Tamworth Mountain Bikers will send their biggest, and strongest, contingent of riders to this weekend’s Cross-Country State Championships in Orange.
Eleven riders will shred their way around the Lake Canobolas Mountain Bike Park trails, including two current national champions and two state champions.
Mick Sherwood will contest the open men, Mark Willis and Chris Shaw the masters men, Chisholm, Steve Roberts, Conor Noonan and Nathan Watson the under-19 men, Justin Roberts the under-15 boys, Eddie Willis the under-13 boys, Ann Buchan the open women and Isla Maidment the under-15 girls.
The 27-year old physiotherapist has been riding with the Tamworth club for about three years.
She had done a bit of mountain biking in her younger years before taking up gymnastics, and later soccer.
“When I moved to Tamworth I wanted to try a different sport and kind of fell into it (mountain biking),” she said.
She was treating some cyclists and they told her she should come and have a ride.
So she did.
“I did gymnastics for about 10 years and really liked the adrenaline and balance, and mountain biking has a lot of those elements,” she said.
This weekend will be her first time racing at a state championships, and she is looking forward to it.
It will similarly be the first time competing at the state championships for Noonan and Willis.
“I’m excited to test myself against some of the fastest boys in the state,” Noonan said.
Under the guidance of new coach Sam Spokes, he has incorporated a lot of road cycling into his training to “try and get a bit fitter”.
“He’s definitely got me a lot fitter than I have been in the past,” the 17-year old said.
The major benefit of that is that he can stay sharper, especially on the descents, deeper into the race. It will also better-equip him to follow attacks.
For Willis, the weekend will be biggest competition he’s been involved in.
He only started competing around the start of the year and is just “hoping to have fun”.