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!