Carl Jones has just won the Whaka 100, but that is only half the story as he also smashed his own race record for the toughest mountain bike race in New Zealand by 13 minutes to finish in a sensational 4 hours 31 minutes.
And the local hero was nursing a bad dose of ‘flu.
“I wanted this one pretty bad,” he said. “I went to Malaysia to race a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to come back with some form for the Whaka 100, then I got sick, but I tapped it out, went hard and got it.”
Next up for Jones is a trip to Brazil for a multisport race then he returns to New Zealand to prepare for the National cross-country series and championships. Another Rotorua rider, Sam Shaw was second and Hamilton’s Josh Parkin was third on a 100-kilometre course that featured demanding and technical trails, gravel forest roads and over 3000 metres of climbing.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Sam Gaze, from Te Awamutu, led the race into the last 10 kilometres but took a wrong turn and DNF’ed.
He was philosophical about the result.
“That’s racing,” he said.
Kiwi Olympian and Commonwealth Games representative, Karen Hanlen comfortably won the women’s race finishing in 5.35.
This was outside Annika Smail’s race record of 5.07, but she was satisfied with a very big day out at her first Whaka 100.
“I’m doing heaps more long distance training at the moment,” she said on the finish line. “I’ve wanted to do the race before and this year it worked in perfectly.”
Her main goal was just to finish.
“It’s really fun with heaps of single track, but it’s a challenge, definitely a challenge and you can’t switch off,” she added. “There were bunches that I was part of and that spurs you on when you’re feeling a bit down.”
Full results: whaka100.com/results/