Mountain bikers from all over the world are gathering in Rotorua for the 2020 edition of Crankworx and among them are some of the best female riders in the sport. Sports reporter David Beck caught up with some of them.
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"On a deeper level, it's about normalising women in sport and showing that you don't have to be this crazy, gnarly, superstar, listening to heavy metal, to be a mountain biker."
Those are the words of Canadian mountain biker Micayla Gatto, one of the leading lights when it comes to promoting women in the sport.
Gatto made waves in the mountain biking community in 2017 when her video "Ferda Girls", a parody of Humble by Kendrick Lamar, went viral. The video takes inspiration from her experiences as a professional mountain biker in a male-dominated sport and provides plenty of laughs - she has used that platform to continue empowering women to give mountain biking a go.
"I struggled a lot with downhill racing when I was little because I am girly but there was a big pressure to be this really rough, hardcore kind of person if you were racing downhill.
"It was really confusing to me because I wasn't like that but I really liked riding. I was a bit embarrassed to be a mountain biker because I didn't really identify with the stereotype. Now, there are so many women doing it and so many micro groups - there are the hardcore, heavy metal girls but there's also the super girly and everyone in between."
Two weeks ago, Gatto and reigning Queen of Crankworx Vaea Verbeeck, also from Canada, teamed up with Rotorua rider Ashley Bond to hold a women's ride in the Whakarewarewa Forest.
"It's free and it's really just to bring the community together," Gatto said.
"Growing up, all of us would just ride with boys and you don't realise how many women are actually riding until you do an event like this.
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"There's nothing wrong with riding with guys to push your limits and have fun but it is a totally different dynamic when you get to ride with girls who are better than you, or the same or if you're teaching them something.
"It's a completely different vibe and I think it's quite beneficial. I find when I ride with girls like Vaea and Ash who are the same or better than me, you actually push each other more because it's the mentality of 'if she can do it, I can do it'."
Verbeeck, whose Queen of Crankworx title defence starts in Rotorua next week, agreed, saying she often learned more riding with other women.
"I can ride with guys, like my boyfriend, but usually I won't be able to keep up and they'll lead the ride because I'm not as fast but because of that they don't see how I ride.
"When you're out with your girls you can really stick close and see how each other ride, so you really get to know each others' riding style. So, when my partner says 'I know you can do this' I don't always believe it. But if the girls say 'you got this' and they know exactly how I ride and I can trust that."
Bond said there were some stereotypes around the type of women who rode mountain bikes but in reality it was a sport suitable to anyone.
"There is a stigma because the mountain biking that's exposed to you is stuff like Crankworx and World Cups, so you watch that and think 'I can't do that'.
"It's about breaking that illusion down and realising it's not as scary as it seems. The people that are competing are still just normal people, normal humans who want to meet more people and ride with other people. It's not like we're on this level that we can't relate to people, we all started somewhere.
"That's what we found with the women's ride, especially with Vaea and Micayla who are so internationally recognised, the other women realised they are so relatable and their just hanging out with their friends. I think a lot of local girls really appreciated it."
While the women's side of the sport had grown immensely since she started, she said it would be great to see more Kiwi women getting involved.
"We have this incredible international festival in our own backyard but the representation of New Zealand women competing in that is quite minimal. We're trying to break down this illusion, we have this amazing event so why don't we have all the girls participating and having a go. I think there's still a long way to go in breaking down that barrier."
Despite being the woman to beat this year, Verbeeck said she would not change her approach to riding, aiming to simply enter as many events as possible and enjoy herself.
"I don't want to expect to be number one - last year I went in and just signed up for everything without thinking about it too much and it went good so I'm trying to do that.
"If I perform really well I should be happy with my performances, if anyone else does better then I should be happy for them. The offseason has been really good, lots of time on all my bikes."