Gardyne looking forward to No 15

Dunedin cyclist Brent Gardyne competes in the Motatapu event last year. PHOTO: FINISHERPIX.COM
Dunedin cyclist Brent Gardyne competes in the Motatapu event last year. PHOTO: FINISHERPIX.COM
Dunedin cyclist Brent Gardyne is entering rare territory.

The 51-year-old is a member of a just seven-strong club to have never missed a Motatapu race and he looks forward to continuing that run this Saturday.

He has raced every year of the past 14 years and said time had flown.

"It really doesn't seem that long ago. Once I had done it a few times I thought I had to try and crack 10 and since I have just kept coming back,'' he said.

"I had an ankle operation a couple of years ago that I had to recover from, and I made it just in time for that year.

"I guess I have been aware of the run I have been on and it is now something I think of every year.''

Gardyne works at the University of Otago and is "old school'' in his thinking, worried less about how fast he can ride, and more about the countryside he is riding through.

"I remember doing an old race in the opposite direction once before, but just the chance to take part in an event like this in such iconic New Zealand countryside that you otherwise can't ride through, it was an easy decision really.

"I was doing the odd mountain bike race and multisport event at the time, dabbling in a few events. For me it has always been about getting out and doing it with your mates.

"I think that is what most do it for. There are a bunch of riders out the front, but most are like me, challenging themselves.

"We have had all sorts of conditions over the years, but the bad years are unusual as the weather is normally really good and the region turns it on for all the visitors. But regardless, you take the good with the bad.

"I had one year when I broke the chain three times - probably operator error! I realised it wasn't going to be my day but quietly rode to hang on and finish on the bike rather than walking, which was good.''

Gardyne is going into the 15th anniversary race in a relaxed frame of mind and is ready to enjoy his surroundings.

"What always impresses me is standing at the start, in among a few thousand cyclists, all looking to take on the same piece of countryside. It is not often you get that feeling or see that many cyclists in one place; it is pretty cool.''

Gardyne has no plans to step back from the event. He is on his third bike in 15 years.

This year's event is spread over two days with three events on each day.

The ultra run, xterra triathlon and mountain bike take place on Saturday with the off-road marathon, miners' trail and the sawpit trail on Sunday.


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