Dave Mitchell saddles up and heads south to sample the historic Roaring Lion gold mining tracks near Garston, score laps at Te Anau's Perenuku mountain bike park and uncover the myriad of trails behind Alexandra on Matangi Station.
Kaikoura had always been a legendary mountain biking destination for us, but the riding was restricted to the very narrow S & M band width. Now it's been reimagined with the Kaiterau Loop on Mt Fyffe and the frothing Middle Hill M.T.B.
A big round of Dutch cheese was moving up the South Island as the C19 elevator dropped down to level two. Ditte and I popped back into travel mode with a mighty sigh of relief and exuberance for freedom. First stop the Heaphy.
Dave Mitchell was amongst the small clan of kiwis who embraced the then embryonic pursuit of mountain biking back in the eighties. The fashion was appalling - a mash of tramping kit, sagging lycra and sometimes even gaiters over leather walking boots. Shocks, clipless pedals, disk brakes and dropper posts were yet to be imagined.
In the last of their pre-covid-19 adventures, Dave Mitchell and Ditte van der Meulen revisit the hilly finger of land separating Lake Hawea from Wanaka - scoring the obligatory fisheye panoramas from the windswept tops.
The day started like any other. The sun came up in the east and slowly but surely persuaded the clouds to exit stage left. Our high country grand loop began at Moke Lake on the Ben Lomond Station Farm Road near Queenstown.