The Yeti Cycles Trans NZ Presented by Shimano
is on for 2020. Covering 6 days of New Zealand's most epic South Island riding. Keep up to date with the coverage all week right here!
Breakfast discussions for Day 1 were all about the weather. Was the forecasted rain going to hit? The sky was looking very ominous as racers started the climb to Stage 1. Racers were dropped straight into the thick of it with the infamous Edge Track. A tight narrow trail left very little room for any passing and blind corners had racers on their toes the whole way. Dracophyllum Flat would be used as Stage 2 for both the first and second day. Connecting the two riding zones Craigieburn offers, the trail can only be ridden at one speed - mach chicken! It's wide and it's fast!
If the legs were still feeling good, the 400m, hour-long gruelling climb up the Cheeseman ski field access road would certainly see they weren't fresh for much longer. At the top is one of the most classic, well known Craigieburn trails, Cheeseman DH. This old school trail features a tasty collection of alpine high speed and classic New Zealand Beech forest. The wind arrived just in time for racers to drop, and with the alpine exposure to the element's it's far from friendly when the elements come in up there. Heading down through the tussocks into the tight woods riders had to be on their game. One misplaced front wheel and the unforgiving tussocks would stop you in a hurry.
A quick jaunt up the hill to Stage 4 for the Hogs back trail had the finish in sight. But this one hurts. by this stage racers have climbed around 800m for the day and the legs are hurting. But to stay in the hunt this stage requires pedalling. And lots of it! The burning sensation kicks in early and pedalling is the last thing you want to do but the beer is close! One last sprint back down to the nights accommodation and beer o'clock. Stage 5 points all downhill - the perfect finish to Day 1.
Falesha Stocker has started the week strong and stamped her authority on the womens field. There's certainly no time to relax though with Harriet and Shantel not far behind. For the mens field, it was Charlie Murray who has put himself well ahead of the pack with a commanding lead of 1 minute 39 seconds. Guest rider Wyn Masters slots into second and Australian Paul Van der Ploeg into third. It only takes a second for it go sideways though. The battle will continue...
Day 1 Results
1st. Charlie Murray - 00:25:09
2nd. Wyn Masters - 00:26:48 (Guest Rider)
3rd. Paul Van der Ploeg - 00:27:00
4th. Jordan Powell - 00:27:39
5th. Stu Cali - 00:27:44
1st. Falesha Stocker - 00:34:08
2nd. Harriet Beaven - 00:35:25
3rd. Shantel Koenig - 00:38:33
4th. Tanya Sharp - 00:38:36
5th. Alice Foote - 00:38:45
Moving day. With a nearly 600km drive down to Queenstown racers faced a slightly shorter day. Three stages with the repeat of the Dracophyllum Flat stage. There were some tired legs heading up the hill towards another Craigieburn classic. A short hike-a-bike brought the riders to the start of the Luge trail. Year after year after year it seems to be a rider favourite and for good reason. The trail drops from an open ridge into the familiar Beech forest. Long straights with some handlebar grabbing branches for good measure. The damp ground had the trail running at an all-time condition, roost being spit up everywhere. The trails in the area link up incredibly well, with the bottom of the stage only a quick 5-minute pedal to the start of stage 2.
A quick repeat of Dracophyllum Flat for stage 2 and the racers headed up for the final stage of the day. Ascending the Cheeseman ski field access road for a second time just to double-check everyone had exhausted legs. Cuckoo Creek is a full workout. The compressions at the top, a creek crossing with a punchy climb, there is not a bone in your body which isn't put to the test on this trail. Once done, the show must move on. The pack up, which happens while the racers are on course, moves further down the island to Queenstown, is it time for the bike park yet?
Falesha Stocker and Charlie Murray both added to their first-day leads. But there was a good shake-up behind. Calum Wilson had a stunner of a day to ride into 3rd, with Caitlin Dore doing the same. We are in for an exciting 4 more days. For the Master 40+ Men, Christian Wingate took top honours and in doing so pulled back the time he lost on day 1 to find himself in first overall. Michael Ronning certainly won't give up without a fight though.
Day 2 Results
1st. Charlie Murray - 00:12:28
2nd. Wyn Masters - 00:13:01 (Guest Rider)
3rd. Calum Wilson - 00:13:14
4th. Paul Van der Ploeg - 00:13:21
5th. Max Hides - 00:13:24
1st. Falesha Stocker - 00:17:03
2nd. Harriet Beaven - 00:17:37
3rd. Caitlin Dore - 00:18:08
4th. Shantel Koenig - 00:18:41
5th. Mindy McCutcheon - 00:19:53
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About TRANS BC
/ Megan Rose - Megan has been riding and racing bikes all over the world for more years than we count. She moves between New Zealand and Canada organising not only Trans NZ but also Trans BC. She has over 10 years of racing and riding experience and no stranger to some epic full-day missions. Over the last 6 years, she has evolved Trans NZ into New Zealand's premier multi-day Enduro event. Covering 6 days of only the best riding New Zealand's South Island has to offer from Cragieburn to Queenstown.