Another extraordinary decade in mountain biking is over.

We thought 2000 to 2009 was special. It was just the foundation of an even bigger 10 years.

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The Singlespeed World Championships in 2010 were a loud and colourful start to the decade, keeping the international spotlight on our town and the Whakarewarewa Forest trails.


And the decade ended with the announcement that the multi-stage race, The Pioneer, would move from the South Island to Rotorua in 2020 with course design by local rider Mark "Cabin" Leishman from Black Dirt Collective.

So what are the highlights of this auspicious decade for some of those who made it so?

Dave Donaldson is a former president of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club, deputy mayor of Rotorua Lakes Council and someone who was neck-deep in the acquisition and management of the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships and Crankworx.

"Securing and hosting Crankworx for three years, in 2014, was a real moment of magic," he says.

"Then getting the licence extended out to 2027, if we can keep it sustainable, along with hosting three Enduro World Series.

"Crankworx has made Rotorua even more of a household name in the global mountain biking world."

The establishment of the Rotorua Trails Trust took management of the bike park to a new level.

"This entity and their partnerships with Rotorua Lakes Council, iwi landowners and Timberlands has brought strategic planning and a growing sophistication to the Rotorua experience."


And securing $7 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the Whakarewarewa Forest Redevelopment will help underpin that.

"This'll increase public facilities and stimulate private investments in commercial, recreational, tourism and lifestyle facilities," he adds.

"This continues to develop the co-governance partnerships between the landowners, forest managers and the community bringing beneficial social and economic outcomes for Rotorua into the next decade."

The rapid increase in the financial support for the sport is also the highlight for Jonathan Dodd, the chairman of the trust that oversees the Rotorua Bike Festival, which debuted in 2013.

"It's easy to focus on obvious developments like the arrival of the Bike Festival, dropper posts and slack head angles," Dodd says.

"But for me, the greatest development in mountain biking, and all cycling for that matter, is the massive growth of funding we've seen.

"Both central government and local councils have finally woken up to the social, environmental, economic and health benefits of increased cycling and everyone benefiting whether they realise it or not.

"We've seen things like the national cycle trail, Nga Haerenga, increased urban cycling infrastructure, the explosive growth of local mountain bike trails throughout the country and significant support for initiatives like the Bike Festival, Crankworx, the world-class Rotorua BMX track and the Cambridge Velodrome. That to me represents the most far-reaching and exciting development over the last decade.

"And, yeah, dropper posts deserve a mention, too."

Dave agrees: "I know variations of it were invented before the start of the decade, but I got my first dropper post in 2012 and I rarely ride without one anymore."

Next week: Gregg Brown and Gary Sullivan, two more locals who made major contributions to the past 10 years, a prediction for the future and my bikes of the 2010s.