From big to huge to massive.

That's the upward trajectory of the Whaka100 over the last few years.

On Labour Weekend around 1300 riders across the 100, 50 and 25 distances and a couple of fun rides took on the challenge on a magnificent, blue sky day in the Whakarewarewa Forest.

Another important number – more than 90 per cent of the entrants came from outside Rotorua, from around New Zealand and the world. All bringing their credit cards to our place for the long weekend.


Oamaru's Tim Rush does the Whaka100 double in Rotorua
Mountain Biking: Rotorua's Giant 2W Gravity Enduro Series starts this weekend
Wheel good fun at the Rotorua Bike Festival over Labour weekend
Rotorua businesses win at Tourism Industry Awards

The growth in the Whaka100 since its debut in 2007 and, then, after Tim and Belinda Farmer took over Nduro Events in 2014, is a big part of the success story that is Rotorua MTB.

It's a very long race, of course, and demanding with steep climbs, technical trails and forest roads where a moment of inattention can have serious consequences.

Race day is also the tip of a very big iceberg. Floating below the surface is a logistics and operational Rubik's cube with an experienced management team and 119 volunteers.

Marking the course is a week's worth of 14 hour days. And what goes up, must come down. Leaving the forest the way you found it is a big part of the event philosophy of mountain biking.

I worked on the livestream crew again this year with Simon Hunt and the excellent Fever Pitch Visuals crew.

In 2018 we just covered the Saturday afternoon top 10 shoot out that determines the seeding position for the race start on Sunday.

This year that expanded to race day with a live cut to the big screen and livestream break outs to Facebook and Vimeo from eight cameras in Rosebank/Twin Peaks, the venue for the time trial and the last kilometre of the race.


The expansion of the coverage is a snapshot of Tim's drive to innovate, to continually improve the race, to ramp up the rider and spectator experience.

He's a mountain biker, first and foremost, and he wears his passion for the sport and the Nduro portfolio on his sleeve. Roll on 2020 – the dates are already set.

Other highlights of the Whaka weekend?

Tad Medjr from Auckland, 2014 Singlespeed World Champion, winning that category in the Whaka 100 on a fully rigid bike.

Between 5pm and 6pm the Fever Pitch Visuals crew were out on Rosebank wrapping cables and equipment.

Every so often one of the tail enders would come through, tired faces and bodies hanging on for the finish line less than a kilometre away.

All of them still acknowledged the cheers from a small group of supporters with big smiles.

Back in the event village to see Maryanne Avery, riding in tandem with her daughter, Monique Shaw, cross the finish line.

Then, minutes later, Kate Bone doing the same to an emotional welcome from friends and family.

Kate was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year and took on the Whaka100 as a personal challenge and to raise awareness of the illness that affects 25,000 New Zealanders.

Among the group on the finish line were her coach, Aaron Perry, and Peter Jenks. Both are Type 1 and both raced the Whaka 25 earlier in the day with Peter winning the over 60 category (and he's 73).

For more information about Type 1 diabetes see: