2012 has seen plenty of development for the world of Marathon Mountain Biking and Stage Racing. The ABSA Cape Epic has forgone the Time Trial ‘rest day’; The Real Insurance XCM Series continues to grow in Australia; The UCI has expanded its Marathon Series – and made it global; The Croc Trophy has become shorter; and shorter format Stage Races are popping up everywhere.
Along with this, there are also changes with the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team, and for 2012 we have five Australian racers. Subaru have continued to show their support for Australian Cycling, joining the team as co-title sponsor for the 2012 season. The team will again ride Scott Bikes, equipped with Fox Racing Shox and Shimano componentry. Camelbak will keep the team hydrated, with Adidas Eyewear, Netti and Linebreak providing protection and kit.
Naomi Hansen runs a veterinary practice in Noosa, and is keeping an eye on the hours she’s at work – lest she needs to fire herself for taking too much time off to train and race. Even if you think you spend a lot of time Stage Racing, you probably won’t stack up against Naomi. Her major goals include the Kona Odyssey, ABSA Cape Epic, Craft Bike TransAlp and Tour de Timor. There might even be enough time for another Croc Trophy.
Graeme Arnott is returning to the team, and after taking the Masters win at the Crocodile Trophy, he should be coming into 2012 with a certain level of confidence. Beyond the Kona Odysseey, he will target the events that make up the Real Insurance XCM Series, Australian XCM Nationals (when announced) and might have a crack at the Croc Trophy again.
Mike Blewitt has again set an ambitious calendar, seemingly adhering to ‘more is better’. From the ABSA Cape Epic, to some UCI Marathons, the ICME at Alice Springs, Craft Bike TransAlp, and as many Australian Marathons as time allows. The Croc floats as a possibility, but that depends on how well recovery after a series of North American Stage Races and 100 milers goes.
Tate Dogan has steadily improved with his Marathon racing, and will be targeting the Real Insurance XCM Series as well as Australia’s other top Marathon races. His first taste of a Stage Race will be the Bike Buller event, before he throws himself into the ICME event in Alice Springs.
Kath Bicknell seems to be born to ride a bike, write about it, and do it all with a smile. Besides getting to all the races that qualify as ‘awesome’: the Kona Odyssey, James Williamson Memorial, Mont 24hr, Convict 100… all the Australian Classics! Also, Kath is heading to Europe for a holiday. But what holiday is complete without a bike race? Kath has chosen the classic Dolomiti Superbike in Italy.