Monday, November 25

Spring Update

When you rely on a rainy day in Tasman to write a Park blog, sometimes it can be a long time between posts!
Of course, if you abscond to Turkey for five weeks of biking (where it didn't rain, either), then the gap gets even longer. But you can argue singletrack research is an important part of developing an MTB Park and, well... someone's gotta do it.

You won't find much funner riding than amongst the rock formations around Goreme in Central Turkey's Cappadocia region.

Whether it's threading your way between 'fairy chimneys', following ancient waterways through the arches & tunnels of mini-canyons or sweeping along trails that have been trod for centuries, you are continually confronted by the uniqueness of this incredible environment.

Just how to replicate it at Kaiteriteri is the challenge!

When building new trail, we're always on the lookout for anything that can be used a bit more imaginatively - something that you look forward to encountering along the way.

That 'feature' that gives you warm fuzzies every time you ride or pass it.

Sometimes the surveyed trail naturally offers it up, sometimes you need to get a bit creative.
Those constructing our two current track projects are always on the lookout for such opportunities. While our Park volunteers are hand-benching a connection between Skullduggery and Easy Rider, further up the hill, Mouse the digger is forging a new route that descends from Corkscrew.
Sometimes these 'features' take a little bit more work to bring to life but, taking the Turkey time-span, the rewards can be enjoyed for generations!

One project that has been recently completed is the conversion of the Grade 3 Easy Rider to the Grade 2 cycle trail. ER is soon to be inaugurated as part of the Tasman Great Taste Trail, scheduled for opening in time for Summer. The winter storms and general wetness meant we had to suspend work on the upgrade several times but, in the end, probably for the overall benefit of the track.
Hopefully, we've seen the last of the slips for 2013 and the installed drainage will better cope with future weather bombs. They seem to be increasingly a sign of the times, however, and Park users will have to become used to occasional track closures.

Those working on the ER upgrade were frustrated by the small minority of people, both on foot and on bikes, who repeatedly ignored the closure tape & notices at both entrances. Often the digger was sending debris onto lower track traverses, posing a very real safety risk. Less dangerous, but equally frustrating, were those that rode over freshly-groomed trail leaving pronounced tyre ruts that then had to be re-groomed.
Their thoughtlessness put themselves at risk and/or added delays to the project.

This has become a mounting area of concern for those of us managing the Park and, after much thought, we've recently decided to take more serious measures to encourage compliance.
'Tape breachers' found on closed tracks will be given an official warning, with a second breach leading to a Park Trespass notice.
A trail camera has also been purchased to ensure out-of-hours trespassers will not go unnoticed.
A track may be closed for a number of different reasons. A tree may be down or a slip may have taken out part of an existing track, making it unpassable, or it might be for general maintenance.
A track under construction may include unsecured hazards and also involve issues of security. Whatever the reason, we want everyone to understand that Closed means CLOSED.

With this mind, please note that Revelation and Lower Velocity will be closed from December 4-7 while tree-felling operations are carried out. It would be a mistake to assume that, if you cannot hear a chainsaw, it is safe to enter these tracks until work is completed!
Notices will be posted at entrances and on Facebook but your help in spreading the word would be appreciated :)

On a more positive note, our Ladies Bike Night rides have started!

Run by committee members Andrea Livingston and Emma Bawtree, they provide a fun and cruisey way to share a bit of Friday eve biking with other, er.. ladies.
"Nothing pretentious, nothing difficult, nothing to stop you!" is their catchcry.

With a couple already under their belts, interest is growing - and not just because of the opportunity to share some nibbles afterwards at the Beached Whale.

If this sounds like you, meet at the Pump Track @ 6pm "ready to roll" (cancellations via FB).

Our sponsors play a big part in funding Park development, alongside showing their support for all involved.

In turn, we like to show our appreciation of them. We asked Gold Sponsor Andy Lowe of Image Creators to make us up a signboard showcasing our many sponsors and this is now installed.

