Winter event aimed at all riders

Scot Pollard, of Alexandra, makes sure to keep his feet out of the water on a creek crossing...
Scot Pollard, of Alexandra, makes sure to keep his feet out of the water on a creek crossing during the Winter Quest mountain bike race on Saturday. Photo by Eyetoeye Photos.
A different approach to holding a mountain bike race has worked well for the organiser of the event.

Winter Quest, a race held near Cromwell on Saturday, was created to fill a gap in the year-round race calendar, and provide an atmosphere where anyone could get involved.

Organiser Nigel Lines, of Bannockburn, said as well as being a race, the event kept spectators and supporters in mind, with a DJ, wine tasting, food, and entertainment and activities for children. About 300 people attended the race, including 110 entrants.

''This is creating a family day out, not just for multisporters or triathletes. We want everyone to get out and give it a go ... I think that it [the focus] is a point of difference.

''We are still going to have top riders and that is great, but at the same time it does not matter if you are overweight, just get out there and do it.''

Keeping in theme with the accessible nature of the race, bikes were available for hire for those who did not own a mountain bike, and wanted to ''give it a go''.

Mr Lines had been inspired to hold the event after he turned his health around late last year, losing about 30kg, and changing his lifestyle.

The open category was a 40km event, held over a 10km loop, with the winner passing through the finishing gate in a time of 1hr 52min 51sec.

Shorter events were held for younger riders, including a 1.6km adventure run and bike, in which the youngest participant was 2 years old.

Although Mr Lines had hoped for about 200 entrants, he still regarded the event as a success.

''It really was. It was awesome. I can't thank the local support enough. The people who came who did not race but just supported were amazing.''

Mr Lines still had hopes to expand the race to more than 700 competitors, and was planning on holding a summer event as well.

Full results will be available at website, www.questfarm.co.nz, later this week.

-leith.huffadine@odt.co.nz

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