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Join these local legends on the Taupō trails this #womensmtbday

Celebrate your love of riding this Saturday, 7 May 2022 on the fifth annual International Women's Mountain Biking Day. A day for riders who identify as women to enjoy mountain biking together and to encourage all riders to join them on the trails!

International Women's Mountain Biking Day

Formed at the 2018 IMBA Uprising, a conference created by and for women mountain bikers, #womensmtbday is intended to be women-forward while all bikers are invited to ride in celebration.

We’re recognising all of the legendary local female riders who share their love of mountain biking and their favourite rides!

Special offer has now ended. See you in 2023!


Katie

How did you start riding?

I started mountain biking back in 2016 at the age of 25, and the first trail I ever road was Spa Park to Huka Falls Track. The reason I gave it a go was because I had seen flatmates head out on their bikes and it looked like they were having heaps of fun. Being a person who loved trail running and bush walks, I thought I'd try it. Needless to say, I fell in love with it instantly and have been obsessed ever since!

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

My favorite trails to ride are Cole's Killer and Buzzard in Craters MTB Park and any other grade 5 trails I can find!

Why do you love it?

I love riding bikes for a few reasons!

  1. It's awesome being out in nature in the bush, it always improves my mood. 
  2. I love the constant progression of mountain biking, there is always something to improve on; a new feature to try, a faster time to get.
  3. I enjoy the fitness side of it and the feeling of accomplishment when you get to the top of the hill.
  4. It's super social and fun riding with mates and often ends with a beer and a feed. It's my favorite sport and I encourage more girls and women to give it a go!

Leah 

How did you start riding?

I started riding a bike when I was three. I was absolutely determined to ride without my training wheels, so my Dad and I practiced and practiced until I got it by myself! I have ridden ever since then on some pretty epic trails with my family and friends. I definitely got even more invested in riding when I started working at FourB and also when I started my degree studying a bachelor of health sport and human performance. It's been super cool relating something I love to a degree I'm passionate about.

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

I love riding the local Great Lake Trails, especially the K2K Trail as Kawakawa Bay is an awesome climbing destination for me. I have a lot of memories of carrying very heavy packs full of climbing and camping gear on my bike.

Why do you love it?

I love mountain biking because I love the feeling of moving fast and feeling a part of my bike and the surrounding environment. When you are moving fast on a bike, one sudden wrong move could cause you some serious damage. This allows you to be super present with your surroundings and really respect the laws of nature, forces and movement. I also love the community and the positive health benefits it brings. I get so much joy seeing kids out on their bikes and getting fresh air!


Debra

How did you start riding?

We moved to Taupō 10 years ago – from Tongariro National Park. We had been doing some riding with kids, and work, but it wasn’t very regular. When we moved to Taupō, we started enjoying the trails in Craters MTB Park. 3 years ago we moved to E-mountain bikes – and what a difference! We are now regular riders – like every weekend and holiday.

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

That’s a hard question but as a go-to great 30km or so loop from our home - my fav is the Rotary Ride. My partner prefers Craters MTB Park – and whilst I enjoy riding it – I mostly prefer the other trails. Also, the Great Lake Trails – especially Kinloch back to Kinloch (Kawakawa Section) via the new Otaketake Trail are also a regular for us.

Why do you love it?

It’s the best form of exercise for me! I love my e-bike but I also can get a good workout by not using too high power, going for longer and further and more regularly! We are very very lucky here in Taupō that we have so many trails to ride and have fun on – especially with a bunch of mates.

And – as I am the fleet manager for the council, I have introduced e-bikes into the fleet – and it's great to see staff out and about on them!


Gabby

How did you start mountain biking?

I've been destined to be a mountain biker right from a young age when I was cruising around on the back of my Dad's bike. Even a little crash on some ice wasn't enough to put off one-year-old me. Since then I have grown up riding bikes with my family and it wasn't until I got to university that I discovered proper single-track riding. From then on I was hooked!

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

I love riding along the Huka Falls Trail out to Craters MTB Park and cutting laps of my favourite trails out there. Some of which include: Buzzard, Cole's Killer, Pinners, Outback, Contact Tracing, Mr, Mrs and Mistress and even Grinder (hehe).

I also love the Great Lake Trails for a longer endurance ride with a stop at the Tipsy Trout for coffee and curly fries, yum!

Why do you love riding?

There are millions of reasons why I love riding:

  • it's fun for a start
  • therapeutic to be out in nature
  • great for building confidence
  • the sense of accomplishment after knocking off hard features or tough hill climbs

Not to mention the mountain bike community. I have made some of my best friendships through mountain biking and it's such a great supportive scene. I also love to test myself competitively on the cross-country race scene. Taupō puts on some good fun races that encourage participation across all ages and abilities.


Julie

How did you start riding?

I first mountain biked in Colorado in my 20s, coerced by a friend who made me train to ride Slick Rock in Utah, which was amazing. After that, I never really got into it until my 40s in Taupō. 

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

Great Lake Trails for sure! K2K, W2K, O2K. Super fun, smooth yet challenging, loads of turns, uphills that aren't too nasty and downhills that are pure joy for someone who is not a daredevil but enjoys a bit of fun.

Why do you love it?

