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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Access to the Park

Whilst Lisa and I love to have visitors and show off the tracks, we have had quite a few people just bowl with no contact round lately.

This is a timely reminder that Haven MTB Park is accessible to individuals through membership of the McQueens Valley Mountain Bike Club. This is for a number of reasons:
1. It is about rewarding and recognising the efforts of those who are making this happen. The cost is not prohibitive and goes towards future development and maintenance of the trails.
2. This is private property as is all of our neighbours land. We all value the privacy and lifestyle that we all have here and no-one wants to be invaded by swarms of people.
3. The ability to control access will allow the tracks and trees enjoy the most benefit and provide us all with the most fun in the long term.
4. Please do not explore the Valley as most of the Valley and surrounds are not accessible to the public.
5. You must make contact prior to coming out. A very good map will be sent to you to ensure you get to the right place. Please do not distribute the map.
6. You can find out about joining here -->  Join
7. Community groups, schools, clubs may use the park for no charge, please contact us for more details around access.
8. If you are visiting for a short amount of time or from far away please contact us for details around access.

If in doubt, please contact us. We are also on Twitter and Facebook
Night Time Fun on Chicken Run
Shredding on C1

May your wheels stay forever true.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dig When the Digging is Good

A week passed and Colin and I had the bug from last week, so we got the Digger out again. Thanks again to the lads at Hirepool Hornby for sorting us out.

I was a bit worried about the weather with the rain on Friday being a bit harder and longer than anticipated, but Saturday dawned early and bright. By close of play we had reached 41 degrees C. Damn hot work.

Although not an official Dig Day, we had plenty of visitors. Our friend Wally from Timaru came up for a pedal, explore and offered a helping hand as did our neighbour Andrew and his son John.

We start the day with the corner we were preparing at the end of last weekend.
Cornering Fun.
We were starting to make progress to the easier (flat) part of the land when there was a loud crack and the track on the Digger exploded. Luckily Hirepool was still open and they rushed out with a new track and we were back on track in 90 minutes. Very impressed. This was also good as we managed to plough through the scrub and build corner after corner and flowy track that wouldn't have happened if we were marooned for the weekend.

Lisa and Wally had been brave and were out in the beating sun to work on Lisa's corner whilst we sweltered in Jungle like conditions in the canopy.

It was a long hot day by the time we finished, the beer was delicious as was the hot shower, topped off by a delicious roast lamb, spuds and veggies. Yum Yum.

End of play Day One.
Day Two dawned quickly and whilst we were weary and sleep deprived, Colin and I were both excited to be getting back into the action. Luckily nowhere near as hot as yesterday, rain was forecast and indeed it happened, but not enough to deter us. The afternoon burned off the cloud and the sun beat down again.

Mahoe Corner
We ducked and dived and flowed along beside the creek, never really knowing what to expect as we could only really explore by digger. Colin does a great job of pleasing me (with wiggles, ups and downs) whilst staying safe. We managed to find a near perfect place to cross the creek right by the cliff we started at last weekend. An impressive old Mahoe clings to the side of a rock and valiantly fights off the browsers.
Great spot to cross the creek.
Crossing the creek we are close to the quad bike access road to the Skills Area. This is a flattish area that slopes gently uphill, completely overgrown with Old Man's Beard, BlackBerry and other horrible scrub. Colin does a great job of mauling and murdering all the bad stuff, keeping the good stuff alive and creating a bunch of sweet corners crossing the area up to the the next traverse section. What's really cool is that we are really maximising the use of the land, you will be able to catch glimpses of a heap of tracks but be quite some distance from it. Great stuff.

What lives beneath the scrub, sweet cornering fun and small children!
Andrew and John came and helped out which was appreciated. We then plan to traverse and find another suitable spot for crossing back across the river, as we can't progress much further on this bank before it becomes a gorge and cliff-like. After a bit of reconnoitring and discovering so many more reasons why it was such a good move to buy the place, we settle on a plan of action, and built a lookout for a seat when Lisa and I become old and want to just watch the world go by as well as a climbing and chicane track through the pines. Colin just as the sun goes down, builds the last corner before we plan to move back and then down to the river.

The last corner at the close of play for the weekend.
Another long but extremely satisfying day in the office. Thanks Col, we appreciate all the work you put in for us and the people who will enjoy these trails and trees when we are gone. Things are progressing extremely well and we built just over 440 metres of track. Fantastic work considering the amount of scrub and terrain, as well as features we have made.

Until next time....

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 2010

Hey Hey. HavenMTBPark is well and truly back on Track!

December so far has been lots of fun and lots of work, an equal helping of biking and maintenance. It makes Lisa and I so happy to have left Christchurch for this crazy plan of mine.

