Rotorua local and fan favourite, Philly Angus has been behind the Whaka100 mic since 2017, entertaining and informing the Whaka100 crowds. We caught up with Philly to find out why she does it, what her best moments as MC have been and more.
Q. Tell us about yourself and your involvement with mountain biking?
A. I love riding my MTB and being able to ride in the incredible Whakarewarewa Forest. I love the social side of mountain biking, but also how it’s able to challenge me to grow and develop rider skill and abilities. There’s always a trail feature I want to tick off. I’m a huge supporter of women’s riding and love seeing our riding community grow and strengthen in the number of women riding. I also enjoy organising Social Women’s Rides with Cyclezone Rotorua - Women’s Ride Month in October each year and the Ladies Summer Shuttles, which have grown over the years and now happen every second Wednesday during Daylight Saving - along with events with the Whaka Wahine Colab. Our whole family loves riding, Rob my husband and our kids Stella and Cooper along with our trail dog, Tui are regulars in the Forest.
Q. You have been the Whaka100 MC since 2017, why do you do it?
A. I love being part of the Whaka100 Crew. It’s such an inspiring weekend to be part of, from seeing riders complete their first event, whether it be the 10km, 25km or the 50km. I’m always amazed at the athletes who take on the 100km - the dedication to the training is a job in itself, then taking in some of the most iconic trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest along with the elevation gains over the 100km… it truly is “one of the toughest” MTB races on offer! I also love working with the Nduro Events team, their ability to pull together this event making it truly world class. Their dedication to providing the very best events is evident and makes it not only great for the riders, but also their supporters and other spectators.
Q. What has been your best moment as MC over the years?
A. Gosh, this is a tough one, there has been so many highlights! But the one with a personal connection takes the cake. Last year my friend Kate Bone completed the Whaka100. What makes Kate’s finishers medal even sweeter, was that she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the year prior and decided that she needed to challenge herself and raise awareness of this illness through signing up to the Whaka 100. She was so dedicated to her training along with finding her feet and balancing life with Type 1 Diabetes - it was truly inspiring. Being able to welcome her home, even after her race didn’t go quite to plan, it was such an emotional time for her and her amazing supporters and one that I will never forget.
Q. What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking on a distance at the Whaka100?
A. Do it! Whakarewarewa Forest is such an incredible place to ride, the event crew are next level and this is definitely one you need to tick off - whatever distance you choose to race, the Whaka100 is a must do!