Elite rider pedals his way out after a distinguished career
MOUNTAIN BIKES: Gladstone's Mick England is calling it quits.
Well, not exactly totally, but from elite-category racing.
England has completed as the third-ranked rider in Australia after the Cross Country marathon season.
"I placed in two lots of seconds and had hoped to better that but the aim was to finish on the podium and I did that," 35-year-old England said.
His final race was at the Flight Centre Trail Run Cycle Epic at Hidden Vale Adventure Park near Ipswich last weekend.
"That's the most technical track on the calender and it's also a very demanding course and a taxing event," England said.
"It's very well represented."
England has raced against the best in the country in a professional mountain bike career that began in road cycling and included a two-year stint in Europe. "Begium is small and you can fit 22 Belgiums into the state of Queensland," he said
"We drove to most competitions there and they just live and breathe the sport there."
His learnings from his two-year stay in Belgium transcended into mountain bike riding.
England said the next generation of riders coming through were faster and stronger.
"These younger guys are getting faster and are all about 24 or 25 years of age," he said.
"They're stepping up and are committed to get smarter and better."
The QAL worker said he would now devote more time to his family of wife Imogene and children Matilda, 7, and Yosseph, 4.
"I have had a selfish life and to be successful, you have to be selfish but my wife has just been so supportive," England said. "I just want to simplify my life a bit."
Whether that means to give back to the sport that has given him so much, England is not so sure.
"Because I have been coached for the past 20 years I won't be used to being on the other side as a coach," he said.
England will compete in the final round of the Central Queensland Series in Rockhampton on Sunday.
MOUNTAIN OF TROPHIES
Represented Australia in Elite World MTB Marathon Champs 2015 Italy and 2017 Germany
Australian Elite Season Rankings - 2015 2nd, 2017 2nd and 2018 3rd
2016 Mtb Cross Country Olympic (XCO) State Champs 1st place
Multiple wins and podiums at National Series Marathon events
Multiple wins and podiums at large National events
CQ Series overall wins around local area