Just hours after Sam Shaw secured a spot on the podium at New Zealand's longest-running mountain bike race in Upper Hutt he was back on the bike in Rotorua competing in a gruelling, Crankworx 2020 endurance event.
The Rotorua 27-year-old raced the Gazley Skoda Karapoti Classic near Wellington on Saturday, finishing in third place with a time of 2hours, 25minutes, 51.81 seconds. Last year, he was runner-up in the men's race. Winning this year's event was Christchurch's Anton Cooper in first place, with a time of 2hours, 15minutes, 51.44seconds, with Ruby Bay's Cameron Jones in second (2hours, 22minutes, 24.55 seconds).
The next day, he was one of more than 300 riders who lined up for Crankworx Rotorua's opening event, the six stage Giant Toa Enduro race through the Whakarewarewa Forest.
"It was really hard on the first stage of the Toa," he says. "In the first few stages I was just really tired."
Though struggling early on, Shaw finished the event in ninth place.
"It's a really good hit-out."
The endurance events are his favourites to race but today Shaw's focus moves to the Rotorua Air Downhill on Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park, which involves riders being challenged with 32 jumpable features while racing to the finish line. It's fast, which is exactly what Shaw loves about it.
After that, he'll get to be a spectator and with a house full of mountain bikers for the week, he'll have plenty of friends to support this week.
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Shaw's favourite events to watch during Crankworx are Friday's Speed and Style and Saturday's pump track, but he says the benefits go beyond the riders and the action.
"I think the coolest benefit is that all the groms and stuff get to meet all the riders that they follow online."
Shaw remembers being a young rider, watching the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships, and feeling a little starstruck by all the world-class athletes such as Sam Hill in his home town.
He never imagined a major event such as Crankworx would have been brought to Rotorua.
"Back then I never thought I'd be racing [at Crankworx]."
Rotorua Air Downhill schedule:
11:30am-2pm: Pro Training.
2–4:30pm: Amateur, CWNEXT and Kidsworx Invitational.
4:45-5pm: Finals – Kidsworx Invitational.
5-7:30pm: Finals – CWNEXT, Amateur and Pro.
Gazley Skoda Karapoti Classic results:
1st: Anton Cooper (Christchurch), 2:15:51.44.
2nd: Cameron Jones (Ruby Bay), 2:22:24.55.
3rd: Sam Shaw (Rotorua), 2:25:51.81.
1st: Kate McIlroy (Wellington), 2:47:32.75.
2nd: Sammie Maxwell (Taupō), 2:53:32.35.
3rd: Karen Hill (Australia), 3:07:18.69.