More Digger action and this time it's big and small. We got Ralph from Ralph Ogg Contracting in to clear some broom and scrub as well as build me a quad bike road for when the wood-lots grow up big and strong and require access for logging.

Ralph also re-opened the 4WD track, widening it so you could contemplate taking a four-wheel drive up there. He also cleared the area of broom that his boom could reach for planting out next year. A fantastic effort!

We also got the plans for the River Track's next stage under way as well. Sidetracked by appalling weather and the Big Rattle, it was all action stations. We spent one day clearing the broom to see what the lay of the land was like and to see what kind of climbing traverse we could make. Although the river took a lot longer to turn thus making the planned traverse track a lot longer, the terrain looked good. The next question was could we get round the cliff and what the digging would be like.

Checking out the cliff! Exploration by Digger
We couldn't explore far by foot as the area was full of Onga Onga. As you will see by the photos to follow, it went very very well. We had to make a significant part of the track completely with fill as we crossed a steep gulch. The bench was taller than the digger!

Col is becoming very expert with the Digger now, if the rest of the property allows us this amount of latitude, we will be able to make Digger built trails across most of it.

The area we are building in at the moment is a nicely burgeoning native forest of Mahoe and Cabbage Trees. The odd Elderberry and Broom is nicely being devoured by the  Muehlenbeckia vine. As well as the ever present Onga Onga.

How could you not enjoy being here. We managed to build in a lot of wiggles and ups and downs to keep the track exciting.

It slopes nicely downhill to allow speed but it should also be a nice trail to climb the other way.

Big ups to the lads at HirePool Hornby for sorting us out each time with an awesome deal.

We just kept nosing along following the contour, Col knew I wanted to turn back and come back closer to the creek, but we decided to keep going until we found the perfect place for a corner instead of trying it on somewhere too steep. We were stoked to find a flat spot, the perfect place for a corner, and fairly rare for Haven! I am super stoked and Colin had his big Digger grin on again. We finished with the corner mostly cut and prepared for the next session.

I can't wait to be putting rubber to the track, the great thing is that it can be tonight, as the trail is hard-pack and ready. We will put in a few berms when we finish, but this is the way to build!

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 2010

A good session. The DOC nursery at Motukarara had a huge sale on Ake Ake and Kanuka, so we got 300 or so and these were promptly planted. Many of which in the newly formed Tear Drop.

I also had a helping hand from Andrew, a neighbour, to finish off Ssh Track. All it needs is a giant rock moved, but you can easily bike past.

More mowing and releasing and Lisa was doing a great job at spraying as well.

It is immense fun to ride around our trails and local surrounds. It gives my an immense chest-swelling sense of pride when I look down at all our hard work after sweating my way up Horrible Hill. Check out the views from the top!

I hope everyone is making the most of the glorious weather. I have well and truly made the transition from Winter Roadie through Dirt Roadie back to Mountain-Biker.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 2010

Although we are still having the odd shake, we did have a Dig Day and it was marvellous weather!

We had a very successful Digger session and Tear Drop is now completed. The corners are all nicely bermed and will require a bit of seasoning before we can see just how good they are. It is all very exciting.

This was our first real attempt to traverse our steep land with a Digger and the result gave Col and I a lot of confidence.
Tear Drop nestled in with Chicken Run & C1 Tracks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 2010

Well we didn't get up to much work round the property.
See -->

At least the rain stopped!
We both are back on the bike and enjoying the better weather, but not so much the after-shocks.
Land and House are still all good.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Shaken Not Stirred

Well back in August, here I was promising myself to make sure I update this more regularly. I even wrote a couple of Journal pages in preparation.

But then September 4th came about and life for all of us in Christchurch changed forever more. Many people have had significant upheaval whether it was damage to their home or work or livelihood. Lisa and I were blessed not be be significantly affected, although all of my work is earthquake focussed now.

McQueens Valley Seismic Drum
The earthquake has resulted in a lot more internet traffic, particulary with the now infamous earthquake drum in McQueens Valley. As an aside, we had contact from some Aussie Riders who enquired if it was safe after Christchurch was flattened by the earthquake. Yay for the media showing the same block in all their "news." We had a great time showing the boys round and we even put an aftershock or two on.

I trust you and yours are well as we move passed this event. Kia Kaha to us all.

I will add up the missing Journal pages, as we have still being busy round the property and the Trails are growing steadily.

Mr Haven.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

August 2010

August was also wet with so much rain it wasn't funny.

