This was a much talked about trip that has now been two summers in the making. Actually, finding a time that was compatable amongst 4 friends, all with differnt jobs and hours etc has made this a more difficult thing to do than it really is. As it was, only 3 of us actally ended up making the journey from Queenstown to Naseby. We should've spotted the karma pre-cursor to our day of fun which was to end up feeling like our very own Top Gear episode when Staf ended up having to pull out, as his Scott hardtail was in really no fit state to ride. The resulting inspection by Ryan at Element is a cracked BB.
Now Mark, myself (Graeme) and Gaz finally agreed that we would do this trip during a day of fun on the Saturday up on Skyline that also included a diversion of lugeing in between runs on the hill. Discussions included what bikes to take... Now I own a Transition Bottlerocket and Giant STP DJ bike that is setup as a single speed. Gaz's stable includes a Cannondale Gemini (the ugliset bike in the world), Barracuda 4X bike and a DiamondBack DJ bike, also a single speed. Mark's is somewhat classier, with the recent addition of a Giant Reign X, GT I-drive XC bike and a GT Chucker DJ bike. Gaz and I decided on hardtails whislt Mark went by way of the full squish of the Reign X.
Things had to be quickly oraganised with Gaz and myself both needing to do alterations to our bikes (well mainly me) to make them more enjoyable. Gaz needing brake pads and me, well lets just say I never thought I would see the day that gears would be put on my "never ever putting gears on my DJ bike". This was the start of our Top Gear episode. Massive thanks goes to Rico and Ryan at Element who worked tirelessly for 2 hours transforming my single speeder with 68mm bb, 3 piece cromo cranks to a machine which pedalled awesomely for most of the day.
We agreed of a departure time of 8am would give us a sufficent day in the forest. So with bikes loaded, lunches packed, 4WD fuelled, we hit the road a little before 8.30am. Driving through the more central bits of Central Otago really does make you feel like you are in a world of your own. Ohh the serenity!! Forever rolling hills with rocky outcrops coupled with at times pea soup fog made for a slightly eerie, quiet but exciting journey at the prospect ahead of us. Never ending stories of just how good the riding is plus a feature in Drop In TV have made this on the must do list for sometime.
Rocking into Naseby a little after 10am we made a beeline for the local bike rental shop. Asking the local guru is highly recommended to make life easier at the start of the day as well as aquiring a map. It is a massive forest to find your way round. Trails shooting off in every direction but with the handy additions of maps placed at the start and end of trails.
Setting off on our first climb of the day up the main road through the forest (Transition Road) it looked like it was going to a busy day in the forest with plenty of walkers as well as bikers all heading in. We followed the road up to the highest point to get a small but rewarding view of the valley we had travelled through still mostly covered in fog. Ohh the tranquility!!
Cruising down the fenceline we found our first trail to drop in. High broome with some proper single track invited us in. Nothing to technical but very limited vision with above head height broome made it slightly more interesting. Popping through some trees and over exposed roots into a clearing we looked over to our left spotting another trail. A lil' bush bashing we jumped on it and what a wonderful surprise awaited us. For this was the to be the trail we sessioned most of the day as this was home to natural dirt wall rides, rock gardens and drops. Awesome!!
Riding to the head of the wall rides a nice drop in waited for us,lovely clay dirt with a thick carpet of pine needles off the riding line. Rolling in and round to the right with a very quick left,a lone tree captures your eye line before the natural line of the terrain swings you round it into a mini rock garden. Plenty of natural spines with gradient changes leading us to the next section in the trail. Up and over another spine with a wonderful natural hip to the left with a slightly blind takeoff and landing at the crest sent us into what would be the favoured peice of trail for the day.
Rolling in from the crest of the next spine 3 walls in a row greeted us with another small rock garden on the exit once again up another spine to the drops. A smaller one was there to greet us with a higher takeoff also available for the huckers. We were there for a fun day out so no hucking amongst us that day however definatley keen to try on the next trip with Bottlerocket in tow.
Up and over another crest which would be an awesome step-up if it were not for the massive natural lying rock garden at the top,down through a flowy tecnical section and back out onto the main forestry road to begin another climb to the top.
This peice of track would see us contented for the next couple of hours. Where does the Top Gear bit of it come into it I hear you ask? Well after lapping out a few times my hybrid single speeder/trail bike decided it wasn't happy having gears on it and started to self bind the cranks,but only on uphills. Problem one of the day. Way to solve: backpedal! So I was left walking the uphill sections for the rest of the day,which wasn't so bad as it had turned into a wonderful bluebird day. Problem 2:Not long after my discovery of self binding cranks Gaz decided that he would add to his tally of shared mech hangers for the summer. Now in all honesty neither myself or Mark have ever managed to even put a crack in a mech hanger let alone completly tear one in half. This was mech hanger number 3 for the summer.
Other half still attached to bike.
One half of a mech hanger with mech!!
Definatley time for a lunch stop. We headed down to the car park,fuelled the bodys before heading to the shop in town to see about finding a hanger for Gaz. Unfortunatley with so many different possible hanger designs around there was no joy so Gaz joined the ranks of the single speed running quite a low gearing so that was also the end of his uphill riding for the day.
Back up to the forest and our new favourite trail we continued to explore faster ways to get into it without the not so exciting climb up the forestry road.
After exploring every inch possible we then ventured a little further afeild and found a great up and down trail with a very fast peice of lead up single track which then suckered you in by opening up and heading down fast to a blind rollover which had a lovely rut waiting to suck in a front wheel or 2.
We ended our day by following the trail back into the camp ground which was basically just a case of point and shoot with tree stump jumps all the way down. Pin it!!
Into town and to the pub where there was just as much entertainment resting with a uiet one as there was in the forest. Visit to find out more.
Naseby,highly underrated as a riding destination but ohh so much fun.
- nice write up. I was there in January this year with my daughter, 39*C so we swam in the lagoon above the camp and took a look around. Really nice place, will be heading back with the whole family next time I feel sorry for you guys - Queenstown, Naseby, Wanaka etc etc all within a stones throw
daniboi wrote:that wee stepdown at the mining claim is fuckin sick aye!!! did you hit that big hip booter too?
Nah mate,were there more for a cruise and to see if a weekend there was worth it to go back for. More of an exploration mission and some fun really. Definatley keen to go back and hit some of the bigger stuff.