So far as I could tell, Wellington is a place of clear blue skies, lovely sunrises, stunning sunsets, great coffee and awesome MTB riding. Like Bleekise, Mikey and Harry before me, the fist ride Karl took me on was his ‘Peaks’ ride from his place – up over Mt Victoria, through town and then a serious of big climbs back toward the cost and then a long, tricky downhill. Trying to keep up with Karl (not on his wheel, just within 5 minutes of his wheel…..) I lost my mojo on the first trick descent and put the bike down grabbing the grass so I did not go over the cliff that was immediately to my right. Gulp. The rest of the descent could be best be described as tentative. We then hauled the blacktop around the coast to join the families for coffee and ‘fluffys’ at ‘Salvation’ – Karl’s local coffee shop – a bit like having Loui living 300m from your house – nice.
Karl took me to ‘Makara Peak’ MTB park the next morning. Until Makara Peak my favorite MTB riding was the riding I did with Tom and Al at Fruita in Utah. Makara Peak is right up there. Really nice flowing single track, lovely – long – climbs and awesome downhills (think Skyline at Stromlo without the rocks and a lot, lot longer). These trails in themselves are deserving of a 3Fidi trip. You would have to search long and hard to find better riding anywhere. Did I mention the weather. Awesome.
I loved Makara Peak so much that we went back there on the second weekend of our trip to soak it all up again. The legendary Clog came along. I had often heard legendary stories of Clog from Karl – when they shared a flat together at Uni they were, apparently, known as the Dutch Can Openers…….will leave that for you to figure out – happy to discuss on the bike. Clog brought his canine cruise missile “Kluther” along for the ride – a dog that stood as high as my mountain bike and who would take short cuts through the scrub to come hurtling out back on to the track at right angles slamming into the side of you like a missile into the hull of a ship. Apparently without these random attacks the riding was not challenging enough – just fast right angles corners with drops of a hundred meters to one side.
As you will see from the photos the fun was not confined to two wheels – given the awesome weather (did I mention that) the girls could not resist a good bombing session with the master of bomb.
Three things I learnt on our trip:
1. Karl really is as fast on a mountain bike as I remember – quite probably faster. I don’t know if it is those 29″ wheels or what, but it was just Karl and daylight with me, trying as hard as I could to go as fast as I could, turning up some minutes after Karl had finished a section of trail;
2. Thomas “Booffy” Strode-Penny-Wilson and Thomas “Petal” Strode-Penny-Wilson are going to be faster on a bike than their Dad;
3. a 3Fidi road trip to soak up the trails of the Nth Island is a must. While in Wellington I was told that the trails around Rotorua are like hot-mix single track. I didn’t have my bike with me in the smelly city but I did see some trails and they look as sweet as they come. Keep the Melbourne Cup long weekend free!