Much of Banks Peninsula was flooded and there were significant slips. We were most fortunate at home, but had two good slips on the property. One blocked the road access for all our neighbours, but after an explore I felt better as there were four more slips past that. Luckily one of our neighbours is a dab hand with his Digger and opened it up for everyone in no time. Nice one Johnny! The other slip slopped onto the 4WD track, which broke the connection between our three disparate trail networks. However the positive sign was that it would be easy work with a digger. The negative thing was no quad bike access to help keep the grass under control.

We planted out some of our trees and started our programme of mowing and trail clearing and releasing our fledgling natives.

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 2010

Well July wasn't much better than June, except there was slightly less rain.

We walked round all our trails, which tends to wear you out now as there are more km's each time - a great feeling! Only one track had some damage and the 4WD track has some debris on this, but the digger will make short work of it.

So other than an explore, being surprised at how rideable the tracks are after all the rain, we planted the rest of our native trees.
Haven also hosted a Holiday Programme from the Selwyn District Council. It was cold muddy and overcast, but the kids (big and small) all had a great time riding, playing and generally getting as muddy as you could in a short space of time.

We look forward to hosting them again. Schools, community groups and other not-for-profit ventures are welcome to use Haven MTB Park for no charge. Contact us if you would like to know more.

These photos are from the River Track.

Next month, we are hoping some more settled weather to get back into the next stage of the River Track

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 2010

Well June went something like this...

Rain, rain, some more rain, torrential rain, more rain, light rain, heavy rain, more rain, even more rain.

I'm sure you get the picture.

We had close to 800mm of rain between May - July 2010.

But whilst we didn't do much trail building, we did get a chance to put a heap of plants in the ground. Another big thanks to Trees for Canterbury for being a our biggest native supporter, along with friends and family.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

June News

Stay tuned for an exciting new development to be revealed soon...

Also, we have received more natives from Trees from Canterbury, so come along to a dig day to help us get them in the ground!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

May 2010

We had the digger out twice this month and have gotten stuck into turning of one of the first tracks planned into reality. Three years ago, Shailer mowed a track down the first hill, named it Homeward Bound, we had a bit of a play and then moved onto other priorities. Now we are back!

With the weather playing up a bit, it was touch and go with hiring the digger, however apart from a slightly wet day on Saturday, the ground was very dusty and it didn't slow Colin down a bit.

We were aiming at building a fun, flat track with wide and bermed corners; the idea being an easy climb up and a grin inducing trip down. The first session went extremely well with the ramp up to the track and the first couple of corners going well, the topography make the idea of the track more than possible, with no rock and mostly topsoil, easy digging! Whilst discussing the finer points of corners, the perfect radius and berms, Colin suggested we build tear drops and the idea stuck, so Homeward Bound has become TearDrop.

The second session was a bright and sunny day with dust being blown in our eyes all day, we completed another four corners and we were both excited by how well things were progressing. This was our first attempt at using the digger on a steep slope and all went well, although we are both cognisant that the soil type is not what we normally face @ Haven.

We came back again at the official Dig Day which was another inclement day, but not as wet as the last session, we were both keen to get stuck in and Colin was soon motoring through our corner, berm, traverse, corner, berm traverse plan up to the top of the hill.

Lisa was off spraying and scrub cutting, and the Scoltock family popped out to lend a hand, with Bradley using Shailer's toy dozer to help move the soil; Simon had a go with the digger and tended to the Haven bees with Becs and Nathan going for a long walk around the tracks.

At the close of Saturday, we were about 3/4 of the way up the hill and we were very confident of reaching the top, the plan coming to fruition nicely, as we were climbing the land was becoming steeper and shorter however, we had room to dig around the ridge of the hill to extend the fun.

Sunday, like the last session last time, was hot and sunny, we managed to squeeze in another three corners which will make lots of fun in climbing to the top. All up we have 11 corners, and will be back for one more session to make the radius on each corner as perfect as we can and build nice, consistent and reliable berms. Exciting stuff. Stay tuned for even more exciting developments to be released soon @ Haven MTB Park.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April 2010

The first official dig day of 2010 and we celebrated with a big autumn clean up of the tracks. We cleared the trail corridor and mowed all the tracks, Lisa did a mammoth session of spraying back the new growth of broom. We also celebrated with a half dozen Kereru that seem to have spread out from the sheltered parts of the valley and exploring around Haven.

The club has some exciting developments to put into action this year and we have already received another allocation from Trees for Canterbury. A big thanks to Steve and the team. The tracks have weathered extremely well over summer and all the new tracks have all bedded down fantastically. Now is the time to renew your membership and take advantage of the Indian summer and ride the trails. Thanks for your support.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

January - March 2010

Between December and March, we trialled taking the summer off from trailbuildling and focussed more on keeping what we built in control and also spend more time riding our bikes. We are pleased to say that this was a great success and we will most likely repeat this each year.