Nevis Valley Gutbuster
Friday, 25 November 2022
The Nevis Valley Gutbuster forms part of the action-packed Subway Cromwell Summer Series that comprises this event, another MTB ride, a triathlon, a road cycle race, and a half marathon.
Test your fitness limits with this 75km endurance ride through the iconic Nevis Road from Garston to Bannockburn.
Participants start at Garston Township, 315m above sea level, and ride 1.5km on State Highway 6 before turning off onto the metalled Nevis Road. A further 2km of uphill is just an introduction to the gutbusting climb to the 1100m summit, past a historic ski hut, and overlooking the Nokomai River. Riders climb some 800m in 12km, a grade of 1:14.
Early bird entry of $70 is available for those who register before 14 November. Standard entry of $90 after that. Online entries will close at 8 pm, Thursday 25 November.
Entries can also be done on the day – EFTpos will be available.
Past the Ben Nevis Station and sheepyards (your only comfort station on the trip!), riders reach the Nevis Crossing Bridge, some 52km from the start and at 660m above sea level. From the bridge, riders face another gutbusting ride up to Duffers Saddle at 1300m (gradient 1:12), then another 8km steep downhill on a good metalled surface, to the Nevis turn-off. The sealed road to Bannockburn is an easy 5km to the finish line at the Bannockburn Domain at 252m above sea level. The domain has lots of grassy area and shady trees for participants to relax in after the race, and is a stones throw from the Bannockburn Hotel.
The weather in the Nevis Valley can change very quickly so take note of the following suggestions and observe the instructions of your support convoy staff.
Starting a long, gradual downhill and following a good 4WD track, riders cross about 25 fords, passing Drummond and Commissioner Creeks where past and present gold mining operations provide interest to the spectacular landscape.
Transport from Bannockburn
There will be a truck to load bikes on to plus a bus to carry riders from the finish at Bannockburn around to the start at Garston. This is available at an extra $30 per person. Must be booked in advance. Bus and truck leave from the paddock outside the Bannockburn Hotel at 8 am – please arrive by 7:30 am to allow time to load your bikes.
The start at Garston
The race starts at the information kiosk adjacent to the public toilets and Garston Hotel on State Highway 6 (see sketch). Registration is from 9.00am. Briefing will be at 10.45 am. Competitors must listen carefully to instructions at the briefing, and note that an ‘Event Plan’ is available for inspection. The race will commence at 11.00 am. There will be an early start option at 10 am for riders who expect to take longer than 6 hours. Riders are to keep as far to the left side of the highway as possible (normal road rules apply), and a traffic marshal will assist the turn-off onto Nevis Road. If you have excess gear at the start, you can hand to our Registration Staff in a labelled bag who will take it to Bannockburn.
Get A Team Together!
If 75km and the ‘gutbusting’ climbs are leaving you a bit daunted… what about getting some mates or colleagues together, taking the 4WD and share the pain (fun!)? Drop one rider at the start. Your 4WD with bikes on your carrier must leave 30mins prior to the race start to make sure the vehicles are well out of the way of the riders. Drop your next riders off where-ever you like through the course. Your 4WD must wait at ‘the Crossing’ (the bridge before the final gutbusting climb out of the Nevis valley). A tail-end vehicle and trailer will pick up your earlier riders as they finish their sections. Check out the detailed map/profile to see how the course is broken into sections. You’ll need at least one team member who’s not keen on fast down-hill descents to drive the 4WD, someone who’s a good climber! Someone who likes it straight and flat… and of course someone who’s fast and stable on the downhills! Team members are allowed to ride sections while waiting for their mate to arrive. E.G. if you are being driven into the Nevis to ride a middle section you are welcome to hop out at the top of the first climb and ride the down-hill into the valley. Or once your team is all back together at ‘the Crossing’ and your driver is taking you up the last climb – everyone (except the driver) can get out at the top and ride the downhill all the way to the finish if they want. The timing transponder must be passed on from rider to rider with the last one wearing it around their ankle.
Yes you should be taking this sort of stuff anytime you head out into the mountains but for those of you who like lists here’s ours. Random checks will be made – if we think your pack looks light and find you are ill-prepared you could be pulled before you even start! You get high and potentially exposed to southerlies so you’d be stupid not to have:
Thir or headband (hat you can wear under your helmet).
Mid-weight fleece or merino top (you can easily pull over your cycle top)
Seam-sealed (waterproof) jacket. Shell is fine.
Also – spare tube, pump/gas canister.