06 February 2009

Waitangi Day, a mountain bike ride, and a visit to the beach

It's the Waitangi Day public holiday here in New Zealand today. Waitangi Day comemorates the signing of The Treaty of Waitangi on February 6 1840 between the British and Maori chiefs which effictively made New Zealand a part of the Britich Empire. It's really the closest thing New Zealand has to a 'national' day. I guess I would relate it to perhaps Australia day over the ditch or maybe Independence day in the US.

For the average New Zealander Waitangi day means another day off from work to enjoy with family or friends. This morning I got out of the house straight after breakfast and headed to the Woodhill Bike Park for a Mountain Bike ride. This mountain bike park has about six main trails ranging from 10 K to 21 K with dozens of smaller side trails to explore also if you desire. It's set amongst a large pine plantation and is close to the Tasman sea which gives it a sandy base. There's also gnarly looking BMX track if you're more into that mode of biking.

Looking at the trail map before hand I fancied the look of the black trail, a 20 K ride which was said to take between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hours. I figured that I've comfortably riden that distance on the road before so I should be able to handle it out here and I was picking in a time of around 1 1/2 hours.

Well this is the first chance I've had in a few years to really test myself off road at the Bike park and its fair to say I may have misjudged my abilities a bit, in terms of time the ride may take I mean. Riding in the forest on a norrow sandy trail, putting in lots of turns, ups and downs, dodging tree roots and taking all the wee drops is certainly different from road biking, which is pretty much all I have had the pleasure of lately. I enjoyed it greatly though, alone in the forest with just my bike for company taking all the hits and bumps the trail could through at me.

After about 30 minutes I reached the little clearing / rest area (marked B on the trail map). I stopped , had a drink and consulted my map. Realizing that I was only about a quarter of the way to completing the black trail, and conscious some what of the time I had taken to get this far, I chose to switch to the shorter blue trail which is listed at 10 K (1 - 2 hours).

The ride went well , the bumps keep coming, and I pushed hard most of the may. The hills are mostly short and undulating rather than huge climb followed by scary downhills, so you're able to keep a steady pace at most times.

I ended the ride in a time of just over an hour which left me thinking that perhaps I could have stuck to plan A in the first place and done the black trail. Oh well it will be there next time.

We rounded out the day with a trip to one of the local North Shore beaches. Cheltenham beach in Devonport was packed with locals enjoying the hot and sunny conditions, cooling off in the sea or soaking up the suns rays. The boys have been loving the beach this summer and I must say I've enjoyed it too. Here's a picture of them enjoying the beach last weekend.


Ewen February 7, 2009 at 2:54 PM  

Glad you were too busy to mention the cricket ;)

Those black courses sound pretty evil - if they're anything like the pro courses around Stromlo. Looks like you're getting the hang of it already.

Happy Waitangi Day!

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