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If you’re not a mountain biker, you may have never heard of Crankworx World Tour. And if you are a mountain biker, Crankworx might just be the centre of your universe.

Crankworx is the world’s largest mountain biking festival. What began as a small, local event in Whistler on the west coast of Canada in 2003 has grown into a global phenomenon. Pre-pandemic, Crankworx had three signature stops, one in Europe, one in the Southern Hemisphere in Rotorua and of course, the flagship event in Whistler, British Columbia. 

After the pandemic hit, Crankworx had to think outside the box in order to keep the good times rolling (pun not intended). Enter, Summer Series. Crankworx Summer Series are biking events that take place over a set number of weeks in towns across a particular mountain biking region. 

It’s an incredible way for Crankworx to branch out and diversify. But, the really cool part is that it gives athletes the opportunity to experience more riding terrain over a larger area And for the local riders? They get to rub elbows and compete with the world’s best. Sounds like a win-win to us. 

And so we were stoked when it was announced that Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand was coming to Wānaka, Queenstown and Central Otago this year from late November to early December. Now that all the fun has ended, we’re so excited to recap everything that went down.

Focus on Wānaka

While we’ve always known how incredible Wānaka is for world class riding and outdoor adventures, a lot of the visiting mountain bike athletes had never experienced this amazing place. So, we welcomed a few of them in style – with a climb up Wildwire Wanaka and a heli to the bike park for some laps and tree planting. Check out the whole adventure here.

Cardrona Bike Park Air DH

The Air DH event is a staple at any Crankworx festival, and the trails at Cardrona Bike Park provided the perfect arena for the riders to duke it out.

Normally, downhill races are all about keeping the rubber side down – that is, both wheels on the track and pinning it down as fast as you dare. But in Air DH, there’s the added complication (or bonus, depending on your perspective) of man-made jumps, berms and drops. 

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The race was set up on Cardrona’s Mile High track and linked into Morning Glory, making for over 2.5km of ripping terrain. Riders were stoked on the race day hero dirt and everyone shralped, dropped and flew their way down. 

Want to ride Cardrona Bike Park for yourself? New Zealand’s highest bike park has full lift access, so you can lap all day to your heart’s content. And when you’re done, head on down to the Cardrona Hotel for a beer and some well-earned fried chicken.

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Want to catch the video recap of the Cardrona Air DH? Check it out here.

Bike Glendhu Slalom

The construction of the purpose built Dual Slalom track at Bike Glendhu last summer was a hot topic amongst local riders. And as fate should have it, when Crankworx decided to make Wanaka a stop on the Summer Series tour, Bike Glendhu was already set to go.

Dual Slalom is one of the most tense events for both riders and audience. For the riders, you can constantly see your opponent (unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to be in the lead). And for the audience, it’s really cool to see the race action playing out before your own eyes. 

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Bike Glendhu is a local favourite for good reason – the trails there just make sense. So when you come out to try it for yourself, don’t just test ride the dual slalom track, be sure to climb all the way up to the Eagle’s Nest and ride top-to-bottom – hitting all the tech and flow options along the way. And when you’re done, kick back in the bean bag chairs on the lawn with a b.effect beer and some nachos from Velo Cafe.

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Want to catch the replay of the Bike Glendhu Dual Slalom? Check it out here.

On to a summer of riding

We could not have asked for a better way to kick off an epic summer of riding bikes in Wānaka. With a massive international festival like Crankworx under our belts, we’re looking forward to welcoming mountain bikers from all over New Zealand to experience what the pros love about riding Wānaka; our mountain bike tracks, great rides and amazing community. Check out mountain biking in Wānaka and we’ll see you on the trails this summer!

#lovewānaka