Funny things happen when drinking beer, hands get put up do to silly things, stuff like Coast to Coast, Iron Man and Mt Hutt Mountain Bike Park. NCCC member Chris Farmer organised our inaugural trip to the the park. Previously I had been there with my mates who I grew up with in Ashburton. They had told me what a great place it was with a ton of track of varying levels. Over 30 kms of trail in fact, from easy greens to double (bugger me) blacks.
The park is only 80 mins drive from Rangiora, our group assembled at the Rangiora's biggest and best yellow dairy AKA Pak N Save. The owner, James decided to join us on yet another of our trips. He had managed to score a demo eBike,a Specialized Levo from Chain Reaction for the trip. There were a couple of other club members who joined us there with their Levo's. Peter and Rowena often ride at the park. Peter tells me he can get in two good laps and still feel great on their bikes. I think it could be one of their favorite riding places!
The trip down was uneventful, I had to remind myself the way there. As a young guy, I spent the weekends working in the chain hire at Mt Hutt and my last stint towards the end of my time there I was a lifty. As we turned off the sealed road, a flood of memories came back to me. Good times and many a beer drunk! Turns out another club member Jim worked there at the same time. Small world.
We arrived and unloaded pretty fast, our excitement was building. As is typical with most mtb trips. Someone makes the "I gota go call". Having been to the park before, I knew there was loo just down the end of the car park. A proper one too. Heaps of toilet paper as well, the club has it sorted!
As we are standing there eyeing up the trail map, Peter says he know's where to go, done it heaps of times, follow him, We start off on a wandering easy going track called swamp donkey. It looks like an easy green trail from the map and it is. Along the way we come across a sigh that said it was in memory of Tim Johns. I used to hang out with Tim and no idea he has passed away. Tim was involved in the concept of the park and developed a number of the early trails. As I said before, this place bought back lots of good memories for me. The easy ride soon turns into a good steady climb with a number of rideable switch backs. As we get to one part of the track were there are a couple of jumps, Captain Mike calls out for us to stop. He has a quick look, I am think he is hatching a takeoff plan.
Much of the work here has been done by club members and D&E Track building. The climbing trails were well formed and not overall steep. After about 40mins of steady climbing we find ourselves at the main Mt Hutt access road. We jump over the road and find ourselves staring at the map again.
Pete tells us we are sticking to the blue trails today which are looking a bit slick after some recent rain. As we start our descent, the slickness is felt as I watch James taking on some trail that are way past his comfort zone. At one point I swear his back wheel passes his front as he navigates a berm. Some of the trials were a bit technical ( no drama, just hold on tight and pucker up) Most were beautiful flowing single tracks with descent well formed berms. Yeeeee haaa!
We quickly find ourselves at another junction in the trail and decide to head down the best bit of track I have done this year, Wrightys is sensational!
By now lunchtime is calling and the club has bought us lunch in the form of Pak N Save and Hellers sausages, bacon and bread. James and Jim bought a barbie each and quickly became the chef's.
As we are all talking smack, we decide to use the trailer we had borrowed from Pete at Dr Bike to drag our bikes up to the top of the trail network. Levo's had to ride up. There was just enough room in my mini bus to get us all up.
We head down the trail we had before and soon come across the section Captain Mike has scoped out. There is much co-fluffal as I realize we have a man down. Turns out Mike had prepared his takeoff plan without much thought to his landing. We quickly decide that Mike is in no state to continue riding, a local takes him to the bottom of the trial and Terry takes him to Christchurch hospital. Mike being the great guy that he is, even offered his beer supply for us as after ride drinks. On ya bike Mike!
We finish the ride with smiles on our faces and a beer in our tummy!
Good times had by all (cept Mike, he will be back after his AC joint heals).
If you would like the club to organize another ride to Mt Hutt, let us know. I am in!
Check out the parks website here: https://www.bikemethven.co.nz/