Tuesday, November 3

JAWS wide open!

Two years after construction started, we are both rapt and relieved to finally announce the Official Opening of our biggest undertaking - Jaws!

The date is set for Saturday, November 7 at 12.00pm at the track entrance (allow 30-40mins if cycling from the bottom of Ziggy).

We will be offering liquid refreshments at the Ziggy carpark during the afternoon so you can rehydrate before you head up for another lap :)

This intermediate-grade, digger-benched track descends from near the top of Corkscrew, to emerge 4kms later at the Ziggy/Corkscrew hub. The Jaws extension continues on in a similar vein to the 1km 'first stage', opened in March 2014 and exiting onto Velocity, albeit as if Jaws had been fed some steroids.
If you already whoop 'n' holler on 'Jaws1', you'll be frightening the birds on what follows!
It's still suitable for intermediate-level riders but those with more advanced skills will be able to enjoy the extra gravity the descent allows.

Four kilometres is a lot of track so, like Jaws1, you'll experience a few pedally sections where we've taken you deep into steep-sided gullies clad in native bush. Not only do these give you a chance to regroup with your riding buddies and catch your breath, they reveal some of the Park's hidden treasures. Ancient rimu, majestic beech trees, towering tree ferns and verdant broadleaf understory - all providing a home for the Park's outstanding birdlife.
Much as you'll enjoy racing to the bottom, at least once you may want to pause in a couple of the gullies, especially on a hot day, and take in some of the beauty that surrounds you...

With the track's completion, I thought it timely to reflect on some of the challenges we encountered in the course of its construction.

By far the biggest obstacle was the surface granite bedrock, always disguised by a thin layer of vegetation on extremely steep slopes.

This was a feature of several gullies that have been deeply eroded over millennia.

The tell-tale scrape of metal on rock was a sound we came to dread.

Andrew Smith, of Independent Blasting and Abseil Access, first came to our aid on Jaws1. Unfortunately, the trouble with Separation Point Granite is that its often too hard to 'dig' and too soft to effectively blast, as it absorbs most of the charge rather than shattering the rock.

Still, it was necessary to dislodge some very large surface boulders that were hanging topside of the track and Andrew, harnessed up to whatever secure tree he could find, did great work in bringing them down, even if the resounding booms made some Kaiteriteri locals a little nervous!

Karl Thompson and Sam Knowles were the digger operators on Jaws, though it seemed to be mostly Sam's lot to battle in and out of the gullies.

It wasn't financially-sustainable to blast our way through every section of bedrock so we took up the offer of a portable rock-breaker from CJ Industries.

This was slow, hard work, especially over the summer months.

Often, at the end of the day, we'd only have 2-3 metres progress to show for it but I'd still go home exhausted!

On one occasion we exposed a spring which, over time, had turned the subsoil and rock to a grey, silty, unstable mess.

It seemed that the more we excavated, the more would then slump. A freshly installed culvert (and a brand-new shovel) disappeared overnight in one slump.

Each morning we'd reinstate the track and move on, only to find the following morning that we'd have to backtrack and do it all again.

Still, perseverance prevailed and occasionally we'd get the opportunity to do something creative - like install a shark tooth :)

Jaws offers some spectacular views towards both Kaiteriteri and Nelson but sometimes you've got to stop to notice them.

Then again, take your eyes off the track at the wrong time and Jaws can bite!

It's probably claimed more victims than any other Park track, 'though not through its technical difficulty. There's something about the flow it allows that can suddenly get away from people.

Still, what's a bit of granite-rash...?

As we moved onto the second stage of Jaws, switching away from the exit onto Velocity to cut back at a lower elevation, we made the mistake of thinking that the worst was over.

An initial traverse, benched from clay, had us confidently predicting an early completion - until we rounded a spur and headed back into our first major gully.

Rather than finding the going easier, we now found ourselves in deeply-eroded ravines.

This time, the Motueka DOC office came to our rescue, loaning the services of their explosives expert, Stu Houston.

Again, the booms echoed round the Kaiteriteri hills - again, small lumps of bedrock were dislodged or pulverised.

Progress was back to a crawl.

My back had told me that manhandling a rock-breaker at shoulder height wasn't sustainable, either, so this time we turned to Andrew Spittal of Ching Contracting.

