Thursday, December 29

2012 Park map

As rain once again lashes our region, indoor activities take precedence over outdoor ones - unless you're out sand-bagging your property :-(

The Park has been lucky to avoid the deluges so far and we hope that remains the case. With holiday-makers in full attendance, the tracks are getting a good work-out.
Our newest track, Corkscrew, is proving to be a hit with all who ride it, from relative newbies to seasoned mtb junkies. While the speed in which they go up or down varies, the width of the smiles and expressions of appreciation are identical.
The amount of positive feedback we're getting confirms that, not only are our track building skills getting better with every year, but we're filling a niche that is often over-looked in track design.

Passionate riders like to take their partners, less-experienced friends or fast-developing kids places that are safe but fun & challenging, as well. We promote the Park as a family-friendly mountain biking venue and that's what we aim to deliver.

Our 2012 building programme will begin by creating a bypass of Sidewinder & Swamp Monster, the section many new riders most struggle with. It will be a flowy, undulating trail that generally follows the contours - much like the popular Easy Rider.
It will also offer us some new options when planning race circuits.

Other projects planned are to extend some current tracks, so they begin or terminate at hubs, and add some parallel tracks to allow more one-way riding. Of these, most will be hand-benched during our Sunday morning working bees which will resume in March.

Whether we get time to start another major undertaking, an Intermediate-grade downhill from the top of Corkscrew, remains to be seen. We've left it off the map so you don't start getting excited too soon. But, by now, you should be getting an idea of how quickly things happen around here...

We're in the process of getting our tear-off padmaps finalised and these will be available from the Camp Office, bike shops and several local businesses in the near future.

I've blogged before about how popular the Park is with a growing group of Nelson mountain unicyclists - the munis. Prime muni-mover Marty Richards emailed me recently to say he and friends had been playing on the skinnies.

"Without photos, it never happened", I replied.

Nek minit...

Here, Julian Daley munis his way over 'low roller' while Jane Merline, fresh from Wisconsin, makes easy work of 'high riser'.

Marty, at rear, assures me he made it to within the last 2m.
Sorry, Marty, without a photo...

Thursday, December 22

A xmas prezzie...

At Kaiteriteri, we like to get into the xmas spirit as much as anyone.

Our gift to our supporters and visitors this year has taken a little longer than usual in its preparation.
Karl Thompson started with his digger back in August and despite winter wetness, flu bugs and, most recently, apocalyptic deluges in his native Golden Bay, has committed virtually all of his free time to working on our latest track.

Winding its way from the junction of Ziggy & Big Airs, it takes you up to the furtherest point of the Park's NW boundary. From there, you traverse across to a skid site from where you can use existing forestry roads to access the top ridgeline tracks.

It's an honest 3.5kms climb (well over 4kms from the bottom of Ziggy) to the skid site but you are rewarded with outstanding views of Tasman Bay and the Abel Tasman coastline.

For the most part, it's an easy climbing gradient in the trees until you pop out onto the final spur.
In full sun, there's no hiding as you dig deep for the final switchbacks.

The thought that's sustaining Grib Buchanan in this pic is how much fun he's going to have on the downhill!

We've only just completed the grooming of the top section and return straight after Boxing Day to finish the job.

The 'Muck Truck' has been a recent acquisition. Sourced from D K Putt Ltd. in Manakau City, it is proving invaluable in shifting materials & tools, including a 50kg plate compactor, around our expanding track network.
Its 4WD gets it up our steepest slopes and at nearly 6kph it's no slouch on the flat either.

It has particularly come into its own transporting gravel chip to those odd sections where, due to springs or underlying bedrock, water seeps onto the track. We've already used it with great success to get gravel along the narrow singletrack into the Shady Lady gully.

We struck another such damp area just before exiting the forest onto the spur.
We hope a few muck truck loads of gravel, being tamped in here by Caillin Morris Trainor, will help firm the track base so that it remains rideable throughout the year.

So, just another 3-4 days grooming and our xmas prezzie is ready to be unwrapped. And what is it...?

Shown as yellow on this map, you can see where the idea for the name came from. Corkscrew has completely blown away the strange but entirely coincidental '8-switchback' rule that seemed to apply to our other climbing tracks.
Charted by Steve Newport, I know for a fact that his GPS hasn't logged every switchback on this climb but I'll wait for someone else to tell me how many there actually are. I usually lose count halfway up as I get distracted by how much fun I'm having. And it's even more distracting riding down!

