Queenstown, New Zealand— We’ve crossed the halfway point of the Yeti Trans NZ, and Day 3 presented stunning tracks in the cinematic landscape near Queenstown, New Zealand. Classic trails and new school flow were raced one after the other, with a grand finale that completed the six hour day in a 500m drop into Arrowtown.
The morning started with a group transition up to 1650m at the summit of Coronet Peak. Everyone had to make their way to the top before the first rider could drop, since the transition and Stage 1 shared the same trail, aptly named “Enduro Track”. Overnight the tussock grass entered into a deep freeze, which put on a sparkling show for riders, and brought a sense that the austral autumn is right around the corner.
Stage 1 was fast and furious, with several tech moves for racers to put on an exhibition through big sweeping turns and poppy moves, for the assembly of riders observing from above. Carl Jones (Rotorua, NZL), who is currently leading the Open Men’s race, was the only person of the day to nail the steep, punchy climb in the middle of the stage. Everyone else had to complete a quick dismount and run 30 to 40 seconds up the pebbly access road that instantly sucked watts out of legs.
The biggest transition of the day back up the Skippers Canyon 4WD road still loomed ahead, but racers diverted from the task at hand to climb above the Shotgun River for a short and spontaneous run down Greengates, nicknamed “Pinecone Alley”. Stage 3 contained some of the best loam yet, with freshly skidded tracks streaking black dirt and throwing pine cones through spokes.
The arduous transition out of the canyon was lessened by many opportunities for riders to stop and take in the scenery. For the Lord of the Rings followers, Skippers Canyon was the filming location for the Ford of Bruienen.
Two more stages were left, and despite racers feeling fatigued, it was nothing but smiles towards the end of the day. Stage 4 which was a hoot on Zoot, which featured braided trails weaving in and out of each other. Some lines had mini booters, and other had rough rock drops. Whichever route riders chose, they were beaming as they jumped on the shuttle back up to Coronet Peak for the fifth and final stage of the day. Steep, fast, loose and ruts was the name of the game on Slip Saddle.
The liaison all the way down to Arrowtown and cold beers was almost as good as the stages throughout the day. Megan Rose, race organizer mentioned that although it could have lengthened the stage for more descending, she decided to truncate it to make the final chute more spectator friendly and incorporate in a fun cruise back to the shuttles and time-in station.
Tomorrow’s routes in Alexandra will be a complete dichotomy to week, as the Yeti Trans NZ seeks out new challenges, rocky and sandy terrain in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps. Notorious for high temps and little shelter from the intense sun in the semi-desert, Day 3 will require racers to saddle up for 100 percent human powered liaisons. Stay tuned to regular updates on Facebook and Instagram throughout the week, and daily 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.transnz.com.
DAY 3: OPEN MEN
1. Carl Jones 28:40
2. Flynn George 29:14
3. Zac Williams 29:43
DAY 3: OPEN WOMEN
1. Deborah Motsch 34:46
2. Katie Oneill 35:47
3. Melissa Newell 37:21
DAY 3: MASTER MEN 40+
1. Randal Huntington 31:16
2. Christian Wingate 33:23
3. Les Chapman 35:36