The sun was just rising as our flight crossed the last of the mountains before our descent into Bishkek. With the clouds opening up before us our first view of Kyrgyzstan looked like a crumpled rug of snow capped peaks stretching off into the distance and all I could think was that we are about to ride through that!!! Awesome! Soon enough, which tends to happen when you are travelling at 750kmh, the mountains gave way to an endless patchwork quilt of rolling pasture and crops in every shade of tan with the city of Bishkek in the distance.
What a day!! This morning we sat upon Observation Hill in Amboseli National Park and watched a long herd of elephant march ponderously (John favourite word of the day!) across the plains; and after a lovely bike ride across the 'once was' Lake Amboseli - we are now perched upon a rock with our Maasai friends watching the same long lines of Maasai cattle coming home into their manyatta below sunset and the backdrop of Mt Kilimanjaro tonight. Africa as a picture perfect landscape!
The Heaphy track is open once again for a winter of mountain biking and being the third year of the three year trial - it will be up to the powers that be to decide the future of mountain biking on this classic track.
So on the 2nd of May I headed out to ride the track and check out all the summer track upgrades and believe me its all good! Last year's new hut at Perry Saddle is all complete and a great stop off point for your first night on the track, its warm, bright and comfortable. DoC Golden Bay have upgraded the track between Saxon and MacKay huts, and DoC West Coast have airlifted masses of gravel onto the Mackay tops and the tracks are amazing! There is still a lot to do, but its heading the right way to be an awesome all weather track!
Unusual for sunny Nelson, Thursday dawned with a slightly damp feel about it (Ok it was raining...) as I met Robin, Simon and Derek at Nelson Airport. A bit of rain couldn't keep these three down and as we headed to Canaan the skies cleared for us to ride around the Canaan MTB tracks and down the infamous Ramaka tracks, 900m descent over 20kms of prime single track!! That was just the beginning of another three days of gorgeous single track and three nights of Derek's dinner-time stories that never cease to leave me crying with laughter. Our last days' ride in the hills behind Nelson city coincided with a deluge of rain that sent flash floods through the city streets but couldn't keep the smiles of the dials as we finished our last ride of the trip with a welcome pint at the Sprig and Fern. Cheers Fellas.
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