Its always hard leaving fabulous mountain locations and returning to a city… This was exacerbated by leaving Queenstown and its mega awesomeness to come back to rebuild city here in Charchar. Nothing wrong with CHCH though, especially if you like boy racing, Rugby and throwing bottles at cyclist.

My biggest problem has been the sheer volume of Go PRO footage to wade through and edit. In spite of trying to be disciplined, its still a tsunami of action to get through and get on line. Some progress has been made, with more video coming in the next few days. As a treat for today, a very mini edit is below, in the context of the action that went down.

Any crying at being no longer in Queenstown has been dealt to swiftly this afternoon with the Mad Markus Christchurch tour of Gnar… And a lot of climbing, 1100m in 2 hours to be precise! We set off late in the arvo, which allowed me for a full day of faffing and video editing. Markus had designed a loop that would take in some of the CHCH Gnar gems, scare the shit out of me and be as ENDURO as possible in the making. By ENDURO it turned out he meant 1994 Cross Country racing:

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I really miss that Gondola…

1100m on a 30 pound trail shredding MTB is a reasonable effort, especially given it was hot as fuck and the 5th day in a row of MTB action. Backing up 5 days on the road bike, no drama’s. But, I am finding hitting 5 big days again on the Mountain Bike to be testing the body on this trip. Mind you, the views were again hitting the sweet spot for me:

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Just ignore the high tension cables

Nearing the summit of this rather long haul, we were rewarded with some classic bogan action, which perfectly fitted the bill of the stereotype I had hoped to see, you stay classy Christchurch:

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Has anyone seen my Mitzi?

Markus had the Enduro/1994 XC loop of madness marked out, with variety being the key theme for today, mixed in with a healthy dose of rock and awesome views. Whilst it wasn’t qTown, 3 days of riding there was coming in handy today:

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Pffff… I am SO Queenstown Enduro right now, nothing can bother me

Charchar had turned on an awesome day… Whilst leg 2 of the DNST was patchy and at times fucked on the weather front, this time around we have massively lucked in with it being all time no matter where we go:

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Are we done with the climbing yet?

Indeed we were… Markus had led us into an excellent trail off the top of McVickers called, ominously, Throw your Goat… hmmmm. It was excellent and a contrast to the ridge running:

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Its fast and a shit load of fun

If I thought keeping up with Markus in Queenstown was tricky, then imagine trying that in the man’s own backyard… Its always an interesting proposition to ride blind with locals on their own turf and today was no exception. A slight saving grace was this track was an absolute ripper and consisted of that tight, steep and rocky/rooty pine slalom action that I love to gobble up like a Foie Gras goose:

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Fucking radness buffet

It also happened to be more perfect terrain for the Nomad Carbon… To prove it and to say hello to all the people currently jammed into a little cubicle paying tax, it wanted to have an impromptu photo shoot from the ridge line:

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The only time all day I could get Markus to stop for a moment

We then had an epic grind up to the Flying Nun… By grind I am talking like 20% gradients for some time, not so big bike friendly and given the heat I was sweating up a fever. Of course, it was more than worth the suffering once we set up for what is pretty much the most famous trail going around these parts:

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Let’s get busy

Its easy to be disappointed when a trail is talked up, it can be overblown and then never really gets you when you try it out for the first time. No such drama with the Nun, it was excellent and I loved it, so much so I vaguely managed to keep up with Markus. It may be worth mentioning that even though its the 5th day of riding and the feeling of being fingered is prevailing, the skills are coming along nicely:

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The rocky nun… Quite a combo

When Markus suggested that we go down on the Nun again, Dirty Nomad was not one to pass up such an opportunity… Especially given how rare that is. So, it was back up to the top and then we even decided to do something radical: Give the Go PRO to Markus and have him follow me! Wow… See, I do listen to feedback that my videos have become a little one dimensional. Here I go almost losing it in the first berm under the weight of expectation of being A) chased and B) on camera:

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Note: That’s not where the bike should be pointing…

The Nun is a combination of fast flowing straights with rad berms and enough features to keep you absolutely under the pump, but not scare you to fuck. Essentially a trail riders dream:

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Does my ass look big on this rock?

We were all Nuned out at this stage, so it was time to hit the final leg of the tour, down in Vic Park. Home of the National DH round here and the place where all the shredders head to in order to indulge in all the shit that makes me say “Fuck, no thanks” – Namely: Gap Jumps, massive step downs and lots of man made features. Even getting into it you have to walk the plank on a seesaw, a sign of things to come:

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Just look straight… fart noise… just look straight

Yes, I survived that, but it became acutely apparent to me that I have slipped into the trail riding category when I saw some of the other stuff, which I know logically I can do if I was riding here all the time, but didn’t really have in me at the moment. No such problems for Markus though, here is a quick 1 min long expose of some of his finest work from today:

Yes, I was more than happy to video and cherry pick the safest stuff. A lot of the features here require a lot of commitment, which was absent from my anatomy today, or you need to really learn the terrain to get into it. Still, most of the trails were a blast to ride through Vic Park:

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Look, a jump I can do!

So for me, it was a matter of Gap jump avoidance and then soaking up the rad parts like a mid 90’s DH racer… Back before they started to build stuff that wants to eat your collar bones:

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So… If my bars are 750mm wide… what’s that gap shaping up to be…

An absolutely rad day out on the MM tour, thanks for the local intel and tour bro and respect the Vic Park domination!

Tomorrow is the final day of riding on tour and we have saved up an absolute gem to finish the trip on… So watch this space!

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