It's way more fun than hiking, the connection with the outdoors, the wind in your face, fun challenges that make you forget all stress in your life, and it's easy on the knee joints. I always finish a ride happy, fulfilled, and ready to relax and enjoy family.


Alex

How did you start mountain biking?

I started biking again after moving to Taupō back in 2013. I had a very very old rigid 26" bike I used to commute on and took it down to the Huka Trails and Craters MTB Park

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

My dog and I love backcountry adventures so Te Iringa* is our local favourite. Beech forest, stream crossings, wetlands, this grade 5 trail is simply epic. We also love riding K2K and camping at Kawakawa Bay. We are very lucky that all of the bike trails in Taupō are dog friendly

*DOC dog permit required for all dog-friendly trails in Kaimanawa Forest Park

Why do you love it?

It's just a great way to spend time in nature with good mates. 


Nikki

How did you start mountain biking?

Basically, the husband bought me a bike and showed me a completely new side of "going on a bike ride" which changed me forever.

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

How's about those views on the K2K Trail and the magic camp spot at Kawakawa Bay!

Why do you love riding?

I love it because of the buzz that you get when you're out there. The good times are unbeatable, surfing the dirt with mates and having a rad time with loads of laughs.


Libby 

Libby O'Brien MTB Taupo New Zealand

How did you start riding?

I grew up riding bikes through many of the reserves across Taupō but was never really fit (or fast!). It wasn’t until I borrowed a bike for the Christmas holidays two years ago that I got the biking bug back again. I went out to Craters MTB Park and hit up Scraggs and Tourist Trap and my mountain biking journey has really grown from there.

I initially got myself a second-hand hardtail but went over the handlebars soon after (it happens to all of us!), so traded it in for a full suspension. Then I realised the only way I was going to keep up with my mates who had been riding most of their lives was to go electric. That’s where my love affair with mountain biking really started when I brought my Specialized Turbo Levo into my life 18 months ago.

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

The first is Craters MTB Park, which has a special place in my heart. It’s perfect for a full-speed XC blat, with trails for whatever mood I’m in – from the rollercoaster, single-track Coaster to techy fun (read: fear) of Waipowerawera and the challenge of Cole’s Killer, its pumice heaven just outside of town.

When I’ve got a bit more time, I absolutely love getting out on the Great Lake Trails. Doing the O2K loop from Kinloch to Kawakawa Bay, up the hill to Whangamata road, and then cruising back to Kinloch is a great 32km loop, but I really love riding the Waihaha Section, mostly due to getting the treat of a boat trip to get back to Kinloch. It’s pretty special we get to be able to ride on trails such as these.

Why do you love it?

Like any good addiction (and all-mountain bikers will understand what I mean) there’s just something about jumping on your bike and heading off for a ride that really gets under your skin. Riding an e-bike really ramped up my addiction, as it’s almost like no hill is an issue and there’s nowhere you can’t go, or at least can’t try to go!

Getting to the bottom of a techy downhill where you’ve given your whole body a workout, scared yourself multiple times and safely gotten to the bottom to fist pump your buddies is one of the best feelings ever.


Sarah

How did you start riding?

I started riding as a child, biking rurally from our farm up to the main road to catch a bus to school. Then later in life, I reconnected with riding. I now compete in events such as Spirited Woman, previously in Spring Challenge and Crank It at Craters MTB Park, etc. 

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

I love riding our beautiful trails like the W2K, K2K, Waihaha, Waihora, Whangamata Stream Trail, Otaketake Trail, Rotary Ride and Craters MTB Park.

Why do you love it?

I love being out in nature, breathing in the fresh air, seeing the great views, enjoying time with friends and the bonus of riding the trails means you can go further.


Amy

How did you start riding?

I started riding when I was maybe seven years old on a hand-me-down choppa. However, I didn’t pick up mountain biking until I was 36 years old. I had to chase my kids around Crater MTB Park and rather liked it. It would be fair in saying I loved mountain biking so much that I've shaped my future around it by becoming a MTB guide, a cycling instructor, and learning the tools in a bike store.

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

By far my favourite place to ride is the Waihaha Section of the Great Lake Trails which is part of NZ Great Rides. It’s remote enough you don’t run into many and your phone won’t ring due to no service. 

Why do you love it?

You can escape from the world for a few hours and lose yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the central plateau.


Emma

How did I start riding?

I can't remember not riding. I always had a trike and loved riding around the house with my three sisters. We grew up on a farm with heaps of hand-me-down bikes so there was always a bigger one to grow into and to try and go faster on. It gave us the means to get somewhere faster and was just a fun thing to do.

What are your favourite trails to ride in Taupō?

There are too many favourites and every time we ride somewhere new we ask ourselves why we don't ride there more often. My favourite local trail is the Wairakei Resort Track (part of the Wairakei Thermal Loop), the track around the back of Wairakei Resort, beside the beautiful thermal river. I always take visitors here and never grow tired of the beauty of it.

My favourite trail in Taupō, but a short drive/or long commute to, is the Waihaha Section of the Great Lake Trails. I love all of the sections, but this one, in particular, has far more viewing points of the lake, mountains, waterfalls, white cliffs, etc. It is fast and flowing and a great day ride... of course with the option of a stunning boat ride home or an equally stunning return ride to the car and a cool dip in the river at the car park.


 

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