Jamesy Boy’s NZ Adventure : Part 1

January 24 2013

Read below for all the details of James' first installment from Middle Earth:

“Feck it baeys, this weather is pish - I’m going to New Zealand...”

I’d been to New Zealand before, when I was a youthful 17 year old, with my buddy Joey B so I knew what to expect: sun, mountains and funny little birds that can’t fly. We did the Kiwi downhill series and this time I wanted to take a trail bike to see what else was on offer.  I managed to organise most of my sponsorship deals before leaving on the 5th of January. This meant I arrived with a shiny new Orange Five complete with green team edition Hope parts and fancy X-Fusion gas shockers. I also had a whole heap of brand new Bawbags clothing and O’neal riding kit to see me through the trip (including some swanky looking SPD shoes too). Stoked. 

James has been struggling to cope with being on the wrong side of the world, but luckily he's a pro headstand athelete.

The last time we had a van and travelled north and south following the race series. This time I have come to realise the simple luxury of using a shower and having a bed so I have decided to base myself in one place: Queenstown. I stayed on the sofa of the legend that is Mat Weir for the 1st few days before upgrading to my own room in his brother’s house up the road in Fernhill. Thanks to everyone here for putting up with me! I quickly settled in and bought a cheap second hand road bike to get some training done early in the day before smashing some turns in the afternoon.

Big mountains all the way to the sea, James has plenty of terrain to test the Five on!

A few days later I set off with Mat to join Tom Lamb for a few days on the road. Our first riding destination was Craigieburn. There are some sweet trails to be found here – ‘The Hogs Back’, ‘The Cheeseman DH’, ‘The edge’ and ‘The Luge’. 

Jamesy Boy trucking on his Five to victory. Photo courtesy of Sean Lee.

After only 6 days in NZ I joined the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club and raced one of their local downhill races at the base of the Remarkables ski area. The course was mint and the uplift was fast and efficient. It was probably one the best single day downhill races I’ve ever been to: well organised, great people and some sweet photos from Sean Lee. I got enough practice in on Sunday morning to figure out where I was going before race runs started after lunch. There are quite a few fast guys who hang out in this part of the world so I was chuffed to get the fastest time of the day on a trail bike. Well good! 

First scalp of the trip, fastest time of the day and a rather fetching trophy.

The next couple days were spent riding some epic walker’s paths – ‘Kirwins’ and ‘Creosus’. These trails can be found in the old mining country north east of Greymouth with plenty of interesting things to stumble across. 

There's plenty of old industrial relics dotted about the landscape. This one is a fair beast!

We would ride up for a few hours in the evening and stay in a hut overnight before coming back down in the morning. The slog up to Kirwin’s hut turned out to be a total mission. The ground was wet and the incline too steep to ride. Hungry and delerious we struggled on to the top. We eventually arrived at the hut and celebrated our sucess in specactular fashion... Happy days. 

Keep your eyes peeled for part 2 coming soon!

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