VETERAN mountain bike racer and CurraNZ athlete, Kath Kelly, has had a good year of racing with the tough Tour Te Waipounamu at the top of her 'OMG' races.
1350kms of gruelling riding, hiking (with bike on back) and very little sleep was the drill for CurraNZ ambassador Kath Kelly during the multi day bikepacking race from Farewell Spit to Slope Point, the length of the South Island. Kath (pictured above) knew the race would be tough but it was harder than she thought, racing down what is effectively the fault line where the Southern Alps were born.
Bikepacking involves bike racing with minimalist camping equipment to get from A to B. Sleep is also on the ‘minimalist’ list, with Kath clocking about 20hrs sleep across the seven days, three hours and 44 minutes it took her to finish the Herculean event. The physical limits of what was possible began to set in near the final 300km and her coordination started to resemble that of a ‘drunk’ person. A brief one-hour kip at Clydevale helped recharge her cells for the final push towards the line.
Despite the torturous route, Kath enjoyed the epic nature of the mountains she found herself in, traversing privately-owned land that she would never have been able to experience otherwise.
One of the most challenging moments followed an eight-hour stint of heaving, carrying and pushing her bike (over unrideable terrain). Kath was anticipating the luxury of being able to navigate from her seat on the other side of Stag Saddle but yet another incline greeted her. The slippery steep gravel slope almost prompted tears, as two steps forward was followed by one step back. Eventually, she was able to find ridable ground and make the long descent towards Tekapo.
Kath took her CurraNZ all the way - ‘I continuously kept my intake of this product to help aid recovery while pushing my body beyond its limits!’
Finishing eighth out of the 37 competitors, Kath was the second woman across the line, which is an outstanding result considering the extreme and relentless nature of the race.
A few weeks later and Kath was again racing, this time in the Prospector three-day staged mountain bike race in Alexandra. Kath and her team-mate, Austin Garden, made a clean sweep in the Mixed Masters and won their age group division on each stage.
A huge congratulations to Kath on her race results so far!