Mountain bikers continue impressive form at marathon
SEVENTY-eight kilometres of mountain biking is a no go for most people, but for a trio of Gladstone riders it presents a prospect for success.
Michael England, Dane Linforth and Raymond Rhodes recently proved they were the elite of the sport in Gladstone.
After they exceeded expectations at the national championships earlier in the year, the riders' latest venture was at an event called the Redlands Bayview Blast.
"It was the inaugural event. It was a 78km marathon category," Linforth said.
Coming from a road cycling background, England did not expect to do so well so soon.
He began mountain biking this year and has progressed quickly, which came as no surprise to his fellow cyclists.
But he said he was still struggling with some technical aspects of the sport.
"It is challenging to stay upright. There are a lot of skills I have had to learn and still need to learn," he said.
"I expect good competition. I would expect these results in six months."
Rhodes is looking at having better results in the future as well, after having a lot of time off with a shoulder injury.
Riding much of the Bayview Blast in third, Rhodes stood on the podium before he figured out he was fourth, having been passed on the last lap of the race.
He wants the results to attract more participants to the local riding scene.
"We built some trails. It is about encouraging people to have a go," he said.
"It is a feel-good thing, this sport."
Linforth is one rider who does get the feel-good element, loving every experience he has on his mountain bike.
"I get away pretty regularly. That was race number 19 for me this year," Linforth said.
"Gladstone is very strong cycling-wise at the moment.
"We need to thank Tuckers. They have been supporting me this year and there is an engine room that is coming out of Matt at M1 Cycles too."
Redland Bayview Blast
Michael England: 1st in Elite and 1st Overall
Dane Linforth: 2nd in Masters
Raymond Rhodes: 4th in Super Masters