In the race description it stated “Hills, glorious hills” and that is definitely what the course offered. The A grade riders covered a distance of 66 kms leaving from Ashhurst and heading out to the turn point at the DOC station in Totara Reserve with a finish at the top of Valley Rd. The B grade completed a shorter distance to Highland Home and return. This shorter course was just as challenging for those who rode it. To be congratulated is Greg Baker who had registered as D grade but ended up riding the B grade distance.
Thanks to the helpers on the day and to John Stewart for bringing the trailer out to Ashhurst. Marshalls on Raumai Corner, Colin Huston, at Highland Home, Matt Levin and at Doc Station turn point Alex and Rebecca Denholm without you the race would not have been able to be run so a special thanks to you.
From the lookout on Valley Rd, where there is a clear mark on the road for the finish line (obviously used for many hill sprints in the past), great views back down the course are offered. The first glimpse that you get from this point is the straight on the other side of the Pohangina River. For the A grade race although normally it would have been hard to distinguish one rider from another at that distance it was obvious that Neil Martin was in the lead. The next glimpse you get of the riders is on the Pohangina River Bridge. By the time Neil had reached the bridge another rider had come in to view on the flat. By the time Neil had reached the next point where he was in view which is after the first climb up Valley Rd the time difference between him and the second rider was down to 27 seconds. The spectators who were standing at the top by this stage were able to recognise that the second rider was Luuk van Wagtendonk but we were unsure if Luuk would be able to catch Neil by the finish line. He certainly gave his all and was able to pass Neil before he crested the point where the finish line was in sight. Congratulations to both of these riders for a hard fought battle to the line and to the rest of the riders that completed the glorious hill course.
For full results click here