On November 16, 2008, 13 of us gathered for our first working bee at the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board's overflow boat trailer park. It also served as a dumping ground for years of accumulated rubbish (old posts, broken culverts, rusted steel) and did not look a promising site for what we wanted to become the entry point for our track network.
On December 6, 2009, a transformed trailer park provided a superb venue for the Grand Opening of the Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park (KMTBP). Gone was the rubbish, replaced instead by a view out over Kaiteriteri's famous estuary. A perfectly sculpted earth bund wall now demarcates the road entrance track, Pump Track & planned skills area and start of Salivater from the area retained by the Board for their parking needs.
It was within this area that we assembled on Sunday morning for the ceremonies. Following the opening karakia, it was into the speeches in which all paid tribute to the many individuals, volunteers & local businesses that had contributed to the project.
The speed at which the Park had come into being was a recurring theme of these speeches - a real testament to what can be achieved when a community gets behind a good cause!
The Park was then officially opened by the cutting of a ribbon by Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne, attended by (from left) KRRB Chairman, Peter King, DOC Nelson Marlborough Conservator Neil Clifton, DOC Motueka Area Manager Martin Rodd, KMTBP Project Manager Guy Trainor, KRRB Manager Rob Guild, and KMTBP Chairman Mike Kirkwood.
Attention then turned to the unveiling of the pou by local iwi members. Carver Tim Wraight explained how the figurehead, representing an ancestor of great mana, both welcomed bikers and provided protection over them while using the Park.
Carved from local totara and sited on a mound, it strikes a commanding pose overlooking our entranceway and skills area.
The planting of a miro then followed, symbolising the birth of our new venture. These proceedings were a reminder to us all of the responsibility we carry in developing this wonderful resource.
This was also the cue for us to don helmets and grab bikes for the mass ride. Richard Kempthorne, Guy Trainor & Neil Clifton led out a large contingent of riders of all ages for a leisurely lap of the benched track circuit. For many it was their first foray onto the tracks and they were clearly impressed with what they discovered! At the Tank intersection, some of the more adventurous spun off to explore the more challenging tracks while the majority of us made our way through to the circuit exit and back along the road to the trailer park.
Immediately following the departure of the mass ride, Martin Rodd led a group on a walk-through of Salivater & Half-Pipe. For these largely less-confident riders, it was a reassuring look at the type of tracks that we hope will see them becoming regular Park users.
Meanwhile, the Pump Track was going off! All of Mike Kirkwood's fine-tuning was paying off as some skillful riders demonstrated perfect pumping technique. The action wasn't limited to them, however, as people of all ages were queueing up to have a crack. It was a new experience for most and a good insight into how their riding skills could be quickly improved with a bit of practice.
Concurrent with the PT show was the Mystery Time Trial where it was revealed that Mayor Kempthorne, an enthusiastic recreational mtber, had set the time to match. Many tried but lucky Robin Thompson snared the $50 Shoreline Cafe & Bar voucher by coming within 20 secs.
Shortly after 12.30 Jane Rose & Jenny Dore led off a posse of women for their bike skills w/shop, which they then split into two groups based on ability. They all eventually arrived back long after most had packed up and left! The big grins and excited looks on the faces of the participants was great to see. With Jane & Jenny's excellent coaching, women who had never been on off-road mtb tracks before were finishing by coming down Half-Pipe's Intermediate-grade switchbacks, while other's had picked up tips that they'll be able to pass onto their 'more-experienced' partners (if they're lucky :-)
The bike shops all chipped in with some great spot prizes which added to the fun & festivity of the occasion. The committee did a fantastic job sizzling the sausages, selling the carrot cake & merchandise and keeping the action rolling. All in all, not a bad way to celebrate our Opening...
A video of the day will shortly be forthcoming. Meanwhile, if anyone has any good photos of some of the action, we'd love to get them up on the blogpsot. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.