First, the good: after a series of rainy Sundays, blue skies brought out our regulars for another intensive session of hand-benching. This narrow single-track is steadily advancing towards its rendevous with Flamin' Nora through some pretty gnarly terrain. An incident involving a dead pine trunk and a volunteer's foot provided some momentary inspiration for a possible track name (Footloose? Toe Jam?) but this field is still wide open. If you have a name you would like to suggest to the committee, get it in quick.
It's great to see the number of fathers who combine Sunday morning childcare with trackwork. The "Kaiteriteri Creche" seem to enjoy their get-togethers as much as the dads, especially when there's a trip to the playground or beach thrown in afterwards.
I took the opportunity to sample the Mountain Biker's Special down at the Shoreline Cafe after the working bee. My flat white and carrot cake hit the spot and, at just $5, is pretty good value!
Another track awaiting a name is our newly digger-benched start to our Intermediate circuit. Karl has made an excellent job of this and the several switchbacks are going to be as much fun to ride down as up. All we need is a run of fine weather to allow the track to dry enough for grooming.
Which brings me to the bad news. Saturated soils and recent strong winds have brought down a number of trees. With the number of mature pines in the Reserve and the steepness of the terrain, we accept that this is going to be a periodic occurrence and can only hope that no-one's biking underneath when it happens. Fortunately, the treefalls claimed no victims but they did inflict some damage to the track network.
On Swamp Monster, the cambered bridge in one of the swampy gullies is now buried under several large pines. This was built for us by boys from Motueka High School and made a nice feature. We have succeeded in clearing a bypass but we await professional advice to see whether the bridge is salvageable.
Also pending an expert eye is another large pine which came down on Glade Runner. Its massive root-ball is lodged just above the track while the body of the tree is resting on the gully floor. As a temporary measure, we have cleared a route underneath the trunk but don't recommend stopping for a snack.
The committee relies on Park users to alert us to track obstructions, as happened last weekend, and we endeavour to clear them as soon as possible. But, at the end of the day, we're just volunteers so bear with us if your ride is impeded.
Getting back to the good news, the Chings digger is making great progress on Easy Rider. We are now well past the intersection with Tapu and, despite some steep terrain and a feast of gullies, forging ahead. This track will be a favourite for its superb views out to Tapu Bay.