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Olympic MTBer teams up for new Waikaremoana Challenge

Olympic MTBer teams up for new Waikaremoana Challenge

Olympic Games mountain biker Karen Hanlen is one of the early entries for November’s Genesis Energy Lake Waikaremoana Challenge, the re-versioned Lake to Lighthouse.

Hanlen is teaming up with Steve McKinstry and Dan Busch to tackle the spectacular race, which features two days of trail running, mountain biking and lake kayaking around, and on, Lake Waikaremoana.

“I've never done the race before so I’m really excited,” Hanlen emailed from Europe a few days after the Olympic Games race — and a few days before the world championships. “We've been camping up at Lake Waikaremoana before, but I don't know the area that well. It should be fun, and a good incentive to keep fit once I get home!”

Hanlen will be doing the mountain bike stages, but as a former second-place-getter in the individual section of Motu Challenge, she could aim for more in the future. “I would love to do the whole thing one day when I get the chance to train for it,” she said.

Teams’ racing is a major focus for the 2012 event, and organiser Chris Joblin hopes to get plenty of big names joining forces. Feedback from multisporters around the country has been “very positive”, he said.

The top three mixed teams will share out a hefty $19,000 (to qualify, teams must be mixed gender, with two, three or four members).

Richard and Elina Ussher, who both won all four Lake to Lighthouse individual races, also plan to be back for the Genesis Energy Lake Waikaremoana Challenge, again as individuals. The top three individual men and women will net a total of $10,000 cash.

“We think the changes are really positive for the race,” Richard noted. “It should be closer racing, more enjoyable and more achievable for people in general. It looks like it has been well thought out and will be nice to spend the whole weekend up in Tuai [where both days of the race will start and finish].”

Sam Clark, who last year joined John Gray to win the teams Lake to Lighthouse, plans to race the Lake Waikaremoana Challenge as an individual. “I’ll be back to treat it as part of my build-up for Coast to Coast,” Clark said.

Waikaremoana is of course famed for its sensational wilderness terrain. Joblin has issued a challenge to adventure racers who don’t normally do multisport, to come and test their speed in an event without navigation.

The first day’s stages are: 28km MTB, 18km lake kayak, 20km trail run / 6km MTB. The second day’s stages are: 15km MTB, 12km lake kayak, 23km trail run / 15km MTB. Entry fees start from $295 per person including three nights’ buffet meals and entertainment, camping facilities, race packs with clothing and sponsors products, and sports massage.

As well as the big race, the Sport Hawkes Bay Classic + Duathlon will again offer teams and individuals the options of a 39km multisport event or 27km duathlon — with additional focus on Iwi competition. Entry fees start from $80 per competitor.

Also new is a multiple option event for trail runners. The 20km traverse of the Panekire range on Saturday will be offered as a stand-alone event, as will the 23km Lake Waikareiti loop stage on Sunday. These two stages can be contested over the two days as an individual or a relay team.

The Genesis Energy Lake Waikaremoana Challenge and other options will be held on the weekend of 17-18 November 2012. Enter online at


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