SOME BREAK: Professional mountain biker Morgan Pilley returned to his hometown of Yamba for the Christmas holidays.
SOME BREAK: Professional mountain biker Morgan Pilley returned to his hometown of Yamba for the Christmas holidays.

Morgan has hills to climb

THE famous Grafton to Inverell road race is a gruelling 228km ride that usually takes the best cyclists up to seven hours.

Particpiants speak highly of the challenge as they climb the Gibraltar Range, then a somewhat relaxing glide down the Gwydir Hwy and the relief of crossing the finishing line after hours of tough pedalling.

To professional mountain biker Morgan Pilley, that would barely pass as breakfast.

As part of one of his training rides, Pilley said he rode from Yamba to Inverell and back in one go.

"It ended up being about 600km by the time I finished," Pilley said.

"It was a tough ride but it took me just under 24 hours to finish."

Pilley, originally from Yamba, is a regular on the European endurance circuit.

Now residing in the Italian town of Bassano in Teverina , Pilley is back home after a successful season that saw him take out the Italian 24-hour series for the second year in a row.

"I've been back in Yamba for about a month and a half," Pilley said.

"I'm due to go back to Europe in early February and after last time, I'll be making the most of the beach until then."

The last time Pilley made the trip back to Italy he was greeted by at least 30cm of snow.

"All the roads were frozen and there was a lot of snow around, so it wasn't that much fun," he said.

Pilley has spent his time off catching up with family and friends, and on the bike preparing for next season.

He even dropped by the G-Bomb in November to meet the local crew and check out the track. "They've done some really good stuff at Bom Bom," Pilley said.

"A lot of the guys up there live for it and they've made a great track up there.

"It's probably one of the better clubs around and the work they're doing for mountain biking is just superb."



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