Whitby teen mix­ing it with best at Kara­poti

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

A Whitby teenager showed no re­spect for age in this year’s Kara­poti Clas­sic.

Thir­teen-year-old Eden Cruise never gave an inch to the pro-elite di­vi­sion heavy-weights in the ar­du­ous 50km race, hang­ing in and chal­leng­ing for the lead well into the race.

New Zealand rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dirk Peters, of Ro­torua even­tu­ally took charge along Dead­wood Ridge, tak­ing only Welling­ton num­ber one, Ed Crossling, with him but still Cruise hung onto the chas­ing bunch and even­tu­ally fin­ished in sixth place.

De­spite his ap­par­ently ten­der years, the year- 9 St Pa­trick’s Col­lege town stu­dent was on fa­mil­iar ground.

Four years be­fore, as a 9-year-old, he had been the youngest to ever com­plete the clas­sic.

Kara­poti or­gan­iser Michael Jacques said Cruise showed many sim­i­lar­i­ties to the reign­ing ju­nior world cham­pion, An­ton Cooper of Ro­torua.

Both had raced Kara­poti from early ages but Cruise’s time this year, at 13, of 2 hours 37 min 27 sec­onds was sig­nif­i­cantly faster than Cooper’s 2009 time at 14, 2h44m8s in sim­i­lar con­di­tions.

‘‘The big thing really is is what Eden does in the next two years,’’ he said.

‘‘When they get to 15 or 16 you really get to see what they are go­ing to be like in adult­hood. It’s go­ing to be very in­ter­est­ing in the next cou­ple of years.’’

Cruise said he started rid­ing when he was eight and his big­gest win to date was the un­der-15 class in the Ocea­nia Moun­tain Bike Cup event, held in Ro­torua last year.

This week­end he is off to Ho­bart to race the Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onships, along with Olympian Karen Hanlen and lo­cal in­ter­na­tional Sa­mara Shep­pard.

Cruise said he trains five or six times each week, at Makara Peak, or lo­cally, at Bat­tle Hill or Colo­nial Knob.

Two or three rides are in­ter­val ses­sions to build strength and power, and the oth­ers are fo­cussed on fun and skill devel­op­ment.

‘‘I’ll fo­cus on cor­ner­ing fast for two weeks – I just ride and push the cor­ners.’’

It is pos­si­ble to make up a lot of time cor­ner­ing fast in down­hill sec­tions, he said.

Cruise has had a few crashes but said he hadn’t bro­ken a bone – ‘‘yet’’. His race strat­egy was straight­for­ward. ‘‘I try to just go hard from the start. If there is some­body with me I try to drop them off at the end.’’

Cruise plays rugby for St Pa­trick’s and the school coaches coaxed him back into run­ning for the re­gional sec­ondary school ath­letic cham­pi­onships last week but he prefers moun­tain bik­ing.

‘‘I think it would be cool to race the World Cham­pi­onships and Olympics,’’ he said.

Photo: AI­DAN CHIPP

Cruise con­trol: Eden Cruise, 13, of Whitby, on his way to sixth place over­all in the Kara­poti Clas­sic.

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