NZ Sotheby's International Realty sponsored the Whaka 50km event for the first time. We spoke to Sales Associate, Brendan Ryan, who also raced in the Whaka100, to find out how the day went overall.
What inspired New Zealand Sotheby's International Realty to get involved with the Whaka100?
NZ Sotheby's International Realty has recently opened an office in Rotorua, so for us it is about letting people know we are here and supporting local community events. Rotorua is world famous for mountain biking and events like this have a huge economic benefit for the area and we wanted to play our part supporting the Whaka100 that showcases what a fantastic place Rotorua is to live. The feedback from my colleagues about the day was very positive, everyone enjoyed the day and for a few who don't ride, it might have inspired them to give one of the distances a go next year. The weather played its part and it sounds like the event village area was humming. For us, being at the event was all about brand awareness and we felt it couldn't have gone better. Philly on the microphone gave us all the coverage we could have hoped for, the flag displays were excellent, and hopefully it will become a long term partnership. So in the future, maybe some of these participants from out of town who decide they want to ride these trails everyday and move to Rotorua, will touch base with us and we will help them find a home.
What inspired you to enter the Whaka100?
I think it is an iconic event and I just wanted to tick that box and do it once. For me, it's a real challenge.
How did you prepare for event day?
I had been riding about 3 times a week for the prior 5 months, building up the km's. It has been a great way to get out there in winter and keep fit. It has been good getting out the back and riding trails that I don't normally do, but I could ride more often as the fitness built up. I enjoyed the challenge of trails like Kung Fu Walrus and No Brains.
Talk us through your ride on Sunday?
Definitely felt a little nervous at the start wondering if I had done enough training to make it. I had a bad flu for a few weeks leading up to the day and I was worried if it got really hot, it could be a problem. I rode with a mate for the first 25 km at a steady pace and really just concentrated on eating and drinking heaps. I have to say I really enjoyed the first 50km, met a few people along the way and the trails were mint. Good to see riders stopping and helping people who had some nasty crashes in Tukonohi and Billy T and I thought the camaraderie out there was fantastic amongst people just trying to finish. I felt good at the halfway mark but Pondy Elevator and Direct weren't exactly fun. After Hot Cross it was just about getting to the finish, that was a long 10km. Definitely a feeling of accomplishment crossing the line and always good to have the support of my family and some work mates who waited for me to finish.