Every three years you get the chance to ride Mt Peel. The Mt Peel Mountain Bike Marathon – one of NZ’s original epic mountain bike rides.
This is a fantastic event for anyone looking for a seriously challenging ride. It is an awesome course. The weather and conditions can be a challenge up on top, but when it is clear there are magnificent views of the upper Rangitata River basin and the main divide including Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.
This 75km course is reputably the toughest single day MTB course in New Zealand. Climbing to over 1600m, the course includes about 10km of flat roads but most of it is on 4WD farm tracks (some quite rocky and rough) allowing magnificent views of the upper Rangitata Basin and the Southern Alps. About an hour is spent on a very exposed ridgeline in spectacular country before a steep, rocky white knuckle descent to the Hewson and Orari Rivers, then returning to Peel Forest via Blue Mountain Station and the low Scotsburn range. There is over 2340m of climbing (mostly in one big very long climb that will have you grinding away in granny gear!), so this is not a race for novices! It requires good preparation and good gear (see compulsory gear list).
It is a race that gets all weathers. 2010 was a fabulous perfect day. In 2009 riders had to battle gale force winds, following two years of stunning riding. In 2006 the race was cancelled due to snow and riders rode an alternate Blue Mountain Gorges course.
There is a trophy and prize for the 1st female and male to the top of Coal Hill (the highest point in the race 1617m).
It starts and finishes at the Peel Forest Hall, Geraldine, South Canterbury at 8.15 AM on the Sunday Morning (NB Blue Mountain race starts at 9.00AM). So get training and ride this NZ mountain biking classic.
For those wanting an easier course then try the Blue Mountain Gorges Challenge. This course is simply awesome. Run in conjunction with the Mt Peel event. It is a true adventure that will challenge riders of any ability. With fast gravel, grunty climbs, rough 4WD tracks, numerous river and stream crossings, open grass flats, it simply has it all and is a must-do course for anyone who enjoys challenging adventure courses. It's 65kms covers some fantastic inland South Canterbury terrain. The route, incorporating over 1000m of altitude gain and loss, leaves Peel Forest and follows the Orari Gorge to Lochaber Station. There the route joins the course of the marathon for its return to Peel Forest township via Andrews Stream. There are no major climbs but the course is very undulating with lots of river crossings. The course is ideal for intermediate to expert riders who have a few technical skills.
Special trophies for winners in each race plus first male and female to the summit of Coal Hill. For those not up at the point end of the race, there are loads of spot prizes from many local businesses including adventure experiences with Air Safaris and Rangitata Rafts. Your entry fee includes a meal at the end of the race.
Entries close on March 24, 2013. We recommend you enter on-line (you can pay by Visa or Mastercard, internet banking or send us a cheque).