Otago pair part of field

Two Otago endurance athletes have been bikepacking their way down the South Island this week.

Kath Kelly and Ken Scott are part of the field of 37 competing in this year’s Tour Te Waipounamu, which began on Sunday.

The tour started at Cape Farewell at the top of the South Island.

Competitors bike and hike 1319km down through the middle of the island, finishing at Slope Point in Southland.

Kelly had made it beyond the halfway point, inland from Ashburton, yesterday afternoon.

Scott was inland from Christchurch.

The race is intended to take about a week.

Bikepacking involves combining mountain biking with minimalistic camping.

"It evokes the freedom of multi-day back-country hiking, but with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike," its website explains.

"It’s about exploring places less travelled, both near and far, via single-track trails, gravel, and abandoned dirt roads, carrying only essential gear."

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