The Nydia Bay track would arguably be one of the best, single day, single track rides in New Zealand - if only it wasn't so difficult to get to. Or maybe this makes it one of the best? Either way, it's a bloody great ride for the experienced rider who loves single track downhills, gnarly climbs and stunning views. You'll need a mate to shuttle you from either end.
The day starts at the top of Opouri Saddle. An old pack track through the forest leads downhill for about 500 metres and is a great way to wake you up, warm you up, and get you ready for the day ahead. At the bottom you'll reach the Tennyson Inlet where you'll have an easy pedal around to Duncan Bay. This is where the actual Nydia Bay Track starts. A few more kms of smooth undulating tracks (the the odd root mass to keep you awake!) will get your legs warmed up for your first big climb of the day.
As you head into Ngawhakawhiti Bay the track heads up the first big climb. You're met with a challenging 3 kms or so of climbing that will call for the ol' granny ring. To add to the pleasure of the climb, you'll have to navigate some track-covering roots and steps. Enjoy the views back over the Marlborough Sounds as you climb the 380 metre hill to the Nydia Saddle.
The ride after the Nydia Saddle is fantastic. The track gradient allows you to hold your speed without killing your breaks. It's filled with plenty of technical bits to keep you on your toes - rocks, roots, drops, steps ... and rewarding banked corners. The ride down slowly picks up more speed before you'll join the track and follow it around Nydia Bay for another 6 kms or so.Â
The track turns inland and you start to head for the second climb (of three) of the day. There are a number of challenging sections to keep you entertained towards the top. The Kaiuma Saddle is about 300 metres. This is a great place to have a well deserved lunch before your last technical downhill bit of the day.Â
The ride down from Kaiuma Saddle is again technical but rewarding. Just when you think you're done for the day, one last sneaky climb appears and you've got another 150 meters or so of climbing. The ride down to Kaium Bay and fast and a fantastic way to to end the day.
Thanks to Mountain Biking Zane for providing the photos.