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Classic Course Map                  Classic Altitude Profile

This is the biggie. So popular we limit it to 1000 riders and still end up with a waiting list. In the last five years we've had as many as 1800 people wanting to ride!

The reason is simple:  an uncompromising yet exhilarating and achievable 50km of 4WD trails, gnarly single track, wheel sucking sludge, raging river crossings, wall to wall wilderness and huge hills that'll have you grinding a granny ring up and grinning like a goon on the way down. In short, "The Classic" has something for everyone and with a bit of training almost everyone can achieve it… Almost!

The Classic starts Le Mans-style, bikes in hand, with a sprint across the Akatarawa River before heading west for the opening 7km through Karapoti Gorge. The first kilometre is on sealed road before heading into the Gorge, which is 6k of rough single track cut out of the cliff walls beside the Akatarawa River West. The course climbs very gradually before breaking out onto the Hukinga Foresty trail, which undulates for another 3.5k deep into the Akatarawas.

 Karapoti's Famous Start

Then you're into the affectionately named "Warm Up Climb", a gravely 1.5k long climb that is the shortest but steepest uphill at Karapoti.

At the top of "Warm Up" you're straight into 1k long downhill that gets increasing steep and rough before diving into Cederholm Creek, where to start climbing again on the Deadwood Ridge Track.

"Deadwood" is so named because that's exactly what your legs will feel like at the top. Made up mostly of hard-packed clay and rock, it's a 2k long climb peaking out at 575m above sea level. 

You're now on top of Deadwood Ridge, approx 15k into the race and deep in the heart of the Akatarawa Ranges, flanked by native bush that opens every now and then to huge vistas to the north and south.
 Karapoti Gorge  Deadwood  Cederholm Creek

The ridge continues west for approx 5k, undulating on an increasingly rough track peppered with the odd drop-off and bog until you reach the top of the Rock Garden, which turns off to your left.

So named for the soccer ball size rocks and waist high drops, the "Rock Garden" is 3k of gradually descending single track surrounded by thick bush. And as well as the rocks and drops there are fallen trees, wash-outs and ditches to negotiate, all of it rideable if you're feeling keen. But enjoy it while you can, because things are about to get tough.
Deadwood Ridge

Rock Garden

Rock Garden

At the bottom of the Rock Garden you cross the Akatarawa River West and continue for approx 1k of flat single track before hitting "Devil's Staircase",  a 2k long uphill through dense bush that is so steep in parts that huge steps have been cut out of the track. There are bits and pieces that are rideable, but it's mostly bikes-on-shoulders with a healthy smattering of Karapoti's famous ankle-biting bogs along the way.

Both literally and figuratively, the top of Devil's Staircase is the high point of the race at the 613m high Titi. You'll find a drink station and awesome views before an even more awesome downhill dubbed "Big Ring Boulevard," which is 10k of big smiles (if you avoid an endo and brake finger cramp) to Doper's Creek.
The Top Devils Staircase Still Smiling

The creek crossing marks the start of the final climb up the Pram Track to the top of the 531m high Dopers Hill. The Pram Track gets it's name from the amount of people pushing rather than riding. It's a 3k long climb on hard-packed clay and rock that ends with a drink station to fuel up before heading in the final 11km of mostly downhill back to the the finish.
Top of Dopers  Big Smiles on Big Ring  Almost Home

The initial 4k downhill  off Dopers Hill starts off nicely, but gets increasingly steep with ditches and wet corners before breaking out into the open for a final 1k charge down a steep, fast and gravelly track to the Akatarawa River West. Then it's just 7k of gradual downhill back through Karapoti Gorge, across the Akatarawa River for one last time before finishing at Karapoti Park.

 One Last River crossing

The rock stars amongst us cut this out in well under 3hrs, But if you're one of the 1000-odd mere mortals then you'll be somewhere closer to four, five or even six hours. Either way it's a hell of an achievement! 

Finished !


 Post-Race Fun In The Sun

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