Agreement close on new track

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Trail upgrades are also on the agenda after a harsh winter: The Wednesday dig crew get stuck in

The wheels are in motion for a new bike trail on Ben Lomond.

Work on the intermediate track starts this month once Queenstown Mountain Bike Club gets the final go ahead from council and the Department of Conservation.

Club secretary Adam Carlson is confident it’s a matter of crossing the final t’s.

“We are hoping to get the memorandum of understanding signed in the next week or two so we can get stuck into building it.”

A club member spied some suitable terrain and plans went from there. Trails in that area tend to be more technical and Carlson reckons this one will fills a gap for local users.

“This one is hand built which gives it a different feel and a different nature. We spotted the trail, then scoped it – walking to find where we can go through, see the various difficult bits and pinches.”

The new downhill single-track is predominantly forest with a small bit of tussock.

“It has a bit of everything. We don’t have a trail of that style up there. It’s approximately 3km non-interrupted. It crosses one other trail and that is it.”

QTMBC is hosting a special dig evening on November 18 to get things kicked off. It starts at 4pm, includes a free lift up the gondola and the promise of a cold one at the end of the volunteer session.

The club need’s additional tools and has bid for additional funding.

Since 2003 it has been instrumental in the development of popular mountain bike areas around Queenstown including Rude Rock, Wynyard Bike Park, Gold Digger and Huck Yeah, the newest addition to the Queenstown Bike Park.

Carlson reckons once up and running the new track will be an instant local favourite.

The club is also busy with track maintenance ahead of the first race in the local series.

A couple were hammered by wind, rain and snow over winter.

Salmon Run, near Fernhill, took the brunt of the battering.

“The river was flowing where the trail used to be.”

A bunch of volunteers, the Wednesday dig crew, is on the case ensuring tracks are ready for a busy spring and summer biking season.

Maintenance for the whole network, including Wynyard Bike Park and Gold Digger, is a big job.

He doffs his cap to vollies getting stuck in.

“These guys go out in literally pouring rain – moving dirt and building trails. Moving rocks the size of a table, moving trees that have fallen across tracks. Doing all sorts and going out every Wednesday despite conditions. They get paid nothing except a beer at the end.”

Rude Rock, which starts near Coronet Peak’s base building, is open but needs some TLC ahead of the comp.

The chainless race lets gravity do the work.

“If you touch the brakes you can’t pedal to get back up to speed. It is a kind of unique style of race as part of the local series.”

louises@scene.co.nz