Whats the best way to recover from a weekend of hard stage racing that leaves you with empty legs, an epic hunger and mild dehydration? Simple really, drive 6 hours north to the MTB mecca of the North Island and get into some shredding at Rotorua!
I would be rather guilty if accused of dawdling like a kid with ADHD today though… You see I had decided that the weather was going to be shit up north, a thought process that was absolutely supported by the met service. Yip, it was going to be a wash out. As such, no rush chaps and a good excuse to stop as often as possible to drink coffee, feed my post stage race face and pee on trees.
When I finally did arrive, turns out the weather geeks had gotten it wrong and so had I, as it was apparent that had I arrived a few hours earlier then I would have had a fully dry run as opposed to it looking marginal. GAAAAAAAA… Again, it was one of those misfiring scenarios that have come to categorise this trip. BUT, before you think I am going to kick it into bitch mode, never fear, the outcome was quite the opposite.
It was now 4.30pm and threatening to rain… Usually I would order a bowl of cream and start working on tail cleaning detail, but one look at the Carbon Nomad and I had to get into it – Anything this sexy needs to be ridden with enthusiasm. Besides, I could ride in and rest my fatigued legs by getting the shuttle again.
Video is to come, but some shots from todays mission – The opening section of Tickler always a favourite, not to mention a great trail name:
It is weird riding here now, as it used to all be under a major forest, it may have been nuded up completely, but its still a blast:
With a slightly creaking chassis, an afternoon of shuttling was just the ticket! I figured maybe 3 or 4 runs in before I had to pull the pin, and just think of all the climbing I wouldn’t have to do! Hoofuckingray! Even better, I was right at the front of the shuttle queue! Score:
Yes… that would be because the MF shuttle wasn’t running… And at that exact moment, at the point I was deepest into the forest it started to rain, persistently. Cue tantrum? Cue adding this to the list of reasons this leg of the DNST had felt creaky and gritchy? Normally yes… But, I was actually starting to ride well and my body didn’t feel as bad as I had initially expected, so it was back to the old fashioned way, yes: EARN that turn Mother F:
A quick run through Hot X Buns with some VERY sketchy moments thanks to slippery conditions and a touch of over confidence and it was time for what surprisingly ended up being the trail of the day I think, into Dragon’s Tail, which is an interesting track as its better the harder you ride it and its one of those trails that is just begging for a thrashing. With a bit of Mojo flowing I duly obliged, loving the line options:
I should have smashed the Dragon again, but wanted to head up top again and back towards a bunch of trails I missed last time I was here… This of course meant more UP. In a perverse outcome though my legs felt pretty good! Even better than the weekend… What the fuck is up with that? I suspect it may have had something to do with my MTB to Road ratio, not to mention I had rammed my gut of destruction with gels. You have to work to get your thrills here, this ain’t no lap dance gang:
But, its WELL worth it on this city side block, mainly as you can get to do Gonna Gotta, which is a rad piece of trail and a personal favourite. I must have gone ok down here as I was surprised to find myself 6th overall on Strava down it, odd given I had been throwing it around a bit, as noted by coming into this switchback slightly crossed up:
Its a DH of two halves, smashing through open terrain at the top, before into the natives lower down, even when wet the terrain here is so awesome it still allows for a shitload of grip. Soak it up:
Fuelled with massive MTB horniness it was a no brainer to ride back up again and hit the trails on the opposite side, which I don’t recall doing before… The Corridor being a great trail to hit down here, but it would have been slightly more delicious had it been dry… Yip, bad shit was heading my way and it was time to punch out of there, but not before getting your iPhone wet as you try and take another Instagram pic, so very practical:
One of the distinct disadvantages of riding here in the wet is that it plays havoc with your social media… Its hard to take pics, whatsapp them to people stuck in an office, put them on Instagram and pretty much all those things you shouldn’t be doing whilst in the calming sanctity of the forest. It also fucks up your Go PRO shots no end:
I thrashed out the final DH and the Exit trail and rolled back to DN Rots HQ thoroughly stoked and absolutely pumped with the ride… It was a smashing session and whilst I don’t want to bring a nerd element to it, 12 PR’s on Strava would lead me to believe the form is improving, either that or I had too many gels. But today was golden in terms of riding properly and putting the bike in the right places, so a Dirty high 5 to the Carbon Nomad.
A quick Dirty community service announcement – If you come to Rots to ride, then might I suggest the Alpin Motel. No, I didn’t get a free room, but its cool location wise and a very close ride to the trails, good laundry & rooms and the best part, check it:
The best part about borrowing someone else’s wheels is that you can hose the fuck out of your bike with reckless abandon! Excellent.
So, a weekend of stage racing with the boys and then a solo shredding mission in MTB heaven… I think a very good case study on why cycling is without equal as not only a sport, but also a passion. It has so many different ways to thrill and ignite that part of you that modern society (AKA – Work) spends a lot of time trying to suppress. Start whatappsing your crew now to plan this weekends ride and if you are a Mountain Biker and haven’t been to Rots, then start planning tonight!