5 Dec 2020

Mountain biking trails cut by hand open this weekend

4:50 pm on 5 December 2020

New world class mountain biking trails, finished off by hand during lockdown, open in Hanmer Springs this weekend.

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Photo: 123rf

The three new trails stretch a combined eight kilometres, including the technical Tombstone and Addiction trails that cater to advanced riders.

The trails will be officially opened at the inaugural Tombstone Mountain Bike Race on Sunday.

One of the trail's lead builders, mountaineer Mark Inglis, said after years working on the trails, volunteers finished them during the March lockdown.

"The reason that we can open them now this early in the season is because of lockdown. There were a few of us who had nothing else [to do] during lockdown so we all went out and self isolated with some hand tools and built the trail," he said.

The trails were constructed mostly by hand over five years with volunteers completing mody of the work, including volunteers from the Track Network Group and the Hanmer Springs Mountain Bike Club.

"Without the support of our local community, we wouldn't have been able to create something to this scale. It's a true testament of teamwork and community spirit," said Inglis.

The new trails add to an existing network in Hanmer Forest Park.

The new 4km Tombstone trail is an advanced single-track with a 185 metre climb followed by a technical 240m descent with multiple twists, turns and drops.

The trail's lead track builder Steve Pearson said conditions were ideal for making the trail.

"The terrain is as good as it gets for building mountain bike trails. It really is world class and compares to anything you'll find in Europe or North America," he said.

"Tombstone also has some of the best views around, making it not just a ride but a spectacular experience."

Inglis said the Canterbury resort town has been a popular destination this year.

"Every week in Hanmer at the moment the trails are getting the same use they would in the Christmas holidays it's just gone nuts, it's phenomenal. The businesses in Hamner are all doing very well, we've always been very much a local tourism destination," he said.

"These new trails really put on us on the national mountain biking map. Where else can you be having a coffee and then a few pedal strokes later be on some of the best mountain bike trails."

World mountain bike champion Anton Cooper will open the new trails at the race on Sunday.