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The Ultimate Juliana Experience in New Zealand

Sometimes there's no better way to have an epic trip than to stay at home. When your home is New Zealand, epic is around every corner and the Juliana crew takes advantage.

Coppermine mineral belt kicked off the Juliana trip. A long climb with a fast descent in the open mineral belt features great views.

It may have been a girls trip but the riding was far from tame. Slippery moss, roots and dirt calls for committed, yet loose riding. Anka feeling right at home. Literally.

Climbing is not a bad thing on Nydia track, its a technical trials challenge at times. Every dab or push resulting in some kind of penalty to be exacted by the group later.

Brenda Clapp - aka BOB. Sunrise ridge, Nelson.

Anja (not Anka) McDonald climbing up Nydia track with the Joplin eating up the technical root sections.

Tranquil turquoise waters lapping up against the Nydia track. Anja chose the right gloves and helmet for the day.

Harriet Harper getting loose.

Anka and Bob with the Marlborough sounds in the background.

This is the top of the saddle before the long, and sometimes wild, downhill into Nydia bay. Harriet and Anka slalom through the ferns and podocarps.

Ella the "friendly" eel en route to the lodge.

Trail side Eco lodge goodness. Organic treats with some hops to wash them down.

Matching axes.

Not your typical taxi.

Titanic scene, coming up.

Bob, Anka and Harriet are usually happy to climb to this spot but for sake of maximizing ridng fun, sometimes you have to treat yourself.

Harriet towards the bottom of the first descent from Fosters clearing on Wakamarina trail.

No machines or modern trail builders are responsible for this old gold mining track built over 150 years ago. Some of the South Island's best tracks are old gold mining routes.

Harriet and Anka carving fast and seemingly-endless turns on one of the best natural downhills anywhere.

What you can't see is the maze of footballs, bumps and humps to pop, double and flow through on this fern-lined singletrack descent.

Anja flying through the forest.

Harriet floating above the beech tree leaves. #cornflakegold

Wakamarina natural goodness. Bob's Juno camouflaged in the iridescent, native beech and fern forest.

With line choices galore, Anka chooses the trickiest one, setting her up nicely for the next right hander.

The glow of home.

The sun sets on another late summer Nelson day.

Post-ride bonfire at our local beach to end a memorable few days with the Juliana crew.

Our trip went down in early February in beautiful Nelson, New Zealand and the surrounding areas of the Nelson Tasman district. We planned a little backcountry adventure with a few of my friends on our Juliana bikes. We started off with one of the toughest tracks in Nelson, Sunrise Ridge. It has a bit of everything, but it's most famous for being super technical.

After getting our adrenalin fix, we headed over for something a bit more mellow on the Coppermine loop. A great way to end off the day, take in the stunning ocean vistas and catch up with your mates. The following day we headed out to ride the Nydia Track - another stunning area in the Marlborough Sounds area. This place is paradise. And it is another very rooty, very technical track, that can get you going over the bars at any given moment going up or down the track. We rode all day, then slept over at On the Track Lodge. There is nothing more exciting than riding sick tracks, with your friends, and ending big days with beers & delicious food. Perfection.

Once we got back to the van, we had one more stop to make to ride one of my all time favorite tracks in the world - Wakamarina. It is really out there. NZ backcountry at it's best. You work hard for your descents, but it was o, so worth every drop of sweat and hike a bike push. Beautiful, ancient, beech forest, with flowy, fast singletrack trails that seem to never end. Bliss. Exhausted, exhilarated and knackered, we loaded the van one last time to head back to Nelson and back to the real world and our other lives.

We were content. Happy, satisfied & loving our lives. This is what life is all about. This is living. These are the memories that you create with your friends & the moments that will keep you going until the next adventure. Thank goodness for bikes. - Anka Martin

Slideshow photographs by Sven Martin

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