The Milford Mountain Classic is an epic gran fondo cycle race through New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage Site famously described by author Rudyard Kipling as the ‘Eighth Wonder Of The World.’
Last run in 2015, the 120km event on the Milford Alpine Highway is planning to return 7 February 2021 after a five-year break, but only for a lucky few local cyclists due to New Zealand’s strict, and successful, coronavirus travel restrictions.
The rest of us will have to wait till 2022.
With breathtaking alpine views that rival those in the Alps, the route takes riders past massive cliffs rising from dark fjord waters, past snow capped mountain peaks that touch the sky and next to glacial waterfall ribbons cascading downward.
Taking place on the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island in Fjordlands National Park, the race initially climbs 1000m over the first 20km, including riding through a granite mountain via the iconic Homer Tunnel.
Elite riders are expected to take just over 3 hours to complete the course (record is 3:09:38) and recreational riders up to twice that length.
In addition to the 120km gran fondo route starting in Milford Sound and finishing in Te Anau, there is also a 100km medio fondo from Homer Tunnel to Te Anau and a 65km piccolo fondo from Knob’s Flat to Te Anau.
Look for Milford Mountain Classic event details here and seriously consider adding this gran fondo to your post-pandemic bucket ride list.
It is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.