My 2019 storytelling form was so woeful that not only did I produce a record low number of posts, moving to more of a monthly edition style, I didn’t even get out some major mission rants in the process. In sickening fashion, this even included two fabulous Italian liaisons. Who the fuck goes to Italy twice and doesn’t even blog about it directly into their own echo chamber? Its the millennial equivalent of cutting up dinner ingredients and not putting it on your Gram story.
So, to right these terrible wrongs, Dirty 2020 is kicking off with not just some casual World War 3 vibes, but a bit of a catch up on some rad 2019 action. First drunken cab off the rank? An absolute fucking classic:
The Old Cunts Tour of Tasmania!
There’s an on-going debate about when exactly you hit ‘Old Cunt’ status, and whilst there’s no set formula there are some data points that I shall elaborate on as we go that can help guide making this determination. Given we had the Rodfather on this mission and one of the foxiest silver Foxes you’ll ever meet in the form of Kev, it was trending heavily towards the ‘old cunt’ label being solidly owned.
But let’s back up this rest home van for a moment – What the fuck am I talking about and whom am I referring to? The what is the easy part naturally.
You may recall such annual adventures as ‘rad cunts hit Wairoa‘, which was then followed up a year later with the highly anticipated sequel of ‘Middle aged cunts hit Wairoa 2.0‘, with both of these trips not only drenched in GC’s, but also creating a sense of the need for some form of annual gathering to shred and generally exercise behaviour that now attracts Tier 1 levels of Faux Outrage.
Rather than return to well shredded ground, it was time for the group to head off shore and I was secretly stoked for a few reasons when Tasmania was locked in. First up, it had been on my list ever since the EWS put it on the map with the round in Derby, which was naturally followed with article after fucking article about how it was a must ride. Shortly thereafter Maydena bike park joined the Gram gang bang, with tales of how it was basically the ‘Whistler of Australasia’ – A claim so lofty it almost matches Rodfather’s assertion that none of his Gram followers are Bots.
Secondly, I was salivating on my favourite Ion T Shirt at the prospect of riding on trails where The Creator hadn’t actually built them… Or more to the point: A level playing field. Make no mistake, these are casual trips, but only when the pedals aren’t turning. If a wheel is making a rotation then it’s muthafucken race pace!
Blind trails would be the ultimate equaliser and hopefully not see me sitting in an airport departure hall wondering why I was a total cunt on a bike like the usual visits to Nelson. And lastly, we’d get to speak my favourite language again. Australian:
Tassie – It is indeed a double header
There is already a LOT of literature online and in print about the new found hottest riding destination in Australia, so I shall try not to act like a lemming vomiting on your face with all the shit you already know about heading to Tassie. But for the uninitiated, assuming you’ve been living a unabomber lifestyle, the voyage to Tasmania involves two locations; Maydena Bike park and Derby.
They’re far enough apart to make it mildly cunty logistically, but given it’s a mission to get there in the first place, doing both is mandatory. Which order you do them in is up to you, but you’ll want to either become a meteorologist or fuck one to get your ordering correct, which as we found out is exceedingly essential.
Our group of heroes inadvertently chose Maydena Bike Park first up, which turned out to be a stroke of genius given there was an Asia Pacific EWS round on at Derby at that time (WTF, I should have been racing), while the following weekend there was the Aussie ENDURO Champs (Maaaaaaate) on at Maydena, how’s that for dodging some accomodation rooting bullets?!
Loaded up with more toxic masculinity than you can shake a poorly improvised mullet bike at, it was time to get this upsized meal of McMuthafuckas on the multiple planes and into some weird airport antics:
Probably a good time to set the scene with the ‘whom’ then isn’t it? Building on the character development from previous missions, The Rodfather and The Creator need little to no introduction (although one may need to borrow bail money), joined by DNGC regulars Professor A Badd, Kev is my Stan Bro and Craft Beer Dennis. New on the scene for this trip was Lucky Luke, who soon became unlucky Luke as he commenced an extended driving tour of Tasmania, The Apster and Chris. Chris was having a wank in the toilets at work when nicknames were being dished out.
Naturally the question forming on your dry lips is “So just how do you fit 9 relatively old cunts in a van with bikes?” Much to the giddy delight of The Rodfather, you end up with a white van/bus scenario, given he’s an expert on sound proofing such a vehicle, his disappointment that it had windows was evident.
As you may deduce from the above pic, arriving from NZ to Tassie not only takes likely 3 flights, but may have you dropping in at an awkward hour, so some planning ahead is key. It’s only about a 1.5 hour drive to Maydena Bike Park, but hot tip if you’re a Tassie virgin: You’re essentially heading off the grid, so don’t rock up expecting a late night cafe, petrol station or supermarket as you’ll not only be cunted, but also rather hungry.