We're just in the process of reviewing many of our two-year track sponsorships and are delighted that so many of our sponsors wish to renew.

We even have two more sponsors waiting for new tracks to be completed!

This level of support from local businesses is hugely encouraging for those of us who donate so much time to the Park.

We get a buzz from it and we hope each of our sponsors gets an equal one when riding 'their' track.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for an upcoming chance to win a prize related to our Sponsors Board ;)

The latest update from Rod Markham on the predator-trapping front informs that a trapping ring involving Big Airs, Skullduggery, Bay View, Remedy, Shady Lady and Revelation has been agreed for the first stage.
This requires 42 traps @ approx. $50 ea. Donations from several individuals have already enabled the purchase of 10 traps and ITM Motueka are donating the timber to house them.
Anyone in a position to help with the construction of these simple boxes can contact Rod at: The sooner we have 'em, the sooner they get installed and start reducing predator numbers in the Park :)

Our annual More FM Family Adventure Ride was, again, a popular Nelson CycleFest event. On a perfect day, over 100 children and their parents biked their way round our Easy circuit, stopping to shoot 'predators' with a paintball gun, extract a marble from a chilly, muddy, bathtub and sprint up Ziggy to collect a reward-token. And then there was the Pump Track Shoot Out - has the pump track ever had so many riders on it..?

Oliver Weber was there with his camera (and children) and put a great selection of photos up on our facebook page...

The race began with several rotations on the spot before a sprint up the driveway to the awaiting bikes.

The Pump Track Shoot Out was managed by Coppins Cycles and every kid wanted a go (and probably a few dads).

The competition was pretty intense with plenty of spectators expressing their admiration and offering critiques of individuals' 'pumping' skills...

We'll probably start the Fun Day with this, next year, so that it serves as a warm-up and ensures that no early-leavers miss out on the prize-giving afterwards.

And, hopefully, we'll have had a chance to sharpen some of the berms by then, making it even faster!

Of course, it wasn't all about the bike...

Sunday, August 11

What a good idea!

Sometime back we received an email from a regular Park user wondering if there was more we could do to encourage birdlife.
We posted it on our facebook page and it seemed many of our Park friends approved.

Now, our committee already works pretty hard in managing the Park so we did the obvious thing - we asked this individual if he would like to come on board and follow through on his suggestion!

We're happy to say that Rod Markham agreed to being co-opted and, with fellow committee member and DOC Biodiversity Ranger, Ross Maley, set about contacting local groups already active in promoting birdlife in the region.
As Rod recently reported, "The initial phase involved contacting DOC, Tasman District Council, some Park neighbours and other groups running trapping programmes. The project has support from the key organisations,  particularly DOC and the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board, and there has been encouragement from all other groups."

They are currently investigating how best to establish a baseline count of bird species and numbers, determining which tracks to use for a 'trapping ring', what type of predator trap to use and how to fund their purchase.
From Rod's report, "This initial circuit is just over 4km requiring 42 stoat/rat traps at the normal 100m spacing. Around $5000 will be required to set this up. Once this ring is in place we can add some traverse lines and rat traps, then, further down the track (sic), extend the trapping further out into the Park."

We see a real opportunity for Park neighbours and supporters to be involved in this project, either by funding traps or, once established, helping to monitor trap lines. We have already received some donations towards traps and welcome more!
If you would like to contribute you can either write a cheque to Kaiteriteri MTB Park, enclosing a note referencing Park Birdlife, and post to 136 Thorp St. Motueka 7120.
Alternatively, you can direct debit to the Park account 031354-0291348-00, referencing the same.
If you would like to specifically sponsor a predator trap @ $100, please reference Predator Trap and include the sponsor name.
Meanwhile, you can follow updates via our facebook page.

There's been a bit of signage going up around the Park lately: track marker posts, No Exits, etc.
You may notice this one - both a request and a riding tip :)
We find that skidding usually happens when people approach a corner too fast, then grab their rear brake.
Unfortunately, skidding breaks up the surface soil and, when it happens repeatedly, ruts soon begin to appear. And where there's a rut - water will find it!
Especially on Kaiteriteri's erosive granite soils, deep ruts can develop quickly, making a section of track unrideable.

