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Countdown to New Zealand singlespeed championships

Less than four weeks remain until the 2009 New Zealand Singlespeed Mountain Bike Championship, on Anzac Day, Saturday, April 25. The race will be run on Rotorua's Whakarewarewa Forest trail network.

"One geared mountain biking is tough, but most riders are here for a laugh and a few beers," said event organizer Dean Watson, "However, at the sharp end it's very serious."

A lot of riders from the first event in 2008 are returning, including defending men's champion and Rotorua legend Garth Weinberg; Mark "Cabin" Leishman, who was a close second in 2008 and shocked the spectators with his beige skin suit; Retro Riders women's champion, Rotorua's Sarah Beadel; and Old Buggers women's champion Denise Thorne from Central Otago.

Top Kiwi mountain bikers Brendan Sharratt and Brenda Clapp, who won the first South Island singlespeed championships, last weekend, will also be in the mix. Rotorua local, Anja McDonald, who is the current UK Women's Singlespeed Champion, will be new to the event.

There are four places at the World Singlespeed Championships in Colorado in Durango, in September up for grabs. "Durango is one of the best mountain biking destinations in the US and the world," said Graeme Simpson. "When we asked for a couple of places at this year's Worlds, the organizers up there told me they loved Kiwis and would we like four."

Two of the places will go to the 2009 men's and women's singlespeed champions. "However, they have to accept the winner's official tattoo," said Watson. "No tattoo, no title." The other two places will be random spot prizes. New for 2009 is a best costume and/or decorated bike.

Last year, the New Zealand singlespeed championships attracted over 250 entries from all over New Zealand and from Australia and the US. Any profit from the event will be put into trail building and maintenance.

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