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That glass is half full already!




The Moonride has been a feature of Rotorua’s mountain biking calendar nearly every year for the last 22. The last three editions have been the Nzo Moonride, and this year’s model was held last weekend.

The weather forecast was abysmal. Pretty decent conditions until more or less start time, serious rain for the 24 hour duration of the event, then clearing from the west. Awesome.

As race-time loomed the glass-half-full people looked at the sky with hope, but 5 minutes after we had set up our tents there was a pretty decent shower, filling any half-empty glasses that might have been kicking around.

The 24 hour race started at 10pm Friday, by which time anybody with any sense was tucked up in bed. Anybody with any sense, and also sponsors. I listened for rain, and didn’t hear any. Went to sleep with my fingers crossed. The morning was grey, but not wet.

I took a raincoat and gumboots, figuring that being prepared might somehow stave off the pizza-like stuff upwind on the rain radar. All very well to look out at a scene with no rain and feel hopeful, because that is exactly what the latest rain radar indicated: no rain in the morning, a big deluge at about 1pm.

The scene at the forest was positively cheerful. Hundreds of riders of every stripe were either racing or getting ready to, tents and caravans were full of gear and supporters, and the only downside was a pause in the 24 hour race that had been called at 8am. The forecast rain meant a course change to protect the most vulnerable trails from damage, so the racers had been stood down for two hours.

At ten they were off again, closely followed by the 12 hour and 6 hour fields. There was a brief shower, but 1pm came and went in actual sunshine! By the 4.30 pm prizegiving for the 6 hour event it was hot, and the glass-half-full people started talking about dodging a bullet, isn’t this lovely, etc.

The fluffy white clouds billowing over the top of the forest from the north darkened, then suddenly turned into big black ones, with thunder.

Nervous glances skywards, then somebody got a text from up Mamaku way that said it’s hosing down. The text turned up about three minutes before the real thing.

A spatter, then steady rain, then a biblical, end-of-the-world type thing like you might expect in the jungles of Borneo. It rained so hard that everything went underwater across the entire paddock, immediately. Tents kept water off anything above ground level, but the ground itself was inundated, under tents or not.

Brave souls continued to race, one guy did a Woodstock-inspired gutslide, everybody else holed up in their shelters, and giggled.

Barely audible above the racket of the rain on the tents, news came that the race was abandoned, and if escape was possible, do so. Anybody with any sense took that advice, including sponsors.

All in all, a good day out. If you were there, good on you. If you weren’t, come next year!




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