KARA­POTI

Adventure - - Events - The Kim Hurst in win­ning form

Cel­e­brat­ing 31 years last Satur­day, up­per Hutt’s bike barn Kara­poti clas­sic con­tin­ued its renown as the south­ern Hemi­sphere’s long­est run­ning moun­tain bike race. And women’s win­ner Kim Hurst con­tin­ued her renown as the only lo­cal to win their own race with a record break­ing ride that might well last the test of time. Es­tab­lished in 1986, the Bike Barn Kara­poti Clas­sic is the long­est run­ning moun­tain bike race in the South­ern Hemi­sphere. Based in up­per Hutt’s rugged akatarawa ranges near Welling­ton, the course is an old-school ad­ven­ture ride fea­tur­ing huge hills and river cross­ings amid re­mote and rugged for­est trails. this year some 700 riders from 10 coun­tries and all ends of new Zealand lined up for what or­gan­is­ers say might have been the best ever com­bi­na­tion of course and weather con­di­tions. The re­sult was a slew of records led by up­per Hutt’s own Kim Hurst. Hurst, orig­i­nally from Wales, won her third Kara­poti ti­tle. Per­haps still smart­ing from a rare de­feat in 2015, when a frac­tured wrist in­ter­rupted her train­ing, Hurst took ad­van­tage of the con­di­tions with a catchme-if-you-can strat­egy that saw her lead­ing from the first sec­onds of Kara­poti’s fa­mous run­ning start across the Akatarawa River. Nel­son’s In­grid Richter tried to stay close. The Ger­man-born rider has been the form moun­tain biker on the na­tional se­ries this sum­mer, but Hurst sim­ply rode away on the first of Kara­poti’s four huge hills and would even­tu­ally win by al­most 10 min­utes. The up­per Hutt doc­tor didn’t have en­ergy for a vic­tory pump as she crossed the fin­ish line, and the clock re­vealed why. She had clipped three min­utes of her own 2014 race record with an in­cred­i­ble 2hrs 42min 12secs. While pleased with the record, she had ac­tu­ally started the race won­der­ing about a sub-2:40 and pushed her lim­its the en­tire way, even crash­ing on the fi­nal de­scent off Doper Hill with just 10k to go. be­hind Hurst, richter sec­ond place 2hrs 51min 29secs to be the fifth fastest woman in Kara­poti his­tory, while Welling­ton vet­er­ans rhonda Gard­ner and ann Hunn claimed third and fourth just ahead of for­mer swiss pro sandy Vin­cent, who now lives in Nel­son. the men’s race at the 31st bike Barn Kara­poti Clas­sic was both the same but dif­fer­ent. Welling­ton’s Jack comp­ton took out new Zealand’s most pres­ti­gious ti­tle in his first at­tempt. That was im­pres­sive enough, es­pe­cially given his age at just 19 years. But the way he did it was even more im­pres­sive; con­trol­ling the race from the front in the open­ing 10k, then rip­ping it apart on the very first climb, be­fore break­ing clear on the un­du­lat­ing ridge tops lead­ing to the Rock Gar­den. “eden cruise told me the place to re­ally make a dif­fer­ence was on the ridge tops be­fore the Rock Gar­den,” said Comp­ton of ad­vice from 2016 win­ner and train­ing part­ner Eden Cruise. “I re­ally pushed it along there, prob­a­bly too hard ac­tu­ally be­cause it re­ally caught up with me on the last climb up Doper’s Hill. That re­ally hurt.” Comp­ton needn’t have wor­ried. fin­ish­ing eight min­utes clear of Woodville’s Gareth Can­non and cana­dian cory Wal­lace, the porirua rider clocked 2hrs 10min 25secs to be­come the sec­ond fastest ever at Kara­poti. Only cur­rent com­mon­wealth Games gold medal­list an­ton cooper has rid­den faster with his 2014 race record of 2hrs 07min 57secs. on a day of records right down the age group cat­e­gories, there was also room for ground break­ing rides. Peo­ple like Welling­ton’s 71-year-old peter sch­mitz, who fin­ished his 27th con­sec­u­tive Kara­poti Clas­sic. And oth­ers such as palmer­ston north’s noel pollard and christchurch’s sharon Prut­ton, who broke two records each. pollard smashed his own record for the 70-plus men by 11 min­utes with 3hrs 53min 22secs and at age 74 be­came the old­est ever fin­isher. Prut­ton broke the women’s 60 to 69 age group record by 11 min­utes with 3hrs 34min 10secs to be­come the el­dest ever fe­male fin­isher, and claimed eighth over­all among women. Held an­nu­ally on the first Satur­day in march, the 32th an­nual bike barn Kara­poti clas­sic is sched­uled for March 4th.

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