River runs deep . . . Oamaru mountain biker Tim Rush (right) and Edwin Crossling traverse a river during the Contact Epic race last weekend. PHOTO: CONTACT EPIC

Tim Rush is a jack of all trades – and master of most of them.

The versatile Oamaru cyclist was at it again last weekend, winning the Contact Epic mountain biking race around Lake Hawea.

Another Oamaru-based rider, professional ironman athlete Dougal Allan, was second.

It might have sneaked under the radar while everyone had eyes on the Commonwealth Games but the Epic is a big deal.

It attracts more than 700 competitors, and the feature race – a gruelling 125km trek – lives up to the “epic” name.

The race started at 7am on Saturday with the temperature gauge showing a balmy -1degC, and with several riverbed crossings along the way, there was no danger of the riders overheating.

Rush, a former New Zealand champion, was one of many regular road racers converting to the fatter-wheeled bikes for the event.

He and brother Kris joined Allan and former Alexandra professional road rider James Williamson in setting a blistering pace over the first 50km.

Steep hill climbs then took their toll and split the field. Tim Rush capitalised, built a handy lead and poured on the power on the hills to increase the buffer, eventually finishing in 4hr 38min.

Allan was 6min behind with Kris Rush claiming third after a sprint finish with Williamson.

Other North Otago cyclists to feature included Coast to Coast competitor Paul Gow (30th in open men 125km), David Rush (40th in masters men 125km) and Brett Stuart (44th in masters men 95km).affiliate link traceAsics Onitsuka Tiger