After connecting with the Manawatu Cycling Club last week, I knew they were good people and they offered to show me some trails on Sunday!
Mountain biking is the best hobby/obsession ever! I brought my shoes, pedals, helmet and kit (next time saddle too for SURE..yikes) and then found my sisters bike, a stellar Mongoose Rockadile in the back. This bike in the US would rate mid-level Wal-Mart buy, FYI. Thus the horrid seat. I don't even know if the gear ratios are the same, and the "shock" may have had 3 cm of travel!
BULLS: this is the town we went through to get to the tracks! The Knights, who I connected with before coming here, are in charge of the riding club and getting race courses mapped out and organized. Pretty cool.
The trails were a majority of single track in dark forested, humid country. There were no long climbs, but a ton of pitchy little ascents and descents. The efforts felt a lot like Short Track where you have to pin it for 4 seconds to get over the hump then keep the momentum going down the other side.
The tracks were so swoopy and smooth. A thick layer pine-needles mixed with the tacky dirt made for a fast ride!
With trails named "Snakes and Ladders" and "Roller Coaster" I knew I was in for a treat! Some of the drops and tight switchbacks popped my heart right up into my chest! Its been awhile since I have had that feeling and I love it!
Nothing like foreign trails, on a bike you don't know, in a land I am new to! So much fun! Unlike the trails at home, some of which i could ride with my eyes closed, every corner brought something new and exciting! Everything was bright green, with dew on the tops! I think the most similar trails are up in the Napa Valley or farther up NorCal. Just beautiful!
I was so impressed with the trail markings and on the really steep sections, pieces of outdoor carpeting had been put down. Pretty brilliant actually. This race course gets a lot of traffic, and with the rains and muddy soil, the hills would get eroded in a weekend. But with the carpet down, no excuse to walk, you gotta power it up the climb!
My body took a bit of a beating though. Geeze. Everyone was laughing at my bike! Going down the descents you could hear suspect rattles and my arms got sooooo tired! But thats a good thing since I haven't ridden a bike in like 2 weeks! I just kept thinking it was equivalent to at least one upper body gym session!
I think I had a grin on my sweaty face the whole time! Sure I could have ridden on the road or kept up my running torture, but I think the best way to truly immerse myself into a new culture or region is to Mountain Bike there!
Nothing is quite as exhilarating, fun, or just dang cool!!