OPINION: The New Zealand mountainbike racing season is officially underway with the popular Mid-North Island race series.
Manawatu riders are enjoying this popular series, which began with the first round at Taupo. The newly-redeveloped trails provide a challenge for all riders.
A great battle was had between Manawatu rider Fiona Macdermid and Rotorua rider Megan Dimozantos, formerly with Manawatu, with Macdermid first-placed female on her new bike. Under-17 rider Andrew Bamford won his grade and Gareth Cannon was sixth in the highly-competitive under-19 grade.
Race two will be in Hawke's Bay this weekend.
These trails can be tough any time but more so on a hot sunny day when dehydration becomes a big issue.
The series is a great opportunity for riders to get race-fit and ready before the national series in January. In many cases, new bike setups are being tested to ensure issues are ironed out before the important race season begins.
■ November also brings with it the beginning of the Manawatu Mountain Bike club's summer series. Two races are in November and December and a further four between late January and early March.
This series is in contrast to the Mid North Island and national series in that it is designed to be a fun, short-course race for all the family.
The races are held in different locations including the Feilding Ranfurly trails, Ashhurst and various options along the Bridle Track.
At each venue, an easier course is set up for under-13 recreational riders and the main course is suitable for everyone else. Riders complete as many laps of the course as they can in the time allocated to their grade. This means everyone should finish the event within a short period of time. There is a wide range of age grades to suit everyone, including a newly-added Vet 40 to 50+ as well as recreational.
Race one is November 20 at the Ashhurst Domain.
Registration is from 6pm, racing starts 7pm. Cost is $5 for non-members and includes a drink at the end. Further information for the series is available on our club website, facebook or phone Colin or Raewyn on 06 323 5230.
■ Mountainbiking is a great activity for all the family and the Manawatu Mountain Bike Club recommends riders learn basic off-road riding skills before tackling too many trails.
This ensures your safety and enjoyment. The club has a weekly development programme on Thursdays and are based along the Bridle Track with an under-13 session at 5pm and two sessions at 6pm for over-13s.
One is for those needing to exert more energy and prepare for racing, the other for those who wish to get on the bike and learn valuable riding skills. The sessions are taken by experienced riders with the club investing in six members undertaking the BikeNZ mountainbike skills coaching programme. Meet at the carpark on Centennial Drive beside the Fitzherbert bridge at 5pm or 6pm as above.
Occasionally the sessions will be elsewhere so please check the website.
We then head out for a blast around the local Arapuke (Kloop) mountainbike trails. We meet at the carpark at the end of Kahuterawa Rd by 7.45pm. This trail is recommended for competent, reasonably fit riders (especially for night riding). Beginners who take part in our development programme should be able to aim to tackle this trail before the end of the season. Last year some of the under-13s tackled the trails at the end of the season and it was great to see them progress to a real trail.
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