Saturday 11 August sees the women's Olympic XC race with kiwi Karen Hanlen competing. A physiotherapist and mother from Whakatane Karen has only been racing for a couple of years but has had a meteroic rise through the XC racing ranks going from NZ Champion to competing in the UCI world cup and finishing 26th this year. In recent months she has been having a battle for selection with Beijing olympian Rosara Joseph who achieved a ninth place in Beijing and placed 36th in this year's UCI world cup for the Rabobank Giant off road team. Sunday 12 August is the mens olympic XC race in which Olympic bronze medallist Sam Bewley is representing NZ. Although primarily a track cyclist, hailing from Rotorua Bewley is no stranger to MTB trails and has a strong reputation for charging the challenging climbs and singletrack in Whakarewarewa. Bewley is also representing New Zealand in the cycling track team. There are currently no kiwis in the elite mens world cup competition although there is some great talent coming through. It's just a shame that there is no downhill race in the Olympics. With five kiwis in the top 20 in the current world cup there is a huge talent pool to choose from!