Dirty tourist tip – We’d locked in to the Giants Table for accommodation in Maydena, which turned out to double as the only restaurant in town. Yes, they had one house which semi-comfortably housed all nine of us. I say semi-comfortably as not only was it fucking freezing, but we rocked up in the dark and you guessed it… The pissing rain.
Funky, cold Maydena
To take our mind off the fact that Aussie summer was essentially colder than an NZ winter, the Rodfather launched into a full reenactment of his Australian Border Patrol experience, much to the horror of those of us who had ventured outside, a tip of the hat to his excellent use of props to bring the probing to life:
I guess the funny part here was that packing cold weather gear was an after thought that only really happened an hour before punching out from HQ. After all, the news was thick with tales of most of Australia being on fire, record temperatures and crazy summer bikini action (Independently confirmed by several team members soft porn Gram feed).
As such, the one thing that definitely wasn’t on the radar in the slightest was… Fucking SNOW. Clearly I have become complacent on these trips, as it felt impossible that we’d managed to come somewhere to ride where a dusting of the white stuff was happening and the Rodfathers van wasn’t involved. But there it was:
What more could we do? Its a fuck of a long way to come to just sit around in the accommodation licking your fluffy tail and telling mildly to greatly exaggerated tales that have a slight “Locker room” theme to them… So we did the only thing that we could: Dive right into it like a gaggle of fuckpigs.
Being an uplift connoisseur, there was no fucking way The Creator was going to miss that first shuttle, and much like a 2W stage start, he was dropping the hammer and loading up while I was buying the Rodfather a coffee to lock in advance guilt-tripping should I have needed any mechanical support in the days ahead.
As a rule of thumb, when 9 go away on a trip, 7 always gang up on 2… So while our “Mates” headed up the hill, the Rodfather and I were left to sit around at the bottom alternating between fucking freezing and feeling mildly terrorised as we saw riders come down the hill looking like they had just departed the battlefield at the Somme.
As the Rodfather outlined to me how an Interpol arrest warrant wasn’t really that much of a big deal, it did occur to me that I was about to unleash some hideous torture onto my exquisite Megatower. I was not disappointed.
Given our “Good mates” had already done a lap, they decided that the Rodfather and I needed to be initiated with a steep techy double black run, on a trail which in theory should have been closed in these conditions to prevent a squad of frothing middle aged shred-muppets from throwing anchor and carving a channel down a beautiful, but horrendously steep piece of trail gold.
In bike park terms, this introduction was the equivalent of having a platoon of starving North Korean soldiers use your ribcage for bayonetting practice. As I liberally exercised my finely tuned throwing anchor skills, I reached for a very early “Fuck this” in my mind… 3 days of near unrideable conditions didn’t feel hugely conducive to good times. Even the homeless people were struggling initially…
Be that as it may, let’s get one thing straight up front: Maydena is fucking rad!
To help put that in context, I’m well documented as absolutely loathing conditions like the ones we found flicking all over our faces, but as much as I tried to foster Twitter comments levels of hate towards what we were experiencing, I was unable to suck down my bottle of Haterade, and feeling perplexed, I had to admit this was pretty fucking good.
As we started to get into our uplift and lap work, it didn’t take long to realise just how fucking sweet the riding was here. While some of the double black trails were rightfully closed due to conditions, or just straight up horror shows to ride, the bulk of the park was inviting speed and good times.
Possibly the weirdest part about this all was in spite of what looked and felt like wheel sucking peanut butter mud, the trails were still running sensationally fast and allowing some of us to go as big as we wanted to. And Kev wanted to go big…
This phenomenon naturally begged the question, how fucking fast would this place be in the dry?! Indeed I lost count of how many times that was mused over our two days in the park and in some ways I’m glad we didn’t get to find out, as it demands a return visit to experience a dusty Maydena.
Thanks to the society destroying media platforms we have access to, we can get a taste right here as local shredder Dan Booker rips shit up on a Nomad 4:
I’m also going to claim that video abdicates me of having to produce my own from Maydena, as I can assure you the footage looks nothing like that. If you really crave some filthy video, then tap this shit here, and then this gnar spot next…
What these shredits hopefully reinforce is not only how fucked it was conditions wise, but also how fucking fun it was to ride in conditions that I would normally drive right past waving out the window to people giving me the finger as I firmly reneg on any riding plans. Perhaps that radness was being heavily underwritten by Megatron?
After a stint in Queenstown in the low setting with the DHX2 coil (with heavy suspicions and some very vague science that I need to graduate to a 550 pound spring), I’ve been living life in High mode and back on some no-brand air shock with something vaguely known as the Meg Neg air can.
I had suspected I may need to change back, but this set up is so fucking good that buy the end of day one, much to the delight of my shock bolts, I had no intention of picking up the Allen keys. Seriously, this thing is such a fucking blast to ride on hills like the one Maydena BP has been lovingly carved into.