Andrew, a foundation member, has been an asset to the Park since its inception and didn't hesitate to offer us Ching's digger-operated, hydraulic rock breaker.

This was the breakthrough (literally) we needed.

Suddenly I was the one standing idly by, watching the digger operator and rock-breaker do all of the work!

Progress was still slow but we now had the confidence that nothing would prevent us from eventually attaining our goal.

Most of the past two winters were spent in gullies like these, where we'd see the sun for a few hours a day.

Biking up Velocity and into the work-site swathed in several layers of clothes was always a good warm-up.

Hard as it is to remove the rock, the crushed granite packs down to make a smooth surface, allowing speed to be carried even on slight uphills.

As we extended the track further and further from its Velocity entrance, our quad bike became indispensable, regularly ferrying fuel and chainsaws to site.

It was probably most valuable when we had breakdowns, both to Mouse and the hydraulic rock breaker. It's hard to imagine any harder work to which these items of machinery could be subjected.

At one point, Mouse suffered an engine seizure, requiring a complete replacement. Nathan Johns, of N S Rogers, ably assisted by Sam, did a fantastic job of removing and then reinstalling an engine on-site.
Our track budget had already haemorrhaged and these necessary repairs put further pressure on our available funds - but that's what they're there for!

An attempt to bench a temporary connection to Corkscrew was abandoned when more bedrock was struck entering yet another large gully. A second switchback sent us back on another lower traverse, one on which we knew we'd encounter the same seams as above.

More of the same followed: another winter spent in freezing ravines, more repairs - yet getting closer all of the time.

Motivating us throughout these times was the awareness that we were creating something special for the Park - perhaps its 'signature' track.
Sometimes the steepness of the terrain or the subterranean rock dictated the nature of the track. At other times, we had opportunity to build in some fun & flow - those were good days!

For Karl Thompson and myself, the opening of Jaws will mark a closure to our partnership of track building. We have worked together to build Swish, Ziggy, Corkscrew, Cruise Control and the upgrade of Easy Rider, not to mention remedial works to other tracks. Karl also built our Pump Track and subsequently enhanced it. He now takes his consummate skills back to Golden Bay where the local MTB Club are waiting for him to start work on the Kill Devil upgrade.

And, after 7 years of what's felt at times like total immersion, I'm stepping down as the Park's project manager. I can do this assured in the knowledge we have a fantastic committee, some of whom responded to my first appeal for "interested locals" and helped set up Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park Inc. in December 2008. We all shared a vision for the Park and it's been wonderful to see that realised over the years. And, as you'd expect, there's more to come!

See you at the Opening...
Guy Trainor

Tuesday, April 14

Friday, March 13

Kaiteriteri Weekender!

The Kaiteri 6Hr just got a whole lot bigger!

Firstly, responding to feedback, we've moved it to Saturday, April 11, the mid-weekend of the school holidays.

This means you can bring the family (or your mates) and camp at our new event hub, the Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp.
And it means that, while you're blasting your way round our new course, your family will be able to hang out at the beach, mini-golf, playground or cafe.

Plus, on the Sunday morning, the Nelson Orienteering Club are running a 2hr MTB Rogaine.
This involves your team navigating its way through the Park's trail network, visiting checkpoints to accumulate a maximum score within a 2hr time period.
This is a new event for the Park, with a dedicated map and trail marker system, and one we're sure is going to be pretty popular.

Then, on the Sunday afternoon, Steve Newport of HeliBike Nelson is going to be running shuttles to the top ridge so all of those with tired legs can have runs down Corkscrew, Jaws, Velocity, Flamin' Nora or Rockface.

Pretty cool, eh..?!

This year we also welcome PORT NELSON as the Bike Relay event sponsor. They already sponsor our Glade Runner track so this extra support is especially appreciated.
The format for the Bike Relay will be the same as in previous '6Hrs', when held mid-winter (which the Nelson MTB Club will continue to run at Rabbit Island).
However, the new date, event hub and course, together with an emphasis on making this a weekend extravaganza of fun, marks a fresh beginning for the region's most popular MTB event.

Some things we hope will remain the same, especially the way so many people have entered into the spirit of 'dress-up'!

The inventiveness of some individuals and teams never fails to surprise, although you'll have to be extra creative to snatch the Best Fancy Dress prize away from two-time winner, Brian Grant.

