SHARE

Things are tracking well in the build-up to the Papakaio 8-Hour Mountain Bike Challenge and there is still time to register your team, organisers say.

As the annual Papakaio Home and School fundraiser draws near, fundraising committee spokeswoman Becca Finlay said registrations for the February 13 event were going well.

“We’re really encouraged to see lots of familiar names that are outside our immediate community, but in the biking community of Otago, making the journey again,” Finlay said.

“So people that consistently do events like that are wanting to come back to our event, which we think demonstrates the calibre of what we offer on the track. So that’s really good.”

Registrations were not as buoyant as they were this time last year, but the committee understood people were showing a reluctance to plan too far in advance due to Covid-19.

“So we encourage people that this is a great time to register now, less than a month out from the event.”

The track had been finalised and the track builders had been able to really put it through its paces, she said.

“It’s well ridden and it’s the best form the track has ever been in.

“They [track builders] know what works really well and what people enjoy riding.

“We’re sort of at the stages now where they’re riding it and marking out hazards and stuff, to make it really safe and enjoyable for all levels of riders.”

Feedback from the first event in 2018 had been taken on board and there were a few areas where less challenging options had been added so everybody could enjoy the 9km circuit.

The race was open to riders aged 12 and over, and there was a social category which was also open to e-bike riders, she said.

Track builder and designer Brett Stuart, despite no longer having children at the school, had been the driving force behind the track development, and he did it purely for the love of it, Finlay said.

“The hours that they spend up there building the track is just phenomenal.”

He also took a group of children biking at the track every Thursday after school.

Mr Stuart said the number of hours he, and fellow committee members, had spent working on the track were “uncountable”.

“I just love mountain biking – and I hate seeing young people on the couch behind a screen.”

Ian and Gloria Hurst, who own Willow Park, where the event is being held, had been hugely accommodating and nothing was too much bother for them, he said.

“Gloria always says that being in the trees is therapeutic, and it is … just getting outside and doing stuff.”

The track was always “evolving” and was just going to get better and better.

Stuart said they hoped to use it for other events throughout the year, such as cyclocross – a mixed-terrain, short-circuit form of bike racing he had become involved with.

A public walking track was also in the pipeline.

Finlay said the fundraising committee had received amazing support from local businesses.

Oamaru Honda had donated an XR150 motorbike worth more than $4500, which was being auctioned off after the race.

Bids could also be placed beforehand via the event’s Facebook page.

“The other thing we’re finalising is the finer details of what the vendors are providing,” she said.

“The committee at large is really passionate about mountain-biking, but I love that we can curate the different vendors that are going to be there and make them businesses we’re all very proud of in Oamaru.

“We love the Scotts beer and the Ostler wine. We’ve got Riverstone [Kitchen], we have Whitestone Cheese … it’s like all the products and businesses we love dealing with – and eating and drinking.”Nike air jordan Sneakersadidas garwen spezial white shoes