Nelson's Ethan Glover again comfirmed his dominance while Upper Hutt's Kim Hurst set a new women's record in Saturday's Santa Cruz Coppermine Epic.
Glover won the race in a time of 2hr 3min 59sec, by a margin of just over 10 minutes.
The course was arguably slower this year, with a section of new single track bypassing the Maitai Valley Rd, which is temporarily closed for new pipeline building.
Glover made an early break and had a 3min lead on the field at the top of Fringed Hill. He did not ease up from there, and his excellent bike handling skills helped him make easy work of the tricky Black Diamond ridge. He continued to extend the gap and did not let up until crossing the finish line.
Glover's next assignment is his defence of the Queenstown six-hour Super-D title in March.
Second and third places went to two riders who celebrated their birthdays on their bikes, Kieran Hambrook and Andy Reid (Nelson).
Hambrook, 22, last competed in the Coppermine in 2010, where he also finished second. He showed that he is still at home on a mountainbike, even though he now spends his time professionally road racing in Europe.
Andy Reid placed third, his best result at the Coppermine, showing, on his 39th birthday, that he is not be underestimated. He was only a minute and a half behind Hambrook, and two minutes quicker than the junior winner, 16-year-old Henry Jaine.
Meanwhile, Hurst produced an incredible ride, not only setting a new women's record of 2hr 32min 34sec, with a massive margin of just over 12 minutes, but also becoming the only woman to win the race twice.
Wearing a T-shirt that stated "I Eat Hills for Breakfast", Hurst said she loved the event and would be back next year to defend her title.
Dunedin's Erin Greene showed that being new to the Coppermine was no hindrance, finishing second. Hannah Thorne (Christchurch) matched last year's result with another third placing.
Glover and Hurst each took home winner's cheques of $500, and an extra $150 for being first to the top of Fringed Hill. The cash prize was supplied by Nelson's NBS Bank.
The Santa Cruz Coppermine attracted more than 300 entrants from around the country.
Riders enjoyed a perfect Nelson day, a relaxed atmosphere, food supplied by Solander Seafood, refreshments by the Sprig & Fern Brewery, and a chance to win a spot prize of a Santa Cruz mountainbike supplied by local bike distributor Hyperformance Hardware.
The course was in excellent condition, and made even better with the new section of track bypassing the previous Maitai road section.
The Coppermine loop is widely regarded by recreational cyclists as one of New Zealand's best rides.
The race has two courses. Both climb to Coppermine Saddle through the mineral belt and return to Nelson via the Maitai Valley. The courses cater for recreational to expert mountainbikers.
A full set of results can be viewed online at coppermine.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News