Trans NZ Enduro Days 2 and 3: Good things take time

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Race Report: Yeti Trans NZ Enduro Day 3 - Coronet Peak, Queenstown

Treacherous conditions at Mount Hutt

Soaked trails provided extreme riding conditions on the second day of the Yeti Trans NZ Enduro at Mount Hutt. Better known for being Canterbury's major commercial ski field, the mountain also boasts some epic mountain bike tracks and as recently as last year hosted the Oceania downhill mountain bike championships.

While the weather was a huge improvement from the previous day, a full day's rain had left the ground saturated and greasy. Soaking in the vast views of the Canterbury Plains the riders lined up for Stage 1, known as Diggler. This was a quick dash to the bottom of the hill that consisted of some wide-open, high-speed ridgeline riding, followed by what could accurately be described as a steep muddy rut.

Zac Williams, sitting in third place going into day two said, “the first stage was short and sweet and summed up what we were riding on for the day. It was really slick. Yesterday was stone based so we had some grip, but today was just really slick.”

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The competitors were then shuttled back to the top of the hill to the beginning of Behemoth, which made up the first Liaison Stage and Stage 2. Behemoth was steep, rocky, rutty and treacherous. Beginning with a steep chute that ended in a super tight right hand corner, it was obvious from the beginning that stage two was going to be a challenge.

Megan Rose, the Race Organizer, stated "Stage 2 today was definitely the hardest stage of the full five days, with the steep and super slippery conditions putting many riders outside of the comfort zones. Stage 1 and 3 were still pretty gnarly but Stage 2 took the cake. "

Zac Williams shared this opinion. "Stage 2 was full of steep aggressive chutes that caught a lot of people out. Probably the most technical stage of the race so far.”

Stage 3 started once the racers had completed a gruelling 60min, 600m climb. This was the longest stage of the day and had a mixture of different trail surfaces and conditions. It was rocky and loose at the beginning, which became a slushy bog in the middle and then back to riding slick ruts in the bottom third. A solid amount of pedalling was thrown in for good measure.

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The riders left for Queenstown at the end of the day stoked with the tracks and looking forward to the sunshine and dryer conditions that the weather gods had promised. "It was great. It was my first time here, and I will come back in a heartbeat, " Zac Williams said. "For tomorrow we are expecting a gorgeous sunny day and we are going to be up the top of Coronet and it's just spectacular views up there. It's going to be the longest day with the most climbing. It's going to have everything in it from fast flow to technical to pedal." Megan Rose offered.

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Race Report: Yeti Trans NZ Enduro Day 3 - Coronet Peak, Queenstown

Stu Dickson and Raewyn Morrison increase lead on epic stage

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Today riders had to face the longest and possibly hardest day of the Yeti Trans NZ Enduro and they were greeted with stunning weather and near perfect trail conditions.

Queenstown is well known for its famous bike park, but today the action saw riders take on the nearby mountain of Coronet Peak and its surrounding valleys instead. With infamous stages such as Rude Rock and Slip Saddle, it was a day everyone was looking forward to. But there was equally an air of nervousness among the riders, as this day included six stages, one thousand metres of climbing and three thousand metres of descending.

In the men’s field, it was an incredibly close race between Zac Williams (New Zealand) and Stu Dixon (Canada). Zac took impressive wins during both the opening two stages of Coronet Peak and Rude Rock/Skippers. However Stu came back strong to win the final four stages and the day honours. In the end it was just three seconds that separated the two after over six hours in the saddle and thirty five minutes of racing.

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"It's been fun and the trails have been awesome. Zac was riding really well today and I was feeling a little uneasy on the Rude Rock stage. I get scared on all the grassy hidden side stuff. I’m not used to that in Canada, so I freak out a bit. Slip Saddle was my favourite stage of the day. I'm definitely a fan of the steeper gnarly stuff." – Stu Dickson

The Rude Rock stage, which continued down Pack Track then onto Skippers Canyon, was a favourite of the riders today and it was also the longest stage so far with a winning time of 12.25min. This was followed by the mammoth liaison section, which sent riders climbing out from the very bottom of Skippers Canyon to the top of Zoot track.

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In the Women’s category Raewyn Morrison continued to dominate and has extended her lead over the second placed Amy Pryse-Phillips.

Raewyn said,  “I’m using this race as preparation to build up to round one of the Enduro World Series in Rotorua. I’m also using the chance to explore the South Island as I haven't done much of that. I would be quite keen to get top ten overall. That's my goal for the next few days.”

The fourth day of racing tomorrow moves to the dry, thyme infested hills around Alexandra. It will be another long day with six more stages and a bit more pedalling.

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Stage 3 Results

Men

  1. Stu Dickson Canada 35:30
  2. Zac Williams New Zealand 35:33
  3. Mark Dunlop New Zealand 36:58
  4. Deon Baker Australia 37:28
  5. Jeremiah Newman USA 37:31

Women

  1. Raewyn Morrison New Zealand 39:35
  2. Amy Pryse-Phillips Canada 44:22
  3. Rachael Gurney Great Briton 49:04
  4. April Bedford New Zealand 53:22
  5. Sheila Hart New Zealand 58:18

 

Overall Results

Men

  1. Stu Dickson Canada 1:13:25
  2. Zac Williams New Zealand 1:15:36
  3. Deon Baker Australia 1:16:13
  4. Mark Dunlop New Zealand 1:18:28
  5. Tilmann Schwab Germany 1:18:54

Women

1. Raewyn Morrison New Zealand 1:24:38

2. Amy Pryse-Phillips Canada 1:37:45

3. Rachael Gurney Great Briton 1:44:49

4. April Bedford New Zealand 1:58:53

5. Sheila Hart New Zealand 2:12:14

 Full results