Around this time of year, when schools are back but it's very much still summer, I try to get away for a couple of days of mountain biking. It’s a great way to end the crazy bit of the summer holidays.

I’ve formed a bit of a ritual - leave wednesday, stay at the Blue Lake / Tikitapu, have 2 days of biking and a bit of relaxing in the hot pools or by the lake, then head up to Pauanui to my relations place, meeting Leonie at Thames, then back to Auckland.

It works quite well - I get some time on my own (and Leonie on her own), plus we get some time at the beach together, and I get to do some mountain biking without any distractions, or thoughts of “well, I’ve been out for a bit, so maybe I should head back....”

Last year I did this, and it was lovely. I ended up using the shuttle to get up to a few of the trails I’d not tried before, some of which pushed my biking skills (and fitness) to the limits.

This year I opted for some trails I’d not done, but which were closer to the carpark. The first one, tho, was at the top of a 200m climb, which was interesting on cold legs.

Next time, I'm going to rent an e-bike, I think. Talking to a friend, it makes the ride go from "well, that was fun, time for a rest", to "lets do another one". Or "I'd like a ride, but I can't be fucked riding up that hill". The bikes are huge compaired to my little 29-er hard tail, but I want to give it a go. The rental place at the car park does Giant e-bikes, which look pretty good.

Tacos at El Mexicana Zapata. OMFG they were good.
Greeted with this in the first 100m.
Dry and dusty
Down The Grinder
How good is the soak at Secret Spot at the end!
Pauanui looking quite moody. But a bit cooler. Which isn't bad.