National MTB Champs 2010- XCO
Green and Gold jerseys were getting thrown around on the 16/17 of January and I was lucky enough to be one of the few lucky enough to grab one. Here is how the 2010 National MTB champs at
The FELT SRAM MTB team was in full force for the national champs with a strong 5 riders lining up for the Elite men’s XCO race. Scott Liston, Jack Lamshed, James Maebus, Neil van der Ploeg and his younger but taller brother (Me) made the trip across to
At 11am the 15sec warning was called and the Gun went off shortly after…
There was a large crash in the first corner that I narrowly missed out on accompanying my fellow elite racers in. Cal Britten flew in my direction but luck was with me and I shot up the trail. All Felt team mates made it threw with little setbacks.
My plan was to settle into a groove as soon as possible somewhere in the top ten and test the legs in the following laps. Dan McConnell powered into the distance and Lachie Norris, Sid Taberley jumped onto his wheel as best they could. I sat in the chase pack knowing that if I went with Dan I would be blowing chunks and going backwards later in the race.
So in the chase group Shaun Lewis led into the first climb and single track, I sat second wheel until I shot around him to chase Andy Blair and Ben Henderson. This was a silly move but got me clear trail. Coming into the second lap we had a good group of around 5 or 6 which included Neil VDP fellow brother and team mate.
Things were looking good and I felt like I was dancing on the pedals for once.
In the proceeding laps mechanicals haunted many of our group due to the rocky rough single track and the feeling of pressure to ride fast with smooth riding escaping the desperate. AJ had shifter ‘quick release’ in lap one and needed tech support and a new bolt. Aido had a puncture with tires that have never punctured for anyone ever! Ben Hendo had his chain guide wrap around and stop the flow of his chain. Matt Flemming double punctured….things were not going to plan for many of the chasing pack.
I on the other hand tried to keep smooth but this proved to be quite hard and this followed with me pooing my pants every time I hit a rock in fear that I had punctured…My tires held air and my legs held power and this meant that I could focus on riding harder in the final few laps.
The chase group was down to Josh Carlson and I by the 5th lap and I was feeling really strong, this meant I kept pushing myself to ride quicker on the climbs and flow as best as possible through the many single track sections. The commentators were talking a lot about lap times every time I came through and I was glad to hear that my lap times were staying consistent and that the leaders were dropping the pace back a fraction.
On the final lap I caught sight of Sid who appeared to be in some trouble, He had flown into the country two days before the race and looked to be hurting a lot. I managed to make the passing move on a section of fire road which boosted my confidence for the climb, but the legs were starting to get a little sting in them. Over the last half of the lap Josh Carlson looked to be hunting me down after the small gap had been opened. He was descending like a mad man while I was aiming to get to the line in one piece and without a mechanical.
On the last pinch up to the village I knew I had him covered and it was time to soak up the fact I had fought my way into another National U23 title and 3rd overall in the elite field! I crossed the line and rode straight to my good friends Lach and Dan to congratulate them on an awesome ride. I could not be happier with the race and the final result. Cal Britten battled his way through the field to finish 2nd in the U23 followed by Dan Brainsteins who took 3rd after starting 49th on the grid.
Finally I need to send out a massive thanks to FELT bicycles for all of their support they have given me for the last 4 years. Without there belief in me I don’t know what I would have done. SRAM components for the XX group set which is by far the best setup I have ridden to date. Also a final thankyou has to go out to my family and friends for their support, not only at the race but outside in the real world as well.