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...