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!