The Mighty Motu continues to challenge a wide variety of endurance athletes. The four Motu events cater for most flavours of endurance sport.
The Multisport challenge now in its twenty-third year will see some great racing between up and coming athletes and the old hands like Elina Ussher. Ussher will be back in Opotiki to see if she can make it 10 titles. The Multisport challenge includes mountain biking, running, road cycling and kayaking.
Photo Credit Motu Challenge
The Riverlock Motu 160 is unique and arguably the toughest one day cycle race in New Zealand. The course sees athletes ride a 65 kilometre mountain bike from Opotiki to Motu village along the famous Motu Coach Road. From Motu village athletes then change bikes to a road bike for the last 90 kilometre ride back to Opotiki via the windy scenic Waioeka Gorge.
The Motu Duathlon which debuted last year is a step up from the Riverlock Motu 160 with athletes required to do an additional 17 kilometre run. Sound gruelling – well yes – most athletes describe the duathlon as ‘tough beyond imagination’. But many who line up for it use the race as preparation for Ironman events.
Cyclists used to riding on the road shouldn’t fear the mountain bike stage as it is all on sealed and gravel roads. Race Director Marty Madsen a pretty handy cyclist in his day does warn fellow roadies to not underestimate the mountain bike stage. “It may not be technical, but the hills will sap every last ounce of your leg strength. You’ll feel like someone has taken a jack hammer to your legs!”
The final event on the event menu is the Blue Light Mini Motu which is an off-road duathlon for the young ones. This event is based in Opotiki and is designed to encourage the next generation of multisport athletes.
The organisers have vowed to keep supporting elite athletes with some great cash prizes. There will be $10,000 on the line this year. For the majority of entrants the prize money is irrelevant and the challenge is the primary reason for taking on the event. However race organisers are thrilled to have some great spot prizes up for grabs like a $4,000 kayak and a $3,000 mountain bike.
To add to the excitement it is possible that the race record jackpot $3,000 prize could be won. This prize goes to the multisport team that beats the race record by the highest margin. The record is definitely at risk of tumbling according to race director Marty Madsen who was part of the record breaking team. “It looks like we’ll have a good flow in the river this year and changes to the event format increase the chances as well.”
If one of these events rotates your wheels make sure you enter by visiting the event website www.motuchallenge.co.nz