McCauley lines up for Coast Road Challenge

By Nicholas McBride

The Coast Road Cycle Challenge returns on Saturday, pitting cyclists in a 100km race from Westport to Greymouth along the scenic Coast Road.
Event manager Phil Lemon said it was the second year since the race had changed direction, now starting in Westport and finishing in Greymouth.
“Competitors like that better, you get all the big hills out of the way first,” Lemon said.
In addition to the full 100km race is the 45km Punakaiki Express race to give people new to cycling the chance to compete.
“We have also got a number of young riders this year as well, which is really exciting, to have 14-15-year-olds doing a lot of cycling and giving them something to compete in.”
As of Monday, 60 people were entered in the main ride and 21 in the shorter ride, with some entries still pending.
Lemon said the shorter ride acted as an entry level event.
“It’s how we inject people into cycling.”
Former New Zealand road cycle champion Gordon McCauley will be lining up, having just completed the Tour of Southland.
Lemon said it was great to get someone of McCauley’s pedigree on the Coast to motivate the other riders.
“You get to peg yourself against a guy who has got five New Zealand titles.”
McCauley was held in high regard and other riders would get a chance to meet him. “Especially the younger guys, because he’s a hero in those young guys’ eyes.”
Lemon said it was his five-year goal to get riders from the lower North Island involved in the event and build up to about 300 cyclists.
“That’s what we’re after, spreading the word.”
The race has even attracted some international entries from cyclists who happened to be travelling in the country.
Apart from a few last minute preparations, everything is ready for Saturday.
“It’s just a matter of bring on the day.”