If skidding is part of your normal riding style, there are options...

You can take a skills workshop that teaches you how to brake effectively without skidding;
You can disable the rear brake to gain more confidence in the front (a good technique for beginners);
You can ride elsewhere.

Those of you who are already skilled riders who can descend steep tracks without your rear wheel locked up will enjoy the revamped Velocity. Most of the major ruts have been removed and we will be monitoring this track over the next 12 months to see how well it holds up. If it passes muster, we'll consider similar remedial work on Flamin' Nora  and Rockface.

Another track that is getting a makeover is Easy Rider. We took the digger through here earlier this year but had to suspend work once it became too wet.
We've just recommenced work and are in the process of going over the whole of ER once again, fine-tuning the drainage and removing the slips that have occurred in the meantime.

It's important that those sections we've just groomed get a chance to settle before people ride them. You'll know which ones they are because they'll have tape across them and, usually, a notice explaining why.
Riding them before they are ready creates ruts which means the whole grooming process must be repeated (you also might meet us working on the track and you really, really, don't want to do that!).

You may feel we're being a bit precious for a mtb track but the Grade 2 standard for Easy Rider, as part of the regional cycleway, is that the surface must be smooth for funding to be released. So, as always, thanks for your cooperation and help spread the word :-)

Finally, I took my bike to Utah last month. Shouldn't have left it out in the sun...

Wednesday, June 26

Mid-Winter Breakout

Steady rain the day before didn't deter over 200 teams (including Solos) from lining up with their bikes for the 6Hr Mid-Winter Breakout event at the MTB Park on June 23rd.
A crispy blue sky start to the day saw smoke from braziers mingle with steam from bikers hover over Tent City. As the day warmed up, the braziers became less relevant but there was no drop in effort from those out on the circuit.

As the tracks began to cut up, especially on the uphills, tyres lost traction, bikes collected mud and there were some greasy descents. But perhaps 2365 laps is a lot to expect of any track in the middle of winter!

Over the past few years, teams have embraced the fancy dress element of the event and, this year, costumery was an especially predominant feature. Deservedly taking out the overall prize for 'best-dressed' was Brian Grant, appropriately - as a Canadian - posing as the guitar-playing astronaut of recent fame. Brian's passage through Tent City playing 'Space Oddity' was pure gold.

Also among the prize-winners were the Honey Helmets: Deborah Morris, Zoe Morris-Trainor and Faye McKenzie - they even had a 2yr old baby bee as a mascot!

For more photos of the array of wacky outfits on display on the day, go to our facebook page and enjoy...

Those of you who know our 'Corkscrew Tree' at the top of Corkscrew will appreciate how gutted we were when Mr Screw went awol.
An appeal on facebook saw him return from his 'holiday', 'though we still await Ms Cork's return. 

Meanwhile, Park fans Phil Hartwick & Tracey Harwood have scoured some drawers and found a couple of beauties to keep him company...

There are spare holes for anyone else who wants to adorn our Corkscrew Tree. We would like to see it festooned and become a great backdrop - along with the stunning views over Kaiteriteri and Tasman Bay - for your celebratory photo at achieving the top!

In other update news, we have made a great start on our singletrack, hand-build, project. This will carry on from Skullduggery with similar character. If you'd like to join in on one of our happy trail-building sessions, check out the website calendar or our facebook page.

The upgrade of Easy Rider has been temporarily suspended while we wait for things to dry out a bit. The exit down to the road has a big slip that awaits Mouse, our digger, to clear so treat the track from Swish down as closed. We're scheduled to recommence work on the cycle trail upgrade in August.

Meanwhile, don't let a little mud stop you from enjoying yourselves out on the trails - it didn't stop 547 fun-lovin' mountain bikers on Sunday!

