I don’t just have an [un]healthy appetite for schralping the Tallboy up and down mountains, I also love to ride trails. There’s a sort of confusion in mountain biking about what constitutes a Trail, Trails, and Dirt Jumps.
Let me explain. A Trail is a route or course upon which you ride your mountain bike. It could be uphill, downhill, XC, AM or whatever. The best kind of Trail is singletrack, flowy, technical, whooping and hollering Trail.
Trails however are a set of dirt mounds that have been artfully sculpted to form an insane zone of aerial fun. Often there are hundreds of these mounds laid out in a seemingly chaotic pattern, but to the savvy these mounds are an endless opportunity. Trails are most commonly found in the woods and habitated by BMXers and the incredibly devoted. These Trails arent just knocked out and ridden, they become objects of passion, dedication and obsessiveness. These mounds are designed to propel you from one to another through the air in complex rythmms. This is called jumping.
Some people also call these mounds Dirt Jumps. However Dirt Jumps are just a plain line of dirt mounds that go in a straight line. Often there is only one line and most of the mounds are similar in size and shape whereas Trails consist of hundreds and possibly thousands of differing shapes and sizes of mounds.
Trails are about flow, pump, style, and grace. Dirt Jumps are about huckers, competitions and trick rats. This doesn’t mean that tricks don’t have a home at Trails, just that at Trails it’s about how you perform the trick not whether you pulled a trick.
Stoney Hills is one such set of Trails. Started before some of you were born, and lovingly reared by a collection of surrogate fathers, the Trails at Stoney Hills have matured into a beautiful well formed spot that leaves grown men with sweaty palms, a nervous twitch, and heart palpitations. Anyone who hears of this nirvana wants to visit her, those that do visit her want to get into her, and anyone that does get to ride her is left spent and glowingly satiated.
Last weekend most of the committed diggers and rider of the NZ South Island trails riding scene headed to Henry Devereuxs private trails at Stoney Hills. Usually closed off to the public and those that haven’t achieved a reasonable level of dig credits, Henry and Co. opened up the place for two days only.
Been located where they are the weather doesn’t often play ball but last weekend things fell into place perfectly. There had been enough rain during the week to help soften the clay for reshaping and maintenance, and then come the weekend it was unbroken blue sky, warm and windless.
The crews started assembling on the monday before the jam and others turned up as soon as work commitments would allow. Everyone picked up tools and worked the dirt, then once the credits were counted up and points for plaid were added everyone rode. The Jam day was a long day. Waking up at 730am to a beautiful sun rise I had a broom in my hand five minutes later sweeping the trails (there was people sleeping amongst the jumps so I didn’t feel it was polite to wake them by slapping dirt that early), and after riding and digging till 830pm with only a short break for a body surf and coffee at the farmers market it became a struggle to try and out drink even Tom Hey.
The weekend went without any dramas, just friends old and new bubbling along with each other. Only a couple little injuries and good times roasting (or is it roosting?) up a storm. It truly was one of those days where you feel so happy to be alive doing what you do that a small part of you feels bad that not everyone in the world can be experiencing the same good vibe and good times.
For more photos check out CAMILLA STODDARTS BLOG or wait for a future issue of [R]evolution and Dirt Magazines.