Queen’s Birthday Monthly Ride

A merry little group of us headed down to Vegas for a long weekend of riding. The weather forecast was bad for Sunday and Monday but with Saturday looking fine and the chance to pre-ride the N-Duro course with others, there was a good group of us heading out from the Redwoods visitors centre.

The first climbs shelled a few riders with a broken chain who went on to do their own thing and then the rest of us headed out and attempted to follow the N-Duro course. We didn’t get it quite right and ended up doing a bit more than we should have but it was clear the start would be crucial with a sharp climb, rutted downhill and then the twisty creek track before we all headed down Yellow-Brick Road. At the end of Yellow Brick Rd the course split and we headed out to complete the 40km course, while the other half headed up towards Pondy New. The 40 km course felt like it kind-of lost its way a little. Given the abundance of singletrack in Vegas we ended up doing about 15km of fire road stuff, not a lot of fun on a singlespeed with legs going at 140 rpm!! Anyway, we found our way around the fire raods and up the first major climb. Lookout Rd was pretty painful but we all made it up the slow grind and treated ourselves to a quick lunch at the top.

No Brains was a tricky decent and then more fire road before a short Jeffs Link into the long climb up Moerangi Rd which was the least pleasant bit of the whole ride! After re-grouping at the top we enjoyed a trip down Split Endz which had been closed for about 6 months. It was as sweet as I remembered. Pondy downhill was a mess folloing logging and we flew down there and into Pondy New where the two courses were due to re-join. Maybe it’s because it is nearly always at the end of the ride but i hate Old Chevy and by this point the old legs were getting a bit tired. Anyway, we battled around and eventually found our way back to the fun Exit trail and out towards the cars. It had been a long day, covering 47km + the ride back to the motel but the big smiles said it all. It was a great ride and covered a lot of what was good about Vegas. Bring on the N-Duro next weekend.

Sunday came and so did the crap weather that was forecast. We canned the Whirinaki trip (but still went to the meeting point just to be sure) and then headed back to the motel. Sat in the warm we eventually convinced ourselves to get out there and just do a short spin…..the plan was to take the shuttle to the top and then ride down from Billy T back to the motel. We made it out of the motel and up to the shuttle point up Nursery Rd in the pouring rain only to find that the bus was not running and we’d already covered almost 10km. So after som arm twisting, got the others to agree to ride up to Billy T. We had a great ride and (as it turns out writing this a few weks later) much of our return journey will be used in Race 2. By the time we got back to the motel we had covered about 32 km and were soaked, muddy and smliing. Another great ride around the redwoods, testing the legs and pushing it on the climbs on the singlespeed. It was a superb day despite the lingering tiredness from the day before and we got cleaned up and hopped into the motel spa for some much needed recovery time. Perfect. Mike, Sue and I spent the evening grabbing some food, having a coffee and then headed to the movies. A great way to wind down.

Monday’s weather was not too bad and we headed down to Taupo where we met up a few others and headed out to Craters. By this point we were all pretty shattered from two big days so a few of the guys did a shorter loop while Sue and I headed further out, missed a few signs and then ended up doing a load of stuff backwoods. Not good when you’re tired and a little bit irritable!! Anyway, we all made it up the Grinder and down buzzard before splitting up and then met up again to hit coaster a couple of times. My whole body was tired and as fun as coaster is, this tired, it was easy to make mistakes. Still we got back to the cars and decided to head down to spa park to dip into the river. Sue and I rode down and I’d forgotten how much fun the 8k’s was from Craters to Spa park.

After a soak in the river where the hat water enters the river, we made our way back. It was a pretty quiet drive after over 100km of tough riding but was a superb weekend all in all. Thanks to everyone that made it down and to Mike for driving me and Sue. We stayed in the Santa Maria Motel. It was a bit dated but functional, clean and close to the forest.

Below are a few pics from the weekend.

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