Sunday, May 19

6 Hr Mid-Winter Breakout!

Yep, it's that time of year again! Time to gather your team, get creative about your riding kit, dig out the gazebo, organise who's bringing the brazier - oh, and get your bike humming!

Once again brought to you by the Nelson Mountain Bike Club and the Park team, this event promises to be one of the highlights of your year. Many of the first-timers who came last year were blown away by how much fun they could have on a mountain bike in the depths of winter. We're expecting them to be 'breaking out' again, this time!

This year's course at the MTB Park will be a bit easier and shorter than before so there's really no excuse not to join in. Plus, there are lots of different categories available to cater for (almost) every taste.

Responding to some of the excellent feedback from 2012, the organising committee have come up with a couple of changes for this year...
First, we're offering a "Lucky Dip" option. This is for those who want to join in the fun but are short of a team. Check the box on the entry form and we'll match you up with some riding buddies - what better way to make new friends!

We'll also be revamping the Tent City layout to create a central "village hub". This is where you'll find the food stalls, coffee cart, beer & ginger beer counter, big screen video of track action and other cool stuff. This will be the place to hang-out if your tent or gazebo isn't feeling cosy enough.

Check out the video on our park TV in the sidebar for an idea of how a couple of teams entered into the spirit of the event last year. And I can vouch that the featured, pinked-out Ditsy Chicks are already working on their bumblebee outfits for the coming one :)

We had 460 riders in 2012 and we're expecting even bigger numbers this time round so don't leave getting your entry in too late just in case we find we're maxed out. All entries are on-line at the above link.

For those that want to come for the weekend and try out the rest of the Park's track network, the Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp is offering a 20% discount on accommodation! You can go straight to their website using the hyperlink on the sidebar to make your booking.
That will also give you the opportunity to join some of us on our Saturday Night Ride, followed by beer & pizza in The Beached Whale afterwards :)

Keep an eye on our facebook page for updates and other cool things planned for around the event.

This is going to be FUN!

Monday, April 29

Mapboard, slips... and coffee.

Next time you're out at the Park, check out our new mapboard. Along with an up-to-date map of the track network, you'll find lots of useful information like Recommended Circuits and how to get involved in our volunteer working bees.

This is also where we put notices about temporary track closures, Lost & Found items and upcoming events so it's always a good idea to swing by the board when starting a ride.
It was designed for us by Andy Lowe of Image Creators, one of our Gold Sponsors.

Talking about track closures, A big THANK YOU to everyone for respecting the notices and not venturing on to those sections of Easy Rider currently taped off. Riding ER before it has been groomed & compacted really does delay its re-opening so we appreciate your cooperation.
The recent heavy rains caused one significant slip on the lower end of ER. While still passable, with one dismount, extra care needs to be taken where the width of the track has been narrowed. Mouse, our digger, is progressing top-to-bottom with the Cycle Trail upgrade so will repair this damage when he gets there (which will close this section of track).

On the whole, however, the Park escaped pretty lightly- again :P
This was partly due to the variables that determine where a rain bomb is going to land and, partly, to track design that prioritises the ability to shed water.
There were some minor slips (mainly on Swamp Monster) and a few culvert washouts - none of which seriously disrupted the circuit. If anything, they served to show us how design in some instances could be improved so that, when our 'bomb' does arrive, hopefully the tracks will be better able to cope.

Clearing heavily water-logged clay from a track is hard work. Luckily for me, 'Grib' Buchanan was in town. 

Before moving back to Dunedin, Grib was a valuable asset to the Park. 

In his spare time, he would often pack his small shovel into his biking backpack and nip out to the tracks to carry out minor maintenance.

Grib understood the importance of dealing with things early - before they became a bigger problem - and the tracks all flowed the better for it.

Most people would never notice the difference, perhaps just commenting on how well the tracks were riding, and that, in itself, was his reward.

