Stuart Edwards is hoping for strong winds for Sunday. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

CYCLING

Bring on a gnarly spring nor’wester.

That’s what the organisers of the national headwind cycling championship in Martinborough are craving.

The championship is the brainchild of Stuart Edwards, a co-owner of Martinborough-based Green Jersey Explorer Tours.

Determined to provide the most intolerable, unfriendly pedal-power experience, Edwards is keeping an open diary for the inaugural event.

“Basically, we want the strongest headwind possible, providing that it is on a Sunday,” he said.

“As a minimum, we will be looking for winds of 10 metres per second, and it’s starting to look good for Sunday.

“Winds of 11 metres per second are forecast, but we may have to move to the afternoon because some rain is forecast for the morning.”

Edwards got the idea from The Netherlands where the Dutch National Headwind Championships are held in early February, ironically abandoned this year because of dangerous winds.

The time trial event is split into three grades. Competitors will ride a standard bike from Green Jersey’s stable, although Edwards said there would be some flexibility for cyclists riding their own bikes. Racing bikes won’t be allowed.

The course for the Martinborough route runs from outside Te Kairanga to Margrain Estate, known as the ‘Wine Mile’, and heads straight into the prevailing nor’wester, which on a bad day can be particularly nasty.

“It is probably about 3km from start to finish, and if it is really blowing – which we hope it is – it will be really challenging,” Edwards said.

To Edwards’ knowledge, there is no other cycling event in New Zealand that aims to challenge riders in this way.

Edwards said he has about 40 to 50 people interested in the event so far, and he has set up a group page on the Green Jersey Explorer Tours Facebook page for people to follow and receive updates.



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