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Port Hills Spur Challenge!, Canterbury

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Port Hills Spur Challenge!Intermediate

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Info Info

Trail Information

18.50km

1150m

1150m

501m

Canterbury

Christchurch

Urban fringe

Loop

Very hilly

Native bush
Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops
Volcanic

Intermediate

3:00 (Novice)
2:30 (Intermediate)
2:00 (Elite)

-13.3%

+13.7%

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Description

Looking for a Port Hills run with as much vert packed in as you can? Well this one will probably get you over 1000m of vert quicker than anywhere in the area. This one is designed for the slightly masochistic among us who want no tarmac, no flat and lots of ups and downs.

The run starts in St Martins and plays across 4 major spurs of the Port Hills (hence the title). Head over the gate/ stile at the road and head for the bush. Immediately take the left hand turn over the creek and head up onto the Mt Vernon Farmpark spur. Wind your way up to the 4WD track and cross it, heading up the Dry Ridge Track. Crest the top of the spur and then follow its natural loop back down and round to where you just were - this small loop may seem odd at the time but it's a nice warmup and serves its purpose in getting the vertical into 4 figures by the end.

Head back up the 4WD Farm Park trail when you get back to it and ascend to higher up the spur, this time dropping down again and over the other side on the rest of the Dry Ridge Track to reach the Valley Track. Head up here a short way through wonderful regeneration to pick up the Rodgers Track which will access the well known Rapaki Track.

Ascend Rapaki all the way, cross the road and get onto the Crater Rim trail as it ascends all the way to the top of Mt Vernon. Stop, catch your breath and take in those 360 degree views. From Mt Vernon follow the Crater Rim along the lumps and bumps all the way towards the Sugarloaf - and ascend to the mast and trig via the steep formed but unmarked goat track up the east side. Here you will be at the high point for the circuit, but don't panic, your uphill is far from complete.

Descend Sugarloaf and go down Latters Spur all the way to the Victoria Park Playground area where you keep heading down the East Side Bush track until you reach the Bowenvale Valley floor. Keep going down valley on a short stretch of new trail built to separate bikers from those on foot.

Next job is the long steady ascent up onto Huntsbury Spur, initially up the Hidden Valley track and Pylon Track, onto the Zigzag until you meet up with the 4WD track on the top.

Almost there - sort of. Descend Huntsbury until nearly at the tarmac. Look for a stile and poles off to the east for a nice technical section down into Dry Bush valley. Stay in the valley floor here and head out the Gorge track for a wonderfully varied finish to a fairly epic 18km's!










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Features of interest

Port Hills
Fantastic views
Nothing flat!


Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 10%


Route Data

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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Park up at the end of Albert Terrace and rip straight into it

    Plenty of parking on the roadside

    5 km

    13 minutes

    No

    No

  • Staying Safe

    Moderate.

    Take a map and the GPX file if you can, there's plenty of track junctions on this one.

    Generally good.

    Lightweight fleece top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    You'll want lots of water, especially in summer. There are a couple of taps to fill up around Victoria Park.

    Can be greasy and muddy in places after significant rain - if so you won't want to be in your 'town tyres'

    Look out for mountain bikes in the areas that are shared use, especially Bowenvale

  • Post run indulgence

    Brickworks on Centarus Road
    nice cold beers and a good range of tucker

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See other runs nearby:

Godley Head loop
Mt Fitzgerald & Mt Sinclair
Lyttleton to Diamond Harbour
Summit Walkway
The Bowenvale Elevator
The Gorsetrack Strikes Back
Rapaki Sugarloaf Return
Sign Of The Takahe - Rapaki
Montgomery Park Reserve
Port Hills Nearly Half Marathon
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Horse Latitudes
Sumner Half Heads
Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)
VKV challenge
Banks Peninsula Ultra Beer Run
Bottle Lake Blue Loop
Gebbies to Packhorse Romp
Hagley Figure of 8
Bowenvale / FarmTrack Loop
Avon City Loops
Avon - Source to Surf
Okuti to Hilltop Amble
Gondola Gallop
Orton Bradley Loop
The ATH (Around The Harbour)
Lava - H.ELL Loop
Travis Wetland Loop
Punk Rock Assault On Windsor Castle
The Guv'nor & His Birds
The Crater Rim
Lava Lite
Takahe Half
North New Brighton Spit
Mt Pleasant Trig
God's Con - Rehab Road
Gang of Four
Dog Sniffing Rhythms - Harbour Crusin'
Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'
Gates Of The East
Hunting Out A Gorge-ous Loop
Lyttelton Dress Circle
A Diamond in the Rough
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The Coffee Run
Pour Some Sugarloaf On Me
Never Trust A Crocodile
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Hagley Perimeter
Holliss Stairway to Heaven
Diamond, Herbert & Fitzgerald
Barnett Bunker Buster
The Pipeline of Pain
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Vicki Vale
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The Governator
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The Missing Link
Beer Bum Bluffs
Brooklands for the Birds.

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