LEARNING NEW TRICKS AND PICKING UP STICKS AT CAPE TO CAPE
LEARNING NEW TRICKS AND PICKING UP STICKS AT CAPE TO CAPE
Cape to Cape’s 76km Boranup Forest stage tested riders to the limit, producing some remarkable efforts and a few upsets, as the iconic four day stage race reached the halfway point.
Despite some sensational riding from Double Trouble (Reece Tucknott and Brent Rees), the GIANT Shimano Australia team of Brendan Johnston and Jon Odams kept things under control in the men’s open pairs.
But it was a different story in the open women’s and mixed pairs with Fox and Racoon (Briony Mattocks/Anna Beck) and the Maroni Bikes (Peta Mullins/Jarryd Maroni) turning the tables and grabbing very classy stage wins.
Fox and Racoon’s Anna Beck must have wondered what MTB gods she had upset, collecting every stick along the course, in a manic attempt by the environment to derail her team’s chances of a stage win. In a gutsy display of mental toughness and sheer determination they finished victorious with Fox and Racoon 1, Mother Nature 0.
“Leading into the forest Anna had mechanical and I was standing with the spectators for three or four minutes as everyone was riding past. Then the poor girl just picked up every stick on the course and stopped maybe four times to get sticks out of the drive train. She did very well to hang in there and we just didn’t give up and kept riding back to the group,” Briony said.
“Having done this stage before I knew about all the sketchy, skatey stuff through the top section and I put on a bit of speed to try and throw the Specialised girls off. We held them off on the grass but given they have a bit of time they might have let us have the stage win. There cannot be any more bad luck left, so we are really excited for the great single track of stage three and four.”
Stage two was a welcome return to winner’s circle for former Cape to Cape champion Peta Mullens. Riding with Jarrod Moroni in the mixed pairs, they found the course to their liking and turned the tables on the in form Harris siblings.
“I haven’t done a MTB race for about eight months I really surprised myself today after struggling on stage one. I haven’t done much on the MTB or the bike at all and I had a crash last week and my knee was kind of sore. But I really like this course and feel like I ride into it very well and I knew I would suffer on the first couple of climbs, so we let three or four of the pairs distance us and one by one we brought them back. Then like a real roadie, Jarryd wanted to whack it on the fire trail with 2km to go. So, we did. I feel like I am just warming up but we won’t get ahead of ourselves. It is really nice to have strong mixed competition and I am just happy to get a stage win.”
The ever smiling Holly Harris wasn’t too disappointed with second place in the stage and was delighted to have her mentors take the honours.
“It is so cool to be racing with Peta and Jarrod, they are like my heroes and I have always looked up to them. When I was young I was on a team with Peta and she taught me so much and she is such a good role model for the sport. So, to be able to race with them was really fun. We were with them until a km to go and they hit us pretty hard. Mick worked really hard to keep me there, but I just didn’t have the legs to go with them.”
Keeping the GIANT Shimano Australia Team honest, Double Trouble have really been living up to their name but the boys know that with a 30 second deficit, and Johnston and Odams on fire, they have to pull out all stops in the final two days.
“It was a bit unexpected today,” Reece Tucknott said. “There were a few points in the stage where I didn’t expect to be anywhere near the lead but we managed to come back. At 5km to go we had a bit of a gap but I wasn’t sure how Brent was feeling. I knew I was half decent, so we thought we would give it a crack and decided to drive it. But of course all Brendan and Jon have to do is follow the moves which they did. Tomorrow have to follow the moves too, but we also have to be the instigators. We have to ride smart and stay in good position to be in for a shot.”
At the mid point of the race, GIANT Shimano Australia are in the box seat but there is a lot of riding to get through before they can afford to celebrate.
“Today was a cool stage, it was fast and I thought we might have had everyone come together but Reece and Brent really sensed it at the creek crossings and the gap opened up and they chatted for a while to see whether they would commit or not. And they did. But for us it was just a matter of sitting on. We don’t have to drive the group. So, it was our job to just follow them in,” Brendan said.
“It is very competitive this year and the difference between the teams isn’t much, so it is all about tactics and positioning. Jon was awesome today and followed all the moves and we covered everything, so I am really pleased with how we are doing that.”
Despite a novel preparation Kathryn McInerney is riding strong in the solo women’s, enjoying every twist and turn of the trails and everything Cape to Cape has to offer.
“I find it hard to motivate myself over winter, so I spent a lot of time running, trail running and the last couple of weeks I have done a few big rides. It is a funny preparation for me, but it seems to be working. Surprisingly I am feeling quite good and I am a lot more relaxed this year and just taking everything in my stride. It has been really fun. With two stage wins I am really happy with how it is has worked out. But there are always people you want to chase down, so in the coming days the plan is to be mixing it with the elite women’s pairs, so that is the goal for the second half of the race.”
Team GC Teams: Open Men Pairs
1 GIANT- SHIMANO AUSTRALIA 04:02:23
2 DOUBLE TROUBLE R&R 04:02:53
3 TREK-SHIMANO AUSTRALIA 04:03:47
4 NANKERVIS CUP 04:04:15
5 GIANT WA RACING 04:06:44
Team Stage 2 Teams: Open Men Pairs
1 GIANT- SHIMANO AUSTRALIA 02:33:13
2 DOUBLE TROUBLE R&R 02:33:14
3 NANKERVIS CUP 02:33:29
4 GIANT WA RACING 02:33:29
5 TREK-SHIMANO AUSTRALIA 02:33:29
Team GC Teams: Open Women Pairs
1 Specialized Duo 04:45:37
2 FOX AND RACCOON 04:47:37
3 Motion girls 05:17:11
4 Sparkly Unicorns 05:39:53
5 TEAM 4T2/KALAMUNDA CYCLES 05:52:07
Team Stage 2 Teams: Open Women Pairs
1 FOX AND RACCOON 02:56:39
2 Specialized Duo 02:56:43
3 Motion girls 03:14:18
4 TEAM 4T2/KALAMUNDA CYCLES 03:25:00
5 Sparkly Unicorns 03:27:23
Team GC Teams: Mixed Pairs
1 SRAM MTOSS 04:21:15
2 MORONI BIKES BENDIGO 04:27:06
3 SHIMANO PUSHYS CANNONDALE 04:29:30
4 MTRX - CHOP CHOP RACING TEAM 04:30:14
5 Trek Shimano Australia 04:36:53
Stage 2 Teams: Mixed Pairs
1 MORONI BIKES BENDIGO 02:43:46
2 SRAM MTOSS 02:44:26
3 SHIMANO PUSHYS CANNONDALE 02:46:22
4 MTRX - CHOP CHOP RACING TEAM 02:47:35
5 Trek Shimano Australia 02:51:54
1 Open Men Trevor Spencer 04:10:23
2 Open Men Michael Rice 04:13:22
3 Masters Men Damon Willmore 04:14:17
Pos Cat Name Gun Time
1 Open Women Kathryn McInerney 04:45:23
2 Masters Women Kristen Gardner 04:55:58
3 Masters Women Fiona Crowe 05:12:38