Saturday, March 24, 2012

After the Storm

Apparently there was a significant storm in Rotorua last Wednesday. Hubby and I first noticed signs of apocalyptic style destruction on our 11km ride from the Airport to the completely awesome Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park. You may wonder why I’m noting the distance of the ride when it seems so short. Well it turns out riding that far with over 17kgs on your back in a big pack which forces your helmet forward and completely precludes you from turning your head to check for traffic while turning is something of a mission. Even more so when it is 20 degrees and muggy and you’re wearing jeans. Then having that amount of weight on your back feels like it is all being directly transferred to your seat via the hard raised seam in your jean’s crotch. I’ve put that as delicately as I can, I hope no one was offended. Needless to say I will not be volunteering to carry the heavy pack again.

I was pretty knackered after this effort and subsequent trips into town for a Zippy’s feed and crucial supplies that upon returning to our quaint log cabin I fell asleep while hubby went out to “suss out the trails”. Unfortunately, or fortunately for him, he met up with a group of Aussies and ended up doing an epic 3 hour ride and returning back to the cabin a babbling hypoglycaemic mess. Lucky beer and lollies soon remedied this and we later took the lazy option of taxi-ing into town for a massive fed at the Pig and Whistle where we caught up with the Aussies again and chatted till the early hours of the evening. I say early hours because we headed back to the camp around nine and after a very enjoyable soak in the complementary thermal pools enjoyed a rather good sleep.

Today we woke bright and early-ish and I was able to convince my hubby to take his first ever shuttle. Soon we were most of the way up the hill and warming up by grovelling up the steep little bit of fireroad that leads to Billy T where we met up with the Aussies again. Oh such heaven, the track, not the Aussies. It’s been a long time since I was in Rotorua and now I felt completely comfortable attacking the trail rather than tentatively inching along. After plenty of drops, roots, ruts and bermed corners I was at the bottom, to meet the boys who weren’t far ahead. We went our seperate ways here as I was desperate to ride Split Enz again (one of my favs) and they were hitting up G Rock.

Split Enz was just as I remembered it, fast, flowing and bermed to perfection, from there it was down the steps on Pondy Downhill, which then became a descent down a fireroad due to logging, and then popping into the fantastic Pondy New. At this point my trail descriptions get a bit blurred, there was climbing and swooping down through the forest, drops and bridges, challenging rut/root combinations and just generally awesomeness. Then it was into the second half of Rollercoaster, aptly named for its up and down nature and then with the help of some awesome local knowledge onto a new track called Moonshine. This is a slightly technical wee beastie with a number of slippery off-camber roots that test your line selection and commitment. I loved it and came out the bottom with my traditional grinning like an idiot face on.

After failing to play on Pump because of downed trees, we cruised down the road to Spring Roll where we began to encounter more and more fallen trees blocking the track. It was a fun little track and then we were on Sweet N Sour, which was a climb (and therefore not my favourite), with little challenge other than the portaging of bikes over the recently fallen. This track seemed to go on forever and I was feeling quite fatigued by the halfway point. On I ground and after what felt like an eternity (who says I exaggerate) we were out on the road and ready to tackle Dragon’s Tail. Here we encountered some slightly lost riders and with the combination of our two different maps managed to get them heading on the right track. We must have seemed like we knew what we were talking about as they thanked us with a hearty “Thank you friendly locals”. Funny. Dragon’s Trail was brilliant (apart from one particularly annoying fallen tree which required some bush bashing to get around as over really wasn’t an option). Lots of little pinches were rewarded with tight fast corners and a few drops, and just a few bits of techy rooty goodness thrown in to keep you on your toes.

From the end of this trail it was a blast down Red Tank Rd, to hook into Mad if You Don’t, where we had a brief conversation with a rider who’d spent almost an hour lost in the logged area and was quite frustrated at not being able to find any tracks. I suggested that a shuttle ride would immediately place you on the correct side of the forest to avoid all the logging mayhem and he seemed quite keen.
Mad if You Don’t flew by and I was feeling great on the bike, if completely knackered, I rode the track hard and fast and even managed a rather nice jump at one point. At the bottom it was back down to the base for some greatly needed food and delicious cold chocolate. Heaven.

Right now it’s raining outside, so hopefully it will stop sometime in the night and tomorrow will be good for riding. I’m very keen to hit up the two Huck tracks and maybe even slog my way to the top of Hot X Buns. I love it here. 

PS - That night we had the most epic pizza eva, so delicious and vast that we couldn't even eat the whole thing. If you're staying at the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park I highly recommend ordering from the Pizza Library, or even walking around the corner and eating in. Ordering is better though because then you get to see the crazy delivery vehicle.
And finally here is the cute camp cat.

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