Mountain biking: First taste of enduro for Dunedin riders

Kashi Leuchs
Kashi Leuchs
A new craze which is sweeping the mountain bike world, will get its debut in Dunedin on Saturday.

The 3 Peaks Enduro race introduces the new form of enduro racing to riders in Dunedin and will have them riding on tracks usually reserved for two feet, not two wheels.

The event has been organised by Mountain Bike Otago and former mountain biking professional Kashi Leuchs is one of the instigators.

Leuchs said enduro racing was becoming more and more popular with riders across the world and he wanted Dunedin riders to taste it.

Enduro riding is raced in separate stages, which are linked by ''liaison'' legs where cyclists ride from one stage to the next. The liaison legs are not timed, although there is an overall time limit, to encourage riders to not dawdle too much.

Leuchs said the enduro format was finding massive support from riders overseas. Both cross-country and downhill riding was becoming more specialised while this form of riding was popular for ''middle of the road'' cyclists.

Another way to describe it is that riders compete in a timed downhill ride and then can have a quick snack or relax before cycling to the next stage, which is another timed downhill ride.

There are three timed downhill rides in the event on Saturday in Dunedin.

The race will start at the Bull Pen at the Pineapple Track. From there it will be a short ride up to the top of the Pineapple Track from where competitors will be timed to the car park at the bottom.

After that they will have to bike over to Mt Cargill on both public roads and private land.

The Mt Cargill leg of the event will end in Bethunes Gully, before cyclists have the second liaison leg to Signal Hill.

This will go through private land and also include the long grind to the top of Signal Hill, from where the last downhill leg will be raced.

That leg, and the event, will finish in the car park of Logan Park High School.

Leuchs said there would be a cut-off time of six hours for the race and he hoped everyone would be finished well inside that time.

More than 100 riders have registered for the event already, including Olympian Rosara Joseph, top New Zealand downhill rider Cameron Cole and New Zealand representative Mark Leishman.

Leuchs said it was a privilege for riders to be able to cycle on the Pineapple Track and down Mt Cargill and it had been great of the Dunedin City Council to let the tracks be used.

A separate downhill race will also take place, involving 10 riders, who will be driven between the downhill legs.

Fine weather is forecast for Saturday and the race starts about 10am. Should the weather turn poor, Sunday will be the reserve day.