table acid drop

If there’s one even at the Queenstown Bike Festival that gets the BnC tick of ‘fuck yeah’ approval, it’s gotta be the 16″ World Championships. Held inside The Find bar, the course is taped onto the slick concrete floor, with beer kegs, wall rides and skinnies keeping things interesting. Chuck in a hoard of drunken bike riders, a beer checkpoint, numerous bottles of mustard and several hundred litres of spilled (and tipped) beer, and the chaos comes swiftly. There’s no friends on race day, and sabotage seems to be priority number one, with most riders crossing the finish line drenched in beer and condiments. Somehow the night escaped without any major bloodshed, despite numerous floor-shaking stacks caused by front wheel wash-outs on the ridiculously slick floor. Several head-first plows into the crowd, numerous superman face plants and the constant risk of copping a 16″ bmx to the shins keeps it pretty interesting in the crowd as well. Points have gotta go to Jimmy who crossed the finish line on his face, bike perched on his back as the crowd dragged him over the line. And a merit award to Jarrah for the inventive use of a keg to spray competitors with a mist of leftover beer. Well done to all the riders who embraced the chaos, and the crew who put their bodies on the line and threw down for best trick.

Photo flogged from Callum.

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bnc-crew

 

So Dave pointed me in the direction of a bizarre facebook page for ‘BOTTLES N CHAINS’ that’s using the BnC logo and posting photos of people wearing sandals on motorbikes and rows of those funny little cars that grandmas drive. After a bit of a chuckle I thought that maybe I should make a proper BnC FB page, just so that it was reserved for good old fashioned bicycles and beer. Unfortunately someone else had already decided to take the name/address and grace it with a sweet ‘BOTTLES AND CHAINS CREW’ logo, featuring a gnarly dude doing a sweet jump against what I can only imagine is the moon at some point in the future, after BnC’s global corporate buying power has conspired to have the BnC logo etched onto it in a size clearly visible from earth. I looked a bit closed and discovered a bunch of Romanians living in Transylvania riding full rigid mountain bikes in jeans. That’s more like it!

I know we happily suggest that people join up by stealing the logo and claiming it, but the third stipulation of that agreement is to not be a jerk. I’m not sure I’d actually expected random people to just make off with the logo and use it for their own nefarious ends (and lines of parallel-parked micro hatchbacks definitely classes as nefarious in my book). But now it’s happened we’re just going to have to take them under our collective BnC wing and welcome them to the family. I’m really not sure they know what they’re in for. Anyone up for a holiday to Transylvania? I know some guys there and I’m sure they’ve got some room on the floor.

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 Righto, usual track, usual craziness, usual rules.

Except there will be a new rule this year,  for those who are not drinking.

DoH 2013

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Just gonna chuck this up as well, because it’s worth a look. A bunch of shots and some words up on Pink Bike from rider/photographer Sean Lee’s recent time in Queenstown. He was shooting a bunch of lads from Tassie, a few of the Skyline crew, and a good lot of Queenstown blow-ins. Be prepared to be jealous…

Link

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jimmy race

Nothing feels quite like finishing a 100km race…I’d imagine. I’ve never done more than 50km, but I’m notoriously lazy and strictly non-competitive unless I’m guaranteed to win with minimal effort. The good doctor Jimmy ticked off a century today and he’s got the grit-filled grin to show it. Nice work ol’ boy.

michelle neil

As for me, I took to the hills after too many days riding the gondola and forgetting what it feels like to actually pedal up a hill for longer than three minutes. Within 30 seconds of leaving the house I’d been attacked by a bee, we’d lost Michelle, and Neil couldn’t figure out how to use the gears on his borrowed bike with its big, silly wheels. After moments of chaos we regrouped at the supermarket to meet up with our guide Nick, who was still drunk from many hours of debauchery the night before. Things were off to a good start.

A few KM of tarmac had me quietly cursing my tacky 2.4″ tyres and feeling less than confident about the backcountry mission ahead. Luckily it wasn’t too long before we hit dirt, and Nick seemed to be vaguely aware of where we were heading. Many rides with Ben Storer has left me eternally wary of the words “I’m pretty sure it’s this way…”, which are inevitably followed by a long, steep descent towards a dead end and a sentence starting with “Oh, actually…”.  We hit singletrack in good time, and from there things were looking up…literally.

Moonlight Track winds its way above the Shotover River behind Queenstown, with some pretty steep drops off to the side and a narrow path that would be little more than a goat track if it weren’t for all the mountain bike tyres that roll over it. It kinda goes without saying that the mountain biking in Queenstown is pretty epic, and the views are best described the same. When you duck around the side of the hill and find yourself away from the main roads, the mountains open up before you and it’s hard not to drop your jaw. The trail dipped into an awesome descent, with the only real line becoming a narrow rut intersected by jutting rocks and covered in a good dose of sheep shit. Guaranteed that whenever the line did open up, your chosen path would have been neatly defecated on by the local farm animals. Just roll on through, it’s the only real option. We hooked down and back up again, before a brief stop for photos and jelly beans (any excuse to rest is good by me). Naturally things were going to smoothly, so Neil decided that a spontaneous puncture would liven things up a little. I promptly planted myself in the shade under a bush and didn’t complain a bit.

We carried on along more narrow, technical trail before hitting 4WD road and beginning to loop back towards Moke Lake. A few steep climbs in the hot sun had me swearing and whinging inside my head. If there’s one thing I hate whilst mountain biking, it’s riding up long, dusty fire trails in the hot sun. Luckily the ride was far too good and the scenery too amazing for it to have any impact on the good times. Plenty of pedalling and a relaxing lunch under the trees lead us on to Moke Lake, where more gravel road carried us on to the top of Gold Digger trail. Queenstown Mountain Bike Club do a lot of amazing trail work, and Gold Digger is one of their newer projects. A rad 2.5km descent back towards town, winding its way through a variety of terrain and flora. Plenty of tight corners (in a good way), sections of fast, pumpy trail and some awesome surrounds make it a damn fine trail that I’m super keen to ride again.

From there it was back to town along the Sunshine Bay track, before booking in for a bloody huge stone grill steak at Pog Mahones. Safe to say there was a fair amount of red meat ingested at that table. A decent cow somewhere gave its life for a damn good cause.

The question now it, where to next?

(I totally stole Jimmy and Michelle’s photos for this post.)

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