Orongorongo Downhill Zone - Help Needed

Postby Tama on Fri 7/Jul/06 7:17pm

DOC are currently investigating the possibility of turning an area of the Orongorongo Forest Park into a mountain bike park. They have employed Hoz Barclay (who currently works in the park) to write up a proposal.

Hoz is a long time mountain biker and his current vision involves dividing the park into a “downhill zone” and a “cross country zone” he’s been talking to interest groups in Wellington about what they’d like to see and Hoz approached me to talk about the “downhill zone.”

The area we are looking at is the north facing slope of a ridgeline which goes up to about 440 metres above sea level from a starting point of around 80 metres above sea level. The hillside is serviced by two roads “Middle Road” which climbs and traverses the slope just below the midpoint. “Top Road” climbs to the top of the hill and traverses along the ridge. To put this in perspective the vertical drop of Long Gully is around 140 metres, the entire hill at the Orongorongos is close to 360 metres!

There is a large flat grassy area at the bottom of the hill in Catchpool Valley with ample space for carparking and even a campground within walking distance. We believe that this area is well suited towards providing us with a National level downhill course (Long Gully is considered too short by BikeNZ.)



COURSES
We are proposing three downhill tracks in the “downhill zone”:

Downhill Race Course
This is a National (International if we can manage) level downhill race course. If this proposal goes ahead we would like to use this course in National Rounds and/or the National Champs. There are various UCI requirements we have to adhere to for this course when considering it’s design.

Freeride Trail
This is a challenging downhill trail along the lines of the “Freeride Trail” at Long Gully. However as this will be on DOC managed land we cannot use large wooden structures. As this course will not be used in any “official” events we can be a bit more imaginative with it’s design.

Flow Trail
This is a skill bridging trail between the cross country trails and the freeride trail. It is envisioned that any intermediate mountain biker will be able to ride this trail but still find it challenging. Jono and I are taking responsibility for the design of this track.



TERRAIN
The hillside has been logged and is currently covered in gorse with the occasional patch of native bush. The upper half is steep and granity and the lower half is a number of gullies with steep sides, the soil is mostly clay. The area will slowly regenerate into native bush (using gorse as the nursery) under DOCs management.

While this means DOC aren’t too worried by us getting brutal with the vegetation (diggers etc.) they are concerned about erosion as the area is prone to heavy rainfalls and flooding. Basically we won’t be able to make fall line tracks, but since there’s such a huge vertical drop to play with I think fall line tracks would be a bit of a waste anyway.



BIKE ACCESS – END VISION
Once the park is in place this will mountain bikers in the Wellington Region an area of purpose built mountain bike tracks in regenerating native bush. It will also give the region a downhill/freeride area on public land, where access will be far more guaranteed than our current trails on private land. There is ample carparking, toilets, camping and non-riding activities in this area so this should prove to be quite a resource for riders. The push/ride to Middle Road will be similar to going from sea level to the top of Mount Victoria.



VEHICLE ACCESS
Both “Middle Road” and “Top Road” are logging roads, Middle Road will be retired and will probably fall into disrepair over a number of years. While we will be able to ride Middle Road we cannot rely on always being able to get vehicles up there for shuttling/ work parties. However Top Road is still be used for logging operations and the long term plan will involve keeping this road in good repair to aid firefighting and management.

We will only be able to have vehicle access during organised events (which could include regular trailer days.) However we should be able to use the roads during major work parties. As logging operations will continue for a few more years we may not be able to use Top Road at all during certain times.



BUILD STRATEGY
The idea is to build the bottom half of the trails first which makes things a bit more manageable and means will be able to push-up/ shuttle the trails via Middle Road. We would also attempt to do what work we could with diggers as previously mentioned DOC is not concerned about damage to the gorse etc. The Downhill Race Course is definitely the main priority as the club would like to use it for the Nationals in 2008.



