Monday, June 29

Back at the rock face...

Andrew Spittal returned to Swamp Monster this week with the Chings digger fitted with a pneumatic pick. The mission was to shatter a significant amount of rock to enable us to widen a switchback and improve drainage in this attractive gully. The work was slow going but you'll all agree that the end result is a fine outcome.

All of the gullies have presented different challenges and have their own character. This one has a dense grove of suplejack and a small waterfall that emerges from a deep stream cutting. For those who like dropping their bikes and having an explore, many of these gullies have hidden delights.

While we had the digger there, Andrew also made some improvements to another switchback especially for those who like riding high on the berms!

The first of two boardwalks being built by Motueka High School students will be finished this week. Transporting the weighty materials to site has consumed a lot of their time here but the use of DOC's power carrier should save a lot of time & effort for the next boardwalk.

Continuing excellent turn-outs to our working bees have enabled us to make great progress over these wintery weeks. Last Sunday we began clearing vegetation from an old accessway into the Trailer Park. This alternative entrance will mean bikes & cars won't need to share the same road during the busy summer months. Every week we see new faces and make new friends so, if you've been thinking about joining us, come along and become part of the team effort that's building mtb trails you're gonna love riding!

Tuesday, June 23

Kaiteriteri riders excel at 6hr event.

Well what a Sunday at Rabbit Island! Great riding, great track and excellent support from the teams from the Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park. Along with Carl Thomas, Ross Maley & Martin Rodd winning spot prizes, there was even some creative riding from myself.
Which brings me to the next part of this note: if one is ever to inadvertently get lost whilst racing in an event, it is best to keep one's trap firmly shut (so I was taught) and let the events proceed where no one else is any the wiser to your navigational transgression. However, if having got away with said transgression without anyone knowing, the last thing you need is for the event organizers to name you "The fastest lap rider of the day". Bugger! is just one of the words that comes to mind...
And it is on this note that I would like to nominate myself for the "BBS" award (Best Bull Shitter - or Best Bad Sport, you can use your own adjectives) and I look forward to anybody relieving me of this accolade at the earliest possible convenience. I would also Like to nominate Carl Thomas for the "BDR"award (Best Dressed Rider) with his longjohns on top of riding shorts a worthy spectacle and very much in the spirit of the day. I believe Andrew Spittal should be nominated for the "BART" award (Best Accident Requiring Treatment) Hope you get well soon, Andrew - great to see you out there doing it.
That's the best I can think of at the moment - any other ideas welcome. It was fantastic to see so many Motueka riders at the event and I look forward to next year where I might be able to follow the arrows a little better (or, if not, at least not get bloody caught)

Current BBS holder, Mike Kirkwwod

Sunday, June 14

Making mtb tracks at Kaiteriteri

The base soil at Kaiteriteri is Separation Pt. Granite. This presents both our greatest challenge and greatest asset in track making.
When the surface is loose, due to being disturbed or simply drying out over summer, it is extremely vulnerable to being washed away by heavy rain. On some of the older firebreaks that descend steep spurs, there are ruts that can swallow bikes whole.
The over-riding focus for all of our track design is, therefore, to avoid the damaging effects of erosion. The IMBA handbook Trail Solutions (one of two trail building guides donated to us by Ground Effect) has been invaluable in this regard.

It emphasises that the key to building 'sustainable trail' is to ensure that water is continually being shed from the track before it has a chance to gather either volume or momentum.
The best ways of achieving this are with an outslope and by the frequent use of grade reversals.
An outslope (i.e. a slope towards the outer edge of the track) will disperse water where that slope is greater than the gradient of the track. Even on steeper sections, the water will continually flow towards the outer edge, though not as quickly.
To ensure it doesn't gain sufficient volume to start causing a rut, grade (or gradient) reversals are built into the trail design. This is a dip, or 'valley', that arrests the flow of water and sheds it from the track. Done well, these small ups & downs give a nice undulating feel to the track and make it more interesting to ride.
On steeper sections where a gradient reversal may not be possible, water bars (diagonal channels across the track) achieve the same effect but, to maintain track flow, need to be well-rounded.

By applying these principles, we are able to take advantage of the more positive aspect of the granite soil here. Once it is compacted, it becomes very hard.
We've just had a week of consistent rain, often heavy. Those tracks that have now compacted through time & use showed no effects of erosion whatsoever. In several places water could be seen draining on to the track from cut benches but was being harmlessly shed by the outslope.
There was almost no evidence of recent wet-weather bike traffic except for on a couple of berms where the soil is not yet fully compacted.
So we've had the best confirmation we could get that the mtb tracks we're making for the Park are sustainable and suitable for all-weather, all-year-round riding.

