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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Next Dig Day - 9th June

It's the second Saturday of the Month and it's a Dig Day.

Meet at the car bay - follow the pink arrows from the Haven sign.
Any time from 10am.

If you don't know where we are, email us for a map

On the cards for this Dig Day:
1. Creating new tracks with the Digger
2. Raking out tracks after the Digger has worked on them
3. Hand sculpting big beautiful berms
4. General Trail maintenance
5. Planting and releasing of natives.

We are making a special push to plant close to 500 trees, so would appreciate your help. Most of the holes have been pre-dug with the Digger, so it's easier work!

Stay for as long or as short as you want.
Bring a bike and some food/drink.

We've had lots of new riders enjoying the mountain bike trails at Haven MTB Park, so help spread the word. If you want to ride at Haven, contact us to make a time to try us out! It's a uniquely beautiful spot on Banks Peninsula, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Mr Haven.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend Of Chores

Since we have quite a bit of coin to use up on Digger hire to make new mountain bike trails and I need to get more experience, I got the Digger out again at Haven MTB Park this weekend past.

I had a cunning idea to save my poor back by spending Friday evening digging holes ready for tree planting on Paddock Racer. Of course it took a lot longer than I imagined as there was space for PLENTY of holes, so I am glad I didn't have to dig them all by hand. But I finally finished by Saturday lunchtime and after depositing some dirt for Lisa to fettle some of the berms on Anti Disestablishment, I headed up to where I had left off on AYUNCT.

Rabbits have attacked Paddock Racer.

By this time, a heap of people had arrived for some hooning, so I waited for them to come off AYUNCT, had a wee chat and then started my journey along the traverses. I tidied up the trails on the way up and had a go at fixing the fourth corner which had a wee slip and was generally steep and tight. Just as I was about to head up after giving it heaps, I dropped a track. The crew that was enjoying the tracks had gotten even bigger and Lisa was entertaining them, I had a brief chat and then back to to the job at hand. After acquiring the requisite tools, the track proved difficult to stick back on. Getting some expert assistance, he also had a bit of trouble getting it on (which did make me feel better) and then I was off up the hill but had to stop as it was getting dark.

I alighted nice and early on Sunday and got back into it. I made short work getting to the rock face and started the job of reducing it as much as I could, so I could squeeze by. I was pleasantly surprised that it all went quite easily. I had to stop last time as the Digger would pivot after getting a hold of the rock and with the bench so new most of it would travel down the hill, scaring me somewhat. But now I was chugging along and at a good pace until I dropped the other track and not noticing slewed the digger sideways and precariously close to the edge. I managed to refit the track in no time, but couldn't extricate myself from my predicament. Luckily I know when I am beaten and got some help. I had clearly done a good job as they weren't keen to fix it either. So I had to to get the help of our local expert again and he got the digger out of strive quite easily and nonchalantly. Everyone else had they hearts in their mouths. I was handed the Digger back and off I went again. Many hours later, I had made a difference but it was hard yakka. We were visited by some of our farther away neighbours who are also keen to dig tracks and we had our first proper introduction after a number of hellos. I was keen to get back into it, so Lisa continued to entertain whilst I continued to claw away. My nerve was a bit frayed and I was a bit scared to go near the edge where I got stuck as it had eroded away in the process of getting the Digger out of trouble.

But all of a sudden after many hours I was through and then the task ahead was to see how far the rock seam ran and how much of a bench there was. Thankfully on both accounts it was back into deep black soil which hardly a rock. Bliss.

The Various Stages of the Rock Face destruction (three different sessions Digger/RockBreaker/Digger)

After much love, moving a zillion rocks and raking away, it's done. We ask that you act impressed when you ride by, even if you aren't!

I had been keeping an eye out for the sun to give it's farewell sign on our hills, but it seems I missed it. I was enjoying the easy digging, but I had no lights and needed to get back. I knew I had quite a journey to get out and I would need to dig my way out of the two traverses below the rock face. I tidied up again on the way out and there was a veritable mountain of rocks and dirt and dust on the first traverse below the rock face. But it wasn't too hard to clean up and push through. There was less rubble on the next traverse which was good as it was starting to get rather dark.

I arrive home in total darkness, happy and whole. A lot of mind-numbing work but a good outcome, screw doing any of it by hand!

Monday after returning the Digger, I got stuck into raking and sculpting the tracks as the forecast was for rain and I wanted to get as much work done as possible. After many hours moving rocks, raking dirt and trimming back the foliage, I was spent. Had a pleasant chat with my neighbour about their proposed trails and tree planting and had a recce from their side of the hill for the next section. I was having a wee hoon on the quad bike up the 4WD track and out to Miners Track when the heavens started to open. I whizzed back home and the rain hasn't really stopped. A good watering for our new trails and new plants.

Hopefully this weather doesn't last too long and we are back into our abnormally good autumn which, with luck, will be a cold dry winter.

Mr Haven.

Monday, May 14, 2012

May Dig Day

After an early week forecast of a rainy Armageddon, we were stoked to miss it all and we were able to get the first Digger session of the year underway!

