A great write up from a Queentown Pedaller - Kim
Wow! Firstly I was so impressed as we arrived at Garston for a pre-ride coffee at Trailer Sixty6. It was like something right out of the USA, big shiny bullet-like trailer/caravan that made good coffee, and by the look of the menu board we would be back later for some nosh.
Excited about the ride ahead we drove up to the Nevis Ski Hut. At that very moment it was obvious it was going to be a challenge to keep our eyes off that incredible scenery and focus on the track we were riding; it’s breathtaking up there. Now it had been snowing a few days before, so the first five or so km were more about tackling the mud than anything else.
By the time we reached Welcome Rock I think we all felt we had just biked 10 km. Nah …wrong answer! It was only three and a half. No one could believe it. At this point I was thinking, ‘where is the short cut back, I can’t make 23 and a half more km on this kind of cycle trail’.
Anyway, within a few km Peter got a puncture, I fell into a rock…. Ouch, and the other amazing people on the ride made me feel a little more confident that I wasn’t alone in feeling incredibly challenged only 5 km in. At this point I turned to Tom O’Brien who is the creator of the trail and just the nicest guy, to ask, ‘where can I take another safer, shorter route back to base camp?’ Tom encouraged me to carry on to the Mud Hut; I could head up and back over the hill from there.
By the time we made it to the Mud Hut, which is pretty cool and has a great history, I was looking inside for a bottle of whiskey to calm my nerves. Oh for sure the scenery was just breathtaking and the trail was well done and Oh… my… stars, I like to have my comfort zone challenged but I felt like I was out into the twilight zone. I was terrified the whole time and by this point had won the trifecta with falls off my bike.
Little did I know that Tom, who had been riding behind me for quite a way had said to Peter, “she’s more capable than she thinks she is”. So on that note I want to say to all you Pedallers out there that if you can ride on what is like a rabbit track only wider, but with more twists and turns, with a mountain on one side, and a drop off on the other, with a continuous technical challenge, and have the ability to dodge hazards on the track you can do this. I watched the guys fly through and none of them seemed to be afraid.
Let me give you a little insight before I sign off…. This is no ordinary ride and I would recommend it, but if you have a fear of heights I would really consider it differently. I don’t fear heights but I had so much fear and adrenaline pumping through my veins I didn’t know if I was exhausted because of the ride or the latter. After each fall I chose to take courage, because you can’t lose confidence in your own ability to ride the course. I missed the final point where I could take the easier shortcut back so I had absolute determination to ride this course and never quit till the end. The concentration needed is 100%, the only way you can take in the scenery and feel the history is by stopping. And believe me you’ll want to, it’s stunning!
This ride is just as much about your mind as it is about your riding skill. If you have anything weighing heavy on your mind or a problem to solve before you start this ride – believe me it will be sorted by the end of it. My personal experience taught me that, and after about 18 km when I couldn’t see anyone ahead or behind me due to the winding track I took my fear by the throat and said,’ just imagine you are fearless Lara Croft’. (Please tell me you know who adventure woman Lara Croft is?) Anyway, next minute I seemed to hit the express button on my overdrive and flew around the track to the end. James Bond would be proud.
I saw a few of the guys sitting at the end of the track and just yelled out “pop the champagne boys, I made it”. I meant it too – the fear I personally overcame to do this was massive, but then again with half the things we do in life we start by being afraid.
The funniest part was when Peter said to me looking at the dirt road back to the Ski Hut, “It’s only a short ride up there and then it’s all downhill”. Well Peter you get the laugh here cos it must have been about 4 km uphill before there was any downhill happening….
Let me leave you with this thought – I did pop the champagne later that night, I do believe if you can ride Jacks Point track and can handle heights with concentration and trust yourself to do it you can ride this trail, and you should. It’s flipping amazing out there. Don’t miss out but be aware – you will be challenged!
Oh, and yes, we did end up at Trailer Sixty6 in Garston again and the consensus was – good burgers and coffee!
Over and out, Kim
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