Written by Steve
Hanmer is a brilliant destination for a spot of outdoor adventure. It’s only a 90 minute drive from Christchurch, has lots of great riding options, and offers a good variety of accommodation, cafés and restaurants. We stayed at the fantastic Village Lake Apartments, which are conveniently located right next to town.
My Spring Challenge team were one of four groups (two from Christchurch and two from Nelson), who joined Coach Ray from Qwik Kiwi for two days of mountain biking and navigation skills training. Spring Challenge is a multisport event that involves mountain biking, hiking and rafting, as well as mapping and navigation skills. You have to be physically fit, but you also have to be able to read a map.
On Saturday morning, we started off on the easy tracks around the Hanmer Forest Range. The mountain bike section of the Challenge isn’t technically demanding, but the more confident you feel in the saddle, the more enjoyable you’ll find the experience. One useful skill we practiced was emergency braking. There are record numbers attending this year’s Challenge, and the riding is likely to be congested. Later, we moved onto some of the intermediate tracks, like Swoop and Swamp.
We also spent time with the compass, working to find bearings between checkpoints. We made mistakes but were able to learn from them, and we all felt that our navigation skills improved over the course of the day.
On Sunday, we put everything we’d learned into practice and took part in a mini-event, which saw us mountain biking and hiking to collect a number of checkpoints. All in all, the weekend provided a great opportunity to hone our skills and work as a team – and we had a lot of fun as well.
Although the South Island Spring Challenge is sold out (spaces always fill up quickly), you can still take part in the North Island version of the event, on 13-15 October 2017 in Auckland.
Or, take a look at New Zealand’s largest cycle race, the Lake Taupo Challenge, which this year takes place on Saturday 25 November. If you’re coming from overseas for a cycle or adventure event, we have top-quality mountain, road and performance bikes available to hire. Browse your options here, or drop us an email.
Have a good week, Cecileah
P.S. We also offer mountain bike skills training on local hills in either the South Island or North Island. Find out more here.
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