At 315km Waitaki's Alps 2 Ocean route is the longest cycling trail in New Zealand. Normally taken at a leisurely six to eight days, a pair of cyclists have traversed the Mt Cook to Oamaru route in under 24 hours. They also picked up tens of thousands of dollars for charity along the way.
Wayne Munn and Ben Washington set off from Aoraki at 5am on 30 January, finishing just after sunset at Oamaru harbour.
"It was quite an emotional day" said Munn, "we were both raising money for some pretty special causes."
Wayne Munn and Ben Washington rode in memory of friend Craig Petrie, who was killed in a cycling accident last year. The marathon effort was in support of Petrie's family and Home & Family – a Canterbury charity helping survivors of domestic abuse.
They raised over $25000 between them.
The "jewel in the crown of the 22 Great Rides" both cyclists had done sections of the trail when training for other events but they'd never raced across it like this.
"We both had a general background in fitness," said Munn who previously competed in the Coast to Coast race and whose cycling partner Washington is an Iron Man triathlete.
They hardly had time to take in the spectacular route which visits rock formations on the Waitai District Geopark and the opens skies of Mackenzie Country. The pair described it like cycling "inside a New Zealand tourism commercial".
At pre-arranged sections the cyclists were joined by supporters, family and friends. Munn's wife joined him by bike through Sailor's Cutting.
"We've ridden some special mountain bike trails around the world and that Sailors Cutting section was just incredible."
The cycle was recorded as part of TV show Adventure All Stars which is yet to be broadcast.
The Alps 2 Ocean route is maintained through a partnership between Waitaki and Mackenzie district councils. Marking its eighth year of operation, an alternate route from the Lake Tekapo township is now open for a more cruisey beginning to the long-distance cycling route.
For more details see alps2ocean.com