The beautiful Blue Lakes area in Rotorua will celebrate the 11th edition of the XTERRA New Zealand Championship this Saturday with a few thousand of its closest friends.
Its reputation as being a well-organized race in one of the most scenic spots on the XTERRA World Tour is well deserved and annually attracts a growing field of international competitors.
“The trails in Rotorua are just simply AMAZING,” said XTERRA world traveler and famous British stunt woman Daz Parker. “The XTERRA mountain bike course is one of the best I've ridden, a smooth roller coaster ride, almost like they've been tarmacked over and lots of fun, fun, fun.”
Renata Bucher, who has won XTERRA races in more than a dozen countries around the world, is quick to agree.
“Yes, it's really true, that XTERRA New Zealand has one of the best bike courses in the whole XTERRA world! Fantastic trails in an amazing area!” exclaimed the “Swiss Rocket”.
XTERRA’s power couple – Aussie Ben Allen and Brit Jacqui Slack – have returned to defend their NZ crowns, perpetuate the “Live More” spirit of the sport, and keep striving towards their ultimate goal.
“Perform to the best of our abilities at every race, live life to the fullest & win the XTERRA World Championship in Maui this October,” said Allen, clarifying exactly what the ultimate goal is.
The pair is on track so far, claiming the XTERRA Triple Crown titles and sharing the top spot on the podium at two of the last three races with wins in Saipan and Guam, and runner-up performances at last weekend’s XTERRA in Australia.
“XTERRA Rotorua is one of my favorite stops,” said Allen, who’s got more than a dozen countries to visit on his ambitious 2013 XTERRA schedule. “New Zealand, and Rotorua especially, has some of the best mountain biking in the world. I love riding my Giant bike through the redwood forest & stopping by the local dairy for some hokey pokey ice cream."
Slack feels the same, saying “I'm super excited to come back to XTERRA Rotorua and compete again. The setting around the Blue Lake is absolutely stunning and the mountain biking is out of this world.”
Allen faces South Africa’s Stuart Marais, and a contingent of Kiwi pros with the likes of Joshua Kenyon, Matt Randall, and Shane Vincent.
Slack’s competitors are familiar, as Bucher, Parker, and Austrian Carina Wasle have raced against each other in the last four XTERRA World Tour events in Philippines, Saipan, Guam, and Australia, and last year here at XTERRA NZ Annika Smail and Elizabeth Orchard finished 2nd and 3rd behind Slack.
The Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival is one of the single biggest multisport events in the world, with more than 2,000 racers taking part in a variety of challenges including a 5.5 km, 11km or 21km walk or run, a 26km mountain bike as well as a team or individual triathlon.
More information can be found at www.xterra.co.nz