These tracks are sweet!!!

Also enjoyed a quick blat around Lake Hayes and got out to Jacks Point along the natural technical singletrack just as the weather started to pack in. Raced back to the car as darkness and heavy rain descended.

It was a funny day. Drive, research, drive, ride, lunch with the family, drive, ride, drive, ride, etc .... I was going for it from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm and am knackered now after riding a grand total of 34 kilometres! But you've gotta love technical new trail.

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