A new Grade 2, beginner track will be built in Centennial Reserve this September. The Miramar Track Project, a project of the Wellington Mountain Bike Club, has been working closely with the Wellington City Council and Southstar Trails on the design for this track called "Juvenile Delinquent", or "Juvie".
Where does this track go?
Juvie will be a digger built, grade 2 track. The track start at the Boot Leg exit (White Gate Car Park) on the Mapuia side of the reserve. From there is will sidle around to join up with Conviction (the uphill track) just below where the tree fall from last year's storm occurred. Those who know the area well, will know that there was an old walking track that went up to a small clearing that was created from some tree fall a few years back. Juvie will make it to this clearing and then run underneath, then cross that existing walking track before continuing on to join into Conviction.
(Click the image to see a full size version)
To complete a Grade 2 loop, the very top of Conviction and Boot Leg will have some new work done on it to reshape corners and ease the gradient. As part of these new works, the board walk that was damaged as part of the storm will be repaired and this section of track reopened. In addition to this, the very top section of Boot Leg, that runs on the old farm bench under some old pines, will be closed and a new track to the Boot Leg clearing will be opened. This track is at risk from these old pines and tree fall, so this is a great opportunity to mitigate this risk.
In addition to these changes, a new down hill pump track / mini 4x section is planned from the Boot Leg clearing to the Water Towers Gate.
What style of track / who are the intended users?
The end goal is to create a Grade 2 loop at the top of the trail project. This means that riders heading up Conviction (Grade 3+) will enter onto an easier trail at the top of the climb.
The new sections of trail will be digger built by Southstar Trails. The design goal is "my first single track". The goal is to create a trail that will offer progression from the Miramar Kids Track and SoCK Track in Island Bay into riding single track. The gradients will be easier than Koru, but with Southstar operators at the helm, we can expect lots of nice flow and progressive trail features in the form of grade reversals and rollers.
The changes to Boot Leg will make the track wider and remove some of the pinches in the climbing corners. This will:
- make it easier for junior and beginner riders to climb up to the Boot Leg clearing
- provide more space for passing walkers and other trail users on the very popular section of track between Nevay Rd and the Water Towers Gate
- provide a bit of respite for those climbing up Conviction
When is this happening?
Southstar trails will be on site in late September. The expectation is that we should have at least the new sidle, and hopefully all components open for Christmas.
There will be signage up on the tracks when the digger is on site. The new part of the trail will have no impact on access. However when the crew are reworking the existing top section, the tracks will be closed for a few days. You can keep up with progress via the Miramar Track Project facebook page.
Can I help?
The bulk of this build will be done by contractors. This includes the digger build, gravelling and the tidying up and securing of wind fallen pines in the boardwalk area.
Saying that, there will be tidy up and finishing to do once the track beds in. Next winter we will be going through and planting out again around this track and the dual slalom/4x section.
Why are you making these changes? Was this always the plan?
To all those that are thinking, Oh man, you are dumbing down the climb!
Yup, and we are unapologetic about this.
Firstly there are very few proper beginner trails in Wellington, and none in Wellington East. We have a great new crop of kids and beginner riders coming through, and frankly there is no progression for them. Just as Jail Brake and Solitary were designed to help riders progress to trails such as Long Gully, we need beginner trails to help these riders progress.
Secondly, the top part of the track is also the busiest, with a large number of local walkers using the connection from Nevay Rd to access the the trail network and get through to the water towers area. A wider track provides for better sight lines, and more room for different trail users to pass each other.
And as we mentioned earlier, the only part of the climb that is being completely rerouted is a section of existing farm bench. Not only is this too steep, but it is at risk of tree fall.
There will be no changes to the lower part of Conviction, other than routine maintenance.
The idea of a zero/low gradient loop has always been a part of the Miramar Track Projects planning.
What other plans do you have?
Well nice of you to ask, seeing as Southstar is going to be on site, we are going to work on the third and hopefully final phase of the pump track extension. In this phase, the left over material at the southern end of the pump track is going to be used to make another series of rollers and a return.
Once in place, it is expected that these rollers will provide more variety, and also a way that riders can build up more speed to clear the 3 doubles on the current extension.
When the extension is finished, planting beds will be installed on the side of the extension as per the rest of the track, to minimise run off and improve the appearance of the track.
Above: An example of the new planting around the pump track. Thanks to WCC for putting the beds in place, and local volunteers for the planting.
Who do we thank?
A huge thanks to the Wellington City Council Parks, Sport and Recreation for supporting and funding these works. This project is a signficant investment in the Cennential Reseve. Along side these developments, there are plans for another beginner level track in Karori that is currently in the planning stages.
"Through the consultation work in developing the Our Capital Spaces Plan and via the mountain bike workshops held at the end of last year it was made clear that one area of the trail network in Wellington that is missing are Grade 2 mountain bike trails. If these trails are designed, built and managed well they can also serve the purpose of providing an easy walk for those individuals and families who are after a shorter and easily accessible bush reserve experience." - D Halliday, Project Officer
So a big thanks to all those who have been involved in the consultation and submission process for the Capital Spaces Plan.
If you want to know more details, you can contact Miramar Trail Leader and Club Secretary Russel at secretary -at- wmtbc.org.nz, or contact Ben or Russ via the MTP Facebook page.