Last year was one of the biggest for mountain bike events in the region.

2019 looks like it'll continue that trend with a long list of well-established and brand new races to cover almost all tastes and skill levels.

Tim Farmer and the Nduro Events team are refreshing almost all of their programme for 2019.

This kicks off with the XCO Republic on Sunday, February 24 following the guidelines for Olympic cross country racing with race duration between 1 hour and 1 hour 40 minutes with multi laps of a 4-6km course that will feature trails on the northern side of the bike park, including Arepa and Exit. Entry is open at www.xcorepublic.co.nz and age groups range from under 15 to Masters.

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Another new event from Nduro is the Eastern Traverse. This is a point to point MTB race from Rotorua's CBD and the lake into the Whakarewarewa trails. This will be in autumn and for more information go to the website and subscribe to the email database: easterntraverse.co.nz

One thing that hasn't changed on the Nduro Events menu is the Whaka 100 MTB Marathon presented by Camelbak on October 26 and 27. One of the toughest mountain bike races on the calendar since the first one in 2007. The Nduro crew have tweaked and evolved the format and course. However, one thing always remains the same, this is as much about an experience and a community as it is a race.

One of the highlights of my 2018 was helping Simon Hunt from Fever Pitch Visuals on the live-stream coverage of the Top 10 Men's and Women's seeding shoot out for the race and I hope I get another go this year: whaka100.co.nz

Also returning in 2019 is XTERRA Rotorua with young local star, Sam Osborne defending his title. Event director, Frank Clarke and his team are some of the best event organisers around and XTERRA just continues to grow in status. Race day is Saturday, April 6 and entries are open at www.xterra.co.nz

A couple of weeks before to that, Rotorua will host the Altherm Window Systems Mountain Bike National Championships on March 16-17 with the local Mountain Bike Club organising the cross-country and Descend Rotorua, the downhill.

Anton Cooper and Sam Gaze will be in contention in Japan for the 2020 Olympics. This will add even more spice to the competition and will guarantee some close, hard-fought and entertaining racing. There's more information and registration here: mountain-bike-nationals.cyclingnewzealand.nz

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And then, of course, there's Crankworx, this year, with a side order of Enduro World Series. In 2019 this all follows closely on the heels of the National Championships, starting on March 19 and running through to March 24 with the Giant Toa Enduro presented by Camelbak. There'll be all the usual events, drama and spectacular action, Get your tickets now: www.crankworx.com

Although the New Zealand Singlespeed Championships 2019 isn't a Rotorua-based event, it does have strong connections to our local MTB community.

The champs are on April 27 in Hawke's Bay and the event director is Haedyn Borck. He is from Rotorua, now living over in the Bay. He is also a committee member of the Rotorua Singlespeed Society.

Like the '2019 NZ Singlespeed Champs Hawkes Bay' page for all the latest news.