Yeti Trans NZ Begins February 25
Yeti Trans NZ Presented by Shimano the Storm Begins February 25
Queenstown, NZL— As Cyclone Gita storms the South Island, the 2018 Yeti Tranz NZ presented by Shimano preps for its fourth year of enduro stage racing New Zealand’s most epic and tantalizing trails, February 25 – March 1.
“We’ll have a couple days of nice weather right before the race, but we are expecting another system to push through on Sunday, the first day of racing,” said Megan Rose, founder and event director of the Yeti Trans NZ. “This might be the first full 5-day wet Trans NZ on record.”
The race will commence in Craigieburn Forest Park, where racers are thrown straight into the gauntlet on steep, exposed, rocky and rooty trails. Talk to any local and they will grin in delight when you mention Craigieburn— the tracks are that good. After two days of exploring the contrast of high-alpine and dense beech forests, racers will be transported across the South Island to Queenstown, the “Adventure Capital of the World”, for three days of exploring the area’s best trails from a local’s perspective.
“Every time I arrive back at Craigieburn and capture the first glimpse of the mountain range in front of me, it is always a magical place. I love being able to bring riders from all around the world to share this same joy and the incredible riding there,” Rose said. “As for Queenstown— those guys just know how to GSD (Get Shit Done). That’s their motto. Each year I return, another trail has gone in and another project is in the works.”
With 85% of the racers taking on the Yeti Trans NZ for the first time, there will be many new perspectives to be shared throughout the week. Each day of reporting will be viewed through a different lens – amateurs, foreigners, locals, volunteers, media, medics, pros and of course the wizard, herself, behind the curtain.
“I heard about the event from a number of my mates from the Red Hill Riders Mountain Bike Club in Australia who said it was rad,” said Mike Doria (Sydney, AUS) Open Men. “I'm always keen to ride new trails and have never done a 5-day event like this before, so I jumped at the chance to challenge myself and my bike thanks to Mondraker Australia and DHaRCO clothing.”
Eleven countries and four countries will be represented with 32 percent calling New Zealand home. The field is split half and half between Masters and Open racers. Despite the low-key “race” aspect surrounding the Yeti Trans NZ, the event attracts a high caliber of racers who are keen to go as fast as they can, while having a fun time while doing it.
Jerome Clementz (Mulhouse, FRA) is a consistent contender for the top of the box. Paul Van der Ploeg (AUS) returns to best his third place at the 2017 Yeti Trans NZ. American Yeti rider Tom Sampson (Plymouth, USA) is new to the enduro scene, but has the legs and skills to push his way up. Kashi Leuchs (Dunedin, NZL), ex-Olympian and NZ Yeti distributor, has a target on his back in the Master 40+ Men’s category. You can never rule out the underdogs who will emerge throughout the week.
“I have always enjoyed multi-day enduros and had a great experience last year at the Trans BC. The organization, the vibes and trails were great and motivated me to visit New Zealand,” Clementz said. “Besides escaping European winter, racing in New Zealand is a great way to launch my season. I’m looking forward to more blind stage races, where you have the opportunity to share memories with a mix of riders and discover new trails in a new place.”
Coming out of British Columbia, Emily Slaco (Pemberton, B.C.) knows a thing or two about riding in wet, slippery conditions. Her third place at the 2017 Trans BC Endurowill be matched the 2017 Yeti Trans NZ winner, Melissa Newell a.k.a. “Mops” (Wanaka, NZL) Open Women.
With the forecast looming over us, the field will inevitably be shuffled around by the conditions, skills, local knowledge, and a little luck with mechanicals and keeping the rubber side down.
“We’ve got a few new trails for the racers to try out. It’s been raining the last few days, so by the time the Trans visits Alexandra, it should be grippy,” said Phil Oliver, owner of Altitude Bikes and trail boss in Alexandra. “The last two stages on day four will be pretty wild. Young Bradley Harris will return hungry to beat the entire Open Men’s field once again— he’s flying pretty well.”