I know, when you see this title you instantly think of Kate Upton sucking on a popsicle right? 

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“Why do you keep buying me popsicles DN?”

Don’t worry, common mistake, but today we have something even better than that! Yes, its another MTB guest report, this time from the West Coast of NZ with an epic long weekend of action from South Island DN affiliate and safehouse keeper, Multigirl.

Its been a week coming, but finally Multigirl has got her guest post sorted… To be fair as the DN Legal team (not on retainer, full pro bono) she has a lot on defending us from all sorts of semi-baseless allegations, not to mention our rampant trademark infringement of on-line photo pilfering. 

This is a long post, for good reason and there is also a 90% chance I have fucked up the photo sequencing, but Its worth noting that this is our first Girl post! DN is a huge support and fan of girls, especially ones that like to get dirty. By mountain biking. So, without further adieu, over to Multigirl to give us the low down on the Girls Gone Wild West Coast MTB rave:

So we headed out of Christchurch on Friday night, only slightly late due to my being waylaid at the bike mechanics drooling over new bling (bikes) – and attempting to determine if I should drop a ridiculous amount of money on a new weapon by riding it around the carpark and off some curbs (DN Ed note – That is a SOLID approach to working out how to drop $10k)  Yeah that’s a decent  demo ride. Anyway left the shop without a new bike, But with some shiny new red grips for the Trek (which will feature in photos).  Post script – new bike now ordered (Pivot Mach 5.7) and will be here this week. (DN Ed note – Solid pick mGirl, but the Santa Cruz was so ON)

I have no memory of ever being to Reefton before, and as we pulled into the main street I was pleasantly surprised. Compact, but still with an air of old mining town, and with some funky looking cafes (beware – looks can be deceiving). Alright I thought, what a great spot! Anyway, as we pulled up to our accommodation, I started get an uncomfortable feeling in my gut. We had gone for the cheapest gig in town (at $18 dollars a night, there was going to be plenty of cash left over for the new bike fund) and I was starting to regret it. The facilities were basic (one shower and two toilets for the whole hostel) and most beds were taken up by miners who lived there permanently (and the two old guys who spent the entire weekend sitting on the couch watching bad TV). So – the place lacked a feminine touch, or the touch of a cleaner. But still, I told myself “it’s only a place to doss for the night (and keep focussing on the new bike fund!!)” (DN Ed note – Fuck, it sounds horrendous, I would have had a lying down tantrum.)

Saturday in Reefton dawned clear and warm (for those of you who don’t know the West Coast of NZ – it rains A LOT. In fact a previously planned trip to The Coast had been cancelled due to bad weather. But we managed to score two of the most beautiful days, plus there hasn’t been much rain for a month so the trails were all in primo condition). We had been tossing around the idea of taking a chopper ride into Kirwans for a few weeks, but it was all subject to cost, availability and weather etc. So the day was a bit unplanned. But Sara got on the phone to Alan (the pilot) – Alan had a group of 8 guys from Wellington flying in at 1.30pm. 1.30???!! WTF?! What an outrageous time of day to start, after all us three girlies are all mums of young kids so our days generally start at 6am! (DN Ed note – Yes, the early hunter catches the…)

Can we go earlier? we asked. “Well it will be much cheaper if you go with the boys”, said Alan, and “I’ll do you a discount for cash (raising eyebrows…)”. So 1.30pm it was, which left us with a gaping hole in our morning. So we grabbed the map and guidebook and decided to check out “Murray Creek Tracks”, just a 2km road bash from the hostel – and we could do an in and out trip to be back for lunch and then the chopper ride:

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Final farewell to the Trek, goodbye outdated angles…

Murray Creek is a great beginner/ intermediate (intermediate on the way up – beginner on the way down) climb up an old mining road, through magnificent beech forest and sidling next to a beautiful river/gorge. Nice gradient for the climb (a few steeper parts to get the puffometer going) but overall a pretty nice climb. Also some swing bridges to tackle for a bit of classic NZ riding:

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Swingers… Its getting wild alright…

Just over an hour up to Inglewood Junction. We turned around and came back down at the summit as we were short on time, but you can descend the other side for a more techy downhill and full loop (next time!!)

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Some massively dubious trail names, obviously to the enjoyment of Multigirl… Pointy… giggle…

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Massive style point to the chick on the Santa Cruz TRC there… Girls got GEAR

Then it was time for “BRING ON THE DOWN HILL ACTION” – Kirwans!! I had mused about this ride for a while as I flicked through various editions of the Kennett Bros MTB bible, but with a Grade 5 ranking had always thought it beyond the realms of someone who once got off her bike on a grass downhill at the Crazyman multisport event, remember that DN? (DN Ed note – Indeed I do, such a fucking girl… I had to pretend I didn’t know you) but, Sara assured me that the hardest part was the climb (2 hours of river flats up and over roots and other obstacles and then 2 to 3 hours of technical uphill in foot deep leaf litter which made it feel like riding with flat tyres) and since we were missing that (courtesy of Alan the heli man) it would be all good!