Meanwhile, the rest of the Park is being well used. Whenua Iti tutor Joe Dawson recently brought a group of 11-13 yr. old students out. After a pump track warm-up, they set off for a spin around the Easy circuit, which included finishing on Half-Pipe. I could hear them coming by the excited whoops and it was fun watching some of them nail the small gap jump at the exit, as well as attempting the skinnies & see-saw.

No sooner had they left when Ross Maley, our working bee co-ordinator, and fellow track volunteer Mark Townsend, arrived with another half-dozen DOC staffers for the Motueka Area office's end-of-year bike & bbq.
It seems the pump track warm-up is becoming obligatory and you could see how quickly the concept was being grasped by some PT virgins.

The KRRB have funded the purchase of an electronic track counter, as used by DOC, which Ross & colleague Tom Young have just installed. This will provide useful data which can be analysed by time & date throughout the year, helping to better target our resources & track-building programme. And we'll finally be able to answer that question, "How many people use the Park?" !!

Last Sunday an interpretative panel was unveiled by local iwi near the pou in the Trailer Park. It acknowledges and explains the role of Maori ancestor Whakamura, to whom the pou is dedicated.
Next time you ride up the entrance track, take a moment to read about this important local figure and reflect on the fact that the hills around you had a history long before the mountain bike Park came along...

And finally, we want to take this opportunity to once again thank all of our track sponsors. You'll notice their logos attached to the track marker posts throughout the network but, for most, their sponsorship is a donation that reflects their support for the Park.
Those contributions enable the purchase of track-building equipment & materials and cover incidental expenses. You don't have to be a local business to show your support, though. We gratefully receive donations via our entrance box, PayPal (see sidebar) and generous individuals (see Sponsors tab).

While we all look forward to taking a break over Summer, rest assured we'll be back in 2012 with another full year's track-building programme.
Until then, it's happy new year from the team!

Saturday, December 10

What's the common denominator...?

Blue skies...?

Red shirts...?

Stunning locations...?

Akshully (to quote J Key), there are probably a few but, to some of us in the Top of the South, the answer's obvious...


The Mountain Bike Park has figured prominently in all three recent publications.
First out was Derek Morrison's RIDE 2012 calendar. 12 superb pics (plus the cover) showcasing some of NZ's best riding talent and biking destinations.
2011 Downhill champs Harriet Harper and Reuben Olorenshaw spent a day with Derek at Kaiteriteri earlier in the year.
They now feature as Miss February, captured doing an impressive drift on Easy Rider, and Mr June (which doesn't have quite the same ring, sorry Reuben) - being creative on Rockface. That's as opposed to just surviving, which is how most people approach it.

Derek also contributed the photos to the feature article in the latest issue of NZ MTBer.
While blue skies and red shirts also make an appearance here, the emphasis is firmly on what a perfect destination Kaiteriteri makes for the family on holiday with a stack of bikes on the back.

Editor Carl Patton & Derek visited on a typically glorious day in late Autumn. If anyone thinks sussing out some new tracks for a magazine feature is a ride in the park, I can confirm these guys earn their money. Lugging 15kg of camera gear up granny ring climbs or holding spot lamps until your arms ache for that perfect lighting must soon become tiresome while all the locals have to do is play on their bikes.
That said, they were both sporting big smiles when I came across them. They were genuinely surprised & impressed with what the MTB Park was able to offer in just 3 years of existence.
Carl's only complaint was that the beach wasn't littered with "babes in bikinis", as pictured on a postcard sent by one of our committee. For that, he'll have to come back in January...

And then along comes the latest edition of Classic NZ MTB Rides.

Few people have as good a grasp of the biking terrain in NZ as the Kennett Bros. They've been doing it long enough now to know what people like, what they want to know and how to whet their appetites. The 8th edition has certainly whetted mine and, with 310 rides to choose from, a few people on can expect to hear from me this summer :-)

About the only place I won't be heading for is entry no. 4 in the Nelson region: Kaiteriteri MTB Park. That's because it's my backyard and on holiday I want new track!
But if you're not local, its three star rating should be enough reason to load up the bike rack. We've completed two new tracks since the above publishing gurus visited and they will both be featured on our new map for 2012. Just quietly, we think they're the best work we've done so far...

