Tim and Belinda Farmer are delighted that mountain bikers around New Zealand and the world have their sights fixed on Whaka100. However, the Farmers must now mentally prepare themselves for the challenge that lies ahead.
Now in its 9th year, the Rotorua couple took over management of the Whaka100 last year and set about stamping their mark on it, introducing the King of the Mountain challenge and the Whaka Shoot Out.
Working and raising a young family means much of the work happens at odd hours and is heavily reliant on time donated by friends. For two solid weeks, Tim Farmer and a handful of friends will finish their normal day jobs, grab a bite to eat, then head out for hours in the dark on the mountain biking trails around Waipa, Rotorua. "We make sure every trail is maintained to a safe level: we dig drainage, lay pipes, trim trees, remove deadfall," Tim says. "The week before the event we spend each night marking the courses - we put out 10km of course tape and 2000 arrows. In the wee hours of event morning, a guy on a motocross bike checks the entire 100km to make sure no markings have been blown away or tampered with."
The Farmers are motivated to endure sleep deprivation, exhaustion and stress by the smiles they see at the finish line.
"We want to put on the kind of events we would want to ride. We look at it that we are delivering an experience. Yes, the trails will always be there - but the experience won't.
"There are all kinds of like-minded people sharing the trails on event day - ordinary people, disabled riders, elite athletes, weekend warriors, newbies, kids.
"Whether you have a good day or a bad day, you accomplish something just by being out there.
"We are passionate about our sport - so are our riders, our supporters and sponsors - and we want to make sure all of those people come back again the following year."