There are massive piles of snow all around the TGR office. While spring skiing will always have a special spot in our hearts, it’s hard not to daydream about the singletrack waiting for us underneath this lovely snowpack. Not willing to wait till June for the snow to disappear, we decided to get our fix from elsewhere—particularly down in the Southern Hemisphere.
Crankworx Rotorua was definitely a first for us. The left-handed driving, endless roundabouts, and beets might have thrown us for a loop. Mountain biking, however, doesn’t care what hemisphere you’re in. As the Kiwis would say, it was sweet as bru. Rotorua was added to the Crankworx tour in 2015 and was received by the community with open arms. It’s not a huge surprise considering how the sport is embedded into the DNA of this town. The local Whakarewarewa forest, while impossible to pronounce, has one of the greatest trail systems you can find. In fact, locals will proudly claim that it’s the best in the world. It’s a bold claim, so we had to scope around—for research, you know?
Beyond the incredible trails, this week was memorable because it marks the start of the world’s biggest bike festival. Whether you’re an athlete, photographer, or just plain bike enthusiast, Crankworx is special because it brings us all together to celebrate one simple but beautiful notion: riding our bikes. Countless moments like Kialani Hines taking her first Pump Track gold to Brett Rheeder’s mind-bending Slopestyle winning run reminded us of the payoff of hard work, grit, and unyielding passion. The opportunity to also capture it was really the cherry on top of the whole experience, and here are some of our favorite moments:
Adrien Loron comes in hot on one of the big banked turns.
Kiwi racer Shania Rawson keeps her eyes on the prize.
Billy Meaclem manuals through the whoops.
Tahnee Seagrave isn't just a force on the downhill track—she nabbed a bronze from the race.
Rotorua local Keegan Wright ended the night by taking home the win in front of an excited crowd.
Casey Brown was throwing big air, are you surprised?
Ryan Howard didn't lose his sense of style as he raced.
Vaea Verbeck would walk away with the win!
Local Keegan Wright charged through the course like it was his backyard.
It was an evening of high-intensity racing at its finest.
Speed & Style
Tyler McCaul throws a little stanky leg in round one.
Speed and Style is the interesting love child of slopestyle and dual slalom—but hey, we like it.
The boys weren't afraid to go big with their tricks.
Viktor Douhan makes these berms look easy.
It came down to Greg Watts and Billy Meaclem to see who'd advance to the finals.
The finals were narrowed to Martin Soederstroem (above) and Billy "The Kid" Meaclem.
It was looking neck and neck until Martin Soederstroem crashed on the final heat.
Newcomer Kiwi Billy Meaclem caused the biggest upset of the night by snagging the win from a stacked field of seasoned veterans.
Extra style points for one-legged whips.
Casey Brown was looking hungry to maintain her reign.
Peter Kaiser was the best at getting sideways.
Do flips go against your score?
Rules were simple: get things completely sideways.
Bring a buddy while you're at it.
It was a tight race for third between Tahnee Seagrave and Vaea Verbeeck.
Kialani Hines walked away with her first ever Pump Track win!
Adrien Loron finds his flow on one of the massive turns.
Shania Rawson was on a roll this week, nabbing podiums in AirDh and the Pump Track.
Keegan Wright, a familiar face on the Pump Track podium, fought hard despite walking away with a silver medal.
Tomas Lemoine found redemption that night with a win after a flat tire in the Speed and Style competition.
Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza:
A nasty crash would end the competition early for Thomas Genon.
Erik Fedko was chomping at the bit alongside the rest of the veteran slopestyle athletes.
The course was burly with massive jumps and step ups.
Tomas Lemoine was the king of style with his tricks and fashion. Erik Fedko tried to crack the podium but walked with a 7th place finish.
Brett Rheeder wowed the crowd and the world with a nearly flawless run.
The winner's spoils.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to make it to the Downhill and EWS events—suppose it means we have to come back next year.