And finally, just to show that not all mtb photos have to show someone with their weight back and a steely glint in their eye as they nail some gnarly downhill, here's Greg Buckett toughing out the final few metres getting to the top of the ridge. Given he's on Rockface, I suspect there was some bike-carrying...

Tuesday, November 15

Breakout of Skullduggery - Again!

Last winter our main volunteer project was hand-benching the first stage of our intermediate-grade Park traversing track, Skullduggery. You can read what a mission that was in our blog archive for November 2010.

This year we undertook Stage Two, the connection between Flamin' Nora and Bay View. We still had steep sided slopes and damp gullies - this is Kaiteriteri, after all - but somehow the work didn't seem quite as hard this time. Even with it being 100m longer!

Maybe we're just getting better at it. We certainly had a lot more fun (see 'The Fun Factor' post of August 2011) and you'll notice the difference in character of the two sections when you ride the complete length.
It's a great credit to all of those people who gave up so many of their Sunday mornings to swing grubbers. A huge no. of individuals were involved but these guys were the ones who got to celebrate the breakout...

So what have we got?

1.6kms of narrow, flowing singletrack that weaves across the upper flanks of the Park. It is best accessed from the top of Big Airs but you can also drop onto it from Velocity or, half-way along, Flamin' Nora.

You'll ride through a rich diversity of flora that includes kanuka, pine, beech, rimu, broadleaf, ferns & pungas. There's plenty of birdlife in there as well but you'll probably find that, once you've got your flow on, you won't want to stop.

To make sure you get the best from this new circuit, we've decided to make all of Skullduggery and the top section of Bay View down to just before the water tank ONE WAY.

This is a major move for us in terms of our track network. It acknowledges how many more people are now using the Park, the preferred direction they ride in and our need to ensure they can do so safely.
The nature of Skullduggery makes passing hazardous in several places and the top bit of Bay View has a blind corner with the potential for a high-speed collision. We'd rather you can bomb both tracks as fast (or slow) as you like without risk.
It also means those on a DH blast down Rockface get to prolong their buzz for a bit longer...

This marker post indicates the entry to Skullduggery. It's graded Intermediate due to the narrowness of the track and the fact if you fail to stay on it, you could potential tumble a long way down. I always tend to cast a quick glance over the side in a couple of places to make sure there's nothing down there that shouldn't be. So far, so good :-)

Next on the post is the logo for this track's sponsor. It's the support of local companies like Kaiteriteri Kayaks that help fund our work in developing the Park. It's certainly not limited to locals though. If your company would like to sponsor a track, we're always adding more!

A few posts back I blogged about our 'forest royalty'.

A shady gully shortly into the new section is home to three magnificent rimu. They're estimated to be about 500 years old. That they escaped the bush-clearing fires & loggers of the last century is a marvel, esp. given Kaiteriteri and the region's history.

When we discovered them, we felt as though they'd just been waiting all this time for us to come along...

Another feature of these giants are their hemiepiphytic rata vines. Metrosideros robusta begins its life as a seed high in the upper branches of the host tree. Over the centuries it sends down tendril-like roots that thicken into matted 'pseudo-trunks'. Northern rata has greatly suffered from the predations of possums both in the North Island and upper South, the limit of its range, which makes their survival here even more remarkable.

We've created a small clearing here to enable you to enjoy a few moments sitting in their presence.

Beech trees always make their contribution to the tracks, as well. After all, who doesn't like riding in their dappled shade or beech leaf litter!

This impressive stand frames one of our mini-roundabouts.

Controversial at the time - because it was initially so tight that hardly anyone could ride it - it now provides the perfect site for a group photo!

One thing we learnt while building this track is that sometimes it's a good idea to leave the chainsaw behind.

People have to be more creative and that makes for a more fun track - unless you're over 6'5" , I guess :P

In fact, there's stuff happening all along Skullduggery.
At least, while concentrating on what may be around the next corner, you won't have to worry about a biker coming in the opposite direction!

We're hoping that this sign on Bay View, just above the water tank and the entrance to Heartthrob, will take care of that.

If you're used to riding/pushing/carrying your bike up Bay View and Rockface for a downhill run, it's not all bad though.
We've just finished benching a climbing track that will get you all the way from Ziggy to the top ridge! We'll be closing it again in a couple of weeks to complete the grooming but, in the meantime, you're welcome to sample it (in DRY conditions only, please).
When the tape goes back up, you can rest assured its opening isn't far off...

