Freeriding with the Kiwis
By Doddy | Wednesday, April 9, 2008 11.00pm
My name is Callum Jelley I’m a member of the MBUK Wrecking Crew and I’m going to chase summer around the world with my bike in tow. The bike is a Giant Reign X frame, the perfect tool for both fast DH, big hitting freeride runs and all day singletrack.
Component-wise I'm running the new DT Swiss E2200 all mountain wheelset; Fox 36 vans and a DHX 5 rear shock, Formula The One brakes, Funn bar and stem, Hope ceramic bottom bracket and Sram gear assembly with Ride On cables. I'll be hitting up New Zealand from of April 5 to 25 with www.freeridenz.com and then on to Whistler for a whole season of shredding all that Whistler and British Columbia has to offer...
For the New Zealand part of the trip I’m going to be travelling with Freeride NZ, started by Dan McMullan in summer '07, the company specialises in Freeride and Downhill tours ranging from one day to three weeks on both the North and South Islands. As well as Freeride and Downhill they offer single day cross-country tours, heli-biking days and loads more. The two guides, Dan and Glenn, are super friendly and accommodating - so if you want to do a trip that they don’t advertise they will do their best to sort you out.
Dan the boy and Glenn pick me up in there van with a big spray-painted trailer with 3 Commencal’s on it and the ability to carry up to 12 more: this would soon be put to the test! We picked up Dan B from Oz who is going to be with us for the whole of the South Island section of the trip, then we headed off to the trails!
First we drove up to Coronet Peak with the promise of virgin singletrack snaking its way down a valley. The trail was amazing, it just flowed so well and the dust billowed behind us as we shredded down the mountain. The road back up was one of the scariest shuttling roads I’ve ever been on, it’s an old access road to the gold mines that used to exist around Queenstown. We spent the rest of that day riding the trail and warming up to the 20 days of riding ahead.
The second day began early with a plan to hit some local downhill tracks around Queenstown, and then session the Mini Dream-Track, which is baby brother to the infamous Dream Track built by Nathan Greenwood and seen in the films New World Disorder 5 and Drop In NZ. The great thing about the trails is their proximity to Queenstown itself. We started off on a track called Wynyard’s, it’s a pretty fast steep DH track with lots of berms and a couple of wooden features dotted through it. It also runs straight through Mini Dream Track so we stop off here and ditch the bags and don the pads and get ready to get our dirt jump on! Every jump there is so well maintained and with plenty of backing form the council - the locals really do look after the place.
After hitting a few smaller lines and then building up to bigger table tops, Dan the boy decides to step it up and try the big line which starts with a small kicker drop into the landing of a big double then off the brakes over a huge first double with a even bigger landing then onto a left handed hip step-up and then another left handed hip. It was by far the biggest line I’ve seen and I felt I’d only have this one chance to give it a go. After Dan had got through the line with style and flow I knew it was possible, so I saddled up my Giant Reign X and dropped in! It was a beautiful line, the first jump shot me so high, I picked up tons of speed on landing and floated over the two hips! It was the best feeling of my life getting through that line and setting up my riding in a massive way on the second day out: a great omen for the rest of the trip.
Over and Out. Cal...
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