There she was - laid bare before me - her beautiful lines plain for all to see. She wanted me to taste her, to glide over her sweet curves, to climb her magnificent peaks and descend into her fine valleys.
But would it be possible? I was on holiday with the family. My wife and children were constantly by my side; and we were having a great time. Cannot the temptress see this? I want to be a good husband. Why does she not leave me alone?
But she was persistent. She tried to make me jealous - she let others have her. Many others. And I saw them. And they had smiles on their faces. And they kept going back for more. And she did not refuse them.
The longer I resisted the more I wanted her. She seemed to become more beautiful, more entrancing as I learned more about her. There was more to her than I first knew. She was complex and many faceted.
I thought of friends back home and what they would do. And an imaginary devil appeared on my shoulder and started screaming at me - "Just f*cking do it! She wants you to. No-one else has to know. You'll regret it if you don't!".
And so for a brief moment I succumbed. I arranged a visit and we met in the early afternoon. She revealed part of herself and drew me in closer. I was transfixed by her curves, her potential to provide joy. I tentatively reached out and touched her. It was exquisite. I caressed her again, this time with more confidence. And again. But I did not feel comfortable. I was in unfamiliar territory and felt I was being rushed. I needed more time; more than I had available after escaping from the family for part of the afternoon. So after one long electrifying final exploration of her upper reaches I pulled away.
And it was good. But I want her again. Next time completely. And I want friends to see her and have her too. Who is she? Queenstown, New Zealand.
Yes, I'm talking about mountain biking in Queenstown. Yes, I was having a great family holiday and although I had plans to do some riding in Queenstown things did not quite work out like I wanted. Heli-bike was not an option as was mid-week, not busy and they need a minimum of three for a trip. A guided tour I tried to line up with Fat Tyre did not eventuate as he had no bookings for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. I stuffed up timing with a couple of other options. In the end I did a half day bike rental of a nice Stumpy 26. I had planned to ride it down to an XC orientated area called 7 Mile Reserve, but the younger guy in the shop reckoned I had to give the Queenstown Mountain Bike Park a go first. The Park is next to the Skyline cable-car that goes up from Queenstown. You can take mountain bikes up in the cable car but you have to buy at least a half-day pass; half-days are either 10am-2pm; 2pm-6pm. I had my bike at 11:30am so would waste a pass. I decided to ride up the hill instead. It is about a 400m ascent. The ride up was not too bad, just grinding. I then did a blue run - Vertigo into Original. All good, but I took it very easy - I was riding alone, did not have a phone and the family did not know where I was - I was meant to be at 7 Mile Reserve. Rode back up the hill and then did Vertigo again to its end which was half-way down the hill. Rode up again and repeated Vertigo (all other runs are rated Black DH). Rode up again and this time the legs were hurting. I decided to finish with an explore of a longer green run called Hammys. This was a real blast - could open up the throttle a lot more as was more forgiving. These four runs in the Park were my four touches of the temptress described above. I'm glad I did it, but wish I'd done more. Next time I can envisage a full day pass, full face helmet, body armor and a hired DH bike.
And that was my mountain biking in Queenstown. Not as much as I wanted, but was a good reccy for a future trip and I rate it worthy of serious consideration over Rotorua - mainly because of its variety. I'll show you maps and options next time we meet over a brew. I think Queenstown also has an advantage over Rotorua in that there is plenty for the family to do there as well. So, Rotorua great for a boys only trip, but Queenstown we could travel with families and they would have a great time too. One of my main complications was that I was the only one able to drive our big campervan around so there was a dependency on me for transport. Queenstown would still be fine for a boys only trip, but equally as good for a summer family holiday.
Some links are below.
My filmed run (but is embarrassingly slow compared to the video below) - http://youtu.be/zd2BIka_7TM - and youtube has tripped out and put the wrong music track over the top...