Waiting at the car park with the 8 guys from Wellington the excitement was palpable. But, some nerdy folks were clearly uncomfortable about their $9k carbon rigs being gathered in a bunch next to some not so illustrious brands (Merida anyone?) and slung under the chopper with a massive rope, hanging there like a bunch of culled deer and tried to negotiate a special one bike per load arrangement. Alan, however was having none of that and slung 11 bikes under the chopper, loaded us girls in and took off:

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Ok, so this would make the DN shit in his fox shorts as well, cold shiver…

DN Ed note – Multigirl clearly stoked with getting to be door gunner, trying to choose between “Apocalypse Now” or “Black Hawk Down” cliches:

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“I love the smell of crushed carbon in the morning”

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Adios fools, you really let some chicks fly off with your bikes? BURN

Unfortunately for the guy with the Carbon Santa Cruz, he did break a derailleur – which can be inconvenient when dropped in the middle of the bush… (DN Ed note – I always seem to cope when dropped into the middle of the bush…) I am sure that Alan didn’t do it on purpose…

Well not much to say about the downhill except… SWEET. The first 100m or so is the most technical, and then it just goes on and on for 1300m (vertical drop), through beech forest, over dry cornflake leaves, and roots. Unfortunately the riding was just so good that we didn’t get many pictures and I don’t have a Go-Pro like some, DN – can you arrange some equipment for your foreign correspondents? (DN Ed note – Dirty Santa will see what he can arrange, may possibly be a dirty handme down). But here is a taste:

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NZ Forest goodness… So exciting it makes you shake…

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Girl shredville

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Screaming kids, work, husbands… On the back burner as shredding takes precedent…

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What an aptly shaped tunnel for a girls ride!

Sunday:

Big River to Waiuta – another West Coast Classic. But before I launch into the ride, a big shout-out to Nathan (DN Ed note – Wolf, you have a cameo here?!), our shuttle bunny for helping us out with logistics today. You see, BR – Waiutu is a point to point MTB. To make it a loop would require about 3 hours of additional tarmac/gravel riding. So we planned to leave a car at Waiuta and drive back into the carpark at the other end, probably an hour to an hour and a half’s driving – but better than the epic road bash. But, while having dinner the previous night, a family (Mum, Dad and 30 year old son) arrived and sat down at the table next to us. Dad turns to us “so are you the mountain bikers?” Weird – well Reefton is a small town and its seems that three women on their own riding bikes makes a bit of a splash. So we got to chatting about our day, and our plans for tomorrow:

  • Dad – “That’s a big drive”
  • Son “I’m not working tomorrow – I could come and pick you up”
  • Multigirl (thinking) wow… really weird… I think this guy is looking for a wife
  • Multigirl (aloud) “no that’s fine, we don’t want to put you out”

There followed much discussion – where us girls tried to flash our wedding rings (DN Ed note – Fools, thats a deterrent??!) and talk about small children so to dispel any thoughts of son snagging himself a city chick. The outcome? We had a pick-up on Sunday. That’s Reefton for you! A very friendly bunch of people who are quite willing to put themselves out for you (DN Ed note – Multigirl has clearly never seen the movie ‘Wolf creek’). Our hostel owner even let us use the shower in his house when the one in the hostel was busy (DN Ed note – the house shower therefore had a Go Pro… GO Reefton!)

So all jokes aside, Nathan was a top bloke and has started a rafting company in Reefton, so if you are passing through check it out (although I think I will advise him to add an MTB Shuttle service to his product lines). So, back to the ride. Unfortunately we were going to have to work for our downhill today, but what a way to work!!

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There’s GOLD in them there hills… in so many ways

A very pleasant 2 hours uphill on slightly rocky and techy 4WD track (DN Ed note – Pleasant? XC Nerds apply here), all rideable and you can even get a great rhythm going. And plenty of historic spots along the way (mostly abandoned mine shafts):

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Get that rhythm rolling girls

2 hours later we arrived at Big River. At one point this was a pretty big deal on the West Coast – but now it’s some remains of  buildings and an Information Board setting out the hardships on being miner. Great hut and views though:

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“We climbed for 2 fucking hours to see a munted house?! Could have just stayed in Christchurch for that!”

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So much to smile about… Mainly though because its the top and its time to get the DH freak on

After a quick lunch (no time to dilly dally – Nathan was waiting!!), we hit the downhill, well it wasn’t quite downhill yet – which is always unfortunate when you have just had a lie in the sun and some lunch and expect a downhill. Very hard kicking those legs back into action. Luckily there was some great boardwalk riding through sub alpine terrain mixed in.

Finally, we got to the downhill and headed for Waiuta and home. Just more sweet beech tree single track – with a few creek crossings, and a bit of corduroy thrown in. This was definitely a tougher ride than day 1 and the one negative about the track is that the downhill is more “sidley” than down. There was a point where I was thinking, enough of this undulating low gradient stuff – lets lose some height. Also, Nathan picked us up at Waiuta (which is well worth a visit). Waiuta still has quite a high elevation. Its a long gravel descent from there to the main road, but it would be worth riding it to get more bang for your up-hill and it’s a pretty scenic gravel road.

So there it was. A weekend in Reefton. I will be back (in fact just after Christmas is we can find some buddies to join us). A great little town with a whole lot of riding. Can’t wait to unleash the new bike there!!

Great guest report and photos multigirl, thanks for an awesome report and the Tourism NZ cheque is in the mail! Look forward to shredding with you and the new machine as part of the DN Summer Tour coming up! Getting planning on the best the South Island has to offer!

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