Given the conditions, our initial Maydena experience was confined to the mid-line only, probably not a bad thing to get the groove on, but it eventually resulted in grumbling about the mid-line commuting to access various trails, and much like a bunch of spoilt children rammed with sugar, we wanted the forbidden fruit of the top of the mountain.
It’s no surprise then that there were cheers and fists being pumped when our shuttle driver finally announced that we were heading topside. Mostly the excitement was for the riding, but for a niche deviant group of us, we knew there was no fucking way The Creator was going to make it through the longer uplift without tapping out, and he probably knew deep down as he surrendered to the rocking motion of the uplift that we would be waiting to pounce on his unconscious carcass like a squad of Doctor Huxtables:
With Australia under assault from insane bush fires on the mainland, what we found at the Maydena summit felt perverse… Sure, it’s more in line with Queenstown than anything in Australia, but if there was one thing we didn’t expect our tires to see, it was snow.
Much frothing goonery was naturally unleashed, as we transitioned from old cunts to children at the appearance of the white stuff:
While most of us stood around feeling slightly shell shocked at what was confronting us on our summer riding holiday, there was no holding back Captain Positivity, The Creator, as if there’s one thing he loves almost as much as a good uplift, it’s powdery white stuff:
There’s a couple of things you may be able to pick up from the photos above and below. Firstly, conditions were clearly ridiculous – A lot of other parks would likely have closed with weather like this, but Maydena was still inviting the shred. Secondly, in spite of what was hitting these trails, they remained not only weirdly fast, but incredibly fun.
The trails seem to have a beautifully predictable vibe to them, without being bored, which is quite a feat. This encourages you to get stuck in, without the risk of something random completely cunting you. There’s also a shit load of trails to keep your progression fever rolling, allowing you to go as big or crazy as you can manage – The Pro lines appear to be fucking legit, so much so they were given a fairly wide berth.
But you can absolutely make a pig cunt of yourself on the endless berms Maydena has artfully unleashed on the hill. Take ‘Tea Trees’ into ‘Marriotts’ for example – An absolute blast of a trail off the top section. Virtually no pedalling, even in the slop, and just berm after berm that you could ram it into and pop out the other side in a train of giggling maniacs actively encouraging each other to fucking get on it endlessly.
Maydena is indeed a place that encourages you and your crew to run more trains than an NRL team at their first off-season blow out. Best of all, as this was all new neutral ground for the whole crew, I was actually able to participate in said trains. This resulted in getting to see some spectacular viewing.
Maydena runs a pretty slick operation – No really long waits for the shuttles and tidy turn arounds top and bottom mean it’s easy for you to make a total fuck pig of yourself, even in these insane conditions. As we descended from distinguished gentlemen into filthy old cunts with each successive run, the craziest slip & slide many of us had ever seen kept on delivering strangely good times.
Much like sleeping with your boss, deep down you know there’s a price to pay for such wild and dirty times, and that becomes apparent when it hits clean up time. Who best to bring such an analogy to life than Captain Haddock, seen here doing his best Rodfather impersonation. Not to be outdone, Professor A Badd lifted the bar impressively by bringing some Derelicte style to the Maydena cat walk:
If you listen carefully, you can actually hear the moment your bikes resale value takes a giant German fist to it’s rectum. Either mechanically or aesthetically, your bike may never be the same after a full Mudena Bike Park session. Possibly why someone wrote on one of my many Gram posts: “Pro tip, use their rental bikes in the mud to fuck their gear and not yours“. Quite:
Back to the buffet of destruction for seconds?
With a clean up that gave me legit PTSD flashbacks to NZ Enduro Day 2, yes, THAT day, I was circumspect in the extreme about a repeat on Day 2 of Mudena mayhem. But as the only other pass-time in town is setting fire to old Falcon’s, there wasn’t much option than suiting back up and heading back into the fastest quagmire ever encountered.
Kev was fizzing profusely at the gash of being the star in more IGTV edits…
We were also treated to a solid lesson in the fact that when the weather is shit house in Maydena, it really means it. More snow overnight and that morning meant that the initial froth upon first summit drop off was to go and devote awe to the powder. It was possibly around this time that the Rodfather reversed his initial assertion that he was “Definitely moving here”
With more Pow Pow than the original Batman episodes, the boys weren’t going to let this summer riding opportunity go to waste, with the next 30 minutes being devoted to a series of highly choreographed shots designed to highlight how fucking hardcore it was that we were riding in snow.
The run off the top may not be the steepest initially, but it does give you a great impression into how awesome the work is that’s gone into this place, some superb trail building and a LOT of it too. No matter how much it pissed down, there was still speed, traction and fucking fun times to be had in the upper part of the park thanks to the rocky nature of the trails and some very well designed trails. We continued screaming & laughing like fat kids at Easter who have just shot the Easter bunny and are raiding his shit.