On the other hand, biking tracks that are new and/or soft when they're wet is not a good idea. The narrow ruts made by tyres simply create more work for those involved in their maintenance. As Swamp Monster is still a track 'under construction', please don't ride it if it's wet as it just delays the compaction process. Until then, enjoy the others!

Tuesday, June 9

How can I help?

You can offer your support to the MTB Park project in a variety of ways.

As a volunteer...
On alternate Sunday mornings from 9.00-12.00 we have working bees that engage in a variety of work. This can include everything from track building & grooming to building bridges or features for our Skills Area.
These are enjoyable sessions where many new friendships have already been made. We have spare tools available and each week an email-out advises on what to bring, what work we will be doing and where to meet.

We occasionally skive off and take part in fun social events as well!

Working bees are notified by our website calendar and by email.

To be added to the volunteer mailing list, contact us at

As a donor...
Building a world-class MTB Park is an expensive business. Excavator hire, operator expenses, bridges & boardwalks, track signs, map & information panels - all of these costs add up for a volunteer-based management team.

As an individual, you can help us to continue developing the Park by making a donation. Unless specified otherwise, all donations go directly towards building more track and helping us to achieve our target of 10kms of trail by 2010.

Donations can be made freely via our PayPal a/c:

Alternatively, you can contact us direct for our bank a/c no. or cheque mailing address.
All donors are acknowledged under our Supporters link in the side panel.

As a sponsor...
Many local businesses have already contributed to the project by the generous donation of materials, hire costs and funding (see Sponsors).

If you or your business would like to donate in excess of $500, we invite you to contact us directly.

Saturday, June 6

Grooming the Monster...

A turn-out of seven this Sunday saw us finish the grooming as far as 'rock-face gully' (working from the Kimi Ora end). This is about halfway and one more w/bee should see us complete the track. With the installation of two boardwalks scheduled for this week, that only leaves the above gully switchback to sort out.

New 'trackie' recruits Stephen Hailes & Patrick Ryan have already been doing a great job of riding the Monster in and can also attest that it makes a great night ride. They have duly been put on 'glow-worm alert'...

Patrick won this week's Coppins-sponsored spot prize, a fitting reward for cutting the steps for our Swamp Monster Look-out. Like Nessie, our monster can be an unpredictable beast so we want to install a seat here so that bikers can bide-a-while with their cameras. Anyone who would like to donate or sponsor said seat is invited to get in touch.

Stephen, Patrick and w/bee regular David Ryder offer bloggers a 'Spot the Difference' competition.

Thursday, June 4

Swamp Monster tamed!

Three weeks of digger action has recently seen the benching of our latest track addition, 'Swamp Monster'.

This 1.5 kms section links 'SideWinder' with the top of Kimi Ora and is sure to be a Park favourite. It passes through frequently changing flora, delves into several gullies, offers unique views of a hitherto hidden swamp and provides just enough up'n'down to make you appreciate the occasional rest stops.

The benching of SM was made possible by generous hire terms from N S Rogers, Riwaka, and a huge donation of time by Andrew Spittal (taking a break from being CEO of Ching Contracting) in operating the digger over the whole course of the track construction.

Those of you who helped in the clearing of the route know what challenging terrain we had to work in and the high quality of the resultant track is a testament to skills which Andrew largely learnt on the job!

Students from Motueka High School are building us two boardwalks to cross a pair of damp gullies. Timber for these has been donated by Prime Pine, Little Sydney Valley, and ITM Motueka.

One gully, buttressed on one side by rock, still requires some work but, meanwhile, our next two working bees (June 7 & 14) are concentrating on grooming the track to a highly finished standard.

From Kimi Ora, bikers can return to the road via the KO driveway, climb the firebreak to the water tank junction, drop into the network of hand-benched track below KO (look for the 'Fitness Trail' sign on the left 50m down the road or, of course, reverse the route to the Trailer Park.

Welcome to our blogspot

After a couple of weeks in gestation, we're now proud to introduce our new baby to the www.

This is where we'll post regular updates on track progress and other Park developments, invite feedback, post photos & video and acknowledge our many generous supporters & sponsors.

You'll see you can view & download track maps, which will be updated as each section is completed, link to other helpful sites or make a donation.

You can use the blogspot as a source for information only or help the baby grow by feeding it with your own contributions. Enjoy!