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I stood up on the podium last Sunday at the finale of the Galaxy Travel Winter N-Duro mountain Bike series, and gave away a $1500.00 travel voucher to the lucky competitor who was chosen out of all those who had completed the three races, July, August and September. I was looking out at a sea of expectant faces. Being major sponsor is the only way I can get up on the podium! I did not say much as I got stage fright but what I wanted to say is this.

Galaxy Travel has sponsored this event for five years, along with many other local businesses. We became involved as our son Conor was immersed in the mountain bike scene, and we saw it as a way to give back to an industry that supported us. In the first couple of years, I used to turn up, watch and support Conor (Feed Zones) and give away the Travel Voucher at the end. I then helped out with registration, and taking off the transponders at the end of the race. I then thought up the idea of a 15km race, so I could enter  and race-turned up on the start line at the bottom of Nursery Hill feeling terrified, Thunderstruck Booming out of the loudspeakers, and watched about 15 young lads and Mrs Jones (Carl Jones’ Mum) take off up the hill. That was my very first experience of competing and it became  addictive.

Last weekend there were over 500 competitors! WOW! The competition amongst the Veterans and the Classics in the 15kms, Intense!! I have made a lot of friends and have heaps of fun-and as a side even got a little bit fit-through the winter months, when it is difficult to convince my head I should be riding my bike. All these people need to eat and sleep in Rotorua, three weekends through the winter.

I stood up on the podium and wanted to say-when you next think of booking your travel, or shopping on line for some biking item, think about the local businesses who are helping make an event happen. Give them a chance to quote you on your requirement-they have expertise and may not be more expensive-they may even offer more value or another solution you had not thought of. Spend your discretionary dollar in Rotorua and keep our town alive!

And a message from the Keep Rotorua Beautiful brigade aka Marcello….pick up those plastic bottles when you see them.

See you in the forest next winter. 

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