The racing season always seem to fly by. Goals and ‘A’ priority races form the light at the end of the tunnel. The road to the end might be long at first but as the season continues the speed increases and the light gets brighter. Your speed in the tunnel is mirrored in training and racing, with efforts getting faster the mind focuses and everything becomes about that one goal.
The load of University
Switching things up for this year I enrolled in a full-time uni course through The University of New England. As well as sponsoring a MTB race (12 Hours in the Piney), UNE have an excellent online mode of study that allows me to do my real ‘job’ and race mountain bikes around the country and hopefully the world… I have been UNIing for about a month now and along with a National Round, a National Champs and an Oceania Champs, things have been a bit hectic. Trying to give my best to four subjects plus working out my training and actually doing my training has left me a little frazzled and I could see things were starting to unravel.
Thankfully, I am afforded the luxury of choosing how I spend my time so a recent switch to part-time study has been a welcome relief. Dropping two subjects has meant I can focus more on the two remaining and stay on top of my training, both in the physical sense and also sitting down and working the scheduling out. This is especially important given the World Cup in Cairns is only a few weeks away.
Oceanias in New Zealand
The Oceanias, held in alternate years in New Zealand or Australia, brings together riders from all over the Oceania region to fight it out for the Oceania Championship and much needed UCI points. Queenstown, in New Zealand, held the 2016 edition a few weeks ago. The term MTB Mecca is thrown around a lot but when you drive into a town and there is singletrack on both sides of the road and a chairlift assisted MTB park on the doorstep, it’s probably deserving!
The track was a little different to most as it climbed up a downhill oriented track with some sections unrideable and descended an awesome track with roots and cool jumps. In practice the course wasn’t fully bunted and I ended up riding on the downhill track they were using for the Oceania DH Champs! I managed to throw Norculous, the Norco, down a few sections and somehow survived but only just. At the end of the first day, I thought the Kiwis were crazy and there was no way they could use those sections in the race!
Thankfully the real track was a tad tamer but still gnarly and fun. The racing side of things were a little disappointing for me finishing 7th. A good result usually, but out of 7 finishers, it’s a little hard to judge how my race actually went. The race marked the final of the traditional summer series and next up on the horizon is the Cairns World Cup.
With only a few weeks left, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the fitness and make sure the freshness is right where it should be to peak and reach the end of the tunnel. While racing is life right now and I’m focused on reaching the top, I’m well aware it’s not a lifelong pursuit and am pleased about starting uni and that normal life stuff. But come April 24th, ‘real life’ switches from balance to being all about that chequered flag.
See you in Cairns!