With the national champs just around the corner, three top local riders filled the podium in the latest round of the New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup Series.
The cup series, organised by BikeNZ, acts as a warm up for riders competing in the prestigious 2013 National Mountain Bike Championships held in Rotorua from February 16.
Rotorua's Dirk Peters currently leads the points table for the cross country section of the three-race series, which concludes this weekend in Auckland.
He was joined on the men's elite podium in the latest race in the series in Wellington, on Sunday, by fellow Rotorua riders Sam Shaw and Carl Jones.
"It was bloody brutal climbing, and with the heat today it was hard work," said Peters.
"I can't wait for the nationals at Rotorua."
The 21-year-old Peters finished the race in Wellington in a time of 1h 36m 28s followed by Shaw in 1h 39m 04s and Jones in 1h 39m 50s.
Karen Hanlen, who represented New Zealand at the London Olympics, took out the women's elite race in Wellington and is in a tight contest with Queenstown's Kate Fluker to win the overall series for the cross country section.
Her winning time of 1h 37m 04s was more than three minutes ahead of second place getter Fluker, 25.
"I'm absolutely stoked. It was a hard track and good competition, so I'm rapt to win it," Hanlen said.
"I had heaps of fun once I got into it.
"I'm looking forward to the national championships in Rotorua, I might have a bit of work to do though," the Whakatane rider said.
The prestigious National Mountain Bike Championships will begin next Saturday.
The championships will be the feature event of the inaugural Rotorua Bike Festival.