Kiwis use divining rods, POV rakes and mad science to build wheel size-specific trails
Mountain bikers in New Zealand are building what may be the world’s first enduro-specific trail optimized to the new 27.5-inch wheel size. Being constructed by a Kiwi mountain bike club called TeMiro, the groundbreaking new route is actually a rebuild of an existing alignment called PD’s Track. The trail’s designer says the new school trail is a mathematical expression of the growing 27.5-inch mountain bike zeitgeist.
Head Flow Designer Cameron Whelan describes the advanced algorithm that led to the PD’s Track redesign.
“We found that with the new 27.5 wheel size, the berms as they have been don’t quite work,” explained Head Flow Designer Cameron Whelan. “We’ve had to build them to the new radius of 206.25-inches which is exactly 7.5 times the diameter of a 27.5 rim.”
Because building such a trail is essentially uncharted territory, Whelan and company have resorted to unorthodox means to make the track both 27.5-compatible and enduro-compatible—or as they say in New Zealandish “N-Duurow.” The trail design starts by applying a complex 27.5-inch-optimized curvature algorithm to both the corridor’s side-to-side axis, as well as its up-and-down amplitude modulation.
Chief Flow Engineer Gary Campbell uses a divining rod-like instrument called a “whaddhe wood” to align the trail and determine jump placement.
In addition to the high tech methodology, this group of Kiwi innovators also use centuries-old divining rod techniques to optimize flow along the courses of ancient, long-dormant watercourses, hypothesizing that a trail which follows the path of water will have the best natural flow qualities.
After a day’s build, the trails creators verify their work by reviewing video footage from POV cameras mounted on their hand tools.
To insure a high level of harmonization between the route-alignment and construction techniques, trail builders attach point-of-view cameras to their finishing tools—hoes, McCleods, Pulaskis and the like—and review the footage at the end of each build day.
This rider—on a 27.5-inch enduro bike—enjoys the feng shui of a trail built to his riding discipline and wheel size.
Like the video, this article is mostly parody—the trail does exist and the involved builders referenced are indeed real. The comments should be fun.