we have made it to the last stage of our mountain bike journey: thredbo. initially we came here in winter and nat actually learned to ski here but in recent years we have visited thredbo in summer, too, and enjoyed the alpine trails.

day 1.

it is hard to beat the kind of descent you get here: from the top of the lift (eagle’s nest) back down to the village terminal the difference is more than 600m. the flow trail, my personal favourite, is about 4.5km long and the quickest time down is sub 8 minutes.

we are in no danger of getting anywhere close to that mark. that said natalie did not mess around much, got on the trail and rode down without a stop. not bad for a first timer – but of course she had been practicing a bit lately.

berms don’t phase her at all, in fact she manages to carry quite a bit of speed out of them and i got to hang on to keep on her rear wheel. on the straighter sections she could do with a little less braking, though.

on her third run she managed to shave a minute and a half off her previous time which is a nice improvement. incidentally i also got to find another thirty seconds to match my personal best (last year i really struggled to get under ten minutes but finally cracked it) and i would not mind if i could improve a bit.

we plan to ride again tomorrow, saturday will be a rest day if the weather is as wet as they predicted it will be. sunday natalie has a gravity girls clinic booked and it looks like tash from canberra will be joining as well. kris insisted we ride down to crackenback on monday (and shuttle back up) which then leaves another two days to chase our personal best times.

preferably without any damage to us or our bikes.

day 3.

natalie had a bit of a break – i think she deserved that. we have been riding a lot and in pretty demanding territory, too. it takes natalie about 14 minutes to ride down the flow trail and we don’t stop ….

i took the opportunity to try and improve my time further but i was getting tired, too. no improvement but a lot more air on the fun sections and probably better speed through the berms, too.

the next day was a bit of a write-off. no prices for guessing why.

day 4.

time for nat to cash in one of her christmas presents: the gravity girls clinic.

the day started with a bit of a drizzle and snow up the mountain. great riding conditions.

real mountain bikers are of course not deterred by a bit of rain, especially not gravity girls. so everyone rugged up and got on the chairlift. i am sure the first meters were very cold.

i joined after the lunch break to see if i could take a few photos. by then the weather was pretty good and the bit of moisture had made the ground tacky. a lot of it ‘tacked’ on to our clothes, shoes, bikes, goggles.

the crew first did another run down the flow trail and then applied what they had learned on the all mountain trail.

the am trail is a lot longer and offers a few little technical challenges. rocky climbs and roll downs; some times it is not actually clear coming up to an obstacle what the best line would be.

they cut a new section in between sponars and gunbarrel that is a lot of fun with great rocky rollers and jumps and lots of berms.

natalie loved it! she also loved being the first to follow jo, the coach.

the trail then runs down merritts before ducking into the bush again.

at the end of the day nat was really tired at the end of the day, but she loved the day with jo and the other girls.

she is absolutely certain the practice made her a better rider. she highly recommends the gravity girls clinic and in particular jo as coach.

tomorrow we’ll take kris down the thredbo valley trail to crackenback. should be fun.

day 5.

the day has arrived: the day kris would join us riding the bike! she has been saving herself up for this one monumental ride she made us promise we would take her on.

we made her wear my kneepads – given our friend deb just pretty much put herself in the sick ward on the practice trail. it’s always good to be careful.

we are not sure what wore natalie out more: the fact that she had a big day riding with the girls yesterday or that she had to wait for us all the time,

it’s a nice ride, mostly downhill but surprisingly there is also a sometimes not-so-easy 215m of climbing on the way down! given i am planning to spend the day on the mountain tomorrow i did not ride back up like last year.