Lake Hawea mountainbiking race still an epic

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 25/04/2014

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One of the biggest challenges in New Zealand mountainbiking continues to appeal to the public.

Numbers for tomorrow's Lake Hawea Epic are slightly down on last year, but on a par with other editions, with 720 entries, including 400 competitors in the full 125-kilometreevent.

Race director Danielle Nicholson said the Epic, now in its seventh year, was still a "bucket list" event.

"This year we clashed with a few things so we are really pleased with the numbers. People are still wanting to do the full box ticker. It probably doesn't surprise that about 90 per cent of the people entered in the Epic are male - it's definitely become a bit of an ego event, everyone needs to have done it once in their life."

The introduction of a shorter 35km Traverse option had also made the event more accessible for those who hadn't managed to do enough training for the longer distance, Nicholson said.

Wanaka multisporter Dougal Allan will start as favourite in the men's race, fresh from victory at the Wenzhou adventure race in China, while 15-year-old Wanaka mountainbiker Paul Wright is hoping to improve on his third place last year.

Kath Kelly has won the women's race every year except for 2012 when she was affected by illness and Kim Hurst claimed the honours.

Wellingtonian Hurst will also be back this year.

Race organisers are also excited about their Last Man Standing initiative.

Money has been placed into a kitty each year and will eventually be presented to the final individual who has completed the most consecutive Epics.

There are 30 riders still in contention, including three women, aged from 22 to 66 and the kitty is now up to $1500.

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- The Southland Times

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