Log Ride a test of mettle and pedal

Severe chafing is one of the main reasons wetsuits and bike riding do not mix.

But yesterday, about 20 riders threw caution to the wind and wore wetsuits on mountainbikes as part of the Queenstown Bike Festival Log Ride and Lake Jump competitions.

Event organiser Emmerson Wilken said the aim of the games was to ride along a trail of logs laid lengthwise, in and out of the frigid waters of Lake Wakatipu; and then ride off a ramp on a waterfront wharf, and do as many spectacular flips, spins and rolls as possible, before hitting the water.

"The log ride is like riding on a balancing beam — it’s a test of balance, especially when the logs are floating in the lake.

"Most people will end up in the water, for sure, but that’s part of the fun of it.

"And the jump is an opportunity for riders to show off some of their acrobatic skills — like back flips, double back flips or tail lifts. A medic was on site."

Jadon Wilson, of Sydney, makes a splash during the Log Ride competition, on the opening day of...
Jadon Wilson, of Sydney, makes a splash during the Log Ride competition, on the opening day of the Queenstown Bike Festival yesterday. PHOTO: RHYVA VAN ONSELEN
While there was potential for danger, it was a fantastic site for spectators, he said.

"A bit of chafing from the wetsuits and some shin scrapes were the main extent of the injuries."

The events were part of the official opening of the week-long festival, which runs until January 28.

Events included some mountainbike trail riding, pump track racing, downhill racing, jump jams, head-to-head racing and training sessions.

On the final day, there would be a scenic memorial ride to honour local Kelly McGarry who died of a heart attack during a ride at the 2016 festival.

"He was a world-class athlete.

"The point of the memorial ride is kind of like finishing the ride he started."

Mr Wilken said the Queenstown Bike Festival aimed to bring the mountainbiking community together by creating events that provided a space to have fun, learn new skills and compete in "epic biking events".

He said it also aimed to increase the awareness of all that Queenstown biking had to offer, and the ways it could benefit people in the community.

"Whether you’re a pro-rider, a young grom, or a local business, we have something for everyone."