Yamba’s Morgan Pilley back home for a short break from Italy, where he competes in endurance bike racing. Photos Debrah Novak
Yamba’s Morgan Pilley back home for a short break from Italy, where he competes in endurance bike racing. Photos Debrah Novak

Pilley is in for the long haul in 2015

YAMBA and Australian representative mountain bike marathon rider Morgan Pilley is confident he has the endurance to ride his long calendar.

"This year is kicking off with my first race at the start of March in Italy," Pilley said.

"It is the Orvieto Wine Marathon.

"It is a pretty good race and part of the national series.

"I then have other marathon-distance races.

Yamba’s Morgan Pilley back home for a short break from Italy, where he competes in endurance bike racing. Photos Debrah Novak
Yamba’s Morgan Pilley back home for a short break from Italy, where he competes in endurance bike racing. Photos Debrah Novak

"In May, I will race in the European 24-hour series."

Contestants see how far they can ride around a 10km track in 24 hours.

"You ride round and round for 24 hours. It can be boring, but you just have to keep focused," he explained.

Pilley spent the previous few years focusing on 24-hour distance races.

"I won a few Italian titles, but will now focus on marathon distance," he said.

The marathon distance for mountain bike is between 80km to 100km.

Pilley said his main focus was on the World Mountain Bike Marathon Championship in Italy at the end of June when he will represent Australia.

"This race is 90km and they usually take three and a half to five hours depending on how hard the track is," Pilley said.

Pilley now lives in Italy in the Umbria region, in a small village called Monte Franco.

"I came back to Yamba for two to three weeks," he said. "It was good to catch up with friends and family.

"My Italian is going pretty well. I can speak fairly fluent; it helps having a female dictionary.

"I have to understand when she yells at me.

"I am enjoying the Italian way of racing and way of life."

Pilley changed teams this season from Acqua and Sapone to Santa Marinella - Tonica.

"I haven't raced in Australia for a few years now. It doesn't work out because the seasons overlap," he said.

"I re-signed with one of my major sponsors, MJO Legal, a Grafton firm.

"It will be good to come back to Australia and represent them. It is great having not only an Australian sponsor, but local sponsor."

It is not just the pain of endurance riding Pilley has endured.

Pilley is the young brother of Commonwealth Gold medal-winning professional squash player, Cameron Pilley.

In 2011, Cameron had grabbed the title of the hardest hitting player in the game, with a shot clocked at 175kmh.

So Morgan decided to find out what it would be like to take a hit from a squash ball travelling at that speed.

The brothers took to the court with a shirtless Morgan facing the front wall of the court.

After warming the ball, Cameron smashed it into the middle of his brother's back with the missile, leaving a mark a bit like a bullet hole.

Morgan said nearly four years after the event, the mark left by the 175kmh squash ball was "almost gone".

The Youtube video of the event they posted went viral across the internet.

"We still get asked about it a lot," Morgan said.



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