Mountain Biking: Games Places At Stake

New Zealands top cross-country and downhill mountain
bike riders will descend on the Cardrona Bike Park today for
the start of the national championshipschampionship games.

About 70 cross-country and 90 downhill riders will race the
4km-long course which has an elevation of 226m per lap.

The championships, which are being run by Bike Wanaka
Mountain bicycle Club, will consist of UCI and non UCI mens and
womens downhill and cross-country races, under-17 kids and
women downhill and cross-country races and masters mens and
womens races.

The competitors is an option occasion towards the Rio Olympics
in August.

World under-23 champ and national elite mens titleholder
Anton Cooper, of North Canterbury, will be racing against
2014 champ Sam Gaze, of Cambridge, for the only mens
certifying spot on the group.

Gaze said he was in the finest shape of his career following a.
five-week training school in South Africa under the guidance of.
coach Christoph Sauser.

Its the hardest I have actually ever trained.

We concentrated on training my weaknesses which is my climbing.
capability and my power to weight.

Queenstowns Kate Fluker is the favourite in the womens.
cross-country classification following wins in last years nationwide.
champions in Rotorua, cup series wins in Taupo and.
Cardrona and her most recentlatest win in the 2016 Motatapu race on.
March 5.

Former under-23 World Cup winner Samara Sheppard, of.
Wellington, will go back to high-level mountain bike.
competitors today in the lead-up to the Oceania Mtb.
Championships in Queenstown next weekend.

Cooper said he felt added pressure going into todays.
race.

There is certainly added pressure due to the fact that the Olympics are.
so close but whatever happens on the day takes place.

He said he had invested an average of 15 hours a week on his.
bike since November.

Training-wise, things have gone well.

I have done all the difficulteffort so whatever the result,.
ideally it is clear and the finest rider wins which will.
simplify things.

Bike Wanaka president Jamie Greenway, of Wanaka, stated he was.
anticipating viewing rivals on a brand-new track at the.
park.

The track, which was mapped out just beforeright before Christmas, was.
opened to riders simply a couple of weeks ago, he said.

That was a little aggravating doing it that near such.
a big event.

There has been goodexcellented comments from everybody that has actually ridden.
it, however.

People are stating it is high, rocky and technical which are.
all goodgood ideas.

The competition had attracted entrants from as far afield as.
British Columbia.

However, overall entries in the womens occasions had been.
frustrating.

Entries for the downhill females are especially.
disappointing this year. There are just four, which is really.
terrible due to the fact that we understand there are a lot more of them out.
there.

Greenway said he believed some women might have been.
intimidated by the calibre of competitors and the.
formality of tracks at this level.

This weekends competitors follows on from round among the.
New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup Series race which was held at.
the bike park last January.

margot.taylor@odt.co.nz.