Around Brunner cycling numbers down to 400

By Nicholas McBride

Numbers are down and top spots are up for grabs in the Around Brunner Cycle Ride on Saturday.
About 100 fewer riders are entered, and none of the previous winners are in the running.
Organiser Dale Coulter told the Greymouth Star yesterday about 400 riders had entered so far, although he expected to have more than that by race day.
Last year’s total was 570.
Coulter said just over half the entrants were from Christchurch, about 15% from the West Coast and the rest from elsewhere in New Zealand.
The event will not see the same high calibre of riders this year because it clashes with the Bike NZ nationals scheduled for the same day in Queenstown.
Coulter said was unhappy with Bike NZ for the clash.
“I’m very disappointed.”
Paul Odlin, of Christchurch, was last year’s men’s winner, racing around the lake in a time of 3hr 6m 7s, while Sequoia Cooper, of Invercargill, was the first woman home in 3hr 27m 22s. No one had won the event twice and with these two not returning, the field is open for a new winner.
“It’s a case of who’s lucky on the day. It could come down to what they have for breakfast,” Coulter said.
Fellow organiser Tim Scandrett said preparations were coming along well for the big day.
“We’re there with bells on.”
He, too, was upset that Bike NZ had arranged to hold their race on the same day, however he remained upbeat about Around Brunner.
This year, organisers have also introduced a shorter 30km event for those not up to the full 130km.
“We’re really excited about the new 30km course.”
Competitors trialing the course had been putting in some fast times and were likely to break the one-hour mark, Scandrett said.
He urged motorists to keep an eye out for cyclists while they were on the road.
The race starts in Mawhera Quay, Greymouth, and heads down to Kumara Junction and on to Inchbonnie, the halfway point.
Cyclists then head north through Rotomanu and Moana, around the lake to Stillwater, through Dobson and back into Greymouth.
The 30km cyclists will travel through Dobson to Stillwater then turn around into Taylorville and back to Greymouth over the Cobden Bridge and on to the finish line.