What do most people say to you when you explain your plans for a big bike ride, holiday or trip away? “Man, I want to go ride there someday”, “Wow, I wish I was going” or maybe “You’re so lucky, I wish I was doing that”! Well, those are typical responses event organiser Megan Rose used to hear when she told other riders, back home in Canada that she spends her summers in New Zealand. The reply probably came after she described one of the many incredible trails she rides on a daily basis in the areas of Craigieburn through to Queenstown.

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I’m talking typical riding days of 2,000m plus of descending, pushing it up to over 3,000m for a big day out, all over the most beautiful, varied, astounding terrain with views for miles and scenery to die for. With the increase in popularity of multi day enduro’s, Megan decided to give those riders we mentioned above a reason to get out to New Zealand and sample the riding for themselves.

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So, the Yeti Trans New Zealand was born, a five day enduro with three to six hours riding per day. The race dates are the 7th to the 11th March 2015 and its creeping up fast on me! As is normal with the enduro format these days the climbs are untimed and the descents timed, with the descent times all added together over the span of five days to give each individual rider an overall result and a place on the leaderboard. Makes it sound like something you’d want to give up work for a year and go check out doesn’t it? Well, that’s exactly what I’ve done, the first three months of which start in New Zealand and I’m entered in the Yeti Trans New Zealand! Multi day enduro racing is a relatively new concept to me. I took part in the Trans Savoie in France last year so this will only be my second race of this type. These races are ridden ‘blind’, so no riders will have seen the stages beforehand or have any idea what kind of trail they are about to race down. I’m hoping for a more solid performance in terms of my confidence over previously unsighted trails and just generally to have a pretty awesome week amongst some pretty cool people doing something we all love!

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Megan is pretty experienced in the event management game, she studied the subject at university and has previous experience running a 25 day road bike event that covered 7,000kms. She also runs the popular BC Enduro Series in Canada each year. She is a racer herself as well so combines her business knowledge with vast experience, channelling her energy into organising mountain bike races, the perfect occupation for her! Megan is pretty much a one woman band where the planning, marketing and logistics are concerned, she states she is sleeping, eating and breathing van shuttles and race statistics at the moment! Taking this event from the initial idea through to the end result of actually holding it is no mean feat.

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Organising and transporting over 100 riders over 5 days is one thing, then quite often Megan will be thrown a curveball in the form of a trail that needs to be changed. If a permit for a particular route is taken away then there is nothing else for it but to re-route, often having a knock on effect on the rest of the day. Throughout the planning stages Megan has been assisted by various members of the New Zealand biking community including Nick from Gravity Canterbury Club, Phil from Altitude bikes in Alexandra and others in Queenstown plus more friends who have had their brains picked regarding unique trails! During the race though she is joined by a team of 30 marshals, first aiders, shuttle drivers, and photographers to name but a few. In addition a variety of companies and shops support the race, these are: Yeti, Marleen Wholesalers (Maxxis), Camelbak, Rufus at Back Alley Bikes, Vertigo Bikes (Queenstown) and SOS Rehydrate.

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The Yeti Trans New Zealand is a fully supported race, meaning Megan and the team look after each racer from the moment they step foot in New Zealand until the moment they leave. Airport transfers, accommodation, meals and bike maintenance are all included so all the riders have to think about is the day ahead. That’s a pretty good thing, they are going to need all the energy they can muster as as the days look like this:

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Day 1 Craigieburn Forest

  • 30km, 1300-1500m of climbing and 4-5 hours in the saddle
  • Alpine riding, beautiful scenery and a real mix of trail types from exposed, high speed to roots and loose dirt.
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Day 2 Mount Hutt

  • 20km, 800m of climbing, a 2-3 hour day
  • A big drive today and a long day tomorrow makes the riding on day two slightly shorter. A little bit of everything on the trails today where the weather could leave its mark!
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Day 3 Queenstown Alpine

  • 30km, 2000m of climbing, 3200m of descending and 4-5 hours of riding.
  • Pure, crazy alpine riding over a mix of open, flowing trails and steep technical routes.
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Day 4 Alexandra

  • 30km, 1200m of climbing and about a 4 hour day
  • Riding in Alexandra is different to all other locations – dry and rocky trails beautifully built by local riders and stupidly fun! It’s hot and exposed here too, plenty of sunscreen needed!
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Day 5 Tour of Queenstown

  • Surprise distances today! Approximately 3-4 hours in the saddle.
  • Plenty of shuttles will be on offer today, some solid root networks will be seen and the downhillers of the bunch will be whooping and hollering down the last stage of the race!
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There are a strong mix of riders taking part, tips for the top spots from the race organiser include Kashi Leuchs (XC Olympian), Stu Dickson (BC Enduro winner) and local racers Zach Williams (Dunedin) and Mark Dunlop (Nelson). There is a talented field of 20 women taking part too, all of whom I’m sure will be looking to the podiums. Megan’s ethos is to put smiles on racers’ faces and to fill their veins with adrenaline, she strives to provide great opportunities for mountain bikers and believes the Yeti Trans New Zealand will do this. With such a passionate and intelligent lady working like a horse behind the scenes I am sure the Teti Trans New Zealand can be nothing other than a success! Look out for my daily race blog on Enduro Moutain Bike Magazine to follow my progress, the race begins on the 7th March 2015.

Words: Rachael Gurney Photos: Matt Wood

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