We believe in recycling at Haven MTB Park. Old tyres on barb-wire patrol.
Col was pretty excited about getting on the Digger as well. I had a wee session on Friday night on one of the early extensions to River track that for a number of reasons got left behind on the trail developments. Since we had learnt a lot about what we wanted and what the Digger was capable of, we had a bit of tidying up work to do, dropping the incline of one of the climbs and widening and re-shaping the corner. Although we weren't able to get the corner as wide as we had originally planned, rocks that won't budge, the corner and climb is more manageable for a greater number of people. Job well done.

Col in action widening the corner.
Finished. Ain't it pretty?

Almost done, needs a few buckets, some sun & rain. 

We then re-opened the traverse and cut in a nice swooping downhill chicane with a fast berm run-off to help build speed. Well that's how it's going to look after a bit of weathering and another digger session. The main line is in and feels great, now just some buckets of dirt and some delicate work by hand under the direction of the Berm Queen. It will be a wee challenge to ride up the "other" way but you are rewarded with some speed and berms as well!

Stage 1 done, ride line is in, still needs a lot of buckets of dirt and berm loving.
Traverse all done, almost ready to roll!
We had Jon help us out raking and smoothing after the Digger and I am sure he appreciates how much easier the Digger makes our toils. Lisa and Ali continued their fine work fettling parts of the singletrack up on the Upper Tracks.

We had a bunch of visitors as well, and they seemed to have enjoyed themselves. It's always good to see people riding the trails as we make new tracks.

Please heed our signage.
 After a hearty meal, a couple of beers and a well earned sleep, it was back into Digger action, this time the other decision point on our journey up the river. With the big rain last year we had a bit of track underwater, so we tidied that up, re-opened the line and fixed the river crossing so that whilst it isn't going to be easy to ride over, it won't flood quite so often.

Fixing the creek, Yay for Diggers.
This track is currently stuck with a 2m ridge of rock that won't go anywhere. We have already had a go with the Digger, a rock breaker and the Digger again but it is 0-3 to the rock ridge. We had a quick look at switch backing up and over it, but decided it would be a bit steep and the terrain was reasonably rocky as well, so it would take ages. One of our neighbours have offered their skills at blowing stuff up to have a go at making space this way. At the moment, it seems the best way forward. With this, we continued on to the current end of this "unnamed" track, and continued the fun of exploring and building virgin track. We will open up the naming of this section of track to club members when it's finished.

A sweet corner amongst Native Bush, note the Tree Fuscia.
We cut inside one of the features at Haven - a fallen over pine that just keeps on growing, through an old fence line, around, up and then following the old bench along the fence line as it traverses over the waterfall through to the gorge. This section went very smoothly and looks great. We are now in an area I was originally nervous about, the tightest part of the gorge, which on our first explore seemed to have plenty of rock, but following along in our current direction, it looks pretty good and with great views of native regeneration, the creek and surrounds. We should be able to stay above the flood line as well, which would be great. Once we are through, this section, we should be able to build some really exciting tracks. I think we will call this section of trail - Fenceline.

On Approach to Fenceline.
I'm going to be a BIG corner when I grow up.

Current end of the line, kind of a After / Before shot.
We had another crew of riders out today and again there seemed to be lots of grins in evidence, so it was a busy weekend all round. I was pretty shattered at the end of the day, but very satisfied and excited about the work and where we are headed. Col had quickly gotten into his stride on the Digger, doing a magnificent job.

Next Dig Day we will be extending our tracks, making big beautiful berms and focussing on planting around 500 natives, so we would love to have your help and assistance, even it's just by riding around the tracks.

We are still experiencing beautiful weather and the tracks are sweet and tacky, it' can't last for long, call us or email us to make a time to ride our trails.

Mr Haven.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Sale Ends Soon

A little birdie told me that it was pretty grotty weather in Chur-Chur over the weekend and by comparison it was super duper here at Haven over both days. Whilst we can't boast summer temperatures, we did have sunshine, no wind and great riding conditions.

Night riding conditions are superb, pretty chilly but on the positive side there are clear bright skies where you can see the vastness of space - stars, planets and galaxies.

Of course this can't last, indeed the forecast says it may be turning to poo in the next couple of days.

So if you were thinking about coming out for a visit, we recommend you do so before the end of the month, real winter can't be too far off.

Here are some pics from last weekend, a nice autumnal day...

The riding won't stop then, of course, but it will mean a few more slippery spots, you will get wet, there will be mud and probably some blood, and the tracks all get a little bit harder in winter!
We do get periods of heavy rain which will mean the park will be closed for a few days.

Mr Haven is happy to show people round any time and we have a dig day coming up this weekend, where we hope to extend the trail network with our first Digger Action of the year and commence our planting programme for the season as well. You are most welcome to come along and help, pop out for a look-see and of course go for a hoon.

Membership is very reasonable, lasts for a year and it all goes into making new tracks, maintaining our existing tracks and planting a bunch of natives. People are welcome to "try before you buy."
Help out at two Dig Days and next year's membership is FREE!

Contact us to make a time to come on out - Phone 329-7399, Email or Stalk Book
Mr Haven