You could say it was a sense of adventure that led Chris Shaw to discovering a passion for mountain biking.
“I’d been doing adventure races,” the Tamworth electrician explained.
Among the variety of activities, which can include anything from kayaking to archery, swimming, rock climbing, abseiling, the multi-discipline sport often includes a mountain bike leg.
“Out of the disciplines I said I really like mountain biking,” Shaw said.
So a mate took him up to the Tamworth Mountain Bike Park and as he put it he “really got hooked on it”.
That was 12 months ago.
Fresh from competing at his first State Championships two weeks ago, this weekend Shaw will ride in the 2018 MTBA Cross-Country Season opener in Orange.
He is one of five Tamworth Mountain Bike Club members wheeling their way south for the first race of the five-round series.
Recently crowned state champions Justin Roberts (under 15s) and Nick Chisholm (under 17s) will be looking to continue their winning form, while Mick Sherwood will race in the Expert Men and Stephen Roberts the 2 Junior Men.
“For me personally it’s a really challenging sport. Physically and mentally it’s quite a challenging sport and it keeps me fit,” Shaw said.
It is also a sport he can enjoy with his family. Son Benjamin and daughter Eliza both also ride.
“We nominated one day a week where we do a family sport together,” he said.
All three competed at the recent state titles in Armidale. Ben raced in the dirt masters under 13s division, and is showing some real promise.
“He’s only seven and he finished fifth,” Shaw said, adding that he has indicated he wants to be a pro mountain bike rider.
Riding in the Masters 3 40-45, Shaw was seventh.
He “didn’t have the best race” but took a lot away from it.
“What it was was experience of riding against better riders and saying ‘this is the benchmark’, ‘this is where I’ve got to be at’,” he said.
From the footage he has seen of the Kinross State Forest course it looks “pretty fast and flowy with some tricky downhill sections and some really steep climbs”.
“So it’s going to be a test,” Shaw said.