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Wed, 08 Feb 2006

Sweet flowing Rotorua single track - 20:39
After a bit of a rest yesterday, where I read a lot and wandered into town for lunch at Zippys (a cafe that is one of the main mountain biker hangouts) we were ready for some more riding today. Gary had again said he was keen to show us around some of the trails in the mtb park that had not been part of the race course. Jim alas was still feeling far too sick to ride this morning so had to miss out again, poor guy it really would be a sad thing to be over here, so close to such a huge number of fantastic riding areas and be feeling too unwell to ride.

Gaz said there was rain forecast for the afternoon so we would be best to head out in the morning. We rode over to the N-ZO offices around 10:30am to have a look around before starting. Gaz has a huge steel ring in the garden that is taller than Mike fashioned to look exactly like a disc rotor, very cool. They also have all their design capability, materials and sewing gear there to make mock ups or initial examples of new designs to test out before they get manufactured. Also the offices are almost as close to the mtb park as they could be on the edge of town near there.

The three of us hopped on and headed over to the park via the campsite and start finish area of the race. At a bbq in Wellington the night we arrived there last week Ahnadoo (who I had ridden with a bit last May and was at the bbq) said there were three tracks that were fairly new that were a must ride in the park and that they would not be in the race course. The three tracks were "Gunna Gotta", "Hot Cross Buns" and "Roller Coaster". As we started climbing up to the first single track Gaz explained the main objective of the ride was to ride the three tracks Ahnadoo had told us were so good.

I had a crash riding down "Gunna Gotta", following Gaz over a jump and missing the landing a bit, however do not let that detract from this beautifully sculpted flowing piece of amazing track. At the bottom Mike Metz rolled up to meet us and ride with us again. We then headed through "A-Trail" and "The Tickle" an on to the base of "Hot Cross Buns" (which is also where "Be Rude Not To" starts). The climb up to the top of "Hot Cross Buns" takes 10 to 15 minutes lots of it in the granny ring and on open fire road. Once more do not let this detract from the experience. At the top are some great views out over Lake Rotorua and some other mountains all around, then you have a 10 minute descent down yet another sculpted and amazing piece of single track.

After this we headed over to the climb up to the top of "Roller Coaster", although all three of these signature tracks we rode today required some fairly steady climbing to get to I can guarantee the effort has a huge reward when coming back down. "Roller Coaster" lives up to its names with sculpted berms and sections where you are going up and down over tummy drop sort of ridges at 30 KMh or faster. We stopped at one point to wait for Crash and he appeared giggling his head of enjoying the track like nothing else he had ridden in years. Next we rode a slightly sloping up hill trail ha was still a lot of fun to link us back up to the top of "Be Rude Not To". This link track and the last two thirds of "Roller Coaster" were about 2 KM in length and had been cut in about three weeks. They had hired a small earth moving machine on which one man stands, with a compressing mechanism at the back, it had been able to bench cut and compress this track fast during construction.

At the top of "Be Rude Not To" we were met by Morgan, the guy who owns Zippys cafe who was out for a ride, so we finished off the ride down "Be Rude Not To" and the two tracks that follow directly on from there, and then out through "Exit Trail" at the bottom. I have a lot more to write, maybe sometime next week, about the track construction and track ownership stuff they do here in Rotorua, some of which I hope CORC can adopt or encourage in Canberra. However all I can say is I can not properly describe how good all these tracks are, all I can do is strongly suggest you all hop on a plane and go spend a week or two in Rotorua, you really will be glad you did.

Just as we finished the ride the heavens opened up and monsoonal seeming rain dumped down on us, Gaz offered us a lift into town for lunch at Zippys which was a great finish to the day of kick arse riding. Thanks again to Gaz and the others for some great rides in the region.

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