Monday, May 07, 2007

Flow and go on the Wharfedale

Last Sunday, an keen group of Ventana riders; Oliver, Pete (aboard their El Saltamontes) and Shaun headed for the hills west of Christchurch at Oxford.
The destination was the famed Wharfedale track, and on arrival the wise decision was made to park after the first fords and ride to the trail head. In the latter stages of the ride (with legs fading) this proved exceptionally cunning!

The track started with an easy climb on a smooth beech leaf surface, a great way to ease back in to NZ single track for Oliver who had been riding Vancouver's North Shore only a week ago.
Clearly it took some adaptation, with a couple of technical sections getting the better of him (note the picture below!)
Oliver fails to keep the rubber side down,
performing an inverted trunk inspection

From here the track got better and better, with swoopy turns leading to technical challenges like dips and off camber sections that challenged both skills and courage! Perfect terrain for the Ventana El Saltamontes, with the 4" of travel devouring all bumps in sight and with just the right angles to attack dips and corners with gusto.

This track really must be ridden to be believed, and despite recent rain the surface was tacky with only a few boggy sections.

After a rest for lunch at the Warfedale hut, it was back on the bikes and out to Lees Valley, where two epic hill climbs on gravel road took us back to the Oxford township.
Scenery was amazing, while the only wildlife to speak of were some crazy cows that insisted on stampeding down the 4WD track out.

Oxford township with its old-town charm served as an excellent pie stop, with the warmer cleaned out of $1 specials. Just as light began to fade we made it back to the van, and were off home with memories of the epic ride to take us through till next weekend.

Check the Kennett Bros. book for details, as this is a must for Christchurch riders, or indeed anyone planning a roadtrip in the area.

Oliver 'turning the frown upside down'
as the end of the last climb is reached
Mountain Pedaler out...

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