Marke Jennings-Temple was out at Waitawa last weekend and put this preview together:
With the last minute change of venue only Sam Lake and I turned up to check out the new trails being cut into the hilly landscape at Waitawa Regional Park and help with final prep of the trails. Purchased in 2007 by Auckland Council and then leased back to the previous owners while they sorted Resource Consent out for their new home, a number of trail pixies, council staff, volunteers and Rangers have been busy working on the park since last year to create a new MTB venue in Auckland. It is not far from the FourForty MTB park so consider the possibilities of 1/2 day shuttling then 1/2 day of up-and-down XC style trails – combined, could they be the training ground of future Enduro champions?
The park is characterised by a landscape that makes the creation of ‘easy’ trails pretty difficult. Gabb and the Freaky Styley Fat Tyre crew have done a sterling effort and have readied some easier grade trails and intermediate trails ready for the opening with more cool stuff being marked, hand cut and cleared. Consider this park a work-in-progress. The hot dry summer has made the ground extremely hard to work, leading to trails that are crying out for some cooler, wetter weather and lots of use to pack them down.
The park boasts a dedicated MTB car park with trails that drop down into the valley (i.e. the Valley Loop trail) with more tracks planned and in progress north towards the beach, the new amenity block, the BBQs and the wharf. It is a stunning spot and there is the constant temptation to stop the bike and check out the vista. Not all the trails are linked up but signage is already in place with large, highly visible, painted wooden posts.
So what about the trails themselves? I liked them, but they do need some use to get them to settle. In parts, the trail was so steep (32%!!) I was cursing my 34 x 36 easiest gear but there were also fast flowy sections – think; a very good version of Sanders Reserve rather than Rotorua, but that’s inevitable given our soil types.
This Saturday and Sunday (8th & 9th) are the official opening days so get out there and show your support for the hard work done to get this up and running. Gabb will be there and when you hear what else is planned, you will want to plan a return trip.