In 2013 he went extra-terrestrial with his guitar-toting Major Tom, while his team of biking vikings took out the award in 2014.

But the event isn't just about prizes. Bragging rights between mates, workplace colleagues, schools or even that team on the adjacent tent site seem to provide ample motivation for most people.

Add in the challenge of 'stepping outside of yourself', be it in participating in a multi-lap race or wearing something outrageous and you're bound to end the day with a huge smile on your face.

So how do you enter..?  Click on this link: Enter Online

And it gets better! For those keen to base themselves at Kaiteriteri for the weekend, the Beach Camp is offering a 20% discount on accommodation (cabins, tent or powered sites). Just quote "Bike Relay" when you make your booking: Kaiteriteri Accommodation

What could be better than chilling with a few well-earned beers after the Bike Relay, dining out at the Shoreline or Beached Whale in the evening, doing a few laps of the Park on the Sunday and reviewing an action-packed weekend over a post-event BBQ in the afternoon..? 

Depending upon how many people are staying over, we're even considering putting on a Saturday evening of some exceptional mtb videos...

Follow us on Facebook for updates on the event, including what sneaky variation we have planned for the race circuit!

Friday, January 30

Never standing still...

Another busy year for us in the Park, both behind and coming up.

2014 saw the completion of our 4 year, volunteer-built, singletrack project Skullduggery. Four winters of Sunday morning working bees, involving thousands of hours hand-benching over 3000m in typically-steep Kaiteriteri terrain.
Many of our volunteers have been with us from the start and now know how to sculpture fine, flowing trail. Inslopes, outslopes, grade reversals, switchback diameters, recommended gradients - all second nature to our regulars who, this year, we'll be rewarding with their own "I DIG SUNDAYS" t-shirts to go with their bonus vouchers from Coppins Cycles.

Another major development for the Park in 2014 was the expansion of our Skills Zone.
Situated next to the popular Pump Track, a series of wooden elements is being constructed to enable those relatively new to mountain biking to gain confidence by improving their balancing skills. Local sawmill, Prime Pine, donated $1000 of timber to get us started, N S Rogers donated the digger hire and a great turn-out over two Sundays from many of our supporters in the building trade saw part of the vision translated into rideable reality.

The original design, drawn up by Marty Clark and Bruce Nelson, provides for more elements to be added and that will be at the top of our agenda when our w/bees start up again.

It didn't take long for the first punters to try out the runs.

The one being ridden here is 900mm wide, with just enough elevation to challenge those unused to riding 'off the ground'.

It's popular with parents who like to shepherd their little'uns - often on balance bikes - along it, as well as with better riders wanting to practise their control.

The adjacent run is narrower and presents a bigger challenge, especially riding 'uphill'.

We ran out of time to finish our third element, involving two ramps leading onto a platform from which other ramps will extend.

A temporary solution was to install a boulder and small ramp to allow a way off the platform other than straight off the edge.

Having successfully demonstrated the latter, this rider tried the boulder route...

This option isn't recommended until you've mastered the tuck'n'roll technique of dismounting.

A significant change for 2015 is a different presentation of the Park's trail network.
This involved changing the perspective to better reflect the topography of the Park when viewed from the beach or at the mapboard.

We've also decided to move to a track numbering system, as it was getting too difficult to accurately attach names to tracks.
This now enables us to continue track identification through various junctions and will more easily accommodate future extensions to the network.
The numbers cross-reference to names and track descriptions on the back of our maps, which are available at various local outlets, including the Kaiteriteri Beach Camp office. You can also download the map from the Map link on the Menu bar.
As always, our thanks go to Steve Newport for the time he donates in producing our maps.

The most exciting development so far this year is that we are once again underway on Jaws 2!

This is the long-overdue extension to the 1km traverse of the Park's upper slopes that we opened last March.
We had hoped to have the whole 3km+ length opened for this Summer but, unsurprisingly, Jaws had other ideas...

For the past several months we have been chipping and, occasionally, blasting our way through granite bedrock in a steep-sided, rocky chasm.

We've had to cope with various mechanical breakdowns as the work took its toll on the machinery, 'though, fortunately, our determination never wavered.

We owe our thanks to many people for their practical support through this period, especially Andrew Spittal of Ching Contracting and the Motueka DoC office.

