For Jamie Garrod, his guiding company, New Zealand Mountain Biking, is the culmination of his outdoors life, and his desire to share it with the world.

For Rotorua and the region, it's another example of the growing relevance and economic benefit of MTB.

"I moved here from the Kapiti Coast after completing a polytech course to become an outdoor educator in Christchurch in 2008."

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Garrod was initially drawn to Rotorua because of the Kaituna River and his love of kayaking.

"Since then I cast my net wide and built experience working for companies that reflected my values when it comes to guiding and hosting like Rotorua Canopy Tours, Walking Legends, Pure Cruise, Rotorua Rafting and Antarctica 21."

During this time, two things became his new passion and obsession - mountain biking, and honing his skills to provide high level, personalised customer experiences in the tourism industry.

"I also noticed that there was no one out there providing single-day or multi-day mountain biking experiences that really showcased what we have here in the North Island.

"I put all those things together, and came up with New Zealand Mountain Biking."

Finding the time, being ready to stay in the country for a few years, and laying the travel bug to rest for a little bit was going to be a challenge, so he teamed up with kayaking and riding friend Phil Boorman, who had been in the tourism industry for well over two decades.

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"With two hands on deck, I started applying to get concessions, safety audits, insurances, and planning meetings with different stakeholders," says Garrod.

"This was a long process but the Department of Conservation, iwi representatives, Rotorua Lakes Council, and Adventure Mark were really helpful and kept it moving in the right direction."

Garrod and Boorman wanted to create something that would draw on their personal and professional experiences and allow people to come to their favourite places, ride their bikes with genuine Kiwi hosts and escape from life for a few days.

"So we went about putting together itineraries that include a variety of trails and landscapes so our visitors can relax while we sort out the nitty-gritty, logistics, food, accommodation and bikes. After one last guiding trip back to Antarctica in November 2017 and final prep work in January 2018, we were good to go."

Now, they have a range of trips for beginner to advanced, ranging from half-day to nine days, customisable and including the Redwoods, Lake Taupo Trails, Whirinaki Forest, Motu Trails, Tongariro National Park Trails, Whanganui National Park, Pureora Forest park, and the Kaimanawa Forest Park covering a total of more than 250km of backcountry trails.

"We strive to take the hard work out of our visitors' hands on their mountain biking trip here," says Garrod.

"All they need to do is show up, ride, escape." www.newzealandmountainbiking.com