Days 3 and 4 of the Yeti Trans NZ Enduro
presented by Shimano brought racers out of the forest and into the alpine for two days of riding above treeline on classic tracks and new-school trails flowing from the summits of Coronet Peak and Cardrona Bike Park.
“The stoke levels are at an all-time high out here with amazing people from all around the world. The weather was better than expected on Day 3, and the trails are running mint,” said James Cooney (Wellington, NZL). “The first two stages off of Coronet Peak were a lung buster. You had the be on the pedals, fast and furious to the very bottom.”
The entire field marched in a conga line to the top of Coronet Peak for the morning briefing and heckling at the start of Coronet XC track. Traditionally the route has started at the top of Coronet DH, but due to construction, Stage 1 started slightly below the summit missing the tight wheel-grabbing chicanes.
A quick 10-minute liaison brought racers to the start gate of Rude Rock, the most photographed trail in New Zealand and hero dirt to boot.
“I started my day with a flat about a minute in on Stage 1. I fixed my issue with a candy wrapper boot and a tube,” said Tom Sampson (Boulder, CO) Open Men. “Things only went up from there. The dirt on Stage 2 down Rude Rock into Skipper’s Canyon was all time – every corner the bike was hooking up. It definitely felt faster than last year.”
Fourteen women are racing the Trans NZ and finally by Day 3, they banded together to party train throughout the day. “Cruising around with the other ladies is super fun. We’re listening to music, taking photos, cheering each other on at the start line, and jumping into stages together. It’s been a fun way to meet and ride with other ladies,” said Ashley Watley (Denver, CO).
The steady grind out of Skipper’s Canyon provided ample opportunities for selfies and majestic views of the Crown Range. Stage 3 was a fast 2 – 4-minute sprint down Zoot where racers juked left to right on zigzagging line choices and small drops.
Despite Megan Rose’s reputation for putting riders through the paces, occasionally she surprises them with a shuttle bump. Instead of hitting the pavement, racers were dumped back in the base area of Coronet Peak to return to the initial liaison. The final stage of the day – and steepest of the week – down Slip Saddle aka Corotown gave riders a dose of adrenaline as they plummeted 500m in 1.8 kilometers.
James Eves (Gilroy, CA) of Team Midpack ripped his derailleur off on the first stage of the day. “I picked up my bits and walked, pushed, ran and scooted anyway I could to get through the day. I was glad I did - the steeper, the better for me.” Eves went on to win Stage 4 and took 34th in the day despite not having a drivetrain.
Remarkable views abound, Day 3 gave racers reprieve from wintry conditions, but Day 4 threw them back into the ringer with rain and snow, eventually forcing the day to be canceled – the first in the history of the Trans NZ and Trans BC.
“Many things factored into canceling Day 4 of the Trans NZ. The weather is the biggest. It was great to have the professional opinions from the patrollers and weather forecasters who work up there year-round,” Rose said. “Knowing this system is coming in from the West Coast for the next two hours and the freezing level is lowering, they expect to see snow in the base area shortly. We’re exposed up here, it’s not like in Craigieburn where we’re at in the woods and moving around. We’ve got lifts involved and volunteers standing around for hours. It’s too risky to keep people out in the elements.”Cardrona Alpine Resort Webcam Timelapse
Racers were granted a free day to run amuck around Queenstown. After 28.5 kilometers and 1370m of climbing the previous day, some took it as a rest day with a pub crawl on their bikes while others had barely unloaded their bikes from the trailers before zipping off to catch some laps at the Queenstown Skyline Bike Park or tag team the luge.
Jordan Powell (Melbourne, AUS) took the lead over Nate Hills (Dillon, CO) after Day 3 by 34 seconds. Coming from a background of motorbikes, Powell has been racing mountain bikes for two years and had never ridden in snow prior to Craigieburn. “I’m disappointed not to be racing today. My snow training from three days ago was going to pay off on racing these tracks blind. My goal is to keep pedaling hard and stay smooth for the win this week.”
Annelie Marquardt (Brisbane, AUS) is closing the gap on Sarah Rawley (Golden, CO) in the Open Women’s category. Jamie Weingarten (Denver, CO) maintains a nearly 2-minute gap over Kashi Leuchs (Dunedin, NZL). With two more days of racing, including Alexandra and the queen stages on Day 6 in Queenstown, there is still plenty of time left on the clock for fields to get mixed up.
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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.RESULTS DAY 3Open Men
1. Jordan Powell (AUS) 26:09
2. Nate Hills (USA) 26:44
3. Zac Williams (NZL) 26:57
4. Tom Sampson (USA) 27:13
5. Mark Frendo (AUS) 27:17Open Women
Guest Rider Mops Newell 32:19
1. Annelie Marquardt (AUS) 34:42
2. Jasmine Swanson (CAN) 35:40
3. Ashley Watling (CAN) 36:04
4. Sarah Rawley (USA) 36:06
5. Margaux Elliott (USA) 36:16Master Men 40+
1. Jamie Weingarten (USA) 27:25
2. Kashi Leuchs (NZL) 28:27
3. Karl Peel (AUS) 29:01
4. Ali Quinn (NZL) 29:15
3. John Cobb (GBR) 29:17 RESULTS DAYS 1 – 3 OVERALLOpen Men
1. Jordan Powell (AUS) 1:00:04
2. Nate Hills (USA) 1:00:38
3. Tom Sampson (USA) 1:01:31
4. Mark Frendo (AUS) 1:01:54
5. Zac Williams (NZL) 1:02:17Open Women
1. Sarah Rawley (USA) 1:22:54
2. Annelie Marquardt (AUS) 1:24:11
3. Margaux Elliott (USA) 1:24:43
4. Ashley Watling (CAN) 1:25:27
5. Shantel Koenig (CAN) 1:27:57Master Men 40+
1. Jamie Weingarten (USA) 1:04:02
2. Kashi Leuchs (NZL) 1:05:54
3. John Cobb (GBR) 1:06:47
4. Ali Quinn (NZL) 1:06:55
5. Karl Peel (AUS) 1:07:53