This event is circled on my calendar all year, the World Championship of Multisport is right here in New Zealand, and this year it was my second time competing. The course takes you from the West Coast to East Coast, running over Goats Pass and paddling down the Waimakariri River.
We both knew Red Bull Defiance would be tough. Firstly the terrain, course designer Braden Currie wanted it to mark a new breed of multisport, so if he was aiming for a race with massive ascends, challenging terrain but still requiring speed to win, he hit the mark. Secondly the competition, with over half the field international competitors and several world champions competing it sent chills up your spine just thinking about it.
An ionic event, the name says it all. The Hillary trail takes you a total distance of 80km from Arataki Visitors Centre West of Titirangi all the way to Muriwai, via Huia, Whatipu, Karekare, Piha and Bethells. The course climbs 3700m and through bush, rugged coast lines, rivers and a bit of 4 wheels drive tracks.
The Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race came to an emotional conclusion in Queenstown today, with riders having completed 569km, 15,000m of climbing, some scintillating descending and amazing riding through the most stunning landscapes since leaving Christchurch seven days ago.
The sun continues to follow the inaugural Pioneer Mountain Bike stage race and the Kiwi/Aussie combination of Anton Cooper and Dan McConnell continue to dominate, winning Stage Six into Wanaka today to extend their already impressive overall lead to 54:13 with the final ride into Queenstown to come.
It was always going to be the longest day on The Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race and so it proved on Stage Five as riders made their way from Lake Ohau to Lake Hawea, climbing close to 4000m as they took on 107km of forest tracks, river crossings, flying descents and South island landmark the Lindis Pass.
Stage Four proved to be perhaps the most stunning so far as The Pioneer wound its way from Tekapo to Lake Ohau, skirting Lake Pukaki in the process with stunning vistas of Mount Cook to the North on another picture postcard day.