Yeti Trans NZ Day 2 - Craigieburn, Skirting the Edge

Feb 29, 2016 at 9:59
by Yeti TransNZ Enduro  
Day 2 of the Yeti Trans NZ danced a fine line of an adrenaline pumping pucker factor, and super fast, super flowy tracks that entertained riders through four stages, up and down trails at the foot of Craigieburn Valley Ski Field. This was a new route for 2016, as last year’s course on Mt. Hutt was decommissioned due to logging shortly after the inaugural event.

Riders getting some air time on stage one.
  Riders getting some air time on stage one.

Throwing dust into the New Zealand sky.
  Throwing dust into the New Zealand sky.

We’re two days down and things are good. The weather has been fantastic, and everyone seems to be happy and cheery, and enjoying the trails,” said Megan Rose, event organizer of the Yeti Trans NZ. “Only two casualties so far, but they are in high spirits and recovering nicely.

Dawn light over the Flock hill and theTorlesse Range
  Dawn light over the Flock hill and theTorlesse Range

A bit of fatigue is beginning to set in as the initial race nerves have worn off, and riders faced 815m of climbing, and 907m of descending over 26km, all by Noon, so the enduro circus could pack up midday and traverse the South Island to the Pinewood Lodge in Queenstown by dinner time.

Stacking the starting grid for stage 1 on a crisp New Zealand morning.
  Stacking the starting grid for stage 1 on a crisp New Zealand morning.

Burms jumps and drops made for a fun stage one.
  Burms, jumps and drops made for a fun stage one.

The early morning wake-up call made Stage 1 a fresh start, featuring locally built jumps and drops down the Dickson Trail. A fine mist settled into the valley with cool temps for the big 500m climb to follow. The road incrementally steepened, and one by one riders fell off of the horse and began marching up towards the Edge Trail, the portion that Ted Morton, assistant event manager, described as the “highest pucker factor of the day”.

Good moods and good vibes are to be found on the transfer stages.
  Good moods and good vibes are to be found on the transfer stages.

Keep left
  Keep left

Riders emerged above the treeline, feeling slightly victorious, but only momentarily until they headed directly into avalanche scoured terrain, passing the sleepy base area of the ski field on the way. The Edge fully lived up to its name; even the transition required forging through a couple of scree fields before entering the starting corral.

Traversing to the start of stage two
  Traversing to the start of stage two

The Edge was my favorite stage of the day. It’s great fun— high speed, but also quite a few points on there that get your adrenaline pumping. I quite like the fact that you get into the scree, and you certainly know where you are— right on the side of a mountain,” said Kashi Leuchs (Dunedin, NZL), Open Men. “You feel that out there; it’s exposed and different.

Keeping it together along the scree
  Keeping it together along the scree

Through trees and on rocks along the edge
  Through trees and on rocks along the edge

While some riders thoroughly enjoyed teetering on the edge of a cliff with fast, tight, squared-off corners, a punchy climb through scree, followed by a steep, slippery path back into the beech forest, others found their limits out on the track.

If I was with a bunch of my mates, it would be my favorite trail ever. In a race setting, it was simply survival,” said Shelagh Coutts (Calgary, CAN), Open Women.

The Edge dropped directly into Anti-Luge, where riders could ease their minds and flow the trail in reverse of what they transitioned on Day 1.

Katie O Neill Crossing the last stream on The Edge
  Katie O'Neill Crossing the last stream on The Edge.

Don t look down The Edge has many exposed sections.
  Don't look down, The Edge has many exposed sections.

Riders walking an exposed section of The Edge
  Riders walking an exposed section of The Edge.

Stage 2 had a couple chunky sections which made me feel right at home in Colorado. A nice contrast to the super flowy lower half of Stage 2,” said Jason Laabs (Breckenridge, USA), Open Men. “Stage 3 you could really get into a good rhythm sliding through the series of 10 switchbacks in the middle of the short stage.”

Beautiful New Zealand ferns surround the track towards the end of stage two.
  Beautiful New Zealand ferns surround the track towards the end of stage two.

Stage 3 switchbacks
  Stage 3 switchbacks.

