The Whaka100 naming rights partner Emerson’s Brewing Company has been New Zealand’s craft brewing pioneer since 1992, brewing and creating beer with the same passion they have for riding bikes, building trails, and supporting as many cycling activities as they can. The ethos of their brand is the perfect match for the Whaka100. We caught up with Chris O’Leary (Emerson’s General Manager) to find out more about the partnership and how Chris has prepared for his first Whaka100.
What inspired Emerson’s Brewing Company to get involved with the Whaka100?
The history of mountain biking had a bunch of people rebelling against a less individualistic style of cycling by grabbing bikes consigned to the rubbish dump, welding and tweaking them to launch themselves down some dirt track. There were no rules, these early pioneers created their own. Craft brewing developed in much the same way. Passionate people brewing more interesting beer and rebelling against the industrial breweries by doing their own thing in their individual way. Creating beer with no rules. Mountain Biking and Craft Beer go hand in hand. Emerson’s has been New Zealand’s craft brewing pioneer since 1992, brewing and creating beer with the same passion we ride bikes, build trails, and support as many cycling activities as we can. Emerson’s has a vibrant bike culture and it’s a natural fit for us!
Tell us about Emerson’s partnership with the Whaka100?
It comes down to the passion of Tim Farmer and his team! The first time I met and rode with Tim Farmer, I got swept up in his incredible passion and drive for the Whaka100. Staying on Tim’s back wheel is not easy! It was Tim’s passion, his vision, and the sheer quality of the event, which is so inclusive of all riding abilities, that makes us proud to support the mighty Whaka100. We are stoked to be a named sponsor and provide Tim with further support and work alongside his other great event partners.
What inspired you to take part in the Whaka100?
I have taken part in a wide range of events, cyclocross, 40km – 125km cross country racing, Funduro’s, but never a race devoted to getting as much single track as possible in one race! That’s pretty damn inspiring. My focus these days is on having fun on Canterbury and Otago trails, single track rides with friends enjoying the camaraderie of riding together as much as the ride itself. The chance to ride the Rotorua trails with a bunch of people who just love to ride and enjoy each other’s company racing and post race is a non brainer. I’m bringing a team up from Dunedin, the Whakaboys who are really looking forward to going hard and enjoying some of NZ’s best trails!
How have you prepared for event day?
Personally I’m getting in as much riding as I can based here in Dunedin and in Naseby, racing shorter events whenever they fit into my programme. I haven’t raced that well in the past so I’m working on my race planning, and seeing just where my race pace is that I can hold for the duration of the event and still leave something in the tank for the Rosebank!
Emerson’s is bringing up a slice of Dunedin with us in the form of our new food truck, bag piper, good Southern hospitality and of course a great range of craft beer to enjoy post race. We’ll have our beautiful new cargo bike cranking around the event ‘sprocketing’ things up for spectators, supporters and participants alike.
What are your expectations of the event?
I’m expecting it to be one of the hardest days riding I’ve ever done. Everyone I’ve spoken to has agreed it’s a big challenge and even the hardened racers know have emptied the tank crossing that finish line. I pray nightly to the gods of mtb that I finish hard n fast and not do a bloody endo into the water hole at the finish!
I’ll be encouraging every faster rider that passes me giving them ‘on your right’ as they need it, and giving support to those that need it. That’s what we do as mountain bike riders, it’s the best bloody cycling community there is.
What else you would you like to share?
For me the race is about getting out there on my daily ride, my Yeti SB130, so no featherweight, 120mm travel light racing machine for me. It’s about riding for fun, seeking every bit of flow and speed I can on the downhills and sucking it in and holding fast on the climbs! I’ll be encouraging every faster rider that passes me giving them ‘on your right’ as they need it, and giving support to those that need it. That’s what we do as mountain bike riders, it’s the best bloody cycling community there is. And you know what, we’ll finish the day and say “man that’s awesome let’s ride tomorrow.” It’s who we are.