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Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Last Diggerage of 2012

Making the most of more fine weather and ideal digger conditions, we got a digger again this weekend.

Pleasantly surprised to get a brand new digger in all it's scratch free and freshly painted glory. - 27 hours on the clock, we usually get a digger with around 3-5,000 hours.



I decided to extend the Long Cut which we started at the beginning of the month.

I was feeling a bit better about the approach to the entry so gave it a go, it ended up pretty good, although it was a bit of work breaking through the old bench of the 4WD Track which had a fair amount of rock, from here it was a gentle climb and traverse along and around the contour - plenty of tangle-weed and old Elderberry trees to knock down.



I was going to cut in a corner but then remembered it was the Long Cut - from my vantage points I couldn't really see where the track was and how big the basin was. I ended up climbing on top of the digger and saw that there was still another reasonable sized gully to cross before we reached the envisaged boundary, so on I went.



The beers were earned that night.

Sunday and back into it, pushing the traverse along, and finally got into a narrow rocky section, this was going well and I was through but then got myself stuck that required the expert skills of Shane. Yay. The weather had turned a bit too, with quite a bit of rain.

The Track is in there somewhere!

Still plenty more track in there but can't see it from here.
After this I spent the rest of the day raking the track then clearing the 4WD track of the rank grasses, fresh broom and many loose rocks. I also filled in the wheel sized holes that were there. The good news is that the track is ready for bikes again. A very fast and loose downhill and pretty impossible uphill - it is extremely steep - have fun!

It was dark by the time I got to the bottom of the track, so I was glad to get back onto the road and pack up.

It's been a great year for trail building at Haven MTB Park - you should come out and see what's going on.
























The Digger has many signs of battle now and just under 50 hours on the clock now!

Happy New Year
Mr Haven

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day Spin

You may have heard I publicly put my name up to host a challenging and testing hill ride round the Peninsula for the Longest Day Ride on Saturday 22 December. Long story short, I survived.
Short story Long go here --> http://agreatroute.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/ldr-2012-tour-de-peninsula.html

Traditionally I go for a hoon on Christmas. Until I met Lisa it would be a longer ride as I don't really celebrate Christmas, but with Lisa being the Christmas Fairy incarnate, I  now have other commitments. Yay, yes really...

Anyhow, I still manage to squeeze in a ride, this time it was a bit of an effort, as I was feeling the effects of the Longest Day Ride and indeed, the short and very easy recovery ride I had done the day before. So I dragged myself and Colin out for a spin, the draw card being the first ride on some of our new tracks.

So we warm up on Chicken Run and ScollyWood, hand-built singletrack that has been in place for over 4 years and is mostly downhill (kinda.) I was good and there were no real aches and pains, just fun and concentrating on the terrain. The canopy (now native) is growing over the track in a number of places, which is so cool. We head back to the house in reverse, hooting and hollering.

We ride up TearDrop mark 2, which is now an easier climb, it is seasoning extremely well and no issues going up. We then have the first run down. The corners are very different than before so I have to re-learn them, it was quite strange for me, having run down these probably a hundred times, however they all rode well and I can't wait to session them so I have them dialled in. A few of the tops of the berms higher up are still a bit soft, but a bit more rain and sun will fix that. Col came down with smiles too, so it can't be too bad!

We then hoon down to Project G and ride around the whole track, looking and feeling great, the tight corner is definitely way too tight, so we will have to hit this with grubbers and shovels old skool style next dig day. Other than that, it's great, the climbing traverses which I was worried would be too steep are easy! Yippee.

Then off to Fred, and again the bit I thought was too steep was fine, the lines are a bit messy at the moment, with the edges being soft, but this should harden up pretty quickly. The new berms and corners are riding really well, the chute is a blast - but be warned there is a waratah on the track, that we haven't gotten out yet. Two corners haven't been worked on, but you can still negotiate around. It going to be another sweet track when it seasons and beds in. w00t!

We then hit the "road" and speed down to the Lower Tracks for a spin and suss out on the new stuff there. The old loop is riding so well and it's a good roadmap to how the new tracks are going to season - in a few years you will hardly notice a digger had been through and the track surface is solid and smooth! The natives growing well. The Skills Area is looking sweet and Col has been doing some research on PinkBike and YouTube for our features. Can't wait to get back and finish Stage One. This will be an lovely oasis in summer when temperatures soar, offering plenty of shade, chairs, many picnic spots, table and BBQ.

We had a nosey at the new stuff, but it is still pretty soft to try and ride it, although I did ride the new downhill corner and berm that Lisa just made under the cavern (don't tell Lisa!) It's awesome!

Then we hit the road and back to the house - I felt great now, nothing like a spin to ease out the legs.

We hope you have a great holiday season and we like to invite you to come and ride out at Haven if you are in the neighbourhood.

Happy Riding from Mr & Mrs Haven

Sunday, December 16, 2012

digger Digger DIGGER

With last weekend being too wet for any digger action, I had a hankering for more digger work, so with the balmy temperatures and nice firm soil conditions we were off again! w00t!

After all the recent work on Project G and Fred meaning that no more Digger Action was required it was back to the older stuff that was getting over their wet winter.

First up, I had a go on the culvert on Project G - my cunning idea to recycle material for the culvert didn't last long as the first bump with the digger bucket crumpled it up somewhat beyond repair, so it wouldn't have dealt with the volume of soil - oh well, may have to stump for a real culvert pipe.

