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Dropping Knowlege - Luca Cometti Talks Crankworx Rotorua

Vital had a chance to talk with Luca and pick his brain on Crankworx Rotorua. Thanks Luca, it was awesome hearing your insights, pro tips and the evolution of the Crankworx events. Also, a big shout-out to Boris Beyer for the photos.

What made you want to get back to Rotorua for Crankworx NZ this year?

New Zealand is my favorite place I get to go to each year. I love the people, the landscapes and of course the riding. Crankworx does a good job of making it an awesome event for us, hooking us up with local tourist stuff to do. This year my girlfriend and I got to do the Redwoods Tree Walk on the other side of town which was a blast. It's essentially a guided tour on a rope course, 100 feet over the ground all in the Redwood Forest.

Are the grass turns at the top of the DH course as epic as they look in videos and photos?

I grew up watching Earthed and Clay Porter movies, out of all the tracks, the Rotorua DH track was always the track that stuck out to me and that I always wanted to go ride. The top grass corners are rad, there are also some hidden natural triples and doubles in the grass that I almost enjoy more than the corners themselves. However, if it rains, they go from being the most epic corners to the most terrifying. In 2018 when it pissed down rain for the race, it was the most incompetent I have ever felt on my bike. I think I crashed three times in my race run because of how slippery the track gets out there when it rains.

How does Rotorua compare to a place like Whistler?

Rotorua, to me, seems like a mini Whistler. They have about half the terrain, half the size of a bike park, and half the amount of riding. But to me, all the tracks that we compete on are just as good if not better than the same events at Whistler. However, the town of Rotorua is definitely blowing up with riding in the last few years. They have a shuttle service on the other side of town with some super high-quality DH and enduro tracks that I have gotten to ride in years past. The town of Rotorua is also full of things to do, from lakes and hot springs to bungee jumping and rafting. It's got a good mix of things to keep your time off the bike just as fun as on the bike.

Which riders impressed you most at Crankworx Rotorua this year? Was there a new crop of talent?

On the first day of our trip, we went to the neighboring town of Cambridge to ride the newly finished Velosolutions pump track. We met some young groms, who also competed in Kidsworx that were super down to earth and stoked on riding. This kid named Oscar Pluck stuck out to me, he was throwing bar spins, and some 360s, and can already flip. He was on a 26-inch dirt jump frame with 24-inch wheels on it and was ripping. I started following him on Instagram shortly after and have been stoked to see his progression even since I met him. @plucky195

DH, Speed and Style, Pumptrack or Dual Slalom - what's your favorite?

I get the most excited for Dual Slalom. I am grateful to see how Crankworx has adopted it and even started to live-stream every race on the series, starting last season. Slalom is alive and well right now!

What bike(s) did you take and how were they set up?

This year I decided not to race the main DH race, so I only took 2 bikes with me, my hardtail, and my short shocked/forked Canyon Spectral. I used my Spectral for every event I competed in (Dual Slalom, Speed and Style, and Air DH) except pump track, where I used my hardtail. My set up for slalom and Air DH was pretty much the same, with a Kenda Booster in the rear and a Kenda Hellkat up front. For Speed and Style, I went way up in suspension pressure for my fork and shock, slowed down my rebound,  put on flat pedals, and switched to a Kenda Booster for the front as well as the rear.

Give us a pro tip to make the long flight to New Zealand a little less painful.

I always get a direct flight from LAX to Aukland that takes off around 10 pm, so all I would say for that is Melatonin and noise-canceling headphones. Also, I found out it was cheaper for me to pack my stuff into more small bags to check-in rather than one big bag and paying the overweight charge. So make sure you do your research on baggage fees before you fly to avoid paying more then you need to at the airport.

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