Back On Track...

Postby SwampThing on Wed 2/May/12 1:01am

Our working bees so far this year have been dominated by some of the 'less sexy' tasks.

Cutting back bracken & gorse, spraying re-growth and spreading gravel are never going to rate highly on a volunteer's list of Things to Do with My Sunday Mornings.
Still, someone's gotta do it so we owe a lot to those Park stalwarts who will regularly turn up, whatever needs doing.

Last Sunday, though, we finally got to turn our attention to some of that sexy stuff.

Our latest track, Corkscrew, has proven to be extremely popular. It was designed as an intermediate-level climbing track to access the top, ridge-line, expert-level tracks.
But what punters have discovered is that it's great fun to ride down as well!

Fortunately, the sight-lines are pretty good and there are only a few places where riders need to exercise caution to avoid a head-on collision. It's a credit to everyone that we haven't heard of any 'majors' yet...

But the committee has had to recognise that, until we build an intermediate-level, descending line from the top of the Park (timetabled for 2013), there are a few things we could do to make coming down Corkscrew a bit safer and a lot more fun!

ImageImageWe started with the uppermost switchback in the forest. Carved out of a steep slope, much of the excavated soil had disappeared down the side.
Still, it was perfectly ok for riding up.

Coming down was a different story.
The lack of a decent berm meant speed had to be throttled back and, for less-confident riders, the prospect of going over the lower edge was intimidating.

We began by armouring the outside edge with a combination of previously-felled kanuka and woven bags filled with excavated soil.

Then, as Rob de Leeuw is doing above, we covered the bags with more soil, carved from the upper sides to make more of a 'wall ride'.

ImageRaking and compacting as we went, we soon had the semblance of a berm taking shape (it's more impressive than it looks here!).

With a surfeit of perfectionists on-board, we probably fussed over it a bit longer than was necessary- but that's what perfectionists do...

All that was needed was for our nominated test rider, Jay Nelson, to check it out.


From the speed he entered the switchback, I was thinking more "crash dummy" than "test rider" and expected to see him fly out over the lower berm, landing amidst the tangled debris and undergrowth below.

Instead, Jay gave us a demonstration on how to ride switchbacks without losing speed - in fact, I think he came out quicker than he went in...

Satisfied, we headed down to the next one.
This corner needed even more building up but, now experienced in the task, it took half the time.

Here, Grib Buchanan and Ross Savile tamp down the fresh berm before we let Jay loose on it once again...

ImageOliver Weber took several tracking photos of Jay railing the berms, mostly for studying technique afterwards, I think.
I think a few of us felt there was definitely scope for a switchback-riding workshop on Corkscrew sometime in the future (one for blokes, that is - see previous post).

Still, there are a few more to do yet. We're not saying all 62 switches* are going to get the same treatment - but that could depend on how many perfectionists turn up for the working bees...

Coming up: the 6Hr Mid-Winter Breakout! Start thinking about getting your team together.

*This is by no means a definitive count! Everyone's definition of a switchback will differ but we should all agree on somewhere between 50-70 :-)<div class="blogger-post-footer">Image

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Original Published: 2:38pm Tuesday, 1st May 2012 - NZST
Member for: 7 years 5 months

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