So, while recently revisiting the region on holiday, it was typical of our former committee member to offer a hand in clearing the slips. A long day later, I headed off for a well-earned Friday night beer. Grib headed off for a ride...

Over on our Facebook page, Jackson Carver recently posted a short video of himself and a friend riding Corkscrew. It was shot & edited by Indigo Muir, who is obviously an emerging talent. We've uploaded it to our park TV (on the sidebar) so you can all enjoy it.

Working Bees
Having agreed at the start of the year that we would reduce our working bees from weekly to monthly, we've now decided to up them to fortnightly! 
Seems there's nothing like a new track project to get our volunteers all keen. We've had good turn-outs to our last two w/bees and made a good start on hand-benching our new, Intermediate-grade, singletrack. It's going to carry on from Skullduggery and be similar in character, something we know many of you enjoy.
While the dotted line on the map above is only representational, it will connect onto Easy Rider and create a great loop of the Park.

If you haven't managed to make it along to a working bee yet, you really should. Not just for the fact that the Park relies on us all for it's development but because you'd discover how enjoyable they are! By definition, volunteers are good people so, right off, you're going to make new friends. 
Then there's the satisfaction of helping to create a bit of new trail and you'll always feel a buzz at that spot whenever you later ride it. We always stop mid-morning for a cake'n'coffee break (thanks to New World and The Beached Whale) - at least when the w/bee supervisors are on the ball! - and there's usually someone who's up for a ride afterwards. Check out the calendar for the next one...

Mid-Winter 6 Hour Breakout
Now less than two months away, it's time to start thinking about who's going to be in your team and, for the creative, what you're going to wear :-) 
June 23 is the date to load onto your calendar. Once again, the Tent Village will be at Bethany Park but the circuit will be different: a little easier, a bit shorter and even more fun! We'll post more detail nearer the time...

Finally (there's always a finally), it's fantastic to see so many riders out on the tracks, esp. with the school holidays upon us. From nippers being helped over the rollers on the Pump Track to teens exploring the expert lines off the ridge, it's obvious the Park is attracting new fans all the time.
And for regulars or newcomers alike, don't forget to finish your ride at the Shoreline Cafe & Restaurant on the beachfront and ask for the Mountain Biker Special of a $5 coffee'n'cake - to be enjoyed while you gaze out over the Autumn-calm bay and reflect on how good life is :-)

Monday, March 11

Easy Rider gets easier

Stuart Hughes, GTT Project Manager trials the new bridge.
As the Tasman Great Taste Trail winds it's way closer and closer to Kaiteriteri, locals are beginning to notice a few changes in the area.

First to appear was the new bridge over the Riwaka River. This now enables cyclists coming from Motueka or Riwaka to turn right onto Goodall Rd before crossing the bridge and popping out onto Pah Rd, opposite Pah Point.

The proposed route for the cycleway from there is to follow the coastline of Tapu Bay.

Once current roadworks around Turners Bluff are complete, it will cross the Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Rd near the entrance to the Mountain Bike Park.

This is going to be a stunning section of the Trail and hugely popular with locals and visitors alike.
The history of Maori occupation and early European settlement in Tapu Bay will be brought to life - and all thanks to the bicycle!

The challenge for those of us engaged with the Park is now to extend the Grade 2 cycleway standards onto Easy Rider.
ER was designed as a Grade 3 mountain bike track. It's purpose is to provide an earlier entry point into the Park's trail network for those that cycle out, bypassing much of the steep and winding road that carries on to Kaiteriteri.

Carl Walls of Motueka Excavations makes a start...
 But getting Grade 3 down to Grade 2 is no easy matter!

We revamped the entry switchbacks behind the pump track before xmas (see Dec 19 post) before knocking off for the Summer.

Last month we swung into action again, this time at the other end of ER.

Our original entry/exit point here was always meant as a temporary fix, pending proposed road-widening plans.

As these works have stalled, we got the go-ahead to make our new entrance. Numerous truck-loads of excavated soil (and countless wasp nests) later, we had something resembling a track.

