Cross-country mountain biking is back on the menu in Rotorua, with the inaugural XCO Republic event being held in the Whakarewarewa Forest tomorrow.XCO Republic is a non-profit event held by Nduro Events, with all proceeds to be donated to assist under-19 riders selected to represent New Zealand at the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships this year.
Whaka100 champion Josie Wilcox, of Palmerston North, will be taking on the inaugural event.
"I love racing Nduro events, I've done the Whaka100 twice and the three races of the Winter Series in 2017 and 2018. Tim [Farmer] and the team always put on great events with fun courses, so no doubt this will be no different."
Wilcox said she expected this weekend's race to involve a bit of mud, steep pinches and fun descents.
She has trained as she usually does with regular rides and wins at the South Island and North Island championships. Wilcox said the main goal she was striving for this year was continual improvement.
"There is no such thing as a perfect season but as long as I'm continually improving and racing my best on any given day, I'll be happy with that."
Rotorua's Sam Shaw is also set to take on the event after finishing third in the Whaka100 in 2018 and winning the 2019 North Island Champs Elite men's race at Arapuke Forest Park this month.
XCO Republic is held on undulating circuits including single track climbs and descents, which riders must complete several laps of.
Riders start at the same time, racing between one hour and one hour and 40 minutes, depending on category and course. The course is 4.1km long and the number of laps each category of riders do is set to match the overall race time.
Event director Tim Farmer said: "we are a collective of like-minded mountain bikers that have come together to form a world class XCO race for cross-country riders in New Zealand."
Rotorua entries only make up three per cent of all riders with seven per cent from the South Island and the biggest group being from Auckland with more than 50 per cent of all riders.
The event welcomes spectators, organisers suggest 49 Sala St as a prime spectating location.
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XCO Republic Schedule
2-4pm: Non-marshalled practice
7-9am: unmarshalled Practice
8-10am: Registration pick ups and on the day entry
10.30am: Race one - Boys' U15 and U17
11.30am Race two - All female classes
12pm-1pm: Registration pick ups
1.30pm: Race three: U19, Open, Masters 1, 2, 3