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NZ’s first multi-stage mountain bike race

NZ’s first multi-stage mountain bike race cranks up for 2009

With four days, five stages, 5250m of vertical climbing, 259km of stunning scenery, and full logistical support, New Zealand’s first ever multi-stage mountain bike race is set to be an event of ‘epic’ proportions.

The Skins Alpine Epic, to be held from 25 to 28 February 2009, will be the first New Zealand mountain bike race to provide a stage race format and all logistical support, eliminating the need for a support crew.

The four day cross-country mountain bike race will see teams of two battle it out over 259km of picture postcard scenery from the Canterbury foothills of Mt Somers through the Southern Alps to Lake Tekapo in Mount Cook/Mackenzie country. The course, which is predominantly across privately owned land, crosses braided rivers and expanses of tussock, set against the rugged mountains of the main divide.

The team that has put the event together consists of Nick Ross, husband and wife Angus and Katherine Jennings, and Peter Savage, all from Canterbury. They have a variety of racing and business experience and are passionate about the New Zealand outdoors and the area where the race will be held.

Nick says the idea for the Skins Alpine Epic was conceived while they were racing in the TransRockies, a seven day stage race in Canada last year.

“We were having such a great time that we looked at each other and said ‘why don’t we have something like this?”

“New Zealand has always been at the cutting edge of endurance sports events but strangely there’s no stage mountain bike racing like overseas, and nothing fully supported.”

“Creating a multi-day mountain bike race for Kiwis who want a bit of an adventure, exploring some stunning, seldom visited high country, and making it easy for international visitors to come over and race was just too good an idea to pass up. We got on with it straightaway, and now, a year later, we’re go for launch.”

The organisers believe the event will attract the full spectrum of sports people, from elite level athletes to those looking for an achievable challenge, great scenery and the security of race support.

“We lay everything on - meals, transport, tents, car storage, entry, race gear bag, course notes, prize giving banquet, sports drinks on course, aid stations, medical support, camping and gear transport each day. The entry fee is $895 per person, but there are no hidden costs and it’s worth it when you don’t have to worry about a thing or convince people to run around after you” says Nick.

The organisers have secured sponsorship from Skins, Destination Mt Cook Mackenzie, R&R Sport, Swordfox Design, Suunto, Isofuel, Paraflights Queenstown, Sunrise Balloons and Sock Guy, who will provide a mix of prize money and products for competitors. Naming rights sponsor Skins, a specialist in body-moulded compression performance equipment, has pledged $5000 cash which will go to the winners of stages and categories, including men's and women's teams, corporate teams, and mixed teams.

The four-day event will round off with a fabulous banquet and prize giving at an original high-country homestead in Tekapo.

To find out more about the Skins Alpine Epic, including entry forms, supporter packages and transport, visit www.alpineepic.co.nz. Entries close on 20 January 2009.


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