Sunday, October 9

Starting Early...

I bought my first mountain bike as a 40 yr. old. I took to the sport like an English rugby player to a dwarf-throwing competition and, several bikes later, I'm still getting as much fun from it as on my first outing.

These days I can't venture onto a tramping track without assessing its potential as a back-country ride. I have more bike clothing than casual wear. My bike costs way more than the vehicle I drive (tho', to be fair, the van's not that flash. It is, after all, a bike wagon).

And I really should cull the bike collection one day...

The only thing about coming to the sport late, is that, with age, an increasing sense of self-preservation kicks in. I abandoned the idea of getting into jumps the day I landed on my head amid pieces of my helmet. And I no longer have the patience or inclination to spend hours practicing manuals, 360 endoes or switchback wheelies. I'm happy to settle for watching Danny Macaskill on youtube.

But I do envy the skills of those who can & do. Many's the time I've thought, if only I'd got into mountain biking earlier...

So I got a particular buzz out of seeing the number of kids who turned up at the Park on Saturday for our Family Fun Day.
Everywhere I looked there were youngsters on their bikes.

Marty Clark and his Way2Go skills course was hugely popular - and not just with those on 16" or 20" wheels!

This is where they begin acquiring the skills and confidence to become mtbers. The sort of kids who'd rather be out playing on their bikes than their playstations.

The sort of children who can go out riding with their parents - at least, while mum or dad can still keep up...

Meanwhile, the pump track was getting a thorough work out.

At one point it looked like a blur of motion with so many riders on at the same time - the teens pumping hard enough to get air off the rollers, the younger ones pedalling the berms a little higher with each circuit.

And when things quietened down a little, the tots took their turn.

Starting early with colour co-ordinated bike & riding kit is also very important...

Alongside all this action, there was also some racing going on.

Marty Richards, seen here with daughter Tasman, was one of many who accompanied a child around the one-lap circuit before bombing off for a fast blast on the full course.

Despite some tough climbs, it was impressive how many young'uns managed to ride the whole 'beginner' route.

Not that those at the other end of the age-spectrum weren't giving it a crack either.

Even surpassing me in the veteran bracket, Tom Dunn showed that the miles you put into the legs when you're young can keep the wheels spinning six decades later...

These two photos were taken by Oliver Weber, along with many other great shots you can view in full quality on his website.
The client login is "family" and Oliver donates 50% of sales to the Mountain Bike Park.

Also working hard on the day were the guys from More FM who kept a steady supply of free bbq sausages on the go, nicely followed by some donated Talleys ice-cream tubs.

Straight after the race and handing out of spot prizes (did anyone go away with nothing?), most of the kids presented themselves to Emma Bawtree for some free mtb skills coaching. Emma divided these into U10 and 10+ and no doubt there were a few parents closely watching the workshops, although they would have been ably catered for by Emma's adult session that followed.
Anyone interested in joining one of Emma's popular wheelwoman coaching clinics can contact her on 027 624 5368 or email

Congratulations to fastest 3-lapper Jacob Anderson, chased home by 2nd & 3rd place-getters, Scott Barr and Kistof Zernikow.
Other results can be forwarded if you email

We're a small group of committee members at the Park and putting on an event requires all hands on deck. The reward comes from seeing so many people enjoying themselves on their bikes. And who's to say that many of these "beginners" won't, one day, be the ones running the show...

Friday, September 30

Family Fun Day

As part of the Nelson Cycle Fest., Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park is once again hosting the More FM Family Fun Day.

This was a really popular event last year. The one, two or three lap options attracted beginner & elite riders alike, all going as hard as their level of fitness allowed!

There were dads that did a lap with a child before hooning off for another lap or two at race-pace, some for whom it was their first time in a mtb event, others that just saw it as a fun way to work up a sweat before retiring to the beach for the afternoon.

This year, on October 8th, promises more of the same. More FM will be firing up the loudspeakers and the barbeques, there's a free beginners mtb workshop being run by wheel woman, Emma Bawtree, and a swag of spot prizes to be shared amongst competitors.

Marty Clark will have his Way2Go portable skills course in action and the pump track can also help keep young'uns entertained while you throw down a scorching lap. Or maybe just line them up for a free Talleys ice=cream...

At just $5 for U14s, $10 for others or $20 for a family group, it sounds like a pretty cheap Fun Day out to me!

