The endless dirt tracks weave their way down the hill as far as the eye can see. So many to choose from, every trail has its own story, its own crashes, and hours of hard work put in by the pioneers of Wanakas mountain bike scene. As I make my way down, my tires flick up the mixture soft moist dirt and bright green pine needles, us mountain bikers call this loam. It’s like a skiers powder, or a surfers perfect swell, and the old sticky forest was littered with pockets of this beautiful loam. The harmonious quite whistle of fantails would welcome us into their home of tranquility every time we entered. I was surrounded in a kingdom of tall green pines, a complete escape from reality, just you and your bike.
I no longer hear the fantails, drowned out by constant hum of excavators and diggers destroying what once was my happy place. I ride down the trail, dodging pine cones and sliding over the dead brown pine needles. Any drop of rain is instantly soaked up by the parched trees desperately trying to stay alive in the scorching summers sun. As the wind picks up it blows a days worth of dust down my throat and straight into my lungs. Training at sticky forest has become less enjoyable than it used to be. Was it really worth it? Chopping down half the trees just to satisfy the needs of a few people. It’s like a completely different ecosystem, the tracks now littered with piles of lolly wrappers and tin cans. My bike comes to an instant stop, Im propelled over the handlebars as I can no longer weave in and out of the fallen trees. As I lie helplessly on the ground I stare up into the sky. I see the naked trees, wishing that everything was how it used to be.