Cycle pair to take on challenge

GRAFTON City Cycles’ owners Sue Webber and Trevor Creighton are off to Canberra over Easter to contest the National Solo 24-hour Mountain Bike Championships.

Solo 24-hour events are raced on cross-country mountain bike courses, across a variety of challenging terrain and obstacles with the rider who completes the most laps in a day declared the winner.

Competitors can stop, eat, rest and sleep but the more time off the bike the fewer laps done.

Australia has a distinguished record on the world 24-hour stage, beginning in 2006 when Craig Gordon became the first Australian to hold the world champion’s crown. In 2008 James Williamson, who sadly died a few days ago during the Cape Classic in South Africa, took the crown, which nows rests with Port Macquarie rider Jason English.

The 2010 worlds will move to Australia for the first time, to be hosted in Canberra in October.

The National Titles will be one of a number of qualifying events, with Creighton and Webber hoping to qualify for a berth at the worlds.

Creighton and Webber are reasonably familiar with the course but are sure it will have plenty of new challenges.

Creighton maintains that staying on the bike and surviving are all-important.

“I aim to go out at a steady pace and keep to it as long as possible,” he said.

“I love night riding, which sometimes gives me an advantage over other competitors but the key is really getting yourself into the right mental frame from the word go.”

With more than 12 hours of darkness, Creighton will have plenty of opportunity to indulge his love of mountain biking in the dark.

But a whole different challenge awaits rookie starter Webber.

This will be her first solo 24-hour event – not that it means she will be taking a backward step.

“I’ve raced as part of teams before and as a solo rider in shorter events,” she said.

“But this is a new challenge and I’m just looking forward to the experience.”

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