The first in an occasional series of profiles of some of our volunteers.
Last Sunday, when the rain was hammering on our roofs, most of us would have been happily content to pull the covers up & snuggle a little deeper into our beds. Still, a number of people phoned or texted in to see if the working bee was going ahead, reflecting the commitment we've come to expect from our Kaiteriteri workforce.
The working bee cancelled, I decided to deliver a load of timber for our Skills Area anyway. No sooner do I arrive there than Craig Skillicorn pulls up. I wasn't surprised...
A couple of weeks back, on a non-scheduled w/bee Sunday, Craig had spent most of the day digging drainage channels in steady rain. "That's when you see where they're needed!", he points out. This enthusiasm for maintaining our trails has been typical of Craig throughout the year, whether in the heat of summer or the wet of winter. With his spade and mist-proof anorak he sets off in search of those places where run-off has the potential to scour out ruts in the highly-erosive granite soils of Kaiteriteri. He's almost single-handedly responsible for Velocity still being rideable.
But that's not the beginning & end of Craig's contribution to the Park. As a member of our management committee, he came up with the ideas for track sponsorship and a tear-off padmap that carried advertising. Both initiatives have been highly successful and generated valuable revenue, enabling us so far to purchase a chainsaw, additional tools and the above timber. No doubt Craig's experience as owner/manager of Richmond Retravision has honed his marketing skills but he was an ideas man way before that, while still running the Motueka-based Retravision shop.
When he was living locally he created the original Marble Mountain Classic MTB event, which is fondly remembered by many local bikers. He was the organiser and chief sponsor of prizes for its charitable cause during the several years he ran it (that event is now under different management with an extended course that allows for a Kaiteriteri start/finish).
Craig's been riding Kaiteriteri for as long as anyone I know so it was natural he wanted to be part of it the moment he heard about the plans for a MTB Park. He's had his share of spills over the years - the last requiring heli-evacuation and a few days in Nelson ICU - but he keeps bouncing back with more enthusiasm than ever.
So I knew it was a waste of time trying to persuade Craig to go home. His Kaiteriteri-based parents were happy to have the grandchildren for the day and he was busting to get going. It was the least I could do to lend him a decent raincoat...