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Monday, November 26, 2012

Summer is Coming

Another busy weekend at Haven MTB Park - Christchurch's very own boutique mountain bike park with purpose built intermediate trails nestled in regenerating native bush on Banks Peninsula.

A concerted effort at the end of a shovel and rake means that Project G is pretty much finished, we just need to build the culvert for the Chute of Doom with the Digger next time. There are two separate trails in the wee loop - a feeder from the Upper Tracks to the River Track and a fun traversing loop in-between. It's looking great and after a test ride should be fun and fast. At the moment, it's CLOSED to bikes while the corners and berms season.

One of the starting points for Project G
Excitement in the middle of Project G
Choices on Project G
The new work on TearDrop is progressing really well and the "foot test" on the berms shows that they are pretty close to being ready. The forecast rain later this week and a bit more sun should mean they will be open pretty sharply. The track rides well uphill and is OPEN to uphill traffic only, but we ask that you stay off the berms please.

We've been busy spraying the tracks and clearing the trail corridor so that the tracks are in perfect condition. All the Lower Tracks are done, a few of the Upper Tracks still need to be done, but they can still be ridden. Recent native plantings are loving the weather patterns of late, even if it means we have to mow weekly, which is less cool! All of our fruit trees in the various orchards scattered around the Park are laden with fruit as well! The native birds seem pretty happy as well, with wood pigeons living in one of our Tree Lucerne and a Broom Tree just metres from our house - magical!

Alister one of our stalwart trail builders and supporters is working hard on his sekret hand built singletrack. The line he is cutting is looking exciting. We can't wait to see and then ride this exciting new trail!

With the longer evenings, it's a perfect time to pop out after work and soak up the great riding and surroundings, you should take advantage and come on out for a visit and ride. Mr Haven is more than happy to show new people around.

The rock fall danger on AYUNC has now abated, with everything settling down. This track is now OPEN and we will be taking the Digger along to extend this track very soon.

The Long Cut is also looking and riding great, still a wee bit soft, but considering it's only two weeks old, it's super news. This track is OPEN.

More shovel and rake work on Fred and the lower track is looking good. Still need some rake and shovel work on the upper track and some Berm Queen action on the corners before we have a riding line. We aren't sure if we will need to bring the Digger in again to tidy up, but we will make an assessment after we have a riding line and then things generally become pretty clear as to what is needed. At the moment, this track is CLOSED.

Joining the Top and Low tracks on Fred with some fun corners!

Looking for Fred!
So as you can read and see, there is heaps going on at our wee patch as well as a pile of fun tracks to ride right now. We also have a tonne more trails planned and lots of trees to plant and protect to turn this into a magnificent place to be.

Of course none of this would be here without the help and support of our awesome club members, friends, family and supporters. Thank you all very much.

Contact us to come and try us out, help spread the word, we are open and keen to show off what we have been working at just for you!

May your wheels remain forever true.
Mr Haven

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Moar Digger Action

After not being able to get a Digger for last weekend's Dig Day, we were able to secure one for the long weekend - the weather forecast had gone back and forth with ok and not so ok weather.

Shane, one of our neighbours and local Digger expert, was coming back to give me lessons and nail the tricky corners on Fred for me.

Thursday night I decided to start an old new track - the Long Cut. We had started this track about 3 years ago, but it had slipped out with some big weather. The plan with the Long Cut is to connect Scollywood to Eagles Nest by avoiding the 4WD track in all it's sharp steep glory.

I started, as you do, at the end, not being brave enough to try and start a new track on a 90 degree angle across a super steep bench. It was a nerve wracking ascent up the 4WD track especially as it is getting overgrown again, but I made it up. Nice views from the top, I decide to do a bit of tidying and then start the track. I get about 30m in before I call it quits and walk home over the tops, very pleasant.

Friday, I'm up bright and early and continue the fun that will become the Long Cut.  A couple of hairy moments and rock, but overall a good time and effort traversing across the contour. I almost got trapped by a waterfall / gully / rock face but I sneak on by. But then I do get stuck, with a large rock ridge, I start to build the platform for the corner, start the long job of raking and then head back cleaning up and then raking again!

A lot easier to drive down, but with the long grass it wouldn't have been pleasant in the wet. I had a bit of a play destroying errant broom in front of Fred and then parked up for the night, feeling chuffed.

Saturday is the day Shane was coming round to help, I started by doing a bit of work on the last section on Project G, climbing up under Grand-Dad Pine and working on the corner. Then back off to Fred for Shane to get stuck in. It started to rain but we didn't seem to be too affected under the canopy, in fact I didn't realise it was raining until I heard the rain hitting the leaves of the Poplars. But the sun pokes out again, and Shane is bursting to get going. Needless to say, I am very happy that I don't have to drive down the 4WD track in the wet.

