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Monday 5th March 2018

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By Annabelle Latz
Last minute buying before GODZone was a very common sight in Te Anau during the final days before the start gun sounded.
The odd layer here, the odd spare tube there, it’s all part in parcel with heading out into the Fiordland wilderness for, well who knows exactly how long….
But Outside Sports manager Heather Sinclair saw this taken to a whole new level the day before GODZone started.
In the form of Peter Jolles, from Team 22 Checkpoint Zero.
“Let’s call it panic buying!” she said.
He’d flown from the United States to take part in this race, but after a stopover in Sydney, only he and his bike made it across the ditch.
“I’m here to boost the local economy!” he joked on the startline, kitted out entirely in brand new gear – shoes, socks and all.
He had arrived in New Zealand a few days earlier, and said the airline kept teasing him along, promising his gear would arrive on time.
But with less than 24 hours to go, Pete knew he had to go shopping.
“I was nervous on the inside, but there was no point taking it out on my team,” he said, reflecting on the few days of apprehension.
So he headed to Outside Sports, and gave them a solid dose of business.
“I just felt so sorry for the guy, it would be a worst nightmare,” said Heather.
He was full of enthusiasm on the start line, and looking forward to getting out there.
There has been a solid trickle of extra business created by GODZone, with teams from near and far training here during the past few months.
“It’s been great for the town, great to get behind them,” said Heather.
Down at Fiordland House overlooking Lake Te Anau, Lyn and Dorothy are cheering on their workmate and shop owner Keri Antoniak, who is racing in PURSUIT Team 91, Team Fiordland House.
Last year this team finished in the top 10.
“It’s just interesting to follow someone you know,” said Lyn.
She said one customer from Wellington the other day asked what GODZone was about.
“He couldn’t believe it when we showed him what they were doing.”
“Neither of us will be doing it, we’re all a bit mature,” laughed Dorothy.
“We want to say keep it going speedy, because their little mascot is called Speedy,” was the closing word of encouragement.
Next door at RDP, Phil Allport said they’re following race progression very closely.
“Yeah it has been busy. We’ve seen a lot of people through because of GODZone.”
Carolyn Fox, manager of Sandfly Café and More, said GODZone has been fabulous for the town.
“It brings back your locals and other New Zealanders, and gives everyone an extra something to look at.”
In the race lead up they got heaps of extra business, as athletes came here to train.
“And the day before the race was massive.”
Carolyn expects things to get busy again as competitors start to finish.
“I wish it was here every year!” she said.
Garth Milicich, owner of Wild Rides down the Main Street, said they’d been really busy with servicing work, fixing minor things, damage, tubeless problems, and general last minute requests like spare parts.
General curiosity of the race has been obvious too.
“People have been coming in and asking, ‘What is this GODZone thing?’ They pick up that it’s an extreme race,” he said.
Nanaka works at Miles Better Pies, and hadn’t heard of GODZone before this year.
She saw them running past the shop on the first morning, and wondered what was happening.
“And they’re running in the rain, right? Wow. Enjoy it!” she said.
Thanks Te Anau, you’ve been great.

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