The Rice Mountain Classic is a race people target, and train seriously for to be recognised as the best climber in the region. There is no tougher race in the Wellington region, and each year the anticipation and trash talk leading up to the race grows.
First held in 1996 the race honours the contribution to the club by Alan Rice, although Alan will probably tell you its named after his son Trevor, who’s favourite training ride was on the original course over the Akatarawa Rd. Although a shorter history than some of the other club cups, the Rice Mountain is without question one of the regions highest prized titles, being raced over extremely demanding courses, it has always found worthy winners.
For the first few years the course was over what’s still known as the “Old Rice Mtn Loop” taking in Haywards Hill, Paikaekariki Hill and the Akatarawas. From 1996-99 the start/finish was atop Haywards Hill, and from 2000-02 at Waikanae.
The course was moved to the Wairarapa in 2003, starting at Gladstone with the Longbush loop over Millars Road, then a loop taking in Lee Pakaraka Road, Limeworks Hill and Kurnau Hill (raced in alternating directions each year) then finishing atop the 8km climb of Admirals Hill. The success of the second half of the course has seen it included as the finish of the Queen stage of the Wellington Mens UCI Tour (Mens Classic Tour).
Title winners include Jeremy Vennell, Jeremy Yates, Scott Lyttle, Antosh Kowalewski, Hayden Roulston, Wayne Hiscock and Brent Backhouse and for the womens trophy Serena Sheriden, Tracey Best, Catherine Dunn, Susie Wood (4 time winner) and Nadene Boyle.
The Rice Mountain Classic is normally held in December (although 2015 shifted to March 2016 for race management matters) and information can be found on the calendar.