What do catfish, a starfish in the mud, and a 10km “accidental” run have to do with the Whaka100? When Amy Mannering wrote to us with these stories about her friend Lucas, we knew we had to find out more!
Lucas Macdonald is a Rotorua local and infamous in the Whaka100 - even being recognised as “The Catfish Guy” when he’s out in the community. We caught up with Lucas to hear more about his nickname, the Whaka journey and why he’s sending Whaka facemasks across New Zealand.
Lucas, is indeed, a catfish guy. “I get called it because I worked in biosecurity. I looked after (tried to remove) pests that showed up in waterways and lakes across the region”.
Digging deeper, we discovered that catfish actually feature in his downtime too. “We entered a triathlon a few years back and a couple of my mates (Jimmy Hogg and Kina Keith) agreed that the loser would eat a catfish off the BBQ. For one reason or another, it never happened and we are still waiting for Kina Keith to front up and eat his meal…”
However, we hopefully won’t see any catfish in this year’s Whaka100!
We love to hear why participants keep entering year-on-year and Lucas’s Whaka100 story is one of redemption. In his first year he trained with his mate, Will (Mick)…turns out when I was riding with him he was doing his slow rides and I was fully tapped so I entered the 100km thinking it would be close and downsized to the 50km after realising my error. The next year I signed up to the 100km as I needed redemption.”
the crowds are cheering for you to do a starfish in the mud.
On top of that, he wasn’t too happy about his 2020 finish and has new ambitions for 2021. “I mainly just want to beat Amy Mannering as she dragged me through 95% of the race last year and dropped me near the finish in a brutal move that I still haven't let go of!”
We obviously think the Whaka is the best event out there and Lucas agrees. “ Whaka100 is cool as its a bit bigger than other events. I've done a couple of other ones (after being called out by people, and then beating them) but Rotorua is just a bit better for riding. Being able to ride this much single track is mint and I think the trails are pretty much good to go in any conditions.” Even if his riding buddies are prone to taking unplanned dips in the creek; “it doesn’t help when the crowds are cheering for you to do a starfish in the mud”.
I know of at least 12 people that have already entered due to 'Catfish Guy’s' pressure.
Not only has Lucas returned year after year but he’s also started bringing his friends along for the ride. In fact, Amy reached out to us because she was so impressed with his solo Whaka marketing campaign.
She wrote “My name’s Amy and I got called out to enter the Whaka 100 by Catfish Guy who sent me (and many others) a Whaka 100 mask and call out note for a rematch. I know of at least 12 people that have already entered due to Catfish Guy’s extensive pressure”.
Amy also told us how a mechanical from Lucas two years ago resulted in him sprinting the last 10km on foot “his pure Whaka enthusiasm made him run it out to the finish line. What a legend!” - Not something you normally see in a mountain bike race!
Both Amy and Lucas are big advocates of the Whaka, “it’s such a good time, it’s a weekend I couldn’t miss” says Amy. So much so, she’s even sent her original Whaka100 mask onwards with a “personal invitation from Cat Fish Guy”.
We think the drive behind Lucas and Amy’s training, recruiting and racing is epic and can’t wait to see them both back for this year’s Whaka. Give them a shout-out if you see them on the trails and remember to follow Lucas’s “Top Tip” for the Whaka 100 - “Take it easy and don't write cheques you can’t cash early or you'll end up in the Rosebank creek like Jimmy!”