Two teams from Oamaru performed with credit in The Pioneer, a seven-day mountain bike race from Christchurch to Queenstown, covering 550km and climbing 15,000m.
The Alps 2 Ocean team, consisting of brothers Kris and Tim Rush, held third place for the first three days until disaster struck as the derailleur on Kris’s bike shattered. The bike was converted to a single speed but, given the enormous hill climbs, progress was slow.
This resulted in the brothers having to move out of the team event, but organisers allowed them to continue as solo riders.
Tim Rush went on to gain fastest time in the next two stages, and Kris consistently placed in the top four, despite both being handicapped by 15 minutes and having to work their way through the slower grades, often on narrow single trails.
Team Oamaru Honda-Anchor Milk Otago, consisting of Blair Selfe and Harvey Weir, finished a creditable 15th place in the masters over 40 section with a total time riding of almost 36 hours.
The race itself was extremely gruelling with enormous climbs and technical downhill sections.
The jury is out on whether the Oamaru riders will go back for a second crack at the race.