Baby on board for a hardcore downhill

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All-comers took on the most hardcore event of Queenstown Bike Festival – including a pregnant woman on a tandem.

Mother-to-be Rose Green and hubbie Jackson were among 50 riders – or technically 51 riders – who raced in the Mega Avalanche on Sunday.

The fearsome race sees mountain bikers descend 1400 metres from the main ridge line of the Remarkables mountain range through tussock land and along trails to the valley floor below.

The Greens, from Christchurch, were the first and only tandem home, with Jackson steering the homemade contraption and Rose – who’s four months’ pregnant – powering from the back seat. Queenstown rider Sean McCarroll took out the men’s title in a time of 15 minutes and one second despite crashing into a bush on the way down.

“I was half-way down and thought I had it but one guy passed me again so I put the power down and did some crazy moves, hitting a bush and coming to a dead stop.

“One guy passed me through the last section so I was off the brakes and committed – first or nothing.”

First woman home was Meg Bichard from Nelson in 19.06, doubling up her win from last Friday’s Enduro.

Bichard says: “The first bit was a bit rough and scary over some nose-divey drops but I managed to hold on.

“Just one little off but nothing major.”

Festival director Geoff Hunt says the race was a suitably epic finale to this year’s festival.

“They don’t come much bigger or more dramatic,” Hunt says.

“These riders experienced more in a few minutes than most do in a whole season. Creating the course and pulling it down again has been an adventure in itself. The crew’s dedication has been amazing for the entire festival.”