"There'll be carnage in the forest" was a common comment as last week's storm crunched into the country.

And so it came to pass with trees down everywhere and trails and roads blocked.

No one was hurt out there (which sadly, can't be said about Rotorua, with one death from a giant oak falling on a car in Arawa St) and the response from the mountain bike community was outstanding.

Crews worked long days through last weekend and into the week on the major task of clearing windfall and repairing any damage to bike and walking trails.


It was a solid mix of Rotorua Trails Trust contractors and volunteers giving up their own riding time to make a very big difference.

They've had a lot of practise over the last 12 months with an unusually wet and windy 2017. This stretches resources to the limit and is impossible to plan for.

If there's a time for everyone who visits the trail networks – bike, walk/run, horse – to demonstrate their support for all the work the trust does to make the network better and safer, it's now. There really is no satisfactory reason not to: http://rotoruatrailstrust.co.nz/join.

Last week I listed my mountain bike highlights of 2017. There was no room for a mention of sponsors.

They're instrumental in the success of the trust and all the events in town. The Singlespeed World Championships were a classic example of this.

Some of the partners for that have contributed to Rotorua Singlespeed Society events since 2008, others were brand new. All of them made a big impact.

Another outstanding aspect of this particular family of partners is the range from charitable trusts to local government and businesses and some are also major supporters of the Trails Trust.

So hats off to: Nzo, Pig and Whistle, Rotorua Lakes Council, Famously Rotorua, New Zealand Community Trust, First Sovereign Trust, Rotorua Trust, Helibike Rotorua, Bikeys, Jeffson Bikes, Albero Websites, Agroventures, Dancing Moose Adventure Supplies, Holiday Inn Rotorua, OGO, QE Health Wellness and Spa, Raceline Karting at Off Road New Zealand and Rotorua Canopy Tours.

The Rotorua round of the Mountain Bike New Zealand of the National Downhill Series is on Saturday, January 20.

The event is hosted by Descend Rotorua and event director Dave Hamilton is on the look out for volunteers to help the day run as smoothly as always. If you can help, please message Descend Rotorua on Facebook.

Tiny increments can make the difference between a good bike and a great one.

Late last year I sampled three top-of-the-line bikes on the desert rock of the southwest of the US.

None eclipsed my own Zerode Taniwha, but one was very close – a Pivot Mach 6. It was a superb bike with an excellent, thoughtful set-up by Alex, a young mechanic at Over the Edge in Hurricane, Utah. The only thing I changed was lowering the pressure in the tyres after the first day.

Since coming home I've been tweaking the set-up to the Taniwha – seat position and height and angle of the handlebars - just by millimetres, inspired by the Pivot.
What a difference a mill or two makes. More to come.