Dave and Ditte double their money, riding the then freshly minted Paparoa Track both ways over two days for 112km of alpine adventure. Cherie from Ground Effect mucked in at halftime in Blackball for orange segments and the return match.
The Paparoa Track joins the Old Ghost Road and Heaphy to form a holy trinity of multi-day backcountry rides on the upper West Coast. All are bucket list worthy. Ground Effect hit the Paparoas on opening weekend for our Xmas Party.
Guy joins Hamish Seaton on the West Coast to check out construction of DOC's latest Great Walk (and Mtb Ride) and memorial to the 29 miners who tragically died in the Pike River Coal Mine. 65 km of new and existing multi-use walking-biking tracks will link Blackball, Punakaiki and Pike River.
In March 2017 the Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park, like much of the North Island, was hit hard by cyclone Debbie. Ditte and I were hunkered down in Rotorua while torrential rain drummed for three days solid on our accommodation's corrugated iron roof. Fast forward to spring 2017 and the Herculean effort to repair the road is still ongoing. It took all of four months just to join the dots so the locals of Minginui didn't have an hours drive through dodgy forestry roads to get to Murapara.
Since opening in 2015, the Old Ghost Road has rocketed to the top of every kiwi mountain biker’s must do, or must do again list. It’s so popular that when Cherie suggested a Ground Effect work junket back in September, the first Saturday night she could book the Ghost Lake Hut was in April this year. After a collective gasp of disbelief around the office, all 20 bunks in the main hut and the two sleepouts were duly booked and paid for. Family and our Ground Effect ‘Revolutionary’ sponsored riders were enlisted to join us, food and logistics sorted, and golden weather pre-ordered.
The infamous James Gang hung out on the wrong side of the railway tracks for the most part, as we all have at some stage in our lives, but this didn't stop them from scoring a sainthood somewhere along the way.
On the promise of a sunny long-range weather forecast generated by some hobbits in Norway, Ditte van der Meulen, Joe Arts and myself headed to the west coast for an overnight jaunt on the Heaphy. September's clock was counting down the last few days of the Mtb season and our gang of three were intent on not missing out.
With yet another perfect weather pattern in the misty mountains, Ditte and I headed for the high country via - the Culverden Bakery for the customary pre-ride consumption of possibly the best pies in the entire galaxy.
Standing with our bikes at the start of the Nydia Bay track at the top of the South Island, the past 4 months of intense planning finally started to feel like they may have been worthwhile. We'd spent too many late nights plotting routes, arranging land access, locating accommodation, working out what food was needed, what equipment would last the distance and tapping up old hands for nuggets of information on what was rideable and what was not.