We biked part of the Timber Trail in 2014. This time we returned to complete all 85km. This is a 2-day grade 2 & 3 cycle track. It is also a walking trail that can be completed over 4 days, but we did not see many trampers.
On Day 1 we met Epic Cycle Adventures at the carpark in Ongarue at 8am. We put our luggage in a van to be delivered to the campsite and hopped in a different shuttle that took us to the trailhead on Barryville Road, Pureora. After adjustment of seat heights we hit the trail around 10:30am. The first few kilometers were a warmup, and then we started to climb. At kilometer 11 we took a break from cycling and hiked up to Mt Pureora summit. I thought it would be a break, but it was a steep climb and further than I expected. We stopped for lunch at the top. By the time we got back on our bikes 90 minutes had passed. Thankfully the steepest cycle stretch was almost behind us. Kilometer 13 was my favourite of the whole trail because I was so excited to be going downhill after the long slog to the highest point on the trail (980m). The rest of the day was fun, though my bike took some getting used to, especially the disc brakes. I felt like I was taking a risk each time I applied them. I went off trail a few times, but only fell off the bicycle once the first day.
After 39km we arrived at the campsite by 4:30pm. Our luggage and overnight gear was waiting for us as promised. We managed to get the tent set up just before the rain rolled in. A thunderstorm entertained us the rest of the night, which for me was only a few hours since I had zero energy after a day of mountain biking.
On the second day we packed up our personal items and left them at the campsite for Epic Cycle Adventures to collect. We started the final 45km at 8:30am. This section seemed to have alot more built in water breaks. We passed a couple campsites, several toilets, and over 18 bridge crossings. Parts of the trail were very muddy and at times I could not tell how deep the sludge was and if I would be able to cycle through it. A couple times I got stuck. Needless to say I was covered in mud. The variety of surfaces made the trail both exciting and challenging. In addition to mud, there was packed dirt, uneven clay, gravel, and large rocks. It took incredible focus to remain upright. My gaze was constantly shifting up and down, trying to determine if there was a turn ahead while ensuring I didn’t hit the large stones in my path. The final 5km goes through a section of forest that is actively being logged, then follows the edge of what appears to be private farmland. With the finish line in sight there is a hard right turn and a steep gravel decent. I hit the brakes and went flying. Thankfully I walked away with only scrapes, bruises and a sore wrist. I thought there was 3 km to go, but the trail actually ends at the 82km mark. Hooray!
Epic Cycle Adventures was well organised and provided everything we needed and more including a tent, sun shower, gas grill, air mattress, and high quality mountain bikes. Although we have our own tent and camping gear we decided to keep it simple and use their equipment. I’m so glad we did. The last thing I wanted to do when we got home on Sunday night was set up a wet tent to dry out.
Food & Drink:
- We packed food from home, carried what we needed for the day, and Epic Cycle Adventures transported everything else to the campsite.
- Big Az Ice Cream, Hangatiki
Transportation: drove to the end of the Timber Trail at Ongarue and Epic Cycle Adventures shuttled us to the start at Pureora. Rode hired bikes from Epic Cycle Adventures on the Timber Trail