A new mountain-biking category is being introduced for the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge this year.

Organisers of New Zealand's largest cycling event said rebuilding of two mountain bike tracks through Wairakei Forest, one 40km and one 85km, was being done north of Taupo.

Mountain biking has been part of the event since 2008, but organisers said that after bad weather at the beginning of the year the tracks had to be rebuilt to cater to the demand.

"As mountain biking is a growing cycling discipline, it's important ... we offer off-road options as part of our categories to choose from," a cycle challenge spokesman said.


"It caters to all levels, from elite athletes to any level of cyclist wanting to challenge themselves."

The new tracks are expected to be ready in time for the November event.

The Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is part of the International Cycle Union's Golden Bike series which takes in other races around the world.

Its events include the Tour de Flandres in Belgium and L'Ariegeoise in France.

Event director Kay Brake said the event was like a festival, with entertainment off and on the course.

"As well as participants enjoying one of New Zealand's most picturesque cycling events, we'll also be bringing a real festival flavour to the weekend with live entertainment and bands."

The event has a total of 12 different challenges for a range of ages and skills.

Participants can either tackle the 160km circuit of Lake Taupo on their own or they can join up in a relay with up to three others to complete the lake circuit.

Interested cyclists can enter the November 24 event online from this Sunday at www.cyclechallenge.com.