2012 Australian MTB Championships

After a very quick and comfortable flight to the small city of Adelaide on Wednesday evening, it was time to prepare for the 2012 National MTB Championships which were held at Eagle MTB Park in the stunning location of the Adelaide Hills.

Racing took place on the Saturday and Sunday with all age groups competing in both Cross-Country (XC) and Down Hill (DH) Mountain Bike Disciplines. I competed in the U23 Cross-Country Olympic race (XCO – Olympic Distance: 1.5hr race time) and the Elite Cross-Country Short Course race (XCC – Short Distance XC: 30min race time).
Practice for both disciplines took place on Thursday and Friday so it’s always important to arrive early and spend a few days preparing for your weekend’s races.
I took full opportunity to practice on the course on Thursday where I carefully rode the XC Course to look for smooth/fast lines that might give me an advantage on Saturday.
After a few laps, I was happy with the track (probably my favourite track in Australia), my legs were feeling good and I had done the right preparation, so I was ticking the boxes.

It’s Friday morning, 37 degrees and time for a morning roll. The plan was to beat the heat and ride early in prep for Saturday’s XC race. Despite leaving early, it was still 30-35degrees throughout my ride. In the afternoon, I went for a short ride with my Torq Nutrition Teammates, followed by a sleep, stretch and carbohydrate packed dinner. An early night was on the cards to increase my recovery time before the big race.

Race day is here! The hard work has been done and it’s time to show it. I came here to have fun and get a good result back on the MTB after recently focusing my training for the road racing.
A good breakfast with some High-GI foods, a morning roll with my Torq Nutrition Teammates and a good stretch was a must in order for me to be satisfied with my race day preparation.
Out at the track in the big team caravan, everyone was doing their own thing. The temperature was 39 degrees (way too hot to race at this level), but everyone is in the same boat and you have to deal with it. Jersey’s went into ice-chilled buckets to keep us cool, drinks were filled with ice and a last minute (highly unusual – to stay out of the heat) warm up was my pre-race routine.

“2 minute warning riders”…..’bike check, bottles ice-cold, throw iced towel to mum….”1 minute riders”….’ok, I’m at the back of a quality Under 23 field in the 2012 National XC Championships’…”30 seconds”…’not my ideal starting position but I haven’t been in a national round for at least a year so, fair enough’…”15seconds”…”BANG”. We’re off and racing and my start was as planned. Up the steep climb to start lap 1 of our 5 lap race and my legs were good. It’s so hard starting at the back because there is heaps of slower riders that get in your way. Despite this, I did my best to pick up as many places as I could in the first lap and coming through for the second lap, I was in 12th position (I thought I was about 15th). Laps 2, 3 and 4 all went to plan and my lap times were very consistent. I was happy with my race so far and despite pushing my body through pain and 39 degree heat for 1hr 18mins, everything was going to schedule.

Approaching the last lap, I received my last bottle from mum who had been my feeder for every lap and who played an important part in my success at the end of the day. Torq Nutrition Gel’s and freshly chilled water really makes a difference each lap, especially on a dry and dusty track in 39 degree heat. I wasn’t really worried about who I’d past or who was in front of me and on the last lap I thought I was just outside the top 10, maybe in 11th or 12th. I crossed the finish line in a time of 1hr 18mins and I was so happy to finish. Then, to look up at the screen with my brother Jarryd and see ‘JONES 6’ was a bonus. I had finished in 6th place in the 2012 Under 23 XC National Championships, a result that proves my training on the road bike is paying off and that my Mountain Bike skills will never be lost. To also here that my two super-fast MTB Teammates Robbie Hucker and Jack Haig finished 1st & 2nd respectively – congratulations, you both deserve it and I’m sure these amazing results will just continue to show this year, from all of the Torq Nutrition Team.

Sunday morning, the legs are tired from yesterday’s race but ready to race the short course in a few hours’ time. After some practice laps of the track, I was happy with the course layout and feeling good as short, sharp and explosive racing suits me. There was no under 23 category so we raced with the Elite riders in what would be a fast race. Once again, I started at the back of the grid and managed to get a good start to be positioned around 14th in the 30 rider Elite XC Short Course field.
20 minutes plus 3 laps was our race duration with laps taking just over 1 minute to complete. No-one can get caught by the lead rider/s so after 25 minutes of fast racing, only 8 riders managed to finish on the lead lap. I finished only 30 seconds behind Australia’s possible Olympic MTB representatives in 6th place. To have only touched a MTB a handful of times in the past 12 months, it was a weekend of great results and to be up there with the countries best MTB riders is just a bonus.

Big thanks to sponsors Torq Nutrition who have been of great support to me and supply the best sports nutrition going around. To Monza Imports for their support and supply of bikes from CUBE BIKES and gear from Louis Garnae. To SRAM for their support with the best bike componentry on the market and assistance at races which is much appreciated. To Rudy Project Sunglasses, Continental Tyres, ZOOT Recovery, Truvati Parts and Lezyne accessories – thank you all for your support. To my coach Matt Wallace for the time and effort he puts into my training plans and to my whole family who supports me so much.

A busy schedule still awaits me over the next month or too which I’m really looking forward too.

Keep posted for my next race report.

Thanks, Brenton


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