Roberts en­dures Out­back or­deal

The Riverine Herald - - GAME ON - By Jess Gled­hill

ECHUCA-MOAMA moun­tain biker Shane Roberts has con­quered Aus­tralia’s Red Cen­tre.

He over­came 32-de­gree heat, a gash to his leg and some 170 com­peti­tors to fin­ish the 2017 Red­back Moun­tain Bike (MTB) Stage Race at Alice Springs fourth over­all and sec­ond in the 40-49 age cat­e­gory.

Roberts said he went bet­ter than he thought af­ter play­ing the first two stages rel­a­tively safe.

‘‘You don’t get long be­tween races to re­cover mean­ing it was im­por­tant not to go too hard in the early stages,’’ he said.

‘‘I made up some time towards the end of the week and ended up only miss­ing the cat­e­gory win by a minute.

‘‘The ac­tual win­ner had been un­beaten for two years com­ing in to the race and be­ing from Dar­win was al­ready used to the warmer weather, which took me a lit­tle while to get used to.’’

Roberts said a lot of the rid­ers suf­fered de­hy­dra­tion, but that was the least of his con­cerns af­ter a low-speed crash 5km be­fore the fin­ish line in the first stage of the race re­sulted in a gash to his left shin and seven stitches.

‘‘I didn’t think too much about it un­til I got up and blood was just pour­ing out of my leg,’’ he said.

‘‘We had a re­ally good med­i­cal crew fol­low­ing each stage and once we got to the fin­ish they cleaned me up and stitched the wound.

‘‘I didn’t lose much time from the crash, it was just con­cern­ing for the rest of the week but it didn’t give me any trou­ble.’’

Roberts fin­ished the sixth and fi­nal stage of the race with a cat­e­gory win and fin­ished sec­ond in the night race, which was the high­light of his week.

‘‘It was my favourite of all the stages,’’ he said.

‘‘Aside from the start and fin­ish line, the rest of the track was in dark­ness and you had to rely on the lights on your bike and hel­met.

‘‘It started along the back of the golf course, then went through the res­i­den­tial area and the bush­land on the out­skirts of town.

‘‘We reached the high­est point of the track and got to look out over all of Alice Springs.’’

When com­peti­tors weren’t rac­ing they got to take in the lo­cal cul­ture and en­joy the warmer weather.

The event cul­mi­nated in a pre­sen­ta­tion din­ner with all the com­peti­tors at the ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Echuca-Moama’s Paul Oman and his son Ben also raced in the se­ries with Paul fin­ish­ing fourth in the 60 and over age cat­e­gory and Ben fin­ish­ing in the mid­dle of his age group hav­ing missed one stage of the event.

Only 20-30 com­peti­tors were from the area and the rest had trav­elled from in­ter­state, in­clud­ing one in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tor from Ger­many.

‘‘It was a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence and I got to meet some in­cred­i­ble peo­ple,’’ Roberts said.

‘‘I’d cer­tainly like to go back next year and give it an­other crack and see how I go.

‘‘I’ve set the bench­mark pretty high, but you al­ways think you can go bet­ter.’’

Roberts re­turned in good form hav­ing just won his age cat­e­gory in a six-hour moun­tain bike event in Bendigo the week­end be­fore last.

His next race was an­other six-hour ride in Bright and he had al­ready planned an­other cou­ple of events through­out the next few months.

Push­ing on: Shane Roberts at the 2017 Red­back Moun­tain Bike (MTB) Stage Race in Alice Springs

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