Competitors in last year's Tour de Wakatipu ride through a
breathtaking landscape. Photo supplied.
Organisers of the Queenstown Bike Festival have stepped
things up a notch this year for all levels and types of
The festival, in its third consecutive year, is expected to
pull in over 5000 riders and attendees. The 10-day event runs
from March 22 to April 1.
Events would suit cyclists from casual riders through to
organiser Geoff Hunt said last week, as he announced some
additional events, taking the tally to 25 overall.
Nearly every genre of cycling - mountain biking,
cross-country, downhill, freeride, road biking, casual
pedals, kids' racing and park riding - will be covered,
across some of the Wakatipu's best riding terrain.
Pros competing during the week include world cup downhillers
Cam Cole and Sam Blenkinsop, former New Zealand rep Mark
Johnson,free rider Conor McFarlane, and Sam Perry, who was
placed 6th at the latest downhill nationals.
Mr Hunt said the newest of the events, the R&R Sport Mega
Avalanche, was the festival's ''crazy race'' and one of the
specialist events spectators and riders alike would thrive
The race would start on the high slopes of the Remarkables
skifield, run down a steep single line through tussocks and
rocky terrain and end at the edge of the lake.
The final layout and course selection was done on Saturday
and entries would open by tomorrow.
Mr Hunt said the events' popularity had increased tenfold
this year, which he attributes to New Zealanders getting well
behind the sport.
It was a sign of a new style of riding, he said.
The Outside Sports Super D ''specialist event'' held at the
Queenstown Bike Park was already full, with 110 starters
signed up, and he was in the process of making a new event
for the 20 on a waiting list and any more who missed out.
Details of that would be announced soon. The Vertigo Bikes
Dirtmasters Down Hill was also a hearty challenge to national
and international riders, he said.
Other festival highlights include family favourite the New
World Tour de Wakatipu, which reels in about 800 contestants
every year it has run.
The ride from Millbrook Resort, in Arrowtown, to Chard Farm
Winery, has had steady interest already and this year there
would also be runners.
Farmer Steve Lang has opened up some of his land for runners
to compete in a 12.5km run alongside the right-hand side of
the Kawarau River, usually closed to public.
For keen spectators during the 10 days, several top
professionals are lined up to launch themselves on giant
jumps and man-made features under lights in town for the Teva
The event is now a FMB World Tour Silver Event. Last year's
festival brought in more than $2 million to the local
Mr Hunt said the aim this year was to create a festival that
''appeals to a wide swath of biking culture''.