The Nduro Summer Cup has been a staple of the Rotorua mountain biking diet since 2009, but this weekend the dust will fly for the last time.
Despite the weekend being packed with other major events such as the Foo Fighters' concert in Auckland and the Rotorua Summer Seafood Festival, more than 260 riders have signed up for the last edition of the Summer Cup tomorrow.
Event manager Tim Farmer said the decision not to hold the event again after this year was to do with the time of year.
"The forest is a real busy place in the summer time. We're planning on leaving the forest for everyone in the weekend to go and have fun and when it's less busy we'll run our events. It's time for change as well; we're ready to try something different," Farmer said.
This year's event includes 15km, 25km and 40km, and caters for a wide range of age groups, from 5-year-olds to veterans. For the first time it will also include a 40km E bike race.
"We've got 266 entries all up so far, that's about the same as other years. There's a lot of other things on this weekend, so we're happy with numbers. With all the damage to the forest with the storms over the last few weeks the courses have been slightly altered. They're definitely cross-country orientated, grade two with a little bit of grade four for the longer distance and the more skilled riders.
"We've got a couple of E bikes entered, both from Taupo. It's an emerging trend, some of the original mountain bikers, who started mountain biking in New Zealand, are ageing and something they're turning to is the E bike to keep riding. They still want to race in the forest, they don't want to be excluded," he said.
Last year, Wellington's Jack Compton was the men's long course winner with a time of 1h 54m 45s, 29s ahead of fellow Wellingtonian Edwin Crossling. The fastest woman was Auckland's Jessica Manchester in a time of 2h 17m 27s. Neither rider will be in attendance this year.
Their titles will be fiercely contested by a range of talented riders. Among the favourites are Auckland's Cosmo Bloor, who studied in Rotorua and has recently been trying his hand at road cycling for the Rotorua Racing team.
In October, Bloor finished second to Crossling in the Whaka 100, having previously battled it out in Rotorua's Winter Enduro Series. Their budding rivalry will have to be reignited later in the year as Crossling has not entered the Summer Cup this time around.
Bloor, who raced in the New Zealand Cycle Classic recently, said his road cycling experience had helped him learn more about how far he could push himself.
"For me, this will be my last race before the Oceania Championships the following weekend, so it's kind of preparation for that and a chance to ride at race pace and see how everything's going.
"The road racing helped me learn more about what I'm capable of doing, how long I can go for and when I'm able to push and attack from the front," he said.
Farmer said Tauranga's Sarah Blackler would be one of the favourites to take out the women's long course race and she would be pushed hard by the likes of Samantha Kingsford and Taupo's Samara Maxwell.
Racing starts at 9.30am from Long Mile Rd.