Hi, my name is Amy and I was one of the 6 riders from the Tauranga Development squad who competed in the National Cross Country Championships on Sunday (26th Jan). After racing Oceania championships on Friday the team woke up with tired legs but we were ready to practice the course for Nationals. Much of the course was the same as Oceanias with a steep, long uphill to kick off the race. This winded its way up the hill crossing rocky sections and dusty corners to reach the top of the first downhill. Riders then had to navigate their way down a technical rock garden and off a drop to start the descent. This was followed by a series of steep corners and rocky sections that put many riders skills to the test. However there was no rest for the riders as the descent was immediately followed by short but steep climb that lead up to the second downhill. This involved a four wheel drive track full of rocks and bumps that shook riders and left already sore muscles shaking. This downhill lead into the feed zone and around the car park into 2 trails that wound around the carpark and up into the hills towards the final descent. Both trails were not steep and riders could push them hard to gain on opponents or use the easier trails for well earned rest. After reaching the final descent riders found a short, hard downhill with large roots and deep dust that left corners slippery and the trail bumpy. To finish the lap there was a short trail through the trees and out into the grass area and the finish line. This is what each lap involved with many challenges for our riders to attempt.
On race day it was an early start with the U17 women kicking off at 8:15am. This was my category and while starting the race strong the long week caught up to me and by the end I had nothing left to give. Still I managed to complete my three laps safely and to the best of my ability finishing in 6th place. The next race was the most exciting with the U19 boys. We had 4 riders competing with Angus Riordan, Corban Nicol, Luke Kivell, and Zane Hurst. After a strong first lap Angus, Luke and Corban were in a group together fighting for third position. However it was a long race with 5 laps to complete. Zane was also riding strong and was not far off the group of three. As the race went on the group of three remained together slowly gaining on second place and left the crowd in suspense as we waited for them to appear each lap. On the last lap Luke opened up a gap on Angus and Corban pushing himself hard to try catch second place. While he was gaining rapidly on second place Angus and Corban were chasing hard still fighting for the podium position. However after a long hard race Luke had opened up enough of a gap to get away securing the 3rd place position less than a minute away from second place. Angus then came in 4th while Corban battled another rider for 5th just missing out but still finishing in a strong 6th place. Zane Hurst also had a great race pushing hard to stay close to the other riders and finished in 12th which was a great position in a tough field of talented riders. To follow the U19 boys we had Emma Lord compete in the U19 girls. After a crash early on in the race Emma got back on the bike and secured the 3rd place position. This was a great performance and it was a tough race in the middle of the day with many riders struggling from the heat. That concludes the final race of in Dunedin and after a great trip we are coming back home. With some amazing results from the team be sure to follow the social media pages to keep up to date with our racing and training to see more great results in following races.