Log onto for all the week's activities or here:
for more info.

The event kicks off at 10.00am so arrive early if you intend registering on the day.

Saturday, September 10

Forest Royalty

For such a small, semi-rural region, we do pretty well in the volunteer stakes.

From late-March to December we hold weekly working bees on Sunday mornings and I never fail to be impressed by how many people turn-up for these. Rain is no deterrent - in fact, some of our best bees have been when it's been pouring down!

The main focus for the past two winters has been the hand-benching of Skullduggery: a narrow, winding singletrack that traverses the Park north to south 100m above sea level. Many of our regulars have invested dozens of hours in this task and it's no exaggeration to say that if they miss a w/bee or two, they start to feel withdrawal symptoms.

Just as the track unfolds in new ways as attendees follow the guideline surveying ribbons, so the Park slowly reveals its hidden treasures. Mature pine & kanuka stands give way to towering beech trees. Damp, shadier areas are thick with broadleaf & tree ferns. Streams trickle and splash on their steep descent to the estuary and out into the Bay.

The recent 'discovery' of three magnificent rimu along this route has provided the highlight of this journey of exploration so far. Estimated to be in the region of 500 years old, they stand like kings in a natural amphitheater. How they escaped the loggers of the previous century is a marvel. It seems as if they've been waiting for us to bring our mountain bike track to them.
You cannot but feel humbled in their presence...

I'm deliberately not including photos at this stage. For a start, it's hard to do them justice when you're an amateur with a cheap compact.
Secondly, for the time being, at least, it's as if they 'belong' to those volunteers sculpturing out the track from Kaiteriteri's hillside. Everyone feels a sense of ownership and the need for such trees to be properly acknowledged within the Park setting.
When Skullduggery is finished, we'll do that in a way we hope is fitting to their grandeur.

But for the time being, if you want to experience what it is like to be in the presence of forest royalty, you're welcome to join us at our next working bee :)

Much as we rely on volunteers to help extend our track network, there are other tasks around the Park that also require 'manpower'.

A couple of Saturdays ago, Ross Maley undertook to plant some native grasses along the earth bank separating the Skills Area from the trailer park.

No doubt, his son Sam was a help, when he wasn't doing laps of the Pump Track, as was Craig Skillicorn when he joined them before setting off for his own ride.

Kaiteriteri local David Ryder regularly makes his quad bike available when there's heavy stuff to be shifted.

Recently we needed to get some culvert off-cuts (donated by Fulton Hogan) about a kilometer into a digger-benched track currently under construction.

David began by towing them up the steep exit to Big Airs.

There wasn't a lot of manoeuverability along the new track but we managed to get to the gully where a stream needed to be crossed.

'Grib' Buchanan turned up to give a hand to install the culverts, here filling the bags we used to armour the sides.

Since arriving up from Dunedin, Grib has become a working bee regular. He's up for any ride that's going, be it local or Nelson way, mtb or roadie. Never happier than when on a bike.

It was only fair that he got to test ride the new bridge.

So, a few individuals giving up their time, another couple of tasks accomplished. Not the sort of thing many people using the Park would especially notice but all contributing to enhancing the experience...

Sunday, August 14

The Fun Factor

There's a playful little breeze filtering through the trees at Kaiteriteri these days.

Its infectious qualities have been felt by all of those who turn up for our weekly working bees. Gone is the mantra of "more metres! more metres!" - in its place is the far more rewarding motivator of "more fun! more fun!".

To be fair, last winter's project of hand-benching Skullduggery didn't offer much scope for playfulness. The steepness of the gully-ridden terrain restricted the options for creativity and, as progress at times slowed to a crawl, counting off the metres at least maintained a sense of momentum.

At times it felt as though simply completing this section of singletrack was enough of a goal, without trying to add bells & whistles.
And there's no denying it was a terrific achievement by our small (but perfectly-formed) volunteer workforce to finish it in time for Spring.

So you could suggest that the new spirit of playfulness that accompanies our current hand-benching efforts on the Skullduggery extension is merely due to the slightly easier terrain we've had to work in. But that would be missing something.

More at work here is the awareness that we're no longer just turning up to build track, we want to make fun track!

Everyone seems to have been caught up in this new enthusiasm to be creative. There's a whole new buzz around the working bees and not turning up means you miss out on the opportunity to have input.

And there's no denying that having a good idea adopted by the crew adds to that sense of shared 'ownership' of a track, making it that bit more special each time you ride it.