Ching Contracting's hydraulic rockbreaker is currently taking a breather at the point where we finally began to encounter softer rock and some separation in the seams. We're not sure we're done with it yet, with one gully to go before our planned, temporary, connection with Corkscrew, but spirits are high.
We're hoping to open this stage later this month and you can follow updates via our Facebook page.
Meanwhile, this 'Under Construction' track remains closed.

For 2015, we welcome three new track sponsors: Denstock Hi-Tec (Bay View & Scoot), Hop Federation (Big Airs)  and Trail Journeys (Rock'n'Roll). All sponsorship goes directly into track building so that there's always something new worth coming back for.
Over the coming year, we'll be profiling all of our track sponsors on Facebook - go there now for a taster..

Coming up... our Family Adventure Race Day on February 15!

Guy Trainor

Monday, November 17


Just in time for xmas, we're offering the perfect gift for all of you Park lovers!

Ben Mills, local Art teacher and spare-time t-shirt designer, has created a super-cool tee for us that is going to be this Summer's must-wear item, at least within a 100kms radius of Kaiteriteri!

Called "Tracks", it's a catalogue of the Park's trail network, with a graphic to suit each one of them.

It's a talking point at your local, it's a souvenir of your visit, it's a comfortable, lightweight shirt to throw on after your ride as you head for a coffee or ice-cream, it's a motivational garment to inspire you to get onto the bike and hit some tracks...

And best of all, it's a donation to the Park, as each sale reaps $5 that we can put back into trail development!

(Going by the tee, you may think that there's no more room but we're not done yet..)

You can choose coloured graphic options or go for the simplicity of white-on-colour. Or, like me, you may have trouble deciding and just get one of each!

The women's tees have a more feminine cut and some different colour options to the mens'.

Zara (168cm) generously agreed to model the small-size White-on-Navy Blue to provide an idea of the look but there is a sizing guide on the website.
(I'm usually a medium and the men's medium is a perfect fit.)

On the white-on-colour tees, the Kaiteriteri MTB Park logo on the left chest includes some colour to distinguish it from the tracks.

The tees are priced at $40 and can be purchased on-line by going to:

So what could be better..? Supporting the Park while you're feeling and looking good!

And don't you think they'd make an awesome present...?

Some of the hand-benched tracks in the Park have been getting some pre-Summer luvin' in readiness for another full season. Scoot, Remedy, Shady Lady and upper & lower Velocity have all been prepped and are riding beautifully.
If you've often wondered about having a go at the the advanced-grade Remedy or expert/advanced Velocity, now's the time!
While work is stalled on Jaws, we'll continue administering TLC where needed around the network. High on the agenda is a bypass route for the increasingly-exposed, rata root drop on Skullduggery.

Progress on Jaws is temporarily suspended (again!) by the need for a major overhaul of the hydraulic rockbreaker. We took the opportunity of the 'downtime' to try some blasting on the granite bedrock (see our facebook page for photos) but won't know fully how successful this operation was until we apply the rockbreaker again. Unfortunately, chances of our showpiece track being open for Summer are looking less and less likely :(

On a more positive note, our predator control team certainly aren't standing idle. Their weekly inspection of the trapping line is regularly finding 'kills'.

At a recent Department of Conservation Open Day at the Park, committee coordinator Rod Markham had a stall outlining the aims of the programme and advice on how to get involved.
One of those who has got involved is Liz Thompson, one of the team at Physio4Health, sponsors of Shady Lady.
Her preferred running circuit takes her along part of the trapping line and she doesn't mind it if her run is interrupted by the need to reset a trap!
John McKenzie and Shaun Atkinson are the others currently making up the team.

Stoats, weasels and rats have all been recorded, with the latter dominating the recents stats.

Our Sunday morning working bees have nearly wrapped up for the year, with just one more celebratory event planned. We'll be sending out details of this shortly via email and facebook.

Guy Trainor

Friday, October 3

We must be doing something right...

For a small Park with big ambitions, feedback from visitors and regulars helps and encourages us towards making it even better.
From the start, we set out to create a family-friendly mountain biking environment. That meant first establishing a circuit of easy-grade trails, before extending into a range of intermediate and advanced-grade tracks. Every year, we plan our projects based on what we feel will add to the overall Park experience, both for beginner riders and those looking for more of a challenge.

