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Cyclists queue for inspirational challenge

Jul 28, 2012

Cranleigh is proud to take on the principal sponsorship of the country's best cycle race and the toughest one day contest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 200 kilometre Cranleigh K2 race attracts elite and serious cyclists from all over New Zealand and around the globe who pit themselves against brutal hill climbs, tough terrain, and a leg sapping course along one of the world's most scenic and varied routes.

Described famously as 2,300 metres of screaming descent, the race attracts about 2,500 cyclists every year. The race has four continuous stages and starts in a new town each year, with cyclists travelling through sub-tropical forest, farmland and along the Pohutukawa coastline of the Hauraki Gulf.

Cranleigh director and serious cyclist Dave Clarke has completed the K2 and says it is a great race, but not to be underestimated. The full K2 can't be done as a an easy Sunday stroll; it takes no prisoners. It's a touch of the Tour de France's notorious climbs up Mt Ventoux and the Alpe d Heuz in our own backyard. Cycling the K2 saves travelling to France, no one yells at you in French and if you finish the race in any reasonable shape you get to drink proper beer.

The course record of 5:02.34 was set by former World Junior Champion and professional cyclist Jeremy Yates in 2008 and there is a prize for breaking it.

The race is named after Kuaotunu the sleepy community on the east coast of Coromandel Peninsula. In Maori, the name Kuaotunu means to inspire fear in young animals. The represents the almost 200 kilometres the ride covers and by coincidence K2 is the second highest mountain in the world, and probably the most difficult to climb.

The stage of the race starts with a cycle along the beach front and over a small hill to Simpson Beach. This follows with a climb up the Kuaotunu hill rising to 170 metres and back down again to sea level and the township of Kuaotunu.

The ride continues on towards Coromandel with three shorter steep climbs before reaching the biggest ascent, the leg sapping Whangapoa Hill. The views at the top, for those who see it, are fantastic, stretching out across both coastlines, says Andy. There is a steep downhill with a hairpin bend at the bottom known as Devils Elbow.

This years race on October 27 marks the 11th anniversary of the Cranleigh K2 and will start in Tairua and travel in an anti-clockwise direction through Whitianga, Coromandel, Thames and back to Tairua.

There are two starts the Cranleigh K2 Mens Elite Race starts at 7.45am and is for professional and semi-professional riders who are likely to complete the course in less than six hours and the Cranleigh Main Race starts at 8am for weekend warriors and recreational riders.

The event also includes EMC K150 a 149km race starting in Whitianga and finishing in Tairua; Halcyon K1 1 106km race that includes the womens elite and starts in Coromandel and finishes in Thames and the Nicholas Browne Challege a 53km race starting in Thames and finished in Coromandel.

One of the events organisers and another Cranleigh director Andy Reid says the company's approach to business is similar to the cyclists approach to the race serious and built on elite and pragmatic decision making.

This race is no walk in the park, even for riders who don't class themselves as professionals or semi-professionals. To finish the K2 you have to train properly for it. You can't wing it just as you can't put in a second rate effort in business and expect to get results.

Cranleigh's staff are keen adventurers and we like to think we bring a refreshingly down to earth, go-getting Kiwi style to the world of corporate advice and finance. Even though we have offices in Auckland and Melbourne we like nothing better than to be outdoors.

Cranleigh also sponsors the Great Cranleigh Kauri Run Corporate Challenge, a 13 kilometre team trail run or walk on the northern Coromandel Peninsula. The challenge tests team members endurance and fitness and starts on the white sands of Waikawau Beach and finishes at White Star Station, close to Colville on the western side of the peninsula. A Kauri tree is planted for every person taking part in the event and Cranleighs vision is to plant 10,000 trees in the next 10 years creating an avenue from Waikawau to Coromandel. So far more than 2000 trees have been planted.


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