The Nelson Mountainbike Club will hold the first leg of its three-round crosscountry series at the Codgers MTB Park on Sunday.
The series has been running for many years and is designed to accommodate all levels of rider, from recreational to elite.
Age groups range from under-15 to veteran 5 (70-79), but consistently the biggest class in mountainbiking, and often the most competitive, is the veteran 3 men (50-59). This year will again see the likes of Derek Milne, Andrew Scott, Wayne Leighton, Doug Sharland, Wayne Pool and Warren Borlase battling for the 2012 title.
Milne, the winner of last year's series, will be the likely favourite. He was 2011 veteran 3 New Zealand national champion and second this year, and was in the R&R Sport team, along with Pool and David Ayre, who finished third overall in the recent six-hour Midwinter Breakout event at Kaiteriteri.
Scott has shown his pedigree with a record-setting time in the Mototapu elite veteran 3 class and the overall record in this year's Coppermine Enduro. He was also the 2006 national veteran 3 champion.
Leighton struggles to find time to train for three different disciplines, as he also competes at a high level in triathlon. Sharland was the strongest veteran 2 rider in Nelson for a number of years before taking a break from the sport, but he returned recently and has again shown some good form.
Borlase has a passion for big endurance events around the globe, such as the Cape Epic in South Africa, and tends to focus on one new event each year, using local events as a buildup.
In the veteran 4 category, the number and speed of the riders has tended to diminish somewhat, but the passion remains high. Consistently leading the men's and women's races are the husband and wife duo of Liz and Alan Eskrick, who enjoy the technically difficult events.
Bryce Buckland, a local mountainbiking legend, is expected to make Eskrick work very hard to stay at the front of the veteran 4 group.
The series caters to the whippets of all ages, but there is also a recreational class to give other riders an opportunity to test their competitive skills.
Further information at nelson mountainbikeclub.org.nz.
- The Nelson Mail