Last-minute training is cranking up ahead of New Zealand’s biggest bike festival.
Talented Queenstown rider Conor Macfarlane only got the go-ahead to ride Rotorua’s Crankworx last week – after suffering a wrist injury competing in Red Bull Rampage last October.
Until last weekend he’d done “nothing” since the US comp. Crankworx begins tomorrow.
Macfarlane: “I hadn’t ridden a bike in five months because I’ve been broken. The first day or two I felt a bit cautious, but by the next I felt like I’d been back on my bike for ages.”
He worries the injury may slow him up, but it takes the stress away.
“I don’t have any pressure on myself. I just want to ride my bike and have fun again. I am not expecting to do well at all.”
Macfarlane, who will compete in six events, will be joined by fellow Queenstowner Emmerson Wilken for three of them.
Wilken’s aim is to get through training unscathed.
“Generally when you are practising for these things a few injuries can creep up.”
He broke his hip prior to the event last year but still competed. Since surgery he’s recovered well – but he’s not overly confident.
“Quite a lot of these athletes train all year for these specific events. I want to do well but it is more about being part of it.
“If I could be in the top 10 I would be happy – but even that would be pretty tough.”
He’s pumped for whip-off – where you get points for speed and tricks.
“It’s like a dual slalom with jumps. You race to the finish line and then, depending what tricks you do, they take time off your run. It is a pretty fun event.”
One of the final events of the 10-day series is a slopestyle in memory of Queenstown legendary biker Kelly ‘McGazza’ McGarry.