Roulston looking for ‘cruisy’ Motatapu
Olympic cycling medallist Hayden Roulston is known for his competitiveness but says he will be looking for a cruisy ride without any crashes when he tackles the Motatapu for the first time next week.
Describing himself as a rookie mountain biker Roulston said he had no clue how he would fare on the 47km back country course between Wanaka and Queenstown.
“I am working on an 8-week training camp towards ‘le Race’ for 29 people and riding with them, so I will be fitter than I have been for the past few months but I have no experience on a mountain bike apart from going uphill.
‘‘I will play it by ear but chances are a cruisy ride getting through without crashing and a nice weekend away is what this will be all about for me, I can’t wait.”
The 36-year-old retired from top level cycling at the end of 2016 after a stellar career that included silver and bronze medals on the track at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and a silver medal on the road amongst his Commonwealth Games haul.
After more than 20 years of training and racing he says he is comfortable mountain biking up hill but going down presented ‘‘a few challenges’’.
‘‘Add to that the fact I have only ever ridden a mountain bike in road pedals and road shoes and I have no idea where the course goes or what it is like – well you start to get the picture of a rookie about to ride his first event!”
Competing in the 51km Ultra Run this year is 20-year-old Australian runner Lucy Bartholomew, who is already twice a world champion – taking out the 2014 Junior World Skyrunning Championship (Mont Blanc, France) and the 2015 World Junior Ultratrail Championships (France).
‘‘I was over in New Zealand last year for six weeks and I was racing in Queenstown for the Shotover Moonlight Marathon. The following weekend I was in Wanaka and I heard about the Motatapu and went to the finish line and saw people finishing looking so happy, so destroyed and so inspired.’’
The event takes place on March 4 and includes the 47km SKODA Mountain Bike, a 15km Miners Trail, 42.2km Off Road Marathon, a UDC Finance XTERRA Triathlon (2km swim, 47km mountain bike, 15km run) and a 51km Ultra-Run.
Retired Olympic cycling medallist Hayden Roulston is training for his first mountain bike race - the Motatapu, in March.
Thousands of entrants at the start of a previous Motatapu mountain bike race.