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...?