Cross Country and Single Speed Champs

This Saturday, May 26th, sees an exciting day of racing held at Waikari Creek/Redwood Trails, with the Cross Country and Single Speed Champs. Entrants will race a course that takes around 20-30 minutes, with a set number of laps (usually 4-6) they have to complete depending on their category. The total racing time will be around 1.5 hours, and the first to complete their set number of laps will win a gold medal.

For the Single Speed Champs, we encourage you to dress up. If you don’t have a single speed bike, then you can still enter. Simply select which gear you would like to ride in and we will tape the gears. Entry for juniors is $30 and seniors $35 - or ride in both races for $50

Cross Country Champs: Registration opens at 9am and racing begins at 10am. The racing categories are:

  • Under 15 boys and girls
  • Under 19 boys and girls
  • Open men and women
  • Vet men and women 40+
  • Master men and women 50+

Single Speed Champs: Registration opens at 1.30pm with racing beginning at 2pm. The racing categories are:

  • Under 19 boys and girls
  • Open men and women
  • Vet men and women 40+
  • Masters Men and women 50+

This race has been organised by Ronel Cook, who is an integral part of the local mountain biking community.  She is also a 24-hour solo mountain biking champion, and one very inspirational rider! We sat down with Ronel to ask her a few questions about the upcoming race.

What motivates you to do the Otago Cross Country Champs?            
I love the challenge of racing and the sense of accomplishment when finishing a race. Racing is also about meeting like-minded people, trying to race each other, and having a laugh together at the finish line. I’m racing in the Single Speed Champs on the afternoon of 26th May because it is a fun event and we get to dress up. The single speeders do a few fun things in their races, so come along and find out. You can bring a geared bike - you choose which gear you want to ride and we will tape the gears up so you have a single speed.

Who are you aiming this race at?         
Any mountain biker that wants to race can enter. You will need an intermediate skill level as there will be small log drops, rocks, roots and tight corners. If the weather is true to prediction, it will be wet so there will be mud, but this will wash off.

How many people are you expecting?          
It’s hard to tell. If the weather is fine we could have many people, if it is wet some people stay away. The Facebook indication is around 30 people, but you never know.

What exciting features are there in the course or is it a secret?
Holler Coaster is one of the features, it’s got a great dip and if you hit it at speed its good fun. Also lots of cool berms and a seesaw; if you choose to ride it. It’s not a very technical course, so people will be able to ride most of it.

Who are Mountain Biking Otago (MBO) and what is their role in the race you are organising?
The stated purpose of MBO Inc is to promote and develop mountain biking as a recreational pursuit and competitive sport in the Otago region. I sit on the committee and volunteer and help wherever I can. This is the first race I am organising for the club.  MBO is offering support and guidance to enable the running of a quality event.

What happens if it rains?
We have shifted the venue to the Wakari Creek/Redwoods Trails so that we can still ride if it rains. Most trails are gravelled, so we will be able to ride them. Do expect some mud and puddles. Signal Hill will be too slippery and we would not be able to set a good enough course.

Do you have an alternative track or do you need to be hard?
You need some degree of hardness and a sense of adventure. It will be cold and might rain, but I believe if you dress for the conditions it won’t be as bad as you think it is.

How do you get started if you are keen to get into racing?
It’s easy, bring your bike and enter on the day, that is the best way to see if you like racing or not. If you have ridden in Wakari Creek before and enjoyed it, then give it a go, you might surprise yourself and win a medal.


Photo credit: Kane Fleury