A range of ages and abilities have stepped up to challenge themselves on The New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Whaka 50km course this year. Among these are 14 year old Poppy Lane and 70 year old Diane Golding.
Mount Maunganui's 14 year old Poppy Lane has watched the Whaka100 from the sidelines, taken on the 25km distance twice before, and has decided this year she is stepping up to the 50km distance.
Poppy, who began riding as a young child with her family in the Redwoods, says she has since progressed into racing and riding the advanced trails in the forest.
Lane said she decided to enter the Whaka 50km because she thought it would be a great challenge and her main goal for the event is to "ride the race the best as I can and enjoy the time out in the forest while challenging myself."
Rotorua is my favourite place to ride because of the vast range of trails like flow, tech and terrain. Queenstown is also great because of the texture and rock you don’t always get in the North Island.
Lane faced a setback this year when she got a concussion as she was practising the Dodzy gap line in Rotorua.
“It was at the end of a long ride, I had done around five laps of the first couple jumps and thought it was about time to hit the first drop. I came into the second jump and I guess it was just one of those times when you just do one too many laps. I landed a little nose heavy and most of the impact was on my face.”
Lane said it has impacted her training for the 50 km a lot, but she was ready to make a come back.
“I’m slowly getting back into training but only depending on how my head is feeling. So far my training has been next to none, but I’m slowly getting back into it now."
Lane encourages other girls thinking of giving it go to get out there and have fun.
Get into it and have fun! The more girls the better.
Rotorua local, Diane Golding is taking on the Whaka 50km in the 60+ age category this year.
Golding entered the 10km in 2018 and 25km in 2019 but decided to take the leap to the 50km in October.
“In 2018, I entered the 10km fun ride with the Revolve Rotorua ladies group and enjoyed the experience. This was my first year of mountain bike riding and I loved it! In 2019, I entered the 25km with my partner who was recovering from his cancer treatments.”
Golding placed first in her age group at 69 years of age.
“This year my partner is not able to ride as he has had another major operation and I want to do it whilst I can. The 50km is the next step up for me.”
She said she likes that the event caters for all skills, fitness levels and age groups.
“My goal is to make the distance in a safe manner, while having fun doing it.”
“I have been riding as much as possible with my riding groups, the Rotorua Rinklies Group, Revolve ladies, Mud maidens and my partner. They are all helping me improve my technical skill set, fitness and confidence.”
Golding said she is looking forward to completing the 50km safely, while enjoying the experience and showing others that age is just a number.
Entries are sold out for the 50km event however, entries are still available for the women's 10km.