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The view from the top


Head200613Last weekend Saturday contained the weather window for mountain biking. Rain was forecast for later on, and so it was an early start.

There is a trail on a hill close to the car park. It has been called various things, but the name that has stuck is RockDrop. Originally a complicated serpent that milked many kilometres out of a small patch of woods, it has become a few well-loved lines that are fairly hard to find but well worth the effort. One of them is a climb that is like a little dirt version of Alpe d’Huez.

I like to use that climb to get into the woods. At the top, where once was only dark and mysterious forest, there is now broad daylight. A stand of trees in there has been turned into an export commodity, and now there is a vantage point. A few steps off the trail is a cliff. From the top is a view of terrain that was unguessed at before, and already there is a fresh line snaking down through newly exposed volcanic outcrops. Its called BoulderDash, the brainchild of Casey King (thanks again, Rotorua MTB Club!).

Standing on the apex of a corner, surrounded by camera gear and a remote controlled flash, was Graeme Murray. We met on one of my first bike rides after moving to Rotorua, many years ago, not far from where he was now standing. He told me right then his dream was to become a professional photographer.

Now he is one, has top quality work in international publications, and on the way he has had a big influence on the look of New Zealand mountain biking.

He was standing on this trail in the cold early light, waiting for somebody to come along, because he had seen a shot in his mind and gone out to get it. His luck wasn’t in, and his first subject was only me, but that is not the point. Here is a successful lensman, up at sparrow fart, waiting by the spot he likes for the image that might come along. Not for any commercial reason, just because he loves mountain biking and capturing it in a camera.

He makes a habit of this kind of thing, the image at the top of the newsletter is one he got of Mike Metz (another perfectionist) on another early morning outing.

That is how you get to the top, kids. Passion for what you are doing, and the perseverance to get out and do it.




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