DESIGN PROCESS – HELP WANTED
I’m looking for 4 more people to help Jono and I with course design. We’ll split off into pairs which will be responsible for the design of each of the courses. These people should be experienced with trail building and in the case of the Downhill Race Course experienced with racing on a Nationals Level.

The group will go out together and spend a day surveying the hillside (possibly with Hoz) we will then go away for a few weeks and work on ideas (visiting the site as much as necessary.) Once we’ve worked out routes for the trails we will mark them out using “blaze tape”.

The courses will then be GPSed and fed into a computer map of the area to be included in the proposal for DOC. We may also need to write a brief summary of the trails. Trail construction will not be able to start until the proposal is approved by DOC. There will also need to be a memorandum of understanding drawn up between all parties involved so we all know what is expected and what we can expect from each other.

The fact that DOC are employing Hoz to produce this proposal is a greatly encouraging and we would be foolish to let this opportunity fall through our hands.



INTERESTED?
If you are interested in being part of the design process please e-mail me: [url=mailto:tama@vorb.org.nz]tama@vorb.org.nz[/url] with a brief description of what you think you can bring to this project.

Cheers
Tama Easton
orongo_east.jpg
orongo_west_upper.jpg
orongo_west_lower.jpg
Tama
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"Come on Ruthie let's dance"
Member for: 17 years 9 months

Postby Oli on Fri 7/Jul/06 7:25pm

Awesome, T! :thumbsup: If this all goes ahead it will be a fantastic resource for us all...Two MTB parks in the same city? How cool will that be? :cool:
Oli
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Postby the_hobbit on Fri 7/Jul/06 7:46pm

If this goes ahead and you have work days i will definintly be there.
the_hobbit
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Postby Waddic on Fri 7/Jul/06 7:47pm

SICK
Waddic
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Postby Jin on Fri 7/Jul/06 7:52pm

awesome!
Jin
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Postby Jono on Fri 7/Jul/06 7:55pm

Consider me in. Definitely a lot of possibility out there...
Jono
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"High Grade Mental Defective"
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Postby Oli on Fri 7/Jul/06 7:58pm

Jono wrote: Consider me in. Definitely a lot of possibility out there...


I think you're in anyway! :lol:

Tama wrote:

Flow Trail
This is a skill bridging trail between the cross country trails and the freeride trail. It is envisioned that any intermediate mountain biker will be able to ride this trail but still find it challenging. Jono and I are taking responsibility for the design of this track.

Oli
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Member for: 14 years 1 month

Postby Bazza on Fri 7/Jul/06 8:31pm

Count me in... :cool:

would love a new place to ride :thumbsup:
Bazza
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Postby Robbie on Fri 7/Jul/06 9:37pm

w00t
Robbie
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Postby TheOneKnownAsJosh on Fri 7/Jul/06 11:26pm

wow sounds damn good, where is it exactly?
TheOneKnownAsJosh
Member for: 13 years 5 months

Postby SlackBoy on Fri 7/Jul/06 11:52pm

you know it big boy, email on it's way
SlackBoy
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Postby Tama on Sat 8/Jul/06 9:03am

TheOneKnownAsJosh wrote: wow sounds damn good, where is it exactly?

The Orongorongo Forest Park - about 10 minutes drive south from Wainuiomata.



Thanks chaps :thumbsup:

I'll respond to your e-mails once I've gone for a big long ride (and had a kip on the couch.)
Tama
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"Come on Ruthie let's dance"
Member for: 17 years 9 months

Postby bugle on Sat 8/Jul/06 10:48am

I'm in, gagging for it in fact...
bugle
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"Bah, who hasn't killed the neighbour and rooted their corpse after one too many cab savs?"
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Postby SlackBoy on Sat 8/Jul/06 12:54pm

I have a video that will help with that piss poor gag reflex of yours there bugle
SlackBoy
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Postby JohnH on Sat 8/Jul/06 4:24pm

is there any chance of re-doing the old dual slalom track out there? or the 4x thingy track? those were mint in their day
JohnH
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Member for: 13 years 2 months

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