BECA (Jeremiah’s employer) sponsored several teams in a mountain bike race event yesterday (map above). 3-4 people per team took turns riding laps around the trail marked out through the ‘forest’ (planted pines) for 6 hours, or 12 hours for the really rugged. Crazy individuals had the choice of riding the 6 hour or 12 hour stint all by themselves. Teams with the most laps around the course won. The course was mostly through the river flats next to the Waimakariri River, so not a lot of elevation, and bikers of any ability could participate. There were 1600 riders, with teams about 500 on the course at any one time. To see what the start looks like with 500 mountain bike riders, check out the video below. The start was actually a 300 meter run to collect your bike along a long avenue, then squeeze through a livestock fence gate and on to the course. The race magistrate had a typical dry Kiwi sense of humor (reminiscent of the Brits), and on the course review he warned riders of where the initial bottlenecks would be, like underneath a bridge. “It’s steel,” he chided, “just take it easy.” He was really good about keeping the tone of the race good-humored, making sure riders were courteous when out on the course.
The forth member of the bike team had to go home early, so we put Milo is as the fourth rider….in the picture only.
Here’s Jeremiah waiting at the BECA tent for his team member to come in. The course snaked through a big field filled with tents, team riders and support crews. You had to be very careful crossing the course to avoid getting hit by a rider careening around the corner of a tent.
Riders wore a timing gizmo on their ankles, which got transferred whenever team riders switched. It doesn’t do to be lazy about this step–a loop wasn’t counted if the rider wasn’t wearing the anklet.
Take off! Jeremiah will ride the 12 kilometer loop, sweating and breathing dust, after which another team member will take a turn.
We brought Milo’s bike from the toy library and he says he’s going to be racing next year. It got nice and warm during the day (“scorching hot” by Kiwi standards, probably 75 degrees F), so Milo shucked his pants.