The Coppermine Epic
The name says it all. The Epic has all the elements you could want from a New Zealand must do bike event. A massive mountain climb up to 900m, the sweetest single track through native forest with sections that will challenge all riders and stunning scenery that traverses Nelson's mineral belt. It is a 40km loop.
The loop starts at the picturesque Maitai Esplanade Reserve, on the banks of the Maitai River. The course takes a right turn and joins a dirt road passing the water pounds and up a short sharp climb to the Tantragee Saddle. From here it drops down to the Dun Mountain Trail before it begins it's gradual climb up the Dun Mountain Railway trail. 5km of easy riding gets you to the Four Corners junction. After a hard left hand turn riders will click down to granny gear and climb all the way to the summit of Fringed Hill at 900m - a no joke all out climb that will test even the fittest riders. It's worth it though - the Sprig & Fern bar at the top provides some hand-up liquid refreshment and there's the Solander Seafood King & Queen of the mountain cash prize for the first to crest the summit.
From the summit the track rolls into the native bush and follows a tramping route otherwise known as Black Diamond Ridge. The challenge here is to ride as much of this undulating ridge line as possible. The first section maintains it's height before dropping sharply down over some super fun tech sections to rejoin the Dun Mountain Trail above Third House at the start of the Wells Ridge Track. This is the 15km mark.
From here riders continue on an easy route up the Dun Mountain Trail through native beech forest, eventually entering the stark and epicly beautiful mineral belt section. The track smoothes out for a fast ride to Windy Point and past the original cromite mine shaft on the way to Coppermine Saddle, not that you will have the time to look at it. This is the halfway mark at 20km.
From here the fun really starts as it’s mostly down hill to the finish. This descent has had a full remake in recent years and with some very skilled work by the team at Bikeworks and Nelmac is now one of most flowing pieces of single track around. Everyone will love this section as it caters for all abilities and is a lot of fun to ride. The landscape is amazing and the scenery breathtaking. The lower section remains fast as you descend over the new bridge and out to the Maitai Dam. The course stays left and follows the new pipeline track for several km before dropping down to the Maitai River, crossing the road, up a short pinch climb and along some fun singletrack. Then using the Maitai Valley gravel road it’s a fast 2km to the Motor Camp (The Maitai Valley Road is open to general traffic. Normal road rules apply).
It is expected that the fastest riders will take between 2-3 hours to complete the course. All other riders can expect an event time of approx 4 to 6 hours.