Riding Te Ara Koa – by an Intermediate Mum

Posted by Belinda Crisp on October 26, 2017 at 2:13:37 PM

There’s a buzz in the mountain biking community – everyone’s riding Te Ara Koa.  “It’s the new Firball”, “It’s the longest descent in Nelson/NZ/the world!”, “Awesome views”, “You’ve got to do it!”.

So, as a regular rider of intermediate tracks (and a few advanced tracks) around Nelson, last week I figured I’d better go and ride it.  I convinced another Mum to come too.

Puffing up Fringed Hill I found a new respect for those riders of the Coppermine Epic who race up it.  I don’t think I’ve ridden up there since pre-children.  There is a steep rocky section near the top which takes a mental (and for me a physical) push but once up there, the views are amazing, even if you are in the clouds!  Time for a fuel up and a quick photo before the descent which the Club secretary said would “take most riders around 20mins”….

I note the sign at the start of the trail.  First, it says “Advanced” – the same as Hot Box.  Mental note to self.  Second, the name – “Te Ara Koa” – which translates to “pathway to happiness”.  OK happiness – here we come!

The first section was wet which made the roots super slippery (my worst nightmare).  We walked most of it.  Not much happiness.  “20 minutes – yeah right!”.  Despite this the sense of adventure on our back door was awesome – we were miles from town, in beech trees and the birds were singing.  We walked and rode on, and before we knew it, we were riding more than walking.  Then as we got into the swing of it we were riding and whoop whooping!  There were a couple of XXX spots which threw us and a few loose rocks, but all good challenges for next time.  A few rests and 45 minutes later we were at the bottom high fiving and flush with happiness. 

A couple of things.  It is not an intermediate track like Firball (was).  Don’t be fooled by the photos on Facebook of 10 year olds riding it!!  For me it was quite technical in parts.  Give yourself plenty of time, we’re not all EWS superstars (but if you are you’ll love it too – you’ll just be a bit faster). 

Thanks for the hard work done by all the track builders – hours upon hours of volunteer work.  It is sincerely appreciated.  Thank you.

I’ve just ridden the trail again today and it gets better – maybe you get better the older you get?