Photos by Digby Shaw, Ben Karalus and Michael Hayward.
Tucked away down the picturesque Clarence Valley in Marlborough is the Middle Hill Mountain Bike Park, New Zealand’s newest must-ride trail destination.
This new spot opened up on Saturday with as many shuttles as the weather allowed and a huge woolshed party.
The trails are the work of Genevieve King and Morgan Rigby (plus a whole bunch of hardworking mates known as the Middle Hill Shredders Association), who run the shuttle service on King’s family farm - and put on incredible hilltop lunches with a view of the Kaikōura ranges, Clarence River, and the ocean.
The beautifully built tracks run through regenerating mānuka forest, taking advantage of some of the tackiest dirt anywhere around. There’s enough variety to keep anyone excited through a full day of shuttles, with a huge variety of styles from flowing digger built delights to steep hand-built native singletrack with plenty of gnar.
But its the whole vibe of the operation that makes a trip to Middle Hill so special. The team have created one of the most relaxing places to go and ride a bike, despite plenty of trail features that had me absolutely puckering. It’s the perfect mountain bikers’ getaway from the stresses of the real world.
I can honestly say this was one of the best days riding I have had in a long time, and I can’t wait to get back up there.
We have a full write-up about how this epic spot came to be and what its future might hold coming in the next issue of SPOKE, which is only a couple of weeks away from hitting the shelves of your favourite bookshop or supermarket.
But for now, check out this gallery from the Middle Hill media day on Friday to get your froth up, then head over to middlehillmtb.com to find out everything you need to know to go and ride this unbelievable spot.