New Zealand 2014

I thought it was probably time to sit down and talk about my adventures which I had in New Zealand. It has taken awhile to catch up with things at work and home. Things are calming down a little with all the mountain biking at the moment as I am entering the tapering stage for the 24-hour race at the end of the month.

With a bit of trepidation, I embarked on a 10 day holiday to Rotorua with my husband in tow joining a group of 6 other very keen mountain bikers. There were 2 or 3 people who I had not met before. I was worried that Tom wouldn't enjoy himself, that I wouldn't be able to get enough riding time in and that we wouldn't get on with the others.

As it was the atmosphere was relaxed everybody (including Tom) had a fantastic time and my bike only got a minor injury - the result of our packing bikes into the trailer and then accidentally driving down a dirt road to nowhere but nothing a few strategically placed stickers couldn't hide!

The day we arrived in Auckland was very wet but we managed to pick up the van and trailer and collect the others from the airport as they arrived after us. A bit of a mix up with buying the wrong time for the flight and not buying any baggage - lesson well and truly learned! The following day was drying up and we went to Woodhill to have a bit of fun on the trails. Tom had some minor mechanicals with his bike which resulted in him going to see the mechanic who was onsite then declared him useless and fixed the problem himself. A good friend in the group decided she would ride with Tom at a leisurely pace and let the rest of us go and kill ourselves by belting round the trails then regretting it for the rest of the week when we were knackered! The trails were awesome very flowy and not a bit of sand in sight - a sigh of relief!

We then drove to Rotorua on the way I remarked to Tom that I hadn't seen any sheep to which he replied there are fields full of them - the only ones I spotted were the fake ones - I had sheep blindness! We arrived safely and checked out the accommodation. This was a tiny 8 bedded cabin with 2 separate rooms with bunks in the corridor. Space did not end up being an issue it was the rock hard and very lumpy beds. This resulted in a flare up of the Fibro symptoms and I would wake up after sleeping very poorly and not be able to get out of bed due to pain - every morning I would get up and go to the toilet block and stand under a hot shower for 30 minutes to relieve the muscle tension before riding all day which eased the pain. The day before the race I took Tom and we went and sat in a thermal pool for as long as we could stand the heat in a last-ditch effort to make my body work again - it was very successful!

On a couple of the days, I convinced 2 of the guys to come riding at 6.30am in the morning. This worked well as I could wear myself out for a couple of hours, come back and get Tom ride for a couple more hours, have lunch then the fast guys would come back for me and we would go off again. This resulted in me riding 450km in the space of a week. The lower trails in Rotorua were fantastic smooth, flowing, some roots, very well built and we had a great time on this. The upper trails took quite a bit of effort to get to and no shuttles were running. The first time down hot x buns one of the guys who was a similar speed to me was following. I bulked at a steep section at the top and sent him down in front of me so I could see how it was ridden. He promptly disappeared. I got back on the bike and decided I was going to ride down the middle and not stop no matter what. I made it down the trail in this manner but scared myself a bit in the process. I took every A line going - going down drops and tree roots. By the time I got to the bottom, I was ecstatic and jumping around really excited as I had made it down in one piece.

On Thursday we took a drive out to Lake Taupo and rode the W2K trail (well the Y to K part of it anyway). The views were amazing and the walking/cycling track was basically one long section of single track. It was one of the best trails I have ridden for a long time as it kept going and going. You did have to be careful of some of the corners though if you had too much speed it would have been very easy to fall straight over the edge - luckily nobody did! The funniest part was when a friend decided to ride to music for the first time when the song was running she would ride really quickly and smoothly and I was caught out a couple of times trying to keep up with her. When the music stopped she slowed right back down again. The music started again and the pace picked back up. Maybe I should try riding to music as well!

All in all, I want to go back to New Zealand and explore some more on the mountain bike - I jokingly asked Tom if he wanted to emigrate again!

The next blog entry will talk about the amazing Whaka 100km race which was the culmination of the trip.