#southcentral – Wide Open hits Central Otago’s Southern Lakes, NZ

Words by Caleb Smith, Spoke | Images by Caleb Smith, Spoke

Every year Matt “baggage” Whitaker from New Zealand’s Wide Open distributors assembles his team of riders (well the ones that aren’t over seas competing) for a short and sharp team trip.

 

The intended goal is a bit of a combination of just hanging out and drinking beers with his entirely South Island based team, as well amassing a bunch of editorial content for the web, for advertising and for Spoke.

#southcentral – Team Wide Open’s 2014 team road trip from Stash Media Worx on Vimeo.

So in late January this year we piled into an assortment of cars and headed out for Part 2 of Wide Open’s attack on lesser known Central Otago gems. Alexandra and Naesby were our last stopping points so we choose to kick things off in Wanaka, and what better meeting place than the recently loved up Lismore dirt jumps, guest Wide Open rider Wyn Masters and Conor Macfarlane set to work quickly shredding the place like it was their local set.

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Conor Macfarlane, Lismore, Wanaka.

With the rest of the boys all arrived and dirt jumping being the flavour of the evening a quick sojourn up the Cardrona Valley to JK’s Valley Trails was in order, complete with BBQ essentials; Hellers gourmet snarlers, bread and beer. The evening wrapped up with a solid session on the technical four pack and some very happy riders.

That epic light in the background wasn’t to be despite our early wake-up but the spot and riders delivered.

That epic light in the background wasn’t to be despite our early wake-up but the spot and riders delivered.

The following morning we tried desperately to catch some early morning light at classic Wanaka spot that that we had revitalised the night before. Typically low Wanaka cloud came into play, but for Team Wide Open Grey Bird skies are perfectly fine. Any fear that there would be enough speed to make the landing was quickly put to rest as mellow guniea lines saw Conor and Matt Scoles more then clear the rather long hill top.

Conor Macfarlane and Matt Scoles on a gem of a trail overlooking Lake Wanaka.

Conor Macfarlane and Matt Scoles on a gem of a trail overlooking Lake Wanaka.

All round shredder and trip filmer Rossco took us to a bit of a secret Wanaka Spot where some serious nug mining ensued, in fact the session got so heated that we had to head to the Albert Town bridge for a mid day dip. Conor would have swam laps across the river all day had we not already planned to hit up the dark as hell Sticky Forrest trails where a night light during the day wouldn’t go amiss.

Matt Scoles and Conor Macfarlane get their huck on.

Matt Scoles and Conor Macfarlane get their huck on.

The boys shut things down as usual, using up every last bit of the non-existent light and almost all of Baggage’s phone credit with his constant calls making sure we were actually getting the goods.

Seriously Sticky Forrest so so fricken dark it’s not even funny… Matt Scoles wasn’t laughing.

Seriously Sticky Forrest so so fricken dark it’s not even funny… Matt Scoles wasn’t laughing.

We figured it was probably worth spending a little time at that other lake over the hill and if that was the case it would have been rude not to smash out at least one lap up on Skyline, before we hit up one of Queenstown’s most recent additions the Coronet to Arrowtown trail, affectionately known as Corotown…

Smashing laps in Queenstown’s Bike Park.

Smashing laps in Queenstown’s Bike Park.

In three days the crew amassed some solid photos and video, stoked and rekindled some longtime friendships and consumed copious amounts of  CC and Dry, all that indicates that another Wide Open team trip is now successfully in the books.

You’ll be able to check out the full story in Spoke 56 due out May 5th in NZ.

Or digitally via Zinio here.

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