The fourth and final stage sent riders down Coal Pit Spur, almost directly into Flock Hill Station, to quickly grab lunch and pack their bags before being whisked away in buses. The Trans NZ evolved into a scenic tour for the afternoon, as shuttles weaved through the Mackenzie Country, internationally acclaimed as a dark sky reserve, where the quality of air makes star gazing some of the finest in the world. Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand offered stunning views as the troops rounded Lake Tekapo and headed towards Central Otago.

Packed and racked for the drive to Queenstown
  Packed and racked for the drive to Queenstown

I’m looking forward to getting into some different zones. I haven’t been to New Zealand before, and have been looking forward to getting down to Queenstown to ride their famously ripping trails,Laabs said.

Tomorrow ushers in a big challenge with the longest day distance wise, 1550m of ascending, and 65 percent more descending that climbing. “We’re headed to really different terrain, and it’s going to be really tough; it’s a huge epic ride. You drop a long way down from the peaks, and the climb back out is just as big,” Leuchs said.

The lead in the Open fields remain consistent with Carl Jones (Rotorua, NZL) keeping a strong margin over his competitors with 12 seconds on Flynn George (Colorado Springs, USA) for Day 2, and 51 seconds overall. Aaron Bradford (Seattle, USA) had to drop out today due to surgery to repair his severe road rash, but rumor has it he will return to ride Days 4 and 5. Deborah Motsch (Annecy, FRA) has widened the gap to 1 min 42 seconds over Katie Oneill (Rotorua, NZL).

Katie O Neill Crossing the last stream on The Edge
  Katie O'Neill Crossing the last stream on The Edge

Three more days and 13 stages remain, integrating in even more aggressive terrain and longer descents. Stay tuned for regular updates on Facebook and Instagram throughout the week, and daily video recaps on Vimeo. Hashtag your photos #transnzenduro to make their way into the live stream of the Trans NZ’s Media HQ. For more information email megan@ridingbc.com or visit www.transnz.com.

Snaking trails in the Craigieburn s.
  Snaking trails in the Craigieburn's.

View all 106 Day 2 images here.

Day 2 video recap here.

Visit www.transnz.com for full Day 2 and Overall Results.

DAY 2: OPEN MEN
   1. Carl Jones 18:21
   2. Flynn George 18:33
   3. Lindsay Klein 18:52

DAY 2: OPEN WOMEN
   1. Deborah Motsch 21:56
   2. Katie Oneill 22:38
   3. Sarah Rawley 24:06
   3. Sonya Looney 24:06

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 races 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.


MENTIONS: @TransNZ / @yeticycles




21 Comments

  • + 12
 Seriously be prepared if you're ever invited on a fun little walk or ride in NZ. While you're worried about trench foot they'll be smiling, laughing and remarking on how beautiful the vegetation is, oh, and riding you into the ground like the dog you are.
  • + 2
 This is the truth!
  • + 6
 They raced Edge Track? I'm surprised the organisers were down with that. That trail has some seriously high stakes in parts. It's one of my favourite trails but I don't know if I'd want to race it!
  • + 1
 Does anyone know where I can find the exact trails they rode, and the time limits for the transitions? I ride this area quite a bit and would be interested to know how fast and how much they are riding in a day.
  • + 3
 its all these tracks www.craigieburntrails.org.nz sounds like they did luge, drac, cheeseman, hogs back on day 1, then dicksons, the edge, and coal spit spit on day 2.

not sure what the liaison times were but you can do that day 2 ride in under 3 hours. i assume they would have been driven up from the bottom of of the valley in flock hill to the start of the craigeburn forest park.
  • + 1
 Thanks, you must be fast uphill, it takes me three hours to do one day worth
  • + 1
 No limits to liaison times in the event.
  • + 3
 True^^ the other good thing is nothing's going to come out the woods a kill you!!
  • + 3
 For those of you who don't know, Megan Rose also organizes the BC Enduro series. I wonder when she sleeps?
  • + 1
 Yeah and she kills it every year!
  • + 2
 Snowed here again today ughh...incrediably jelous of those trails. Some awesome shots though, its definitely on the list of places to go
  • + 4
 The Taniwha will kill you, if those trails dont!
  • + 4
 Great pics!!
  • + 2
 Would give just about anything to get a week out there.
  • + 2
 new Zealand is Britain on steroids those mountains
  • + 0
 Bro!!! Take that insult back you can't compare Britain to NZ
  • + 2
 Yea Jack
  • + 1
 Wooo GO NOEL!
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