NELSON COMES TO THE AKATARAWAS

A weekend of wet.

I've heard they breed them tough down south, and we've all heard rumours about the technical riding skills of our fellow brethren from Nelson so when I got a text from Jono Baddiley that a massive crew from the Nelson MTB club were crossing the ditch to ride Wellingtons finest, I started putting together a ride plan for a Sunday jaunt in the Akatarawas that would hopefully challenge the boys after their Mt. Victoria and Makara mission on Saturday.

As those from Welly know, we had some of the heaviest rain in recent history on Saturday with flooding, slips and gale force winds, so I started to relax and think about a day by the pool instead with a few hoppy ales #itsalwaysmintupthecoast as I was sure they'd be wrecked from a big day in big weather. Turns out they lapped it up, busting out multiple runs on a Mt Vic greasefest, then riding Deliverance with multiple thigh deep creek crossings, and then smashing out a lap of Livewires until they broke their guide Jono by throwing him off the skills area wooden ramp and knocking him out for a couple of minutes. A quick ambulance ride ensued for Jono while the lads hosed themselves off and traipsed dripping into the Garage Project to drink some beer. 

30 seconds in and the boys pull up. I thought they were throwing their toys already having seen the farmland and sheep, but it was just the absence of James Horan who was stuck in the loo from last nights spicy Mexican jalapenos.

Obviously a piddly little jungle mission up the coast wasn't going to deter them no matter how deep the puddles, how slick the mud or how raging the rivers were bound to be so a 9.30 am start was planned and I met them at Whareoa Farm for what was to be an epic 5 hours of fun in the deepest jungle in town. (It must have been fun, they were all smiling....most of the time).

It was looking like rain so very unprofessionally for this veteran mtb journo, I decided to leave my camera in the van so I apologize profusely for the photo quality of my fogged up from my hip pocket iphone 5s.

 

Never seen a puddle here before.....John Rolston testing the depth.

Hats off to the chaps, I made them climb for 50 minutes then ride up and down the sloppiest and tightest singletrack for 3 hours and not a peep of displeasure or discomfort even when we were thigh deep in icy cold water, ankle deep in smelly gloopy mud, or carrying our bikes back up Big Ring Boulevard because the heavy tree cutting machinery had been through churning the track to peanut butter and jamming our tyres in our frames. 

What's a trail ride without a snack and a bit of banter? After finishing Co Op and Lower Tiki we decide to push back up and ride the very secret Garden of Eden.

It was a good reminder to me that we are all in it for the fun. As long as we are in the bush, on our bikes and with our mates (or mates about to be) then it really doesn't matter what the trail or conditions.

I've never seen a unanimous decision to push back up a descent taken so well. Lower Tiki.

It was a great day out and hats off to the Nelson boys. Yes they are hard. And fun. And a great bunch of blokes  to spend 5 hours with. And 5 hours it was with me until they broke me too so I left them at the farm drinking beer so I could get back to my house to carry on with the Sunday chores while they geared up for the drive back to Welly for a few more laps on the bikes with a detour to the Wainuiomata Trail Project until the darkness arrives and another lucky Wellington restaurant gets to rejoice in the antics of two utes full of rowdy mountainbikers regaling tales of another adventure well done.

And job done. Another successful jungle mission under the belt and another group of riders I can now call my mates. Mountainbiking huh!.... better than crack. Possibly cheaper too.

Hunter Robb showing some form. Garden of Eden transition trail

It's not called the Garden of Eden 'cause of the snakes...Ruben Peterson mid pack on Hunters tail

Not sure why Hunter is getting all the fame...Garden of Eden rock drop.

 Phil Judge, Ruben Peterson  and Martin Chandler crossing the usually ankle deep Dopers creek.

Phil Judge, Ruben Peterson  and Martin Chandler crossing the usually ankle deep Dopers creek.

"This used to be a mint trail, I think it may have rained last night".Phew, John and Merv Ward are still smiling. Me trying hard not to drop the Hightower or my phone.   photo: Ruben Peterson

I can tell you I wasn't smiling like Reuben was here. Pretty sure James Horan out back wasn't smiling here either.

Plus tyres have many benefits. None of them have anything to do with mud.