In fact, at present, it more resembles a road - but, once trackside vegetation springs back, it will quickly become a green corridor that provides an inviting entry to the MTB Park.

The outlook over Tapu Bay will remain the same, though.

And, as with most of our best viewpoints, you can expect to see a seat to appear at some stage to encourage you to stop and soak it all up.

We're expecting that those Great Taste Trail riders who venture onto Easy Rider for their first real 'mtb' experience will like what they find :-)

Grade 2 comes to Kaiteriteri

The excavated soil was just what we needed back at the main Park entrance...

Filling in a deep gully, we were able to ease the gradient of the track that enters from Martin Farm Rd and climbs up to our entrance hub.

This had a steep final pitch that often saw beginners & little 'uns pushing their bikes - not a good start for their mountain biking experience!

The big, wide, swooping corners we've just created now ensure you arrive at the mapboard with smiles instead of sweat.

Meanwhile, we've moved back onto the track proper - with Mighty Mouse, our hard-working little digger.

Much of Easy Rider will be closed while we carry out the upgrade work so some patience will be required. Wherever you see tape closing an entrance, it indicates either that Mouse is at work somewhere along that section or that grooming is in progress. As soon as we feel the track can accommodate bike traffic without causing tyre ruts, we'll remove the tape. A little rain will help  :P

Our monthly working bees are cranking back into life. Check out the calendar for details of the next one. Expect to see the short bypass at the top of Big Airs open, next time you're up there. The option of toughing out the granny-ring grind up to the Skullduggery hub is still open to you but we'll see how many take it now there's an easier alternative...

Haven't joined us on Facebook yet..? What's keepin' ya!

Wednesday, February 6

Corkscrew Sunday!

After a couple of trial runs, we're now ready to launch our series of monthly Sunday races up and down Corkscrew.

The emphasis in these timed runs up to the skid, where we regroup before timed descents for a combined total, is on improving upon previous PBs.

There will be prizes up for grabs for the male & female who log the biggest improvements over the series.

We'll also have leaderboards for M&F fastest up, fastest down and fastest combined. We may even scratch something together for the end-of-series leaders but kudos will be your biggest reward!

In order to prevent the leaderboards being burgled by some passing pro, we're introducing entry criteria.
The first is:
You have to attend the Sunday morning working bee, prior the midday event, for at least one hour to qualify for entry;
And secondly:
You have to attend two Corkscrew Sundays to have your best time recorded. 
Those who attended the first two events are counted as having attended one w/bee (how generous is that!).

Those of you who suspect that this is just a cunning plan to encourage you to come to a working bee aren't wrong. Our agenda is two-fold...
A. We want you to discover the sense of camaraderie and achievement that comes from track-building.
B. We want to build more track and need help to do it!

As well as linking Corkscrew Sunday to a w/bee, we're also introducing a major change to our w/bee schedule. This year our working bees will be monthly. We want these to become events in themselves, complete with refreshments (donated by Motueka New World), and finished with a fun ride.

Not only will these free you up your intervening weekends, it means the enthusiasts among us will be freed up to occasionally help our track-building friends elsewhere in the region - after all, we like riding their tracks, as well!

Meanwhile, there will be nothing stopping our local volunteers from working away on our track project at other times, whether evenings or weekends, so there will be plenty of opportunity to get your fix ;-)

Our first combined working bee and Corkscrew Sunday is on February 17.

It will run 8.30am - 11.30am, leaving time for a quick bite or warm-up before the time trial at noon.

Emails, facebook and the website calendar will help make sure you don't miss it. Details of where to meet, what the project is and what to bring will be posted.

We have one small and one major project in store for this year, both guaranteed to be popular additions to the network. The surveying is underway so you'll hear more about them soon...

I recently trawled our archives for an early w/bee pic.

This one dates from 4 years ago and the encouraging thing about it is the number of faces present who are still logging Sunday morning appearances!

They shared the vision then - and are still helping make it happen now...

