Jimmy Carling brings you the latest happenings from the Queenstown area of New Zealand.

As with Jimmy our thoughts are with the people, family and friends of anyone affected by the devastating earthquake in Christchurch this week.

When I sit down each week to write these little reports for the website, ideas or thoughts on how to open each piece of writing seem to come on fairly quickly and with relative ease. I suppose inspiration comes easily when everything is right in your world. This week has been an exception; in fact, I can't recall the last time I was so stumped.

You'll all be aware of Tuesday's happening in Christchurch with regards to the earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, and it is this heart wrenching and sobering event that has left me the owner of a blank mind.

It's one thing to see devastation and despair on the news, in fact with so much of it these days it has become somewhat normal to flick on the idiot-box and hear about death and destruction. But to see a city that you know well, crumbling before your very eyes is something different altogether.

If you think it has only affected Christchurch, think again. This beautiful country bears a small population of equally beautiful people, all who have been united in grief. In every town in every province there are people trying to establish contact with friends and loved ones, myself included, as uncertainty remains over who got out and who was not so fortunate.

So far everyone I have spoken to has had word from their nearest and dearest in ChCh, although many people had pretty gnarly escapes by the sounds of things. One customer I spoke with today told me about a relative of hers who was on the 4th floor of a CBD building when it collapsed underneath them sending its occupants crashing to ground level. The person got out, but I know not of their associates or colleagues. Of course the visible damage is just the top of the iceberg when you consider the amount of buildings and establishments that will be still standing but no longer structurally sound. Christchurch has a long road ahead of it, and here in Queenstown our thoughts are with everyone affected. Our absence is only physical.

I'm hoping that Central Otago related mountain bike news might provide a brief distraction for those reading up in Canterbury... Or maybe I'm just struggling to change the subject from a national disaster to comparatively unimportant dicking around. Anyway, among my feeble excuses for not posting last week was simply that I was just enjoying the closing days of summer too much to care about rushing back home to write a report... Very unprofessional I know. So sue me.

Coop's goggles
Coop's forks

Since the last Waka' Weds' we've had two League of Gentlemen events, both of which were incredibly fun, depending on whether your name is Graeme Cooper or not. Queenstown's favourite courier driver took an absolutely huge stack in the V-Line chainless after taking an inside line on the lower half of the hill over a tree stump, which ended up in him getting bucked off and digging a small trench with his head. A gammy nose was minor compared to the early fears of neck damage, which were thankfully laid to rest after a few X rays. His Boxxers didn't fare too well however, and not only from the huge skid marks he left in them as he went over the bars. Snapped lowers? Ah mate...

Early morning mission up Le Chemin Du Citron Bleu...
...with a couple of Frenchies.

Eventually that bloody ginger took the win, again, and I think Mat Weir was second, then it might have been Blair Christmas in third, but he started his watch further down the hill to everyone else apparently, and then I was after Blair or something like that. What I do remember is that we rode bikes, laughed a lot and didn't really give a shit. Which was nice?

Banana bread world championships scoreboard. Clem Martin casts his vote.

Then we had the other LoG take place, the much anticipated King Of Skippers [Canyon]. And Ginge DIDN'T win! It was a beautiful evening, but as for everyone's self-timed run, well it was a bit of a shit show. Literally. The trail into skippers passes through farmland, which so far this year hadn't seen a single cow. So it was only fitting that on the night of our beer league the farmer moved his hundred or so cows into the valley.

There was runny green crap everywhere. On the trail, on my bike, on my clothes and in my mouth at one point. It was a bit of a lottery as to who would get a cow-less run, but in the end it was number one huckman Jamie Huck Tilbury who took the honours, smoking nearest rival Ginger Pubes by about 16 seconds.

Skippers. Beautiful place. Beautiful people.
But the greeting for Tom Hey and Max Bruneau at the bottom wasn't so beautiful.
Casey Brown and JT Huck. Your Skippers Royals.

In the ladies department it was Canadian pinner Casey Brown who took out the win. Well done and cheers to all who attended. King and Queen - take your thrones!

For now, the southern hemisphere heads into autumn. An exciting and fascinating season. The yellowing of leaves has commenced as temperatures begin to cool slightly and the nights draw in. If the riding season was compared to a big night out on the town, then right about now would be the point when we're smiling, peaking, steaming drunk, going hard on the dance floor, cuttin' shapes and letting loose, singing our hearts out. We're riding the last wave of the summer. The trails are buff and the sun is out. Time to go hard. This weekend sees what is arguably THE two wheeled event to go to in New Zealand. The Frew Farm Jam will once again be in full swing down in the Otapiri Gorge in Southland... See ya next week for piccies and words.