It's not quite cross - you'd never see any 700c wheels anywhere near where we were - But with a 2 and a half hour carry separating the epic uphill and the best downhill I've ever done, it's as close to cross as I've come since I left Scotland.
The Moonlight - Croesus Tracks are in a tiny little place called Blackball, tucked into the folds of the northern tip of the South Island's West Coast, New Zealand. From sea level, you ride and stumble up to 1220m, then push, carry and occasionally ride your bike (these interludes on your bike are so good, they eclipse the pain of having shouldered your bike for the last 2 hours) across a ridge with seemingly endless peaks. Your goal, Croesus Hut, is neslted into a saddle, way in the distance, which never gets any closer as the ridge takes you in an arc away, and then back towards your target.
Once you pass the crux of the ridge, it's all downhill, literally. Pinch flats are a real risk, with the first 15 minutes of foot-wide track paved with cruel, square-edged rocks. It then smooths out just a touch, dropping into dense Beech forest... Roosty drifts into cornflake-covered corners.
An hour later, (8 and a half hours after you rolled away that morning) you're back in Blackball, for a half of coke and a half of beer. Smiles pasted to salt-crusted faces, exhausted and stoked on one of the best rides in memory.
What a way to break in a new bike - My Ibis Tranny handled it with grace (maybe more grace than it's pilot?). Oh yeah.