Cory Wallace took strong team mates to the Mongolia Bike Challenge in 2012, and came away with a deserving victory. Wallace is a renowned 24 hr racer and excels in tough conditions. We spoke to him ahead of the 2013 Mongolia Bike Challenge, where he is keen to defend his title.
1. With a strong field in 2013, what are your plans for title defence at MBC?
The field looks great this year and is going to make for a very exciting and tactical race. Without having my teammates there I will need to play it smart and be patient for opportunities to arise. My form is better then ever coming into the race and I have the confidence if I play it smart and have some luck on my side that I will be in the midst of the battle for the pink jersey right to the end. I have a lot of respect for the other guys who are going to be there and know it is going to take a special ride for whoever is going to end up on top once the dust settles.
2. You have a cool demeanour throughout a stage race – how do you stay calm when the racing or conditions get hard?
Once you’ve been through enough of these stage races you start to learn to not stress the little things and to just take it day by day. Anything can happen in these races and all you can do is be prepared as possible and be ready to make adjustments and deal with whatever comes at you as it arises.
3. You’ve raced your MTB all over the world, and experienced some crazy climatic conditions. What makes racing in Mongolia so challenging, and rewarding?
The people, their lifestyles and the epic landscapes of the MBC make Mongolia a very special place to race your bike across. Everyday is like a slow paced movie playing out in front of you with the unexpected happening daily. In the past we’ve raced our bikes through herds of wild horses, between herds of Yaks as we climbed up to the ceiling of the Mongolian steppe amidst towering rock pillars and even through a dust storm in the Gobi desert with Camels coming out of the clouds. Mongolia is a mesmerising place that will leave your mind in a daze!
4. If you’re packing for a stage race, what are the things that you never leave at home – besides your bike?
Familiar food, pictures from home, a good luck charm and an open mind.
5. What is your bike of choice for the MBC this year – are you making any specific component choices?
I’ll be racing a Kona King Kahuna 29’r hard tail decked out with a Rock Shox SID fork, SRAM XX1 components and Easton wheels. It is light, stiff, low maintenance and comfortable. My cold riding clothes and camp gear is all from The North Face and will provide the protection needed from the unpredictable Mongolian elements. Really the perfect bike and gear in my eyes for tackling to MBC!
6. Where does the MBC sit in your yearly plan – are the WEMBO champs and Croc still big targets?
I’ve had 3 big goals for the year. This weekend I will be going for the Maple Leaf Jersey at the Canadian Marathon Champs, which will also be used as my final preparation race for the title defence at the MBC.
Defending the Pink Jersey from last year has been a target since I left Mongolia in 2012. The ultimate goal of the year though is the World 24 HR title in Australia this October. That one I will be leaving all the marbles on the table as it has been a dream for a long time. As for the Croc, I’m afraid there may not be a lot of diesel left for it as it’s just 5 days after the 24HR Worlds. I would love to have a good race there but won’t be saving anything at the 24 HRs so am ready for it to just be a wicked adventure through the Aussie outback!