The Coppermine loop in Nelson was definitely one of the best rides I’ve done, even if I was plagued with punctures on the descent. The trail climbs an old tramway into the hills behind Nelson, and curves around Dun Mountain into alpine territory. On the way up it passes through some of the most jaw-dropping beautiful beech forest, with trees clinging to craggy cliffs covered in deep green moss. It’s like something out of a fairytale, and I had to constantly remind myself to watch where I was riding, rather than gazing open-mouthed at the surroundings.

After breaking through into the scrubby alpine zone the trail reverses gradient and the real fun begins. Awesome switchbacks wind their way down the side of the mountain, hooking into each other in a way that keeps seems to beg you to go faster and faster, at your own peril. the surface is rocky, but not too loose and it’s no surprise that the trail is known as Blur country. The VPP loves it, and I became a victim after getting a little lost in the moment and managing to put a hole in my tubeless tyre that Stan’s just wouldn’t seal. A quick(-ish) tube insertion got me about 5m down the trail before I copped the biggest snakebite pinch flat I’ve seen and had to go begging for another tube. Apparently the trail was smooth as silk when it was first built, and rode like an endless pump track. The alpine weather has definitely taken its toll, but not in a negative way. The flow’s still there, but you know for sure that you’re mountain biking.

The lower section of the track flies above a small river and it barely feels like your wheels touch dirt. It’s a little scary to think how fast you could ride some of the sections once you knew the trail.

From the bottom of the trail you can ride singletrack all the way back to Nelson city centre, or haul yourself up into the hills again and ride any of the trails in the MTB park. After that the only option is to go to the Sprig & Fern for a Three Berry Cider and a burger. It’s a tough life.

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