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Fat tyre fever hits NZ’s adrenalin junkies

Fat tyre fever hits NZ’s adrenalin junkies

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Kashi Leuchs

Media release from Crank Events
10 December 2008

Fat tyre fever hits NZ’s adrenalin junkies

News of New Zealand’s first ever multi-stage mountain bike race has prompted a flood of entries from domestic and international level athletes.

New Zealand’s top cross-country mountain biker and Olympian, Kashi Leuchs, has teamed up with fellow national representative Marcus Roy to compete in the inaugural Skins Alpine Epic which runs from 25 to 28 February 2009 in the central South Island.

Race co-organiser Nick Ross says they are thrilled so many teams have already registered, particularly athletes of Kashi’s calibre.

“Kashi is based in France but will be spending his first summer in New Zealand for a number of years. He doesn’t often race back home so it’s a real coup for us,”he says. “He’s represented New Zealand at the last three Olympics and is our highest ranked international cross-country mountain biker.”

Kashi says “For me, mountain bike stage races are what it’s all about, and the Alpine Epic looks like it’s going to be awesome! There’s no doubt it will be a huge challenge, but looking at the course route I'm sure it’s going to be one of the best ever.”

Also swapping their boats for bikes are trans-Atlantic rowers Rob Hamill and Jamie Fitzgerald.

Forty teams have now registered for the race. While competition is expected to be fierce, the aim is to create a complete experience for riders so they’re not only blown away by the race but also by the scenery and people they meet.

“We know the high country between Mt Somers and Tekapo well - it’s a unique and starkly beautiful landscape, and great place to bike,” says Nick. “A lot of the race is through privately owned land so people will get to see parts of the high country that are not usually accessible.”

“By replicating the format of overseas events which provide full logistical support, we’ve eliminated the need for support crews and hope to create a real sense of team achievement and camaraderie among riders as they get to know each other over the four days.”

Destination Mt Cook Mackenzie General Manager Phil Brownie has welcomed the new event, saying that the new adventure adds to the Mackenzie region’s fast growing reputation as one of New Zealand’s ’must do’ adventure playgrounds.

“The Skins Alpine Epic will provide valuable promotion for the region overall and benefits to the local community who are excited about getting involved.”

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 crosses braided rivers and expanses of tussock set against the rugged mountains of the main divide. There is plenty of technical riding with a mixture of tough climbs, fast downhills, four wheel drive tracks, rolling tussock fields and open flats.

To find out more about the Skins Alpine Epic, including entry forms, supporter packages, transport, and the prize giving banquet, visit Entries are limited and close 20 January 2009.


Date: 25-28 February 2009
Venue: From Mt Somers, Canterbury, to Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook Mackenzie country
Cost: $895 per person, $1,790 per team

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