The support we get from local businesses through sponsorship goes a long way towards funding much of this work.
Together with on-going support from the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board, advertising, map sales and collections from our donation box, we're able to avoid the user-fees that are increasingly appearing elsewhere around the country.

But building tracks, especially on Kaiteriteri's steep, gully-riven slopes, is an expensive undertaking. It's hard on machinery and, when we hit rock, it gets even harder. Progress can slow from 40-50m a day to 2m a day and that can make a mess of even the best budgeting!

So when individuals and businesses approach us saying they'd like to show their appreciation for what we're doing with a substantial donation, it can sometimes mean the difference between keeping at it or suspending operations.

Andrew Taylor is one such individual. Based in Wellington, he and his wife, Pip, have a bolt hole in Little Kaiteriteri and, with their daughter, love getting into the Park on their bikes when in residence. Like many others, they know they're unlikely to make it to a working bee so decided to make a $10,000 donation to the Park. Yes, that's $10,000!
Shortly after Andrew's approach, Bruce Miller of Motueka's New World supermarket, also got in touch. New World already sponsor Remedy and provide the Sunday morning treats for our working bee volunteers. But Bruce, a regular Park user, wanted to also show his personal appreciation with a $2000 donation!

Such shows of support not only give those of us on the committee a huge lift in encouragement that we're creating something that is truly of value in the community - in very practical terms, it means our digger track-building can go on when our budget is otherwise exhausted.
At the moment, the track that is gobbling up most of our funds is... unsurprisingly, Jaws. So, when we eventually emerge from the torturous terrain that has tested us on so many levels and open up the whole length of this track for business, we hope Andrew and Bruce and their families get a special buzz out of riding it!

Another project soon to get lift-off is this enhancement to our Skills Arena.

Marty Clark & Bruce Nelson designed it for us some time back and we've been itching to get started ever since.
Local builder Roger Kenning worked up our timber needs and offered to oversee its construction once we had materials in place.

Step forward Brent Steinmetz of Prime Pine Ltd, the Little Sydney Valley-based sawmill. Another Park fan who laments not being able to make it to working bees,  Brent priced up our order and then knocked $1000 off the price as his way of making a contribution.
It has now been treated and delivered to site so look out on our Facebook page for the shortly upcoming notification of the day when we'll assemble and turn this design into a reality!

Coming up, we have the official opening of the Great Taste Trail's coastal section on October 11.

The final leg of this route brings riders into the Park and onto Easy Rider.

Since the opening of the cycle underpass as part of the Turners Bluff road realignment, we're already seeing greatly increased numbers of riders using Easy Rider. 

Feedback from many is that they're loving the completely different environment and we can imagine that the shade of the forest will be especially welcomed on a hot day.
Not to mention the ice-cream or (ginger)beer when you emerge onto the beach :)

It promises to be a fun day so, if you haven't got round to it yet, oil your chain and get you and your bike to Motueka for the 9.00am start...

The following day, we're playing host to a Duathlon.
This is being run - or is that run/biked? - by the Nelson Tri Club to see how popular the Park might be as a venue for future events.

If you think that this is something you'd like to give a crack, you can turn up on the morning and sign on.

As you can see, there are lots of options to cater for first-timers up to seasoned veterans in almost any combination you want to throw together.

And the best bit is, you get to run the tracks without meeting any bikers coming the other way!

Remember to 'Like' our Facebook page (linked in the sidebar) to keep abreast of what's happening in the Park, including news of the Nelson mum and children who did a 3 day cycle-tour to Kaiteriteri, who our track inspector is and where you can stand underneath 500 yr old rimu...

Guy Trainor

Thursday, September 4

Give us a break!

It's been a while since a Park update. Not that we haven't been busy, it's just that a few projects have taken - and continue to take - a little longer than expected.

Top of that list is the continuation of Jaws.
We opened the first 1km traverse in March and I blogged about the magnitude of that achievement in an earlier post. At the time, the effort that went into constructing that track far surpassed anything else we'd done at Kaiteriteri.
Surely, we were past the worst...

