Safe pairs of hands are always an important part of any event organisation.

People who can be trusted to never let the side down whatever the universe throws out.

Rotorua mountain biker, Paul Laing, is a fine example of that role.

The 54-year-old has a familiar origin story when it comes to his generation of riders.


"How I got started depends what you call 'start'," he says. "I used to ride my Healing 10 speed through mud and drains on my way to primary school when I lived in Ohaupo in the mid to late 1970s.

"Then I got given