Alister also came out to continue cutting a line on his secret singletrack - it's going well and looking great so far.
Lisa also did some great work scrub cutting the upper slope on Chicken Run.

Shane starts by cleaning up the first of the corners on the fun that is planned to get down to the traverse track that snakes beside the river we built last time. The second corner is the steepest and Shane creates a pretty impressive gravity berm - it should be a hoot to go down, quite a challenge to climb. We will see how it seasons before deciding to open and flatten the corner. From here Shane sneaks back down and up to the next traverse and does some digger showing off to get up to the traverse and starts climbing and weaving along close to the boundary taking up as much land as we can.

We then go back and doze down to the next planned traverse and then the heavens open, this time it's pretty heavy. Shane does a great job of weaving in and out, up and over obstacles and creating a pretty exciting track which was quite narrow and a drop down to the creek. I ended up going away as I was getting pretty anxious watching the work, but Shane had it all under control.

We almost had the bottom traverse in line with the top line, albeit with a pretty big height difference when we got the call for dinner. Shane expertly drives back into the Pines and parks up and we enjoy a hearty meal after a long days' work. Such is the addiction of diggering, Shane is super keen to finish the corner, particularly as it was way way beyond my skill level to construct. So we make a time to play again on Sunday.

Unfortunately it pretty much rained all night, quite heavy at times. On inspection on Sunday morning, the tracks were pretty damn greasy and I wasn't looking forward to getting the Digger out. I while away a bit of time working on the traverse, corner and traverse that will connect up the two tracks that Shane had already built. I was just raking it out when Shane popped over and finished up the corner before more Digger acrobatics to get back up to the high line and then start the job of digging down to the low line. It was pretty impressive to watch, after a pretty hairy negotiation across the greasy track, Shane starting throwing dirt over the side, both raising the low line and lowering the top line. Again it was an impressive sight to watch. A nice platform for the corner and we are done. Fred is now connected up and the final track design is done - all that is required now is for some time for the new track to dry and then the hand finishing.

It was touch and go getting the digger out, extremely greasy and the rubber tracks were sliding all over the place. I certainly couldn't get it out. Watching Shane was impressive. We had just over 20mms of rain over Saturday/Sunday so not the best digging weather.

We tag team out, with me back on the controls, things become more sedate. I kill gorse and broom along the road and then cut the track above Grand-Dad Pine connecting up the corner. Initially I was daunted and dubious by this short-cut suggestion that Shane offered, but it ended up going without any hassles. I am pretty chuffed too, this means that Project G is also done in terms of track design. One of the features still needs to be made and then hand finishing to complete it. Exciting times.

Both of these tracks are going to be signature tracks I feel, both different, both making up the most of what is available, both should be pretty fast when they settle in.

The trail network is increasing quickly at the moment, not long now before they will be ready for riding and we move onto new areas to play.

We hope to see you out soon.

Help spread the word
Mr Haven

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November Dig Day

Another grand day out, the weather was perfect for trail building.

Unfortunately there weren't any diggers available for us to hire. It would seem that the rebuild is actually happening with most diggers out on long term loan, oh well, it's not like there isn't plenty to do.

Lisa headed up to continue the awesome work on the new corners on TearDrop and Alister continued work on his exciting new piece of secret singletrack. Alister is going great guns on trail blazing and the line he has chosen is looking very exciting!

I did lots of spring cleaning, raking all the Lower Loop tracks, opening the trail corridor and spraying them as  well. I tidied up and raked and cleared the trail corridor on Project G as well.

Project G is coming along very nicely, a compact track using up a great deal of the terrain it has to play with. Here are a few teaser photos, see if you can correctly guess how many traverses there are.

Project G from below
Project G from the Middle
Jon brought out a bevvy of new people for a hoon and they enjoyed the tracks and picnic area.

Today Jon came out for seconds and learned the intricacies of berm building under the tutelage of the Berm Queen. With the three of us, we managed to make short work of the last 3 corners. Whilst Jon went for a hoon on the Upper Tracks, I went and mowed the trails and did a bit more spraying.

Corner 5 is Alive!
TearDrop is looking fantastic and after the forecast rain should be fine for climbing, but we ask that people stay off the berms until we open it completely to allow for them to season and be worthy of all the hard work that has gone into them.

Corner 4 l'amour
Corner 3 is ready
One of our local Wood Pigeons joined us on TearDrop watching us work with some curiosity from his broom tree.

We had some new club members come and try the place out on Sunday as well, so it's been a busy ole weekend. We look forward to sharing our trails with you over the Summer.

Spread the word.
Mr Haven