The first of the club’s new fortnightly Sunday morning rides saw 21 enthusiastic riders descend on Hunua for a morning of sweet singletrack!
After a brief introduction by Kris Bartley (who runs the club’s trailbuilding activities at Hunua and regularly guides groups through the trails) the group, made up of riders with a wide range of abilities, set off across the first paddock. We hadn’t even made it to the other side when the first mechanical of the day struck in the form of a broken chain. Armed with chain-breakers and SRAM powerlinks a couple of good samaritans stopped to fix this, while the rest of the group rode on to the first of the valley’s tracks, the River Trail.
Starting with a tight, yet flowing section through the bush, a recent extension to the track then climbs higher up the side of the valley. Tip of the day: when you pass the old track on your left, drop down to granny gear!
The second mechanical happened within five minutes with a broken spoke. Luckily the wheel held up and the ride continued with no more technical issues. Everyone had a go at the infamous stream crossing (check the picture in the latest Kennett Bros book) which gave those that had stopped to fix the broken chain time to catch up.
Further round the valley we stopped and Kris walked us along a brand-new section of track. Back in November this was no more than 200m long, but after a week of digging over the holidays by volunteers from a local school the track is now 90% complete. Classic Hunua singletrack, the track is full of twists and turns and climbs slightly before flowing beautifully back to the road. Hopefully the club can have this finished before winter arrives. If you want to help, see our Hunua Working Bees page.
After a couple more stretches of singletrack and one more stream crossing, we were back on the gravel road and headed back to the car park, and the awaiting cold beers and BBQ.
Once back at the car park a group of eight decided they weren’t quite finished and set off to do the Challenge Track. This gnarly bush track starts with a 5km slog up a gravel road, above the Mangataphiri Dam and onto the ridge. We re-grouped at this point, applied much-needed sunscreen and then headed for the singletrack.
From this point the track follows the ridgeline back to the entrace to the park. Of course, rather than the smooth gradient of most tracks which follow the contour of the land, following the ridgeline meant we were either scrambling up sub-granny gear climbs or blasting down rutted clay chutes. Contrary to what you may think, this was actually quite good fun, although you could see why you wouldn’t really want to try it in the winter. Being up on the ridge also afforded us some stunning views of the Hunuas, the dams and beyond.
After 5kms we were relieved to arrive at the park gates which meant that from now on, the only way was down! Halfway down the gravel road on the left is the Challenge Downhill track. Not downhill in the Cam Cole sense, but a fast and flowing trail nonetheless that cuts through the bush and cuts out the bottom half of the dusty gravel road.
We arrived back at the car park tired, hungry but with big grins on our faces from a fantastic morning’s riding.
Thanks to everyone that made the effort to attend, and we hope to see you in a fortnight at Whitford Forest.
Update: Thanks to Lóan Burger for this GPS data from the ride.