Graeme Simpson: Festival feedback full of positivity

By Graeme Simpson


Time to move on? Not quite.


The Rotorua Bike Festival is still generating plenty of feedback.

Darren Eckford is from Queensland. Based on his Facebook posts before the festival, he was counting down the days before hopping on the plane. Darren's been to Rotorua before, but this time he was bringing a group of friends (six men and two women).

"There was also another group of four guys from here. We were initially going to travel together, but logistics and different priorities made that difficult. We all stayed at the Alpin Motel - which was perfect, with the heated pool and bike wash.

"Our group was looking for more social trail riding and so we only participated in the Redwoods Coast and the Rainbow Mountain away ride.

"From our perspective, the trails were heaven and our only concern was making sure we didn't miss out on any.

Some organised group rides during the festival would have been a good idea to help people unfamiliar with the network to put together some cool loops. We didn't find this a big issue. I'd been before and knew where I was going, but we ran into heaps of guys who ended up tagging along, as they were unsure where to go.

"Rainbow Mountain was a punishing push for us. But the views and the downhill more than made up for our lack of climbing prowess. I would have loved to compete in the Gravity Enduro, but we left to ride Taupo.

"The other group was more competition orientated, competing in the Enduro and Skyline Sprint Warrior. One guy even did the cross-country at the national championships, placing 7th in Vets. They had no complaints about anything and were very happy with the running of all these events.

"I think everyone who came over for the festival would gladly return, whether for the festival or just the magnificent trails.

"Congratulations on a great event."

Mark Bunyan is a Kiwi who works as a mountain bike coach and personal trainer near Whistler in Canada. He was here for the festival, making the top 10 shoot-out at the Skyline Sprint Warrior (and winning the major spot prize, a GT Fury).

"I truly see so much potential in Rotorua and what's on offer now with the extensive trail networks. I know so many people throughout Europe and North America who are now coming to New Zealand to train over their winter months.

"I had a client come out from New York - he's a downhill athlete, an ex-US Marine and also an amputee. I'd planned a three-week road trip, riding and racing through New Zealand, starting in Queenstown. With all the amazing places we went to, Rotorua was his most favourite place.

"Perhaps I'm a tad biased. Rotorua holds a huge place in my heart. I have memories of riding my BMX up Nursery Road as a 10-year-old and riding the original exit trail - that's 26 years ago.

"The people, the atmosphere, the love, laughter and fun always make this place my home.

"Canada is my place of work and the lifestyle, minutes from Whistler and all that this world-class location has to offer, is truly epic.

"Yet, coming home brings with it so much pride and passion."


- Rotorua Daily Post

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