Rotorua mountain bikers Keegan Wright and Jenna Hastings have proven they have not missed a beat during the rollercoaster that has been 2020.
On Saturday, they were crowned the winners of the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro race one in the Whakarewarewa Forest.
Hastings, who was the overall female champion in the 2019/20 season, finished in 23m 12s, just three seconds ahead of second-placed Robin Goomes.
"It was really good considering the rest of the world isn't racing because of Covid. I had a few crashes so I wasn't sure if I would get it but obviously I did," Hastings said.
"I just had so much fun, I felt good knowing I put in the hard work in the last series so I was like, I want to do this again."
She said she had a few crashes and hit a tree on one of the downhill tracks, but the last two stages went smoothly.
"I thought I would be up there in the top five women, but I wasn't really sure what to expect because there are quite a lot of fast girls and Robin was only three seconds behind me. It was close riding."
Hastings has entered race two and three with the goal of defending her overall title.
Wright finished first in the men's division with an overall time of 19m 16s.
He finished ahead of Daniel Self (19m 22s) and Connor Hamilton (19m 29s).
Wright said it was good to be back after having time off racing due to Covid-19.
"This is my first race back since Crankworx Rotorua so it's been a solid six or seven months. It's cool to come back and get back on the top step. It was a cool day out and the 2W team put on a really cool event."
Wright said he would usually be racing overseas at this time of year.
"It is good to be here. These events are always good to get amongst. This morning the first two stages were a little bit greasy but, once the sun got onto the dirt, it baked it up a bit and got nice and tacky."
He said he was not expecting the win but hoped for a good result.
"I've had a lot of off-the-bike time during this season because it's so long until we can travel overseas for racing so I've been doing a lot of gym work and cardio like running and swimming, just trying to keep things fun and fresh.
"Today when I came out to ride, I was nervous. I thought I could try to get top five or top 10 and try to get a good result. But I've always done well at these 2Ws so it's good to come back and be in a good position again."
Event director Craig Murray said the event was a success and had a great turnout.
"Today was amazing. The weather played its part, it rained a little bit during the week and then was hot Friday and Saturday, perfect for the trails. Saturday started off as a frost but then reached over 20C.
"We couldn't have asked for a better day. People came out to enjoy the event atmosphere and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves."
He said a goal for the series was to increase the number of female competitors.
"Sixteen per cent of participants are female which is cool. We also had a goal to sell it out quickly which we did, in just four days. There has also been an increase in participants by 10 per cent over the series."
Murray said more than 460 entrants travelled from outside of Rotorua to race.
"The economic impact for Rotorua is huge and events like these help our community, not just the mountain biking community but accommodation, local tourist attractions and hospitality."
The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro series comprises three races, with race two taking place on December 5 and race three on February 20, 2021. All three races sold out in four days with more than 500 competitors in each race.
Long Course Men 6 Stage Overall:
1st Keegan Wright (19m 16s)
2nd Daniel Self (19m 22s)
3rd Connor Hamilton (19m 29s)
Long Course Women 6 Stage Overall:
1st Jenna Hastings (23m 12s)
2nd Robin Goomes (23m 15s)
3rd Vinny Armstrong (23m 31s)