Coming from the opposite direction, we're about 2/3rds along the way towards joining up last year's section of Skullduggery, which terminated at the junction with Flamin' Nora.
So there's still plenty of time to get involved! People who haven't attended our working bees can't appreciate the sense of camaraderie and accomplishment we share. But, believe me, like playfulness, it can be quite infectious...

Fortunately, this mysterious breeze permeates all parts of the forest, including where Karl Thompson & I are working with the digger.
Last week we made our long-awaited start on Skyline, the track that will provide bikeable access to the top ridge from within the Park boundaries.

But before we go up, we have to go down. Getting to the base of the 'climbing' spur involves descending from the junction of Ziggy & Big Airs and crossing a stream. This gave us an opportunity to create some long traverses through some of the gentlest terrain we've encountered so far - definitely too good to waste!

So, again, rather than just look to see how quickly we could bench a route down to the stream crossing, we've also sought to add in some fun factor. As with the w/bees, it makes for far more interesting work and we know it's going to make it way more enjoyable for you to ride.

Unfortunately, the photo will have to serve as a teaser until the track is finished and opened to bike traffic. If you want to get an idea of what's taking shape, you're welcome to stroll down (or up, depending on where we've got to). Just please respect the signage and leave your bike at the taped entrance. Even if you see treadmarks already there, don't go adding to them as the more bike traffic the track gets before it's ready, the more grooming will be later required, delaying its eventual opening.
And you don't want to find out what a digger can do to a bike!

And, finally, on this playful theme, few things are as likely to bring a smile to your face while out riding as quickly as seeing someone on a muni.

There's a growing group of these mountain unicyclists in the region and their skills are not to be laughed at. Actually, I think laughing at them is quite acceptable as chances are they'll be laughing even harder. Talk about blokes old enough to know better having fun!

Marty Richards & Julian Daly gave Sidewinder and the rest of the Park the big thumbs up when they ventured over. I suspect it won't be long until they're demanding their own race category...

Thursday, August 4

Changing the Culture

Craig Skillicorn & I recently attended the MTB Development Conference in Living Springs, ChCh. Many good things came out of the weekend, not least the opportunity to swap notes with many trail-building mtb enthusiasts from around the country.

From Southland to the Far North, there are some amazing tracks being created - sometimes by a few dedicated individuals, others by clubs that, through corporate involvement, have turnovers in excess of $100,000 p.a. I, for one, can't wait to throw my bike on the back and do a tour of all that's good in NZ singletrack. And that would have to be a long tour!

One resource I'll avail myself of is, brainchild of Hawke's Bay MTB Club Pres. Don Bricknall.
The idea behind this website is to enable mtbers from 'out of town' to hook up with locals to get the best out of the riding to be had in that area. With the explosion in track-building & mtb parks in recent years, what better way to ensure you don't miss out on the newest trails? Not to mention the best way to ride 'em!
And, in return, I get to show off the best of what we have to offer when visitors come to Tasman :-)

Another thing I took from the conference was the Christchurch Singletrack Club's observation that, over 2-3 years, they had helped effect a change of culture with regard to people riding wet tracks. The Port Hills tracks suffer badly from being ridden when wet and the burden of track maintenance was becoming unsustainable, esp. over winter.
Through a process of education and signage, they have significantly reduced the wear'n'tear of the Port Hill's trail network making for better riding for everyone when the time is right.

So what about Kaiteriteri...?

In part, the track damage we suffered this May-June was of our own making.
In trumpeting our all-weather tracks, we invited people to come riding all year round. While numbers were still relatively low - and rainfalls were normal - this generally held true. Those few areas that got muddy could be attributed to failings in track design or unanticipated seepage. Where possible, we carried out remedial work to alleviate the problem.

But the wettest Autumn in decades (ever?) and high Park usage meant that minor problem areas became majors and previously sound surfaces started to cut up. The run-up to our 6 Hr event saw many people out pre-racing the route, even during times of heavy rain.
Also, as other tracks around the Nelson area became too boggy, people increasingly came to Kaiteriteri for their fix. Attempts to close some of the worst affected tracks with tape were unsuccessful as individuals continued to ride the race circuit.

In the event, a week's postponement and fine weather meant that our 6 Hr went ahead and was enjoyed by all. But not before our volunteers had put in a power of work (see previous post) and are still left with a lot of damage to repair.

