The North Face Peak to Peak was a battle for line honours in challenging conditions between former titleholder Dougal Allan (Wanaka) and defending champion Adam Milne (Christchurch) with Allan stamping his name on the trophy for the third time, clocking 2.20.52 just under a minute ahead of his rival.
The field attracted 56 individuals and 85 teams and the 44km race started at the top of The Remarkables with a 2km ski/snowboard on The Homeward Bound run finishing at the skifield access road. A 17km mountain bike ride down the high altitude road finished at Frankton Beach but rough conditions on Lake Wakatipu saw only the field leaders completing the 7km paddle to Queenstown Bay.
Race Director Geoff Hunt says a call was made for safety reasons to divert most of the kayakers to the shore on the edge of the Queenstown Gardens.
“The winds were whipping round the point and it was too dangerous to continue on the choppy lake into the Bay. Competitors landed close to the Queenstown Gardens and ran to Queenstown Bay. It was the best option on the day.”
Allan and third placed Gavin Mason (Wanaka) completed the full course but Milne, who was slower on the ski section, did not paddle around the Gardens headland.
From Queenstown Bay it was a 9km run to the Coronet Peak turn-off followed by a gruelling head wind 9km cycle up the Coronet Peak access road to the finish line at the ski area base buildings. Milne paid tribute to Allan’s skills, particularly in the cycling section. “I always knew he would get me on the Coronet Peak road because he is such a great cyclist.”
Milne finished the race in 2.21.15 and Mason who was second to Milne last year made the finish in 2.27.38.
Wanaka’s Simone Meier successfully defended her title crossing the line in 2.31.08 shaving six minutes off her 2010 time. She beat former winner Joanna Williams (Wanaka) who clocked 2.40.00 also several minutes faster than her winning time in 2009.
The Fergburger team retained its 2010 title in the open team’s event with a solid win in 2.03.06 only slightly slower than last year’s time of 2.02.51. Fergburger and Outside Sports went head to head on the course but Fergburger’s secret weapon, cyclist Jamie Early, provided too hard to catch on the final ascent to Coronet Peak. Dunstan High Five completed the course in 2.26.42 to win the business team title ahead ofDowner Transportation in 2.33.34.
The NZSki area challenge set up this year to encourage inter-ski area competition was won by the Remarkables team “One under 30” in 2.36.53 ahead of Coronet Peak’s “One over 50” team in 2.47.29. Cardrona men’s team was the overall ski area winner in 2.20.18.
Nine school teams entered from around the region which Hunt says is “a fantastic sign for the future of multisport. It was great to see the young athletes out there recording some excellent times. There are some names there that I am sure we will hear a lot more about.”
The winning school team was Central Southland College (Winton) correct in 2.34.26 ahead of Queenstown’s Wakatipu High School in 2.38.51.
Three individual junior males competed with clear honours going to Henry Buckingham (Invercargill) in 2.49.40. The youngest competitor of the day was 11-year-old Sam Portegys (Alexandra) racing in the Alex Boys team with a average age of just 13 years.
The veteran men’s title went to Brett Leyden (Christchurch) in 2.31.19 and Viv Buchanan (Cromwell) took out the women’s title in 3.41.16. The veteran team winner was Avanti Plus “Winners” (Dunedin) in 2.14.34 five minutes ahead of the Avanti Plus “Grinners” (Dunedin).
Cardrona Women won the women’s team section in 2.36.33 and the mixed team title went to Teca (Dunedin )in 2.38.00.