Emerson’s Whaka100 is widely considered one of the toughest mountain bike marathons in the Southern Hemisphere and is taking place in Rotorua on Labour weekend, 25th October.
The event, held in the Whakarewarewa Forest, comprises of a kids 5km, women’s 10km, 25km and 50km races, as well as the feature 100km race.
A strong field of participants is returning, among them is Cosmo Bloor.
Bloor is a 24 year old passionate mountain biker from Auckland. He is CYCO’s lead mechanic and has been a keen rider since he was fourteen. If he is not at work, you will probably find him out on the trails.
He said he enjoys how different riders from different areas can come together and race at the Whaka100.
“The closer the racing is, the more it emphasises who’s faster on certain trails and who’s got the power on the climbs. We end up playing cat and mouse with different guys stepping up at their favourite bit of trail which adds a really unique feature to it.”
Bloor placed second in the Whaka100 in 2017 and was second in the Shoot Out in 2018. He has entered the Whaka100 four times but has only finished the race twice due to pulling out in 2018 and an injury in 2019. He is looking forward to returning this year with a new set of goals.
“Whaka this year will be an interesting one, in 2018 I had the goal of winning it and at the time that’s all I could think about. Come race day I pushed too hard chasing a goal that was probably unachievable at the time.”
Bloor was in the lead bunch, just behind Tim Rush (2018 champion) but ended up pulling out and not finishing the race.
“In 2018 my only goal was winning Whaka, nothing else was on my mind. On paper it’s really easy to look at that as a failure but I’m actually really happy with lots of parts of that race. “
He said he had a bit too much confidence and it was after the big climb up to Split Enz that he hit a wall.
“I gave everything to chase my goal of winning. Unfortunately that day I didn’t quite have it, but I’m proud I chased that goal as hard as I could until I couldn’t anymore.”
Bloor was set to race the Whaka100 in 2019, however faced a setback a week prior.
“About a week out from Whaka 2019 I had a really big crash in front of an audience of Junior Academy kids who I was supposed to be coaching. Still not all that sure what happened, but it seems like I came up short on a jump and fell from some height. I was pretty badly concussed and found out later on that I’d broken my arm.“
He said he was in the best racing form he had been in and was hoping to take the win.
“As far as my time cycling goes, that would have been the most upset I’ve been. I was in the best racing form I’d ever had and I thought I had a great chance at another podium that year and was hoping to take the win.”
“This year my goal is focused around having my best race, focusing on giving my best and seeing what that gives me results wise. Definitely standing on the top step is the dream one day but I’ve got to put in the right steps first to get there.”
He said his training has been focussed on the Whaka100 with big days on the bike becoming more regular.
“For me keeping it fun is the big thing. We’ve already been down to Rotorua and done a course recon which was great. I’ll aim to get a few big rides in Rotorua done as the riding there is pretty different to what we have up in Auckland.”
Bloor said he is looking forward to the event and enjoying the trails in Rotorua.
“My training buddies will be at Whaka chasing their goals. It’s a great day out on the bike and a true test for any mountain biker.”