So it seems to us a change of culture amongst those who use the Mountain Bike Park might also be a good thing.

The first place to start is to ensure everyone is aware of the Mountain Bikers Code. It pops up from time to time in publications - it's even on our map board - but when was the last time you actually read it?
We'd like everyone to take note of Respect the Track: Avoid riding in the mud and rain.
It's included for a very good reason. Riding in the wet damages track surfaces. Once ruts or bogs have developed, they'll go on growing unless or until someone puts in the hours to clean them up.
At Kaiteriteri, that means volunteers. Volunteers aren't people who sit at home waiting for the maintenance call-up. We're people who much prefer riding to working. But we also accept that tracks don't build & maintain themselves. We're lucky to have so many people in our small region who do come regularly to working bees and we've made great gains in a short time because of that.

But they still represent only a small fraction of the number of people who use the Park.

What we would like all users to consider next time they're contemplating a ride in the Park during or immediately after rain is:
- does my need to ride wet tracks outweigh the 'needs' of the volunteers (who would far rather be building new track than fixing existing ones)?
- am I willing to be one of those that contributes to Park maintenance?

You might not see the connection between riding & volunteering but it was a recurring theme to come up at the Conference - how to engage more of our mtb population in track building & maintenance? It's something every club struggles with. Our management committee isn't a club but the same challenge applies. At Kaiteriteri we offer incentives like cash vouchers for attendance (sponsored by Coppins Outdoors) and provide tools on-site so you can 'ride to work', if preferred.

But that's not what really motivates our volunteers. To a person, they are individuals who want to give something back. They know, deep down, that trail pixies aren't building tracks while they sleep. They understand that unless tracks are maintained, they'll go on deteriorating until they become unrideable. And they know that when they ride other tracks elsewhere, there are people who share those values carrying out exactly the same work.
It also helps that, every Sunday morning when we gather for our working bees, we have a lot of fun and many friendships are made in the process :-)

The work can include clearing track-side vegetation, swinging a grubber, pulling a rake. Even bringing some baking counts as a much-appreciated contribution! If you think you would like to join us, check the website calendar for meet details and/or make sure we have your email address on our volunteer database.

And on a related theme, please note that the middle section of Shady Lady is closed for maintenance. A drain on the lower switchback blocked and, as a consequence, water has been running down the track. With traffic this has turned into one muddy mess!
We'll get to it as soon as possible but, in the meantime, you are free to use the Kimi Ora walking tracks to bypass this section (please observe their request to RIDE SLOWLY).

On a more positive note, Karl Thompson is back at the Park with his digger. We spent a couple of days doing maintenance on some of the tracks - we hope you notice! - before making a start on our next scheduled track.

But more on that later...

Tuesday, June 28

Kaiteriteri 6Hr goes ahead - and OFF!

They say every cloud has a silver lining. While a week's postponement of our 6 hour Mid-Winter Breakout due to wet weather saw some unlucky punters having to withdraw, others were wrapped to score a perfect Kaiteriteri day. The tracks had dried out nicely, the sun shone bright and the thermals were shed as the temperatures climbed. Some of us even returned from overseas or uni in time to enter :)

300 riders lined up for our inaugural multi-hour event and, by the resounding chorus of approval at its conclusion, it was a great success. Event director Wayne Pool's pre-race briefing that this was first & foremost a recreational occasion was well-heeded, even by those out to lay down scintillating lap-times.
From beginner to elite, everyone enjoyed the course and looked well-satisfied with the day's action - or maybe that was from the wild pork & apple sauce sammies that were freely available throughout the day...

Credit has to go to the Park's committee members and other volunteers who put in a lot of extra effort to ensure the event could go ahead after the wettest Autumn on record. The preceding Sunday 14 guys turned out in steady rain to spread gravel and improve water run-off (when best to do it?). It's this commitment that continues to reinforce our message that the Park belongs to all of us and that we share a responsibility to develop & maintain it.
Co-hosts Nelson MTB Club also put in a power of work, none more than Event Director Wayne Pool. His managing of the 6 Hr Breakout perfectly matched our MTB Park vision of staging recreational events that cater for all levels and see everyone going home looking forward to the next one!

Wayne Pool sets the field away from the Martin Farm Rd start...

Tom Filmer shot out to an early lead and, in the Solo class, stayed there - clocking up 16 laps in the process.

