Friday, July 25, 2014

AUS Under 19 MTB camp - Cairns 2014

Volunteering to coach at the Australian Under 19 MTB camp meant I would be back on the Cairns World Cup course where I’d broken myself.  For the first two days I froze on all the technical sections, still feeling the pain and stiffness in my recently healed wrist.  Did I really need to be riding this stuff only 10 days before I headed to a race in Canada?  When I am riding well, all I can see in my head me, floating effortlessly down rock gardens.  But now, all I could visualise was crashing and ruining a holiday.
Getting good press from the local media

Helping the U19 girls by pointing out the lines, instructing on body position and telling them to ‘let go and do it!’ must have worked its way into my own subconscious though.  I also felt like a giant fraud coaching someone to do something I couldn’t or wouldn’t do.  By the end of the week in Cairns most of my confidence had returned and I was feeling like a mountain biker again.  No, I didn’t hit the A-line at Jacob’s Ladder but I think that was a prudent move!  The best part of the experience was watching the riders progress on the challenging track.  The athletes really inspired me by overcoming their fears and going out of their comfort zones to ride features like ‘croc slide’ and ‘barramundi’.  I feel they helped me more than I helped them.

 Aus U19 riders nailing Jacob's Ladder

Staying on the beach at Holloways was not hard work but there was little time to enjoy it as the days were filled with training, psychology, sports nutrition, anti-doping education and a tour of the sports science facilities at James Cook University.  The main complaint from the athletes was that the camp was too short which was a great sign.  Although it might have something to do with the 28 degree winter in Cairns.  I was quite sad to leave my old home town again but my next adventure was due to start and I had work to do.

Holloways Beach - yes, we'll be back!

The prize for winning the pairs category in last year’s Trans Rockies was a free entry for this year’s edition – rebranded the Single Track 6.  Coupled with my sister’s wedding the following week in BC it was an easy decision to make.  It will be the first race for my new Giant Lust 27.5 after taking it out of the box for in Cairns.  Last year I remembered thinking how much more fun the trails would be in Canada if I had a dually so I’m really looking forward to those arm-achingly long Rocky Mountains descents.  After 6 days in the saddle I will appreciate the rear travel.  The smaller wheels (than 2013) should suit the single track heavy nature of the 2014 race.  My aim is to give the Canadian girls some competition while keeping all my skin so I don’t spoil the wedding photos with bandages. Wish me luck!
New Giant Lust - ready to take on Canada!