Last weekend's men's Coast to Coast champion Richard Ussher is expected to challenge local favourite Ethan Glover for the title in the fifth annual Santa Cruz Coppermine Mountainbike event in Nelson tomorrow.
A specialist mountainbiker, Glover knows the course backwards and will be looking for his first win in the Epic.
Wellington's Tim Wilding has also been a consistently high podium finisher in the last four events and will be pushing hard for his first win.
In the women's race, it should be a great race between multisport specialists Elena Ussher, Richard's wife and Coast women's winner, and Fleur Lattimore.
The track, which follows New Zealand's first railway, had a significant makeover in 2011. The descent to the Maitai dam was the focus of the upgrade by Nelson City Council contractors.
The Coppermine offers two courses.
The Enduro course follows the Dun trail and is suitable for most intermediate bikers with good fitness. It has a grade three intermediate level ride of between three to five hours.
For those wanting a more formidable challenge, the Epic course is aimed at mountainbike racers or those with experienced riding skills.
Tomorrow's event offers a well-organised Nelson back-country mountain bike experience. There are many spot prizes, including a $5500 Santa Cruz mountain bike and $1300 cash from NBS to the winners.
Spectators and supporters are encouraged to come along and watch. The start and finish area is 2km up the Maitai Valley just before the Waahi Taakaro Golf Club.
There will be coffee, gourmet seafood, massage, and sponsors' tents at the vicinity of the finish line.
There are no entries on the day. Race start is at 9.30am and the first riders are expected over the finish line at approximately 11.30am.
More information is available at coppermine.co.nz.
- The Nelson Mail