We resumed construction at the end of May and, as before, began with a relatively easy run. Slopes weren't too steep, the clay/granite blend was perfect, the rain stayed away. Not only were Karl & Sam, back to hot-seating Mouse the digger, churning out the metres, they were carving out some mega swoops and small jumps. It was like Jaws on steroids.

It couldn't last. Just as it's no longer so easy to sneak up on innocents at Martha's Vineyard, it seems it's not possible to carve out sneaky metres at Kaiteriteri without drawing the attention of the track's namesake.

He was back - and his teeth were as as sharp as ever!

We were the innocents as we rounded a gentle spur and progressed into an ever-steepening gully. The absence of mature trees ahead alerted us to the possibility that topsoil was thin. If it wasn't for the amount of birdsong we might just have heard the distant thrumming of a tuba...

Suddenly we were in it - the most solid wall of granite bedrock we have encountered to date!

The most frustrating thing about the bedrock is that it's never visible on the surface. You don't know if it's going to continue for just one or two metres or extend for several.
We began by scratching away with the digger attachments until we saw the toll it was taking on the teeth.  At that point, we borrowed a rock breaker and generator.

In the trade, these are called demolition hammers. When you're a 70kg ectomorph trying to form a working relationship with a 30kg rock hammer, the only thing that's guaranteed to get demolished is yourself. After a week of hammering away at vertical rock, my back muscles spat the dummy. This was a relationship that had no future...

To the rescue came Andrew Spittal. Andrew is a foundation sponsor of the Park - someone who, in our start-up years, invested hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars helping to get the Park on the map.
Although he's now busy building trails elsewhere in the region, he generously loaned us a hydraulic breaker from his construction company.

We got an adaptor made for it to fit Mouse and we were back in business!

It's still slow going. Granite doesn't easily fracture and the deeper we go, the harder it gets.

Occasionally we get lucky and manage to extract a boulder but, usually, it's a matter of painstakingly chipping away.
(You can check out the video below to get an idea of what our days are currently consisting of...)

We know that we'll eventually emerge from this particular gully and be off swooping our way downhill again. That we're behind schedule goes without saying but, rest assured, we won't let this big fish get the better of us.

We've worn down so many teeth that surely he must be getting a bit gummy, as well, by now..?

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Park, we've had more success...

Over the last two winters, our volunteers have religiously been turning up on Sunday mornings for our working bees. Their project has been to extend the Skullduggery singletrack and, boy, has this captured their imagination!
Huge credit must go to our committee members, who have led the charge, but they've been more than ably supported by a dedicated pool of regulars. Many of these, especially the younger ones, are now developing a good sense how to build sustainable singletrack. These are the people who will be creating the fun & flowing trails of the future and I, for one, look forward to rocking up to ride them!

This new track currently exits just above the pump shed and only needs one or two more Sunday sessions before being officially 'signed-off'. Meanwhile, Sam & I have seized the opportunity of some rockbreaker repairs to make a start on a connection  between a mid-point on this track and Swish.

The purpose of this traversing track is to give people more circuit options and to take some pressure off the more steeply-descending lower half. Those who find the preceding sections of Skullduggery about at the maximum of their comfort zone will probably want to take the Swish option.
Plus, you'll get to take in this view towards Motueka from the seat near the end...

From here, you look down onto the lower stretches of Easy Rider, which finishes with some swooping switchbacks before exiting the Park (if this is where you want to come out).

It also forms the entrance into the Park of the Tasman Great Taste Trail.
People can now ride the Trail from Nelson to Kaiteriteri and we wanted them to feel they were entering something special when they arrived at this point.

For some, it will be their first venture into a "mountain bike park".
We're hoping they'll feel truly welcomed and enjoy the experience so much they'll feel encouraged to come back and explore more of the track network.

The gateway 'cog' was built for us by our Gold sponsor, Andy Lowe of Image Creators. We think it's pretty impressive but you could say that we're biased.
Why not come along to the official opening of the Motueka-Kaiteriteri section of the Trail on October 11 and see for yourself..?

True to predictions, we're now starting to see an increase in rat kills in our Park traps.
Rod Markham and John McKenzie will shortly be installing more traps, concentrating them in those areas where most kills are recorded.
Anyone keen to sponsor a trap or occasionally walk a trapline can email us at info@kaiteriterimtbpark.org.nz

And, finally, a little rock breaking to lull you to sleep...
Guy Trainor