Dirty tourist tip – Given the summit tops out at around 1,100m, if you’re coming here then regardless of what season it is, pays to bring your winter kit emergency bag. I packed some gear as a vague after thought 2 hours before rolling to the airport as at it transpired, I would have been more fucked than a selfie with Lev Parnas if I hadn’t prepared for the worst. As it turned out, the worst has a minus symbol in front of it:
Apocalyptic temperature and mud aside, I don’t recall any grumbling from the group – Which is pretty fucking impressive given we are right in the age range for complaining about, or having an opinion on everything and anything. The stoke and froth remained at Endurogasmic levels as we blasted, slid, oversteered, understeered, squealed, sent and shredded run after run.
While we didn’t get to sample everything based on the conditions, special mention to ‘Old Mate Cobba’ for being an excellent trail and one I’d love to hit again in the dry. The relentless speed and opportunities to send everything means you’ll feel like you’re getting your money’s worth on every run.
The only thing that we concluded could be improved on is a similar disease which afflicts many bike parks (One eye in your direction Queenstown): Lower section malaise. The final section to the base does become a slight drag. With limited options and flattening gradient, you start to wish there was a pick up after the end of Thrash Horse or the big jump line.
I suspect over time this will be built out, and I also suspect it’s a lot more fun when it’s running dry and dusty, but it did stick out given how good the sections above it are in terms of steepness and trail options.
The rapid fire Park Rat wrap up
Some bonus round points and observations for those of you considering making the trip, which if you’re a bike park connoisseur, is pretty much mandatory:
- Facilities are pretty good, located in what appears to be the old local school that was likely closed by some cunty politician. Great to see a less cunty politician pumping cash back into the area then. The shop has some good spares in terms of tires and shit you may destroy, but bring your own if you’re rolling anything exotic. It’s a heavy SRAM vibe here given they’re the title sponsor
- Coffee is spot on and the only place in town/village that we got a brew. Open for breakfast as well
- There’s a bit of paperwork to get through, so save some faff and put a bullet in that shit on line before you arrive and get your final lift passes. Their on-line set up is pretty fucking sweet too.
- Shuttles run fairly regularly, not a lot of waiting in our experience… Mind you though, this was during End of Days conditions, so may be different in the height of summer
- Food was surprisingly good at the park, the Cubano toasted sandwich and fries driving a shank deep into the soft underbelly of my inner Bandito. Bonus was the open fire running to dry gloves and stop you from freezing… Given they also serve beer, you may not want to leave though, so factor that in before you cosy up
- No real need for a DH bike here, whilst we did see some, the bulk of the riding stock was the long legged Enduro bike genre. A Megatower or Nomad 4 just the ticket to be honest. Points to Andy for being a fucking baller and lapping on the 130mm Trail bike, right in the middle of the train the whole time
- There’s free cleaning facilities, but you’ll need to clean your bike 3 times on a day like the ones I documented here. Or buy a new one.
- Awesome place to come with your mates, everyone will leave either stoked or needing mental health care… Or, more mental health care than they currently receive:
After two days experiencing a variety of mud rarely seen by such a discerning group, there was a unanimous vibe as we started the cold process of cleaning everything 3 times for a second day in a row: We couldn’t handle a three peat. I had no retort when it was floated that we bail early to Derby and some dust, probably because I was too busy adding up the cost of setting fire to a new XTR groupset…
Yes, it feels pretty off the grid in Maydena and yes, the conditions were beyond fucked, and yes some of the Double Blacks were scary AF as a result, but ultimately Maydena sticks out as somewhere you’d short list for a return visit. I’d want to do some heavy planning around conditions naturally, but the allure of riding a hill like they have is strong.
If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, perhaps replace your usual Whistler pilgrimage with a trip here for a change. The good news is, it’s clearly only going to continue to grow and get better as time rolls on.
I’m not known for being altruistic, but I also liked the fact that here was Mountain biking making a difference to a small community with not much else around it to give it a boost. We’ve seen this before with Mountain Biking reviving towns or areas, and it was great to see it in action here at Maydena as well. The locals stoke will provide you with some extra feel good factor for your MTB holiday spending.
Speaking of, it was time to load up the rest home van with a fresh batch of casual light misogyny and get on the road to Derby and the dust that the crew so desperately sought. Who could have thought we could find a place on earth too wet for the Rodfather? Alarming.
And faster than Kev could yell “Get a fucken Crackerdog up ya cunt“, we were rolling through the Tassie badlands, which conveniently double as a potential set for a sequel to ‘Wolf Creek’, in search of part 2 of this totally TasMANIA adventure. Stay tuned for more echochamber observations as we consume the worst diet known to man in getting there.