GRADE: 5 LENGTH: 3.5km
GETTING THERE: Te Ahi Manawa, “The Burning Heart,” will give you just that getting there without a shuttle. The start is located at the Moerangi saddle at the intersection opposite Time Warp trail. You can access Te Ahi Manawa by climbing Moerangi road either from its origin on Tawa road/end of Billy T trail or by exiting left from the finish of Tuhoto Ariki onto Moerangi road.
TRAIL DESCRIPTION: The deceivingly flat start to the trail is quickly given a reality check as Te Ahi Manawa drops into a steep, rooty, off camber trail. This one is for the technically oriented riders, with plenty of drops and chutes to test yourself on. There are a few bypasses for the most technical sections, although the bypasses themselves are still far from easy. After rain it can get a bit slippery with a trail surface closer to the DOC maintained trails at the top of Tawa road than that of its hard pack neighbours. After 700 meters the trail opens a bit compared to the technical introduction with some steep downhill switchbacks thrown in to keep you on your toes. At the 1km mark the track opens onto Buchanan road where you have the option of taking a left towards Kung Fu Walrus trail or hanging a right towards the next section of Te Ahi Manawa. The second section warms up a few hundred meters up the road with a small climb before tapering into some classic outback trail action. Cleaner than the first segment, this section rides similar to the Billy-T/G-rock sequence with a few off-camber corners for good measure. This section is more manageable for riders who aren’t as dialled on the rootier tracks. After 1km it exits onto Tikitapu road before dropping into the final section. THIS SECTION IS CURRENTLY CLOSED This piece is similar to the second section, with a highlight of some large sweeping turns down a gully at the end of the trail that feels similar to riding a half pipe. The trail spits you at the shore of Green lake for some big grins and great scenery.
GETTING OUT: There’s no easy way out from here, but Lakefront road is your best bet. Take a right at the exit of the trail towards map station G145, and from here head inland and take a right onto Jeff’s link, which after a short climb will set you at the base of Moerangi road. You have the option to begin the climb back to the top of Moerangi road and the start of Te Ahi Manawa (approx. 240m of elevation gain) or take a left onto Tikitapu Road and ride across to 8-mile gate road to find Taura trail. Reminder that 8-mile gate road is not open to the public due to logging activity, but the grade 3 Taura trail that runs parallel will take you back to the start of sandy skid road where you can either climb up to Pondy New or take Yellow Brick Road to return you to the 8 mile road carpark.