Ben Cathro NZ diaries pt2
Stone the crows, I thought it would never happen but it has. Sit down and put the kettle on. Scottish downhill World Cup mountain biker Ben Cathro has written a second New Zealand blog! (first blog here)
I know some of you might be thinking "whoa baby, there's too much New Zealand news at the moment, I want some news of whats happening in Pontefract or Chipping Sodbury" then send in the news to Billy
(P.S there is nothing happening in Pontefract or Chipping Sodbury)
Here's the news from Cathro.
We rocked up to Queenstown the Monday after the Dunedin National (Sunday was a little hung over if you catch my drift). We were all looking forward to our stay as we had heard QT was the place to be if you like bikes and easy woman (Gary was loving the latter). We didn't really have a destination when we arrived so we decided to meet up with old scottish friend and local hero Paul "Big Hair Big Air" Angus. He works in Vertigo bikes in the centre of town so we boosted there to see what the chat was. Turns out we came at just the right time because there was a whole heap of stuff going on.
We settled in at James "Jambo" Allan's place and right away we got down to it. Paul Angus invited myself and Gareth on an early morning mission up Ben Lomond. By early morning I mean up at 4 with head torches so we could see where to go. After a good 2 and a half hours of climbing we reached the peak to witness the sunrise.... But it was overcast so we just ate some sliced pineapple then beasted all the way back down. Quality fun.
The next day we moved into our good Friend Matt Cox's appartment. We had some floor space and a roof over our heads so we were happy. We headed out and rode the coolest track we've ridden in New Zealand, It's called the hobbit and it's 1 minute of the steepest, rockiest, gnarl filled amazingness ever. We tried to ride it blind which resulted in Forrest launching his bike of a drop, falling after it, landing stood on the handle bars, bending the handle bars to 90 degrees and bending his ankle to a similar angle. Check the photo, yes that is an ankle folks.
Next up on the list of things to do was Seb Kemb's Week of Weaponry/Wonder. I mashed myself the day before trying to do the Ben Lomond push and ride in record time so I sat out the first few events and took part in "DAS UBER D!!!" Seb told us before the event there was only a little bit of uphill so we reckoned downhill bikes would be prime. On inspection of the track on the push up we realised there was a sizeable portion of uphill and downhill bikes were far from prime. It was all for a laugh so we weren't too bothered. I had a pretty mint run but I fell at the last hurdle.... skull a pint. Now I hate beer and I can't down a pint at the best of times. Trying to do it while you're struggling to breathe was just a joke which was probably why everyone was laughing haha.
With the week of wonder done and dusted we moved on to the National at Coronet. The track was pretty fun to ride but it wasn't the best to race. There was nothing difficult to ride which made the times mega close. Long story short, Danny Hart smoked everyone which was good to see. The British domination continues, aw yeah. The race was over but that wasn't all that Queenstown had to offer us. Tim at Vertigo bikes organised a Pro Invitational Race with a $200 1st place prize. Joe and Myself were invited to race this along with Dodzy, Matt Scoles, Leov and Danny Hart. The track was mega tech so Joe took full advantage of it and walked away with the 200 smackers. That'll buy a lot of potoatoes.
Now I was pretty satisfied with the amount of action we experienced in Queenstown but it turns out there was one more thing to do. Tim at Vertigo bikes managed to get Myself and Joe on a Helibike trip up the Remarkables mountain range. I have done a lot of cool things in my life but this trip just about took the biscuit. The pilot did spins, skimmed the ground and did massive banked turns. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face. The ride down was sweet with miles of flowing singletrack. Vertigo bikes do these trips all through the summer so I hope I can come back some day and do it again.
So big thanks to all the guys at Vertigo who helped us out during our stay in Queenstown, hope to see you again someday.
I'll finish this off with a photo, I went filming with NZ filmaker Jono the other day, I slipped a foot off my pedal and rolled my ankle. I'm thinking snapped ligaments.
Ben Cathro mojo orange downhil mountain bike rider in New Zealand