THE BIG EASY - Kevin Wilson reporting from the scene of the punishment

The Big Weekend

I kidded Andrew Benger and Eugen Stark that it would be a good idea to go to Wanaka for the weekend of 24/25 January and compete in the “Big Easy”. It was a good idea and a great trip was had. We overnighted in Christchurch on Thursday, took the scenic route to Geraldine and then to Wanaka on Friday.

The event was 49k cross country ride, mostly on four wheel drive tracks, starting at 1520m asl at the Cadrona Snow Farm and finishing in Albert Town. The route headed east from the Snow farm climbing to 1915 m asl (or 6,280 feet in the old language) and just under the top of Mt Pisa (1963 masl). I had about 300m of pushing the bike to get to this point as motor ran lean on rarefied atmosphere and wanted to stall on the loose and rough surface. The route then veered north along the top of the Pisa Range.

The first of the quite rough ‘downs’ followed by another ‘up’ with another 200m of pushing the bike. To say it was all downhill from here (about the 19k mark) would be to lie. There were some more sharp ‘ups’ but they generally got shorter.  Short sections of the ‘down’ were ‘interesting’ to say the least. The last 12 ks from the McKay Station yards (behind Luggate) to Albert Town was a mix of gravel road, paddock and a little single track completed in 30oC plus heat.

For the record, an Under 19, Paul Wright was first in 2hrs 5 min and 2 minutes ahead of the first Open Man (35-49). Five of the first 10 places went to Under 19 Males. Testosterone cutting in I think. Andrew clocked up 3hrs 6 min to be 60th overall, Eugen got a puncture early on and was 113th in 3 hrs 54. I made in 4 hours on my clock but officially 4 hrs 2 min to be 125 out of 144. Achieved several objects (or nearly): home in 4 hours, no damage to man or new machine, had some great photograghs, was not last like the last big cross country race I did, and was not completed wasted although the orange light was blinking. Did have to re-hydrate with a couple of the sponsors fine products and we were forced to have another refuelling stop in Wanaka on the ride around the lake back to our accommodation.

Drove home Sunday via Hokitika reaching Blenheim just after 7pm. A great ride and scenery in near perfect weather and a ‘big’ weekend.

Kevin Wilson