Hundreds of mountain bikers will leave Rotorua with an intimate knowledge of some of the Whakarewarewa Forest trails after competing in the Craigs Investment Partners Moonride.
Teams of two to five people, as well as some brave solo riders, will tackle either the six-hour or 12-hour races during the event based at the Waipa Mountain Bike Park tomorrow.Riders take turns riding laps on an 8km circuit designed to cater for all abilities. The course will weave among the team campsites and through trails such as Tahi and Creek, Pig Track, Turkish, Arapa, Rock Drop and Rock Drop in reverse.
The 24-hour race has been cancelled this year due to a lack of entries.
Event Promotions marketing manager Aimee Gregory said more than 100 teams had entered overall.
"It's done on how many laps are completed. What's really exciting is when you get to that last hour and teams really plot out who their best riders are to get in as many laps as possible.
"It is quite competitive, we have different grades for men, women, mixed, junior, so you've got quite a level playing field in each. We have results displayed throughout the day, pretty much every hour, and teams are always checking how they're doing and pushing for top spot."
Gregory said there was a lot of strategy involved in choosing when to switch riders.
"It depends how many are in your team - the amazing thing is sometimes a team of two will beat a team of five. It's really interesting."
The event is in its 24th year, making it one of the longest-running mountain biking events in New Zealand.
"There's a lot of history in it, it's been around for a long time and it's a well-known event. This year, for the first time in a long time, the weather is looking outstanding.
"It's an electric atmosphere, we'll have music pumping and everyone chilling in their campsites. It's really social."
The New Zealand Air Force enter a team in the Moonride every year and their team manager Andrew Adam said it was an event he always looked forward to.
"I've been involved for the last seven or eight years. It's a great time with your mates, a social event and we just enjoy it."
Adam said the team were usually relatively relaxed about the racing aspect of the event, but finished second in the 12-hour last year.
"I'm more of a social rider, but I know the rest of my team are quite competitive so it will be interesting this year to see if we can go one better than second place.
"To be honest there's not a lot of strategy involved for us. Whoever draws the short straw goes first and we just take it from there doing a lap each, see how everyone is feeling."
Both the six-hour and 12-hour Moonride events start at 10am.