Thursday, October 28

Gr8 switchbacks

Swooping down our latest track Swish last week, I counted 8 switchbacks.

Later, winding up another of our recently completed tracks, Ziggy, I counted another 8 switches.

This began to ring bells, so I headed over to Sidewinder - yep, 8 switchbacks, again!

There was only one thing for it - I had to finish on Half-Pipe...

Eight switchbacks later I emerged from the forest by the Park entrance!

Now, as I'm not the slightest bit superstitious, I'll leave you to make of that what you will...

Switchbacks are a pretty unavoidable feature of biking at Kaiteriteri. For some, they represent the scariest thing about getting into mountain biking, for others, they offer the perfect opportunity to hone riding skills.

In the Park, we endeavour to make them smooth, wide and well-bermed. This enables riders to flow through the corner without any hard braking, preserving the track surface.

The better riders can rail the berm with only minimal loss of speed.

We learnt alot from our earliest efforts and are now pretty pleased with how we can turn them out. Andrew's switchbacks coming down through the easy-grade Revelation are as smooth to climb up as they are to swoop down.
Karl, seen here shaping one up on Ziggy, has (so far) had his finest moment on the intermediate-grade Swish, which rides more like a luge than a traditional mtb track.

Mastering switchbacks (up or down) brings out some of the biggest smiles on mountain bikers. The confidence many gain at Kaiteriteri mean they can tackle some of the steeper tracks on offer around Nelson.
Who knows after that? Maybe the Wakamarina's 800m, 2.5kms descent of twisting, fern-bordered singletrack? Does it get any better than that...?

Friday, October 22

Going loopy

Just in time for Labour Weekend, we announce the opening of a new loop circuit!

Our latest track Swish branches off Bay View and sweeps you down through several switchbacks before merging with Easy Rider. While the swtiches are wide & well-bermed, the gradient puts it into the intermediate category - but if you're riding Bay View that wont be a problem anyway!

This gentle beech forest spur is a haven for birdlife so if you're not in a hurry, pause for a moment to listen to the bellbirds & tuis.

The approx. 1km of Easy Rider will take you right back to Salivater, crossing Tapu & Bay View on the way.

There are some superb views out over Tapu Bay if you can tear your eyes away from the undulating, easy-grade track.

Another loop option on this circuit is to head down the advanced-grade Tapu, pop out onto the road, pedal round to the Bay View exit, and link back up to Easy Rider.

Until we print our 2011 maps, you can follow our progress via the GoogleMap under our Maps link.

Future plans are to extend Easy Rider further south and create an entry/exit point on the Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Rd.

Steve Newport took some video with his helmet cam at our recent event. You can check it out on our park tv or on YouTube under Kaiteriteri MTB Park Challenge.

Wednesday, October 20

More pics from Saturday...

And they're off!

A thrown chain at the start of the second lap ruined Scott Barr's (160) chances of joining these other eventual place-getters.

The steep climb up the driveway did a good job of spreading the field.

From there, they were mostly on their own - unless they were a mum or dad!

Congratulations to all who took part.

It was an awesome day.

Huge thanks to Oliver Weber for the great photos.

Saturday, October 16

The XX Generation

The huge increase in the numbers of women entering mtb & multi-sport events was also reflected at our inaugural event on Saturday, the Tineli Kaiteriteri Beach MTB Park Challenge, where the femmes took out 1st, 3rd & 5th slots in the premier 3-lap race section.

Eloise Fry led from start to finish, holding off a strong challenge from Andrew Scott in 2nd place. Tiffany Farnsworth somehow managed to smile her way around the course and still finish 3rd, while Pete Anglesey showed his racing days are far from over with a good 4th. Kirsty Moran deserves a mention for both her very respectable 5th place as well as being our first Park 'trail pixie' home.

But the day wasn't just about those that manage to look good in lycra. We billed it as a fun-filled family event and it was fantastic to see so many children lined up at the start, most accompanied by parents who 'mentored' them through the winding track circuit. Some of these dads, having successfully got their children around one lap, then sprinted off to do another lap or two at race-pace.

Conditions were perfect, with hard & fast tracks and lightly overcast skies. The mixture of digger-benched trail, fire-breaks and narrow single-track provided a good cross-country challenge that tested the fitness of all.

Competitor comment of the day came from ex-Vegas resident & race winner, Eloise, in describing our tracks "as good as Rotorua!"

More FM kept the music pumping and the bbq smoking throughout the day while Tineli Performance Bikewear, Stoke Cycle Centre & Woollaston Estates Winery made sure lots of punters went home with some prize booty.

This first Konica Minolta-sponsored Nelson CycleFest has been a huge success over the 10 days it has been running in the region (big kudos to organiser Mike Watson) and is sure to grow.
We on the Park committee learnt alot about running an event and hope to ensure a much bigger local input next time. Plus, we'll have a whole bunch of new track to include!

All photos courtesy of Oliver Weber of

Monday, October 11

Getting them before they get you

The big pines that were brought down by strong winds in August, temporarily closing two tracks, served as timely reminders of the old proverb, "a stitch in time saves nine".

One tree came down in the head of a gully and, while passable after a bit of pruning, completely demolished a nicely cambered boardwalk built by boys from Motueka High School.
Another fell across a track and it took us four days to clear the trunk and create a bypass of the rootball. The time and expense of this operation was a good indicator to us of the value of a little preventative action!

Enter Bob Roborgh & Matiu Noakes of Tree Care. They've been working their way along the main Park circuit felling those pines that could potentially close tracks in the event of a big blow. This includes 'leaners' and many that are immediately trackside, capable of taking the entire width of track with them if they go.

One class of particularly dangerous pines are those mighty monsters scattered throughout the Reserve with tentacle-like branches extending several metres out from the trunk. While these trees may look majestic, a more discerning look often reveals huge branches that have snapped off and remain hanging on lower ones. These 'hangers' are capable of dropping at any time and you wouldn't want to be riding underneath when it happens.

The only solution is to fell the tree. The advantage of using skilled arborists is that they can dictate the direction of the fall. A good scarf cut and, if necessary, the placement of a couple of wedges, and BOOM - down she goes just where you want it. The tree that Bob has scarfed here made a particularly large BOOM as it largely disappeared into the marsh grasses of Swamp Monster.
There are a few good reasons behind the naming of this track and the tendril-like branches that now rise out of the swamp only add to the mystique.

It's always a shame to see a mighty tree brought to ground but the increased exposure to sunlight is only going to encourage the regeneration of the indigenous species underneath. So while it may appear as though there is a bit of tree carnage at the moment, give it a year and the fallen trunks will be submerged by flourishing ferns and emergent kanuka, mahoe, beech & pungas. Hopefully even the few rimu dotted around the Reserve will get a fair crack!

There are, however, a lot of pines and short of logging the entire 185ha. forest, we can never predict what is going to come down next. Each year we'll deal to those we consider high-risk - to riders & track - as part of our job of managing the Park.
That said, it's still important for everyone to be aware of the dangers of entering the forest during strong winds. The saturated soils this winter upped the risk factor significantly and, on the whole, we consider we got away lightly.
But having spent a few days in the Park with Bob & Matiu, watching them glance anxiously upwards whenever the wind started rocking the treetops, I for one will be a bit more careful about when I choose to go for a ride.