His time over 16 laps was only beaten by the Stoke Cycles A-Chain team, all riding single-speeds.

Champion multi-sporters Sophie Hart and Trevor Voyce relished racing on the fast tracks.

The under-over bridge was a popular feature...

Nathan Gilling enjoys some air off the optional ramp exiting the Tent Village...

Supporter Delwyn ensures a slick hand-over between Motueka mates Bill Hollick & 'Grib' Buchanan...

while Nick Kirby shows how much he enjoyed the new Kaiteriteri circuit.

Young riders Jordan Scott and Marcus Jones weren't giving anything away to their older fellow-competitors...

All photos courtesy of Oliver Weber and for personal use only.

These, and other photos, can be viewed in full resolution and purchased for a koha to Park development here:
Client login kaiteri

Race results can be viewed here:

Tuesday, May 10

6 Hr Mid-Winter Breakout!

This year Kaiteriteri MTB Park is hosting the region's premier mtb event, the Mid-Winter Breakout!

Timetabled round the shortest day of the year, Sunday, June 19, will be the day to load up your bikes and head for the Park.

If you've ever taken part in the Rabbit Island events, you'll already know what great fun they are. If not, here's your chance to find out why this is the most popular event on the Nelson MTB Club's calendar.

The Mountain Bike Park offers an ideal recreational circuit guaranteed to have you grinning from ear to ear. Lap times will vary between 20-30 mins - the idea is to see how many laps your team can clock up in 6 hours (hopefully one more than your mates :-)

Teams can be 2-4 people or, for those wanting to push themselves that bit harder, you can go solo.

In many parts of the country, a mid-winter mtb event often means a mud-fest. Not at Kaiteriteri - the firm & free-draining tracks mean they're good for riding year-round. So don't hesitate - get some mates together and get a team in now!

There's more event info. on the NMTBC website:

and you can enter on-line here:

or by popping into your nearest cycle shop and picking up a form.

Entries close June 12.

Monday, May 9

Balancing Acts

Some time back, Nelson sawmillers Waimea Wood donated us some timber for an elevated board-ride, commonly called a skinny. Other track-building projects delayed our start... until last Sunday.

The forecast was for rain - too wet for hand-benching - so we scheduled Skills Area construction!
The weather gods obviously approved as they delivered briliant sunshine and a good crew of Park volunteers showed their support by also turning up.

Jess Roborgh (2nd on left) donned the carpenter's apron while the rest of us set to digging holes and installing posts. While the intent was to start with something fairly easy & straightforward, boundaries were soon being pushed as creative juices got flowing.
It was useful having a couple of young guns with us in the shape of Doug & Thomas who showed us how quickly the balancing act could be mastered!

Unfortunately, Mike left with his camera before we finished the 'high road' but I'm sure some interesting video footage will appear on our park tv soon. 'Though whether Thomas will oblige us with another of his spectacular mud-slide dismounts is debatable...

The plan is to extend the skinny further around the boundary of our Skills Area, incorporating some more challenging features like see-saws, concrete pipes, ladders and sections of varying width. While some of us are still at the level of trying to stay on a plank lying flat on the ground, I'm confident we'll see a dramatic improvement in riding skills over the next months!

Tuesday, May 3

Autumn Highlights...

Back by popular demand this Autumn are Emma Bawtree's wheel woman bike skills workshops. Many local women used these last year to help prepare for the mtb stages of the Spring Challenge. They found the range of tracks & switchbacks available to practise on at Kaiteriteri ideal for building confidence and improving technique.

Emma's all-women workshops cater for those just getting into mountain biking through to Intermediate-level singletrack riding. She'll be running them through May & June and recommends you get in early to secure a place as she prefers to work with small groups.
Contact her at or (03) 540 2678.

Also coming up on June 19 is the Kaiteriteri Mid-Winter 6Hr Breakout!

For the first time this event is being held at the Mountain Bike Park and is being run in conjunction with the Nelson MTB Club. The course will appeal to recreational riders who can expect a lap time of 25-30 ins. You can enter as a solo rider or as part of a team of 2-4 riders.

We'll be posting details on the cost, course & categories available soon but, in the meantime, start getting your team together!

We'd like to start building a gallery of your favourite pix of biking in the Park. Greg Buckett has got the wheel rolling with this, taken from the top of Rockface on a typical Kaiteriteri day. If you've got a pic you'd like to share, send it to: