Soaked trails provided extreme riding conditions on the second day of the Yeti Trans NZ Enduro at Mount Hutt. Better known for being Canterbury's major commercial ski field, the mountain also boasts some epic mountain bike tracks and as recently as last year hosted the Oceania downhill mountain bike championships.
While the weather was a huge improvement from the previous day, a full days rain had left the ground saturated and greasy. Soaking in the vast views of the Canterbury Plains the riders lined up for Stage 1, known as Diggler. This was a quick dash to the bottom of the hill that consisted of some wide-open, high-speed ridgeline riding, followed by what could accurately be described as a steep muddy rut.
Zac Williams, sitting in 3rd place going into day two said,“the first stage was short and sweet and summed up what we were riding on for the day. It was really slick. Yesterday was stone based so we had some grip, but today was just really slick.”
The competitors were then shuttled back to the top of the hill to the beginning of Behemoth, which made up the first Liaison Stage and Stage 2. Behemoth was steep, rocky, rutty and treacherous.Beginning with a steep chute that ended in a super tight right hand corner, it was obvious from the beginning that stage two was going to be a challenge.
Megan Rose, the Race Organizer, stated "Stage 2 today was definitely the hardest stage of the full five days, with the steep and super slippery conditions putting many riders outside of the comfort zones. Stage 1 and 3 werestill pretty gnarly but Stage 2 took the cake."
Zac Williams shared this opinion. "Stage 2 was full of steep aggressive chutes that caught a lot of people out. Probably the most technical stage of the race so far.”
Stage 3 started once the racers had completed a grueling 60min, 600m climb.This was the longest stage of the day and had a mixture of different trail surfaces and conditions. It was rocky and loose at the beginning, whichbecame a slushy bog in the middle and then back to riding slick ruts in the bottom third. Asolid amount of pedaling was thrown in for good measure.
The riders left for Queenstown at the end of the day stoked with the tracks and looking forward to the sunshine and dryer conditions that the weather gods had promised.
"It was great. It was my first time here, and I will come back in a heartbeat "Zac Williams said.
"For tomorrow we are expecting a gorgeous sunny day and we are going to be up the top of coronet and it's just spectacular views up there. It's going to be the longest day with the most climbing. It's going to have everything in it from fast flow to technical to pedal." Megan Rose offered.