This week we look at somewhere a bit closer to home for me and slightly tamer than the Skyline Hill tracks we looked into last week.
Pukete MTB Park is the domain of the Hamilton MTB Club, it's their baby, they've developed it from nothing to being a solid MTB centre for the city.
Back in the day I recall dragging my bike around what back then was a mess of old cars, scrap tyres and heaps of cutty-grass. We were scoping for lines in what seemed like an impossible area, and indeed to most who looked at the area it got lumped in the too hard basket. But not for the Hamilton MTB Club, they've taken the wasteland and sculpted it into a sweet single track trail.
Making the most of the area was key when the club developed the trails and as you can see by the map below they have. In the main 'arena' or 'sandpit' as some would call it the track doubles back on itself multiple times and uses almost every available square meter, heaps of corners, some bermed, some flat and a slightly sandy surface keeps you on your toes.
Once you pop out into the park lands after a grunty little pinch climb it's into grassy areas, with the trail winding its way up and down the small hill. This area is a bit straighter and open than the sandpit and allows riders to open it up and get some speed on between the short but brutal climbs.
In total one lap (if you ride all the sections) is around the 10km mark. A slightly shorter 8.5km (approx) was used for a round of the MTBNZ XC Nationals in February this year, offering 110m vertical metres of climbing per lap. Not huge but ask anyone who did that race how hard it was and it's pretty obvious that with the pace on there's no room for rest and recovery. As short as the climbs are, the downhills for recovery are just as small.
Pukete is ideal for a quick spin to satisfy the appetite, and suits pretty much all levels of rider. If you're passing through 'the Tron' make sure you chuck your bike on the car for a quick spin.
Keen riders put your seat up and get hammering, and if you're out for a cruise, roll around to your heart's content, knowing there are no hidden surprises around the corner.
Ideal bike for Pukete? Something lightweight, heavyweight, mid travel, long travel or no travel. Pukete can be easily ridden on any bike, I've seen 'cross bikes out there and have even bashed out a couple of laps on my road bike!
Check out the Hamilton MTB Club Website for more information.
Here's a look at the 'Sandpit'....
All riding photos thanks to Ryan McCrae.