Top of that list is the continuation of Jaws.
We opened the first 1km traverse in March and I blogged about the magnitude of that achievement in an earlier post. At the time, the effort that went into constructing that track far surpassed anything else we'd done at Kaiteriteri.
Surely, we were past the worst...
We resumed construction at the end of May and, as before, began with a relatively easy run. Slopes weren't too steep, the clay/granite blend was perfect, the rain stayed away. Not only were Karl & Sam, back to hot-seating Mouse the digger, churning out the metres, they were carving out some mega swoops and small jumps. It was like Jaws on steroids.
It couldn't last. Just as it's no longer so easy to sneak up on innocents at Martha's Vineyard, it seems it's not possible to carve out sneaky metres at Kaiteriteri without drawing the attention of the track's namesake.
He was back - and his teeth were as as sharp as ever!
We were the innocents as we rounded a gentle spur and progressed into an ever-steepening gully. The absence of mature trees ahead alerted us to the possibility that topsoil was thin. If it wasn't for the amount of birdsong we might just have heard the distant thrumming of a tuba...
The most frustrating thing about the bedrock is that it's never visible on the surface. You don't know if it's going to continue for just one or two metres or extend for several.
We began by scratching away with the digger attachments until we saw the toll it was taking on the teeth. At that point, we borrowed a rock breaker and generator.
In the trade, these are called demolition hammers. When you're a 70kg ectomorph trying to form a working relationship with a 30kg rock hammer, the only thing that's guaranteed to get demolished is yourself. After a week of hammering away at vertical rock, my back muscles spat the dummy. This was a relationship that had no future...
To the rescue came Andrew Spittal. Andrew is a foundation sponsor of the Park - someone who, in our start-up years, invested hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars helping to get the Park on the map.
Although he's now busy building trails elsewhere in the region, he generously loaned us a hydraulic breaker from his construction company.
We got an adaptor made for it to fit Mouse and we were back in business!
Occasionally we get lucky and manage to extract a boulder but, usually, it's a matter of painstakingly chipping away.
(You can check out the video below to get an idea of what our days are currently consisting of...)
We know that we'll eventually emerge from this particular gully and be off swooping our way downhill again. That we're behind schedule goes without saying but, rest assured, we won't let this big fish get the better of us.
We've worn down so many teeth that surely he must be getting a bit gummy, as well, by now..?
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Park, we've had more success...
Over the last two winters, our volunteers have religiously been turning up on Sunday mornings for our working bees. Their project has been to extend the Skullduggery singletrack and, boy, has this captured their imagination!
Huge credit must go to our committee members, who have led the charge, but they've been more than ably supported by a dedicated pool of regulars. Many of these, especially the younger ones, are now developing a good sense how to build sustainable singletrack. These are the people who will be creating the fun & flowing trails of the future and I, for one, look forward to rocking up to ride them!
This new track currently exits just above the pump shed and only needs one or two more Sunday sessions before being officially 'signed-off'. Meanwhile, Sam & I have seized the opportunity of some rockbreaker repairs to make a start on a connection between a mid-point on this track and Swish.
The purpose of this traversing track is to give people more circuit options and to take some pressure off the more steeply-descending lower half. Those who find the preceding sections of Skullduggery about at the maximum of their comfort zone will probably want to take the Swish option.
Plus, you'll get to take in this view towards Motueka from the seat near the end...
From here, you look down onto the lower stretches of Easy Rider, which finishes with some swooping switchbacks before exiting the Park (if this is where you want to come out).
People can now ride the Trail from Nelson to Kaiteriteri and we wanted them to feel they were entering something special when they arrived at this point.
For some, it will be their first venture into a "mountain bike park".
We're hoping they'll feel truly welcomed and enjoy the experience so much they'll feel encouraged to come back and explore more of the track network.
The gateway 'cog' was built for us by our Gold sponsor, Andy Lowe of Image Creators. We think it's pretty impressive but you could say that we're biased.
Why not come along to the official opening of the Motueka-Kaiteriteri section of the Trail on October 11 and see for yourself..?
Rod Markham and John McKenzie will shortly be installing more traps, concentrating them in those areas where most kills are recorded.
Anyone keen to sponsor a trap or occasionally walk a trapline can email us at email@example.com
And, finally, a little rock breaking to lull you to sleep...