Fenner’s Total Performance Training Blog

Knowledge is Power

2012 Australian National MTB Championships

Posted by fenner on February 28, 2012

National MTB National Championships Race Report

Well what a start to 2012 it has been! I have hardly had time to think with a full on race schedule and program to get me into some sort of condition to go and have a go at the Absa Cape Epic. The final parts of the fitness puzzle are in the process of being put into place and after a couple of weeks of volume leading into the National Champs in Adelaide I was starting to feel like my old self.

I backed off slightly the week before the Nats to freshen up a little and at least get my TSB hovering on the right side of zero for race day, unlike a couple of weeks before at Stromlo where I went into the race at  -27 TSB and a little cooked.

The first race was the Teams Relay and with such a powerful squad I felt confident that we could take it out. With Jack Haig leading us out for the first lap we were confident that we could establish an early lead. A bad case of chain suck, however, had other plans and jack had to scoot and run for the final few km’s to limit our losses to the local Adelaide team.

Next out was Billy Sewell and he smashed it off the line catching and passing the Adelaide rider on the first climb and dominating the lap to come in and hand over the Kat O’Shea. Kat again smashed out a cracker of a lap and extended the lead by the time she came into transition and pass the responsibility of bringing it home to me.

I was honoured to be given the final leg and gritted my teeth in the soaring temps to ride a steady but solid lap to bring the Green and Gold Jersey and first Championship medals to the team for 2012.


Team Torq Nutrition


I was up the next day with the Masters National Champs and with a stellar line up it was going to be a very tough race indeed. Anyone of 6 or 7 riders were up for the win and with temps in the high 30’s it was going to be a war on the dirt.

One of the most important things to get right in such hot conditions is your core temperature and for the hour leading up to the race I managed this with ice vests and ice cold towels around the neck during a short warm up. I wore my torq skinsuit and filled this with ice cubes that were melting and again cooling the core and maximising the blood supply to the working muscles and away from being diverted to maintain homeostasis. My idea was to go out hard and fast and control the first climb and therefore the single track. I could then settle into my own pace and manage the riders behind me. I was also sure that we would catch up to some of the slower riders from the race that started before me and I wanted to be able to get past them and maybe gap the chasers putting pressure on them to pass and make mistakes doing so. The plan worked very well and after the first lap I had a 10 second lead over John Gregg in second and a group containing Jeffrey, Rizzuto, Kreilis, James, Klein and current series leader Willmore.

Railing Sunset Boulevard

The initial break had its effect on me in the heat and I could sense someone clawing their way back up to me on the second time up the main climb. On the technical rocky section on the climb midway through the second lap John Gregg attacked and made a small gap. I was unable to respond and at the time I was unsure of the rider and his kit as I was expecting Rizzuto after his strong performance a couple of weeks before at Stromlo. In 3rd place and always a threat was Willmore the series leader and he was trying to bridge across to me the pressure was on. Over the next lap the lead remained just out of touch with Willmore breathing down my neck, getting held up by some back markers and lapped riders was frustrating and any gains made were quickly lost. Out onto the last lap Dean in the pit was saying I was only 20 or so second behind the leader and I had made a small gap on Willmore so I put the pressure on to try and make up the time. It was so hot and riding on the limit was like being in a furnace, my throat was dry and like razor blade sucking in air to supply my working muscles. I pushed and pushed and felt like I toughed out a solid last lap, but, it was to no avail and I came in with the Silver again 50 seconds down on the winner and grinner John Gregg from WA.

Nearing the finish

I was happy to be back in a position to ride for the win, but, gutted that again the national jersey had just eluded me. With 3 Silvers in 3 races entered over the past few years I really wanted it this year, but, on the day a better man won.

Masters Podium

The rest of the team, well what can I say. The medal haul was amazing with Gold medals for Jenni King and Robbie Hucker in the Elite and U23 XC, along with Silver medals for Jack Haig and Billy Sewell in the U23 and U19 XC. Billy took out the Gold medal along with a Bronze for Kat in the short track. It was an epic show of strength for the best team in Australia.

Massive thanks go out to Dean and Gen at Torq Nutrition for the continued support, along with Monza and Sram, LG. Continental Tyres, Sunto and Lezyne who keep us on the trails with the best rigs and gear on the market. Oz-Riders for the best grips and Aussie Butt Cream for comfort down under, you guys rock.

It is all about the Cape Epic now with a few weeks of big volume and long days in the saddle I am frothing to get amongst it.

Catch ya on the trails



2 Responses to “2012 Australian National MTB Championships”

  1. Lama said

    Congrats on the results. Love reading the reports written from ‘inside’ the race and not just from the results sheets. Keep on cranking along!

  2. Paul Chapman said

    Fenz considering the time off with serious injury 2nd is an excellent result. Will be very interesting next year.

    Whoever has chosen Robbie and Jack – besides their obvious ability, it’s a very smart move because they’ll motivate each other. Anyone who has seen the video they made in the Otway will see that. They won and had time for a chat, a few jumps and a good look at the scenery.

    All the best in Africa!

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