A die-hard local mountain bike rider plans to compete in almost every race during the Queenstown Bike Festival.
Queenstown-based Reon Boe will be one of the many committed locals mixing it with some of the best riders in the world during the next 10 days.
Boe, 28, says his packed schedule will be tough on the body but a lot of fun: “Usually I concentrate on the downhill but I had so much fun doing slopestyle last year – such a sick atmosphere, just awesome.
“It should be a big couple of weeks, pretty hard.
“I’m already noticing it on the body during training. With slopestyle you practise your tricks and you do get hurt.
“So then you go training for the more endurance events with dead legs and bruised-up body – it makes it harder.”
Downhill specialist Boe has scores of impressive performances and race wins under his belt.
But he’ll happily sacrifice some pace in his usual events for the enjoyment of competing across the board.
“I don’t even expect to do well in the slopestyle but it was so much fun and that’s what it’s about,” Boe says.
The 2013 instalment of the Queenstown Bike Festival has attracted top names in various biking disciplines – both international and Kiwi.
Commencal Bikes is bringing its Enduro SuperTeam – with French riders Remy Absalon and Nicolas Quere set to compete in several of the 25 festival events, including the new Mega Avalanche descent down the Remarkables mountain range.
Absalon won last year’s Megavalanche in the French Alps – a testing renowned race on which the new Queenstown event is based.
World Cup downhiller and Hutchinson United Ride team manager/rider Fabien “Cous cous” Cousinie will also be in town.
And X Games gold medallist BMX pro Chad Kagy is the latest star to add his name to the roster for the popular Teva Slopestyle contest.
Festival organiser Geoff Hunt says: “We have an incredible line-up of internationally-recognised hardcore downhillers and top gun riders that take riding bikes very seriously.
“The two French enduro riders have won the two biggest events in the world and there are two downhillers competing who rate in the top 20 in the world. It shows the growth. The overall standard of riders has lifted markedly this year.
“But the festival is not just that, there are events for everybody, kids, families, bike fanatics, even non cyclists.”
Women’s racing is also well-represented with World Cup downhiller and Canadian champ Casey Brown, XC Commonwealth Games Kiwi silver medallist Rosara Joseph and reigning national downhill champion Amy Laird.
Kiwi names in the frame include Christchurch’s Cameron Cole, the 2011 National Downhill champion who was seventh overall in the 2011 World Cup – plus World Cup race winner Sam Blenkinsop.
Speedy locals Boe, Paul Angus and Isaac Luoni will ensure Queenstown is well-represented in the downhill events.
Shoe manufacturers Teva are bringing a host of international riders specifically for the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour Silver slopestyle event next week – with Americans Cam McCaul and Kurt Sorge joining Kagy at the Ballarat Street carpark event.
It’ll be a festival highlight alongside the Mega Avalanche which involves 100 riders doing a mass start ahead of a 30-minute thrash down the Remarkables.
Social events will also be given great prominence, both group rides and nights out.
“We were very conscious this year we wanted to not just be riding,” Hunt says.
“There are lots of bars involved and AJ Hackett has picked up the festival finale and is going to run hard with it.
“We want to get 500 to 600 people there,” he adds.