CENTURION: 100 miles of Epic (160km)
New in 2019 the Centurion riders will start at 7.00am with the Epic riders and head to the turn around 65 km further up the Hunter Valley. However while everyone else turns back and crosses the Hunter River the Centurions will venture off into uncharted territory and push a further 17.5 km up the same side of the Hunter Valley, past scrubby and Ferguson Huts almost to the base of Mt Ferguson itself. You will then travel back the same way and cross the Hunter River at the same place as the other Epic and Classic riders. Then its just a lazy old 65km to go. All jokes aside, the additional course is challenging and demanding. Two river crossing are required and a little bit of river bed riding before finding a descent track again. Due to the length of this challenge it is recommended to competitors that can or have completed the Epic Course in under 7:00hrs, are self reliant, can maintain a pleasant disposition and sense of humor.
The Epic course remains the flagstone event for prize money. Last Man Standing competitors may compete in the Centurion or Epic but if they fail to reach any of the cuts offs they will be withdrawn from the LMS competition accordingly.
However for the super-fit who want to be part of this significant challenge and join the Centurion 100 mile club this is the race for you.
See below for Epic and Classic course descriptions.
General: The Epic is the full monty and test piece of this event.
- The course has over 2400 metres of vertical ascent and descent. Its not a turn your brain off track, its varied, narrow in places, rocky and undulating. It is relatively unmarked getting from the Hunter Valley to the start of the river crossing. There are also lots of fast open sections of 4×4 track, so something for everyone.
- 7:00am a mass start on the start of the Contact Energy Dam on Domain Road, Lake Hawea.
- Ride west along SH 6 for 23 km, passing the Lake Hawea lookout. Turn right at the neck along Mead Road to gain access to the Hunter Valley, heading towards Kidds Bush.
- This is the start of the 4×4 track. Ride for 6 km and pass through the Kidds Bush Recreational Reserve. Kidds Bush is the start of the 95km Classic ride.
Read below to continue with the Epic course description…
- General: The Classic is most of the Epic except for the 23km road section from Hawea to the Kidds Bush turn off. Plus the 6 km gravel road to Kidds Bush. Its approx 2120 metres of elevation gain and the same of descent.
- From Kidds Bush, another 5 km on is the Hunter Valley Homestead and the road gives straight access to the Hunter Valley Station Road that will take you to the head of Lake Hawea.
- This is where the track gets interesting. The next 20km include a few creek crossings, a couple of climbs (highest point 525m) and descents while passing old hunting and fishing huts. Evidence of the lake rise in 1958 is seen towards the head of the lake as the old forest tree stumps, black and aged emerge from the lake itself like tombstones of a by-gone era.
- You ride past the head of the lake for about 9 km passing Boundary Hut as you head further up the Hunter Valley. At about the 62.5 km mark you will go through a gate that will be Marshaled and this is your turn around point. Now head straight across the the rocky river bed to the crossing point that will be marked by Marshalls.
- Appropriate safety will be in place to ensure you can cross the river safely; personal assistance will be available if necessary.
- You will cross the Hunter River and start heading south back toward Hawea on the Dingle Burn Station 4×4 track. About 3.5km on from the river crossing is Green Bush Hut and Aid Station 1. This is the best place to dry off after the river crossing and prepare for the last section. Again, there are some sharp little climbs, longer descents and rocky sections for the next 20 km’s or so past Green Bush.
- Only through this event are competitors allowed access the Dingle Burn Station homestead and then on to the Dingle Burn Station Road. This is where Aid Station 2 is with Tea and Scones.
- The next few km’s take you along the amazing bluffs of Rocky Point where you catch a view of Mount Aspiring to the west if you know where to look and the lake 30 meters directly below you.
- After rounding the bluffs you are now on a more sedate gravel road for the next 20km. Heat Break Hill is the last hill climb out of the Timaru Creek. After that the road takes you back to the Lake Hawea Motor Inn.
- The finish line is in the Lake Hawea Motor Inn and your journey will end here, in the garden bar, flaked out on the grass, listening to some pleasant music with a cheeky little pinot or a cold beer (or three!).
For further visual course information review the Gallery Pages.
The Contact Epic is Outdoor Mark certified and DOC approved: