Midyear catch up and highlights
Managing my final year of University and a busy racing schedule, I knew it was going to be hectic. Although now there is light at the tunnel, soon I will finish my Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology, likely by the time you are reading this. During my last 6-week placement block in Melbourne I travelled to Flight centre Epic in Brisbane, Tour of King valley (Wangaratta), Cape to Cape (Margret River) and Tour of Gippsland. I was sleeping on my auntie and uncles couch and training wherever possible trying to get it done on the city streets, distant from standard Bendigo roads. I knew this period would be make or break, and in the end I was (A). Happy to survive this period mentally and (B). Physically still produced some of my best results and riding this year.
My plan coming into this race and placement block was to come in with a high-volume training load, then once starting work, flick the switch to shorter intense sessions. This allowed me to maximise training stimulus with a lack of training time and more importantly ensure I could still recover between session. During placement it was ergo Zwift sessions before work then in the evening’s recovery rolls on the bike paths.
In the end it worked out well with good results and good times, here are some of my favourite races of the last few months.
Tour of King Valley – National Road Series
Racing with the GPM Stulz team I finished 6th overall, in what was a perfect race for anyone with an MTB background. In miserable conditions the queen stage was long at 170km and included two 10km gravel sectors. With the dirt sections turning to mud, it was optimal circumstances for myself and happy to capitalize with a solid result.
Photo – Image Writer Photography
Cape to Cape – MTB stage race Margret river
My favourite event of the year and for the first time as a pairs racing format. Lucky for me, I’ve got a fast sibling in Russell to pair up with. We unfortunately lost valuable time on the first day and were on the wrong side of a four-way battle for the win. With the top four teams all within a few minutes, we finished fourth overall and certainly made us hungry for next time. Overall this event idolises everything good about mountain biking with exploring new places, shredding trails and plenty of downtime with mates. It was also special to race with the big bro, only a few headlocks were given.
Photos – Flow MTB
Coomealla 3hr - NSW
This the most unique race on the calendar hands down. Coomealla is just north of Mildura in NSW and is a tiny little town situated on the Murray river with a backdrop of endless desert. The track Is flat, 10m of elevation in total and 10km long, twisting through salt flats and creek beds. The club is super passionate about their riding and welcoming like you wouldn’t believe. Russell and I camped on the Murray river and made a weekend of things. In the end I got the win over Russ, trading hot laps throughout the race.
Photos – Aaron Hawkins
Victorian XCO rounds – Forrest Vic
Weekend in Forest racing some of my favourite trails was the best way to get back into XCO racing after what feels like a massive absence over winter. With two rounds and two courses Saturday and Sunday, we were treated to a wide variety of Forrest trails. The first race was on a flat course and after getting caught in a start loop crash, I finished 2nd in a sprint finish. The following day was on a much hiller course and even had rain the night before, meaning we got to enjoy the novelty of racing in in the mud, something that hasn’t happened in a while. I felt good on course and managed to snag the win.
Photo – Vic XCO Series
Well currently I’m planning post Uni shenanigans, which includes a bike touring trip around Tasmania. Planning on riding to and from the Sprit of Tasmania Boat from Bendigo and completing a lap of the Island aiming for as many gravel roads as possible. It’ll be with a few mates and I believe a great way to get some sneaky base kilometres in. After this, it’ll be full steam ahead towards road nationals, with big goals to build off last year’s performance.