Secondly, I was keen to start extending the River Track again and I made good progress, it was awesome being this close to the River and see and hear the uniqueness. Unfortunately I came across a reasonably solid rock ridge and as I didn't want to cross the creek I made a nice corner and traversed back, I had a couple of goes at making another corner but it wasn't working out. However third time was the charm with another nice corner made but then shortly afterwards I was stumped by another section of rock - which may or may not be breakable. In consulting the Digger Oracle, he gave me a couple of options to ponder over. It was frustrating, but I am confident we will get a good outcome.








After this, I decided to tidy up the exit from the rock ridge on our unnamed river track section that needed blowing up and made a fun wide corner that takes you right up and under a rock face cavern type thing which if I say so myself is pretty cool. I was also fortunate to be able to keep going and managed to connect the two tracks up after all, no explosives required, which is kind of good, kind of bad! A slightly steeper climb or descent, but nothing too long or difficult.







Then, since I seemed to be on a roll, I decided to tidy up another extension that we were coming back to, the 'rocky' switchbacks that will join the River Track to Frank'n'Furter, it didn't take too much to sculpt it out and plant some dirt and rock ready for some Berm Queen action.

I thought I would finish on a high, so just did a bit of house keeping tidying up a couple of river crossings and the overflow from the lake and then parked up the Digger after a good days' work.

Alister came out and is valiantly extending his line on his singletrack - the man is a legend. Oh yeah, that reminds me, Alister asked me to start the track at the bottom to help take some of the steepness out. It was actually quite difficult to be delicate with the bucket, I decided to do too little than go too far. I can always come back and do a bit more under direction from the master.

Ali Track on the Left
Sunday, we had a pleasant sleep-in and a lazy breakfast and then it was off to the AYUNC track, I was a bit anxious to say the least, as this is the track of my latest downfalls and is at the cusp of my experience and skills. But as with most things, the reality didn't quite match my imagination, the climb being quite uneventful and the corner with the slip was a doddle to clear, the narrow rock face has hardened magnificently and I was soon diggering and traversing away happily. It was slow steady work but considering the terrain it was good, I got stuck on another rock edge, making a silly mistake of not regularly resetting and thankfully Shane got me out easily again - I understand the principle of getting out but I haven't got the nerve to be happy with the soft edge and seeing all the dirt go downhill with me on a funny angle.



Angry Rock on the Right
I kicked myself for getting stuck again and promptly took my anger and frustration out on the rock that was in the way and I bashed it into submission and then suddenly it was easy and fast digging. Crazy really. I got to an area that should be the beginning of a near perfect corner in amongst some old Mahoe and ancient and old rock formations. Three quarters of the way round and this large rock that I thought was a surface floater turned out to be an iceberg. After much digging down and a small attack on the Mahoe, I have discovered that both the Mahoe and the rock have a symbiotic relationship and were tied up together. I was about to give up and cut a corner in front of them, I decided to give it another go and finally made the rock start to move. Another 20 minutes of bashing and digging and general swearing, I managed to make it wiggle. At this time I was getting dark, so I gave up. Hopefully a combination of time, an axe and a grubber will help get to those 'hard to reach places' that the digger bucket couldn't get into it. Or something else will come to mind.




Another potential frustration, but when I look back over the weekend, we have cut quite a bit of trail, opened up two gaps in the trail network which will help with the riding loop no end, these new additions should be in riding condition just after Christmas, which is fantastic news. Then when you consider this time last year, I was freaking out getting the Digger off the trailer and wasn't doing any track work at all, I should be pretty stoked, which under all the expectations I am ;o)

Another uneventful descent, yay! Another digger weekend over and a lot of work done, soon it will be time to test them under my wheels, I can't wait.

Lisa, the club and I would like to extend to you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I am happy to show you around and we would love to see you out and about on the trails at Haven MTB Park - there is nothing quite like it.

Digger action will resume on the 28th December - weather permitting.
The first official Dig Day of 2013 will be Saturday 12th January from 10am.

Happy Trails
Mr Haven





Sunday, December 09, 2012

December Dig Day

We were all geared up for the last Dig Day of the year and another great year for us, the tracks and trees at Haven MTB Park - Christchurch's very own boutique mountain bike park, nestled in Banks Peninsula.

The BBQ was fired up and the Digger was booked but then the forecast showers on Friday turning to a fine weekend turned into a 40mm rain-fest on Friday - so no digger, which was a shame, but that's life. The rain put a dampener on attendance too, but that's ok.

But at least the rest of the forecast was accurate with fine weather on Saturday. Alister came bright and early  and got stuck into his sekret singletrack - this time from the top. Alister has a great eye and we went for an investigation at close of play and it's looking very exciting.

Without the digger but with some more new helpers, we got stuck into Fred, working on the corners, berms and general tidying up after the mud-fest on the last digger action. It's looking great and we only have two corners and a bit more tidying up to go.

TearDrop is about a week away from being able to be ridden downhill, I can't wait to try out the new berms, Project G is seasoning extremely well and should be ready for riding in a couple of weeks.

With all this rain and sun, sun and rain, things are growing rampantly - the good, the bad and the grassy. So the rest of the day, we spent on pruning back the trail corridor, spraying the tracks, mowing the roads and scrub cutting the top slope.

All the upper tracks and lower tracks have been tickled up, only Eagles Nest and Miners Track are left to cut and spray. We shall be heading up that way to berm up the corners and extend the trail network at the top as well.

Next weekend, we should be getting the Digger out and extending the River Track and other bits of tidying up.

No photos this week as it's much better to come along and experience it yourself! The riding is super, particularly in the early evening, the light, the bird-life and squeals of fun and clicking of bikes is magic.

Come out for a ride soon.

Happy Trails
Mr Haven