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: email@example.com. 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...