By now you'll be pretty used to the idea that when things happen at Kaiteriteri, they happen fast.
Last week Andrew Spittal phoned to say he had three days free with the Chings digger. Not one to waste an opportunity to bench some more track, in we went!
We concentrated on a short section of newly-surveyed track that switches off the top end of Salivater and connects with the Telecom tower site near the road saddle. This track represents the start of Easy Rider, which will eventually extend right to the southern end of the Park.
In the meantime, it's possible to add in a little loop by using Short Cut. It won't get groomed properly until our first working bee on March 14 (not March 7 as previously posted) but there's nothing to stop you using it now. Within hours of exiting the track with the digger, it had tyre tracks on it.
As the benching of this track had gone so smoothly, compared to the usual dramas we encounter at Kaiteriteri, we had time to look at the Sidewinder switchbacks. These were initially scheduled for April but as the digger was already there and Andrew was keen, we decided to go for it.
The steepness of Sidewinder's slope meant many of these switches were difficult to create through lack of enough soil to properly berm the low side. Understandably, many novice riders get a little freaked by staring over a drop when they're half-way round a turn. The level platform of some of the switches also led to some riders skidding their way through them - something we try to discourage at Kaiteriteri.
Anyway, Andrew managed to find enough soil by scratching round to build lower berms on all the switches. Trying to shape steep corners without a tilt bucket isn't easy but we're really pleased with the results. The switchbacks still require controlled braking skills going down but hopefully the fear of diappearing over an edge has been reduced. Going up is still a grunt but they definitely flow better.
As expected, the granite soil of the tracks at the MTB Park have now compacted like concrete. Breaking up the surface of the corners has created very loose, cloddy soil that, until we get some rain, will take some time to re-compact. Until then, riders will have to take a little care to avoid their front wheel washing out. Everyone who came by while we were working, however, seemed pretty pleased with what we were doing and, as usual, gave us the big thumbs up!
With a bit of time to spare, we started benching Easy Rider heading south from the Telecom tower. Michael & I felt good about how the surveying of this track has gone (so far) and I have a similar feeling about the benching of it. Part-funded by the Tasman District Council, it will considerably extend our easy trail network. All I'm waiting for is Andrew to free up some more days!