The Red Bull Defiance (RBD) stakes are raised with one of New Zealand’s high-profile multisport athletes announcing he will take on the 2020 race.
Sam Manson, of Christchurch, said he will compete in the two-day Wanaka adventure race in its new solo racing category on March 28 and 29.
“Solo racing is exciting,” said Manson. “It puts sole responsibility on yourself to go at the best pace and present yourself as an individual performance. I enjoy team racing, and both have challenges, but at the end of the day, an individual race means you can really open up the throttle and only worry about yourself, which is an art in itself.”
After coming in second to Dougal Allen in the 2019 Coast to Coast, Manson said he is ready to set his focus elsewhere.
“RBD is an incredible challenge in a spectacular location in Wanaka...," said Manson. "Racing at my level requires massive commitment, and training full-time over another summer block towards Coast to Coast is just not possible this year. I only want to get better, so I am saving that up for 2021.
“RBD is much more desirable because I will not feel the same pressure but am certain I can still be in good form. I will be doing more adventurous training in the mountains during this summer, and this will suit the technically demanding RBD course.”
Manson competed in the 2016 RBD with Hamish Fleming; they finished second in the Men’s Elite category.
The RBD is a challenging 169km course with seven stages that traverse the high mountains that circumnavigate Wanaka and include paddling sections on the Matukituki and Clutha rivers.
Known as one of New Zealand’s top paddlers, Manson said he is looking forward to the river challenges.
“I'm fizzing that the paddle section is mostly on the rivers and with a few rapids. River paddling is my strength, but it is hard to get time on the paddle stages unless they are really long. The long mountain climbs will suit me on the bike and run as I am not a big person, so hills are friendlier to me.”
Manson wrapped his most recent competition yesterday in China at the Wulong Mountain Quest.