Day four of the Yeti Trans NZ
presented by Shimano
teleported racers to an entirely new world, where roots were replaced by rocks, the dense canopy of the beech forest evaporated into thin air, and pink dots were the key to survival in the desert.
Oliver is involved in all aspects of the mountain bike community in Alexandra, between his guiding business, which operates out of Henderson Cycles
, building new trails with the local bike club
, and sparking momentum for the next generation of shredders.
“We’ve got nine young locals as guests today, and this is an opportunity to promote them in their riding community,” Oliver said. “I’m trying to help them get into racing and trail building. They see the value of contributing to their trails, and working in the same direction as the local club.”
The landowners grant special access for local trail builders and the community to construct trails on their property. Two months out of the year, the trails are shut down for lambing season, but there are three other areas on public land that are provided additional mountain bike trails. If visitors are keen to check out the area, just swing by Altitude Bikes
for more info.
Spanning 24 kilometers, 1000m climbing, and 1235m of descending, six stages were characterized by schizophrenic rock features, loose turns and wild thyme covering the landscape. Two theories exist about how thyme took over Central Otago— the most common is that it came with gold miner's to flavour their rancid meats. But it could have also been brought by French miner, horticulturist, and winemaker, Jean Desire Feraud who had an estate near Clyde in the 1860s and ‘70s.
Oliver and Megan Rose, founder and race director of the Yeti Trans NZ
, have worked together for three consecutive years to conjure up a new route every year. The theme for this round was quality over quantity, adding in steep and deep sections in the pines, and even more committing rock maneuvers. The day began by shuttling racers up to a centralized location in the spiderweb of trails, trimming 340m of climbing from last year.
“We thought we’d ramp it up a little bit this year, and keep it fresh by cutting out a bit of the pedaling. We added in an additional stage, so we tried to shorten the liaisons to compensate for more efforts,” Oliver said.
Stages 1 and 2 eased into the technicality of the day on Deep Purple and TT with an introduction to rock rollers, pedaly bursts, and sideways skids into the finish lines. These trails were new and properly bedded in for the Linger & Die MTB Race Series
last September, and used for the first time this year in the Yeti Trans NZ
Mike won the day over Paul van der Ploeg (Melbourne, AUS) by 10 seconds.
By sheer numbers, local pinner Bradley Harris, at 15 years old, won the day by 11 seconds over Cowlin with a total time of 19:40. “I was feeling pretty smooth all day,” Bradley said. “Me and my friends help tidy up and mark the trails with Phil. Today was pretty mellow compared to some hidden features out there.” Bradley and his friends were given the day off from school to participate in the race. Stages 3, 4 and 5 ratcheted up the pucker factor with rowdier lines, rocky chicanes, and more blind rolls down steep rock slabs.
From the top of the final stage, riders could view the Clutha River and Monteith’s Pub in the distance. The only thing between them and a cold beer on tap was Resurrection, the longest stage of the day. Immediately off of the start line, a hard and chicken line presented the opportunity for racers to choose their adventure— a sweeping go-around with a quick climb back up to the direct route, or down the main line on Lemon Rock, a 13m rock roller that catapulted riders into a pedalfest towards the finish line.
Melissa Newell (Wanaka, NZL) aka Mops cleaned up in the Open Women’s category and distanced herself from Sarah Rawley (Golden, Colo.) by an additional 26 seconds, steering the lead into the final day with 35 seconds overhead. Rose managed to get out on every stage in between her duties of running the show, and put down the fastest times on all but the last stage.
As we head into the fifth and final day of the Yeti Trans NZ
, anything can happen. Twenty-seven seconds separate the Open Men’s podium including Cowlin, van der Ploueg and Pete Robinson (Queenstown, NZL). Twenty-six seconds divide Mops and Rawley, and another 41 seconds to Rachael Gurney (Nelson, NZL) who we’ve seen pull away on several descents. It could be anyone’s game tomorrow. Stay tuned for the final recap on the race, updates on Facebook
, and video recaps on Vimeo
. Hashtag your photos #transnzenduro
to make their way onto the live stream of the Trans NZ’s Media HQ. For more information email email@example.com or visit www.transnz.com
About Megan Rose— Megan has been riding and racing bikes all over the world for 13 years and organizing bike events for the past six years. She splits her time between British Columbia, Canada, and New Zealand, running the BC Enduro Series and the new Trans BC for 2016, and running the Trans NZ race. Over the past two years, Megan has personally raced in over 24 enduro races, timed over 58 days worth of enduro races, and personally organized 22 enduro races. Megan and her team look forward to bringing you the best of the best from all of these perspectives.
About Altitude Bikes— Altitude Adventures, now trading as Altitude Bikes, was established in 2002 and was one of the first cycle companies on the Otago Central Rail Trail. We are a husband and wife team with a passion for cycling and mountain bike riding, particularly in our own “backyard”. We combine personal experience, local knowledge and attention to detail, so that we can provide you with the best experience possible. Whether it’s a trip on the Otago Central Rail Trail, Clutha Gold, and Roxburgh Gorge Trails or one of our Single Track Mountain Bike Adventures, we will take care of all of the organizing so you can enjoy genuine southern hospitality and the best cycling holiday possible.DAY 4 RESULTSOpen Men
1. Mike Cowlin 19:51
2. Paul van der Ploeg 20:01
3. Jake Paddon 20:12
4. Matteo Iniguez 20:15
5. Pete Robinson 20:22Open Women
1. Mops 24:19
2. Sarah Rawley 24:45
3. Rachael Gurney 25:03
4. Claire Bennett 25:25
5. Eva Dethlefsen 26:14Master Men 40+
1. Jose Iniguez 20:31
2. Christian Wingate 20:54
3. Matt Patterson 21:20Master Women 40+
1. Robyn Wong 29:12
2. Chris Bramwell 30:53
3. Sheila Hart 34:06Local Pinners
1. Bradley Harris 19:40
2. Seamus Hart 21:18
3. Harlen Hancock 21:36OVERALL RESULTS Open Men
1. Mike Cowlin 1:33:09
2. Paul van der Ploeg 1:33:17
3. Pete Robinson 1:33:36
4. Nate Hills 1:35:57
5. Matteo Iniguez 1:35:57Open Women
1. Mops 1:56:31
2. Sarah Rawley 1:57:05
3. Rachael Gurney 1:57:46
4. Eva Dethlefsen 1:59:18
5. Claire Bennett 1:59:20Master Men 40+
1. Jose Iniguez 1:39:00
2. Christian Wingate 1:39:44
3. Matt Patterson 1:41:26Master Women 40+
1. Robyn Wong 2:18:36
2. Chris Bramwell 2:22:44
3. Sheila Hart 2:34:53
Full Results HERE