Of course, there are lots of other ways that people support the project. Another long-standing contributor is David Konecny.

David manages our website, giving it the occasional fresh-up and is always happy to tweak it to perform the way we want.

Like many dads, he also likes to take his son Vincent for a spin in the Park.

The pump track, Easy Rider and Cruise Control are always favourites with those just getting the hang of their first mountain bike. My experience is - they learn fast and the window for passing on skills is brief!

Wednesday, January 16

The Corkscrew Tree

As expected, the Park's been pretty busy over the past month.

You don't often notice it on the tracks but stand in one place for any length of time and you'll be passed by a constant stream of riders.
Sometimes this means that an otherwise quick bit of maintenance can take 2-3 times as long, as grateful bikers stop to express their appreciation and share news of developments in their own regions. Whether it's summer holiday returnees reveling in the new tracks or newcomers exploring the network for the first time, I always get a buzz out of seeing the smiles on their faces.

Jane Pikethley (pink) from Gisborne and Tracy Harwood (blue) from Wellington were certainly enjoying themselves!
Staying at Tracy's family bach at Little Kaiteriteri meant they could be on the tracks within a couple of minutes of pedaling.

Tracy's husband, Phil Hartwick, also introduced his grown-up daughters to mountain biking during their visit, creating some more fans of the Park's 'family-friendly' tracks.

No doubt, they'll soon be joining the throngs of 'returnees'...

One of the tasks I've had on my To Do list for a while is to plant a 'Corkscrew Tree' on the Corkscrew skidsite.

Earlier attempts to get one going on a nearby post were frustrated by the corkscrews going missing within a matter of days. A strange choice for a souvenir, you'd think, especially in these days of screwtops, but there's no accounting for taste.

I decided I wouldn't be deterred... yet.
While planting my post, a relieved Mal McGrath from Christchurch topped out at the skid.

He was happy to give me an idea of how its positioning would work while giving me an update on the riding in his home town.

No sooner had Mal left than James Smith, also of ChCh, arrived, grateful to have made his first ascent!

It was a fairly humid day, and that last pitch had been tough, but James recovered quickly enough to ceremonially insert the inaugural corkscrew into the Tree.

I managed to get another 3-4 in before my mobile went. A rider had broken her wrist on Skullduggery and an ambulance was required.

Fortunately, as well as having a phone (and paracetamol!), she had a map. She assured me she could walk okay so I was able to direct her to a track hub where I could meet her and take her to the ambulance rendezvous point.

She also had a spare inner tube and remembered an earlier Park blog where we showed how a tube could be fashioned into a makeshift sling. This proved an ideal way to support her arm on the long walk out. So, all in all, pretty well prepared for that moment when her bike turned into a bucking steed.

I was able to get back to the Tree a couple of days later and complete the job. The two on top were donated by Park regulars so I hope they, at least, last the distance.

Maybe they'll even inspire you to scour your cutlery drawers for that now-obsolete corkscrew. I've left a few holes empty just in case...

While on Corkscrew... last month we trialled our first Corkscrew Sunday event.

Ten riders turned up for the timed ascents and descents of the track for a combined total. The idea is to log times over the course of a monthly series and chart performance improvement (or not).

It was a popular format, especially as it gave a rare opportunity to bomb down the track without fear of meeting someone coming up.

We'll be holding the January one soon so check in on our Facebook page for notification.

Before I packed up for the day - to take my wife back to the hospital for a CT scan on that wrist, Scott Cameron turned up.

Scott is a Kaiteriteri local who probably walks the tracks more than he bikes. He asked if I'd mind if he invested in a slasher to  trim the trackside overgrowth of bracken and fern fronds during his walks.


We bikers love it when the Park's many walkers take it upon themselves to keep the tracks debris-free and those pesky fronds from face-slapping us as we whizz along.

It's a great way for them to show their thanks to the volunteers who have given so much of their time in creating the network.

It's a sort of "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" trade.

Just don't use one of those corkscrews to do it  ;-)