Andrew Sloman joined us and 6 others at the inaugural Ultra Life MTB NZ over the Labour Day Long weekend in March 2014. After smashing over 400kms in 4 days, Andrew knows a thing or two about the trails of Rotorua and Taupo!
Here he shares with us his top 5 trails from "The Ultra Life MTB NZ" 2014
1: Split Enz - Redwoods Rotorua
Split Enz is a trail nestled deep in the Redwoods forest. Once the legs have had a beating climbing up the steep hills to get to the trail head, the smooth single track flows through 1000 shades of green ferns, over narrow bridges with trickling streams below and fat tree roots splitting the path. The joys of speeding along and earning the experience is why I rate this as the number 1 trail in Rotorua.
2: W2K and K2K - Lake Taupo
The W2K and K2K trail comes in at number 2. Starting a few kilometres out of Lake Taupo, there is a short climb that warms the legs up for what is to come. An undulating surge of perfectly conditioned single track that seems to go on forever. A must is the detour that is called the Headlands. A 9 kilometre trail that follows closely along the coastline providing incredible views across Lake Taupo.
If you're lucky you may encounter wild pigs and small wallabies/possums. The W2K trail inspires you to push faster and faster as the corners and surfaces are consistent and predictable. By the time you hit the descent from the lookout point you will be sliding the front wheel across every corner with a permanent smile across your face. I recommend doing this trail in full, approximately 42km, and ifyour still fresh take some lights and do it in reverse at night, you won't regret it.
3: Challenge - Redwoods Rotorua
Challenge is a short 1.2km trail that is the perfect appetizer when beginning or ending a big day in Rotorua. It is an open dry trail that looks across the Redwoods forest. This is an addictive trail that keeps you coming back for more, the fast berms and table top jumps always give you a chance to go faster the next time. Take your cameras and go pros as there are some action shots to be had here!
4: Corners - Redwoods Rotorua
Corners is exactly as the name suggests. About 3.7 kilometres of corners! What more could you ask for? Intense concentration is required as each fast corner will lead into the next. There are walls of berms running up the sides of the mountain and when perfected they are the ultimate in MTB fun. A good 10 minute trail that will have your forearms fatigued at the end from hanging on to the handlebars as gravity sucks you downwards. A crowd favourite amongst the riders in our group and a MUST for all riders.
5: Frontal Lobotomy - Redwoods Rotorua
Frontal Lobotomy makes the top five as it is a brutal climb towards the summit of the Redwoods
forest. The trail less travelled as most of the riders who do not ride with "The Ultra Life" opt to
take the soft option and sit on the shuttle bus chewing on their doughnuts, shaking their heads
in disbelief at our group charging up the hills. Frontal Lobotomy is a 1.8 kilometre climb with an
average gradient of 9% with sections at 28%!! Is this tough, yes. Is that the reason why it should be done? Yes! Although being a brutal climb the trail is technical and beautiful which takes your mind off the gradients. Get it done at least once :)
Watch the boys tear up the trails in this video taken during the March 2014 Ultra Life MTB NZ Trip
Shane's an ultra runner and La Sportiva Ambassador, with a taste for adventure, always up for a new and different challenge.