Nelson local Ethan Glover showed he owned this year's Santa Cruz Coppermine Epic, winning the race in a time of 2:03:59 and a margin of just over 10 minutes. The course was arguably slower, with a section of new singletrack to bypass the Maitai road which is temporarily closed for new pipeline building. Glover made an early break and had a 3 minute lead on the field at the top of Fringe Hill. Glover did not ease up from there and his excellent bike handling skills helped him make easy work of the tricky Black Diamond ridge. Glover continued to extend the gap and did not let up until crossing the finish line, a truly great ride by Glover. Glover will not be resting on his laurels; he will still have to defend his title of the Queenstown 6 hour Super-D race in March.
Second and third places went to two boys who celebrated their birthdays on their bikes, Kieran Hambrook and Andy Reid (Nelson). Hambrook last competed in the Coppermine in 2010, where he also finished in second place. Hambrook showed that he is still at home on a mountain bike, even though he now spends his time pro-racing road in Europe. Andy Reid placed third, his best result at the Coppermine, and showed that on his 39th birthday he is not be under-estimated and was only a minute and half behind (now 22 year old) Hambrook and two minutes quicker than junior winner 16 year old Henry Jaine.
Kim Hurst (Upper Hutt) had an incredible record-breaking ride, not only has she set a new women’s record of 2:32:34, with a massive margin just over 12 minutes, Hurst is the only women to win the race twice. Hurst, wearing an apt T-shirt that stated ‘I Eat Hills for Breakfast’ admitted that she loved the event and will be back next year to defend her title.
Erin Greene (Dunedin) showed that being new to the Coppermine was no hindrance and finished in second place. Hannah Thorne (Christchurch) matched her previous years result with a third place.
Both Glover and Hurst take home a winner’s cheque of $500 each and an extra $150 for being first to the top of Fringed Hill. The cash prize was supplied by Nelson's NBS Bank.
The Santa Cruz Coppermine attracted close to 300 entrants from around the country. Riders enjoyed a perfect Nelson day on an amazing course, a relaxed atmosphere, food supplied by Solander Seafood, refreshments by the Sprig & Fern Brewery and a chance to win a spot prize of a Santa Cruz mountain bike (worth over $3500) supplied by local bike distributor Hyperformance Hardware.
The course was in an excellent condition, and made ever better with the new piece of singletrack bypassing the previous Maitai road section. The Coppermine loop is widely regarded by recreational cyclists as one of New Zealand's best rides. The race has two courses, both climb to Coppermine Saddle through the mineral belt and returning to Nelson down the Maitai Valley. The courses cater for recreational to expert riders. A full set of results can be downloaded here.