Crankworx Rotorua 2020 is well under way, with mountainbikers from around the world flocking to the city for the major event. Last year, Bay rider Shania Rawson placed second in the pump track, third in the air downhill and third overall and she's seeking more podiums this year. Kristin Macfarlane caught up with her ahead of her busy week.
Consistency is the key to success for Bay of Plenty mountainbiker Shania Rawson.
Rawson, who grew up in Tauranga but relocated to Rotorua in recent months, is gearing up for Crankworx Rotorua this week, competing in five events from tomorrow - the Dual Slalom; Air Downhill; Speed and Style; Downhill and Pump Track.
With event practices and races, Rawson says Crankworx is a hectic time.
"You actually don't have any time at all. It's very full-on from Wednesday," Rawson says.
Last year Rawson finished second in the Pump Track, third in the Air Downhill and third overall and this year is focused on consistent riding across all events that will hopefully line up with podium finishes.
"I'm hoping for some more podiums again, that's the goal," Rawson says.
"I basically want to be consistent over the week and getting podiums in all the races if possible," she says.
To prepare, Rawson says she has been in the gym working on strength training and has been "getting as much riding time as I can" - but there is home town advantage when it comes to Crankworx.
"You don't really get to ride the tracks until Crankworx. There's no real home advantage ... it makes it fair."
Tauranga's Shania Rawson hunting world crown
Rawson has been racing bikes since she started BMX as a 4-year-old and has enjoyed plenty of success in her time, including second at the 2017 UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Championship in 2017. In January, she won the elite women's downhill title at the New Zealand Mountain Bike Championships and finished second behind Australia's Sian A'Hern in the Oceania Champs.
She says she would have loved to have got in more international events in the lead-up to Crankworx but has to be selective in her races due to funding constraints.
"I definitely prefer to be overseas more."
Crankworx Rotorua 2020 opened on Sunday, with more than 300 riders lining up for the opening event - the six stage Giant Toa Enduro race through Whakarewarewa Forest.
The top three placings in the men's race were all Kiwi riders with Edward Master (18:52.71) in first place, followed by Rotorua's Cole Lucan in second (18:58.62) and Matt Walker in third (19:11.52). Kiwis Rae Morrison (22:42.16) and Kate Weatherly (23:53.37) took home the first and second spots respectively in the women's race, with Canadian Geogia Astle (24:04.51) in third.