Whitby moun­tain­biker bat­tling for fit­ness


Dop­ers Hill looms large on Eden Cruise’s hori­zon.

The Whitby 16-year-old be­came the youngest win­ner of the Kara­poti Clas­sic when he took out the 50-kilo­me­tre moun­tain­bike event aged just 15 last year.

Cruise picked up a knee in­jury in that event and it has trou­bled him since, mean­ing he’s not as fit for this year’s event on March 5.

‘‘Ideally I’d like to de­fend the ti­tle, but I don’t know how well that will go,’’ he said.

‘‘At the end of last year I had a knee prob­lem from Kara­poti last year, so I lost a bit of fit­ness and haven’t re­ally had the time to fully get it back.’’

That means Dop­ers Hill, which reaches 531m and presents the tough­est climb of Kara­poti, is go­ing to be ex­tra chal­leng­ing this year.

While suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing his ti­tle would be nice, the St Pat’s Town stu­dent has big­ger as­sign­ments in mind.

‘‘Ideally I want to go over to the ju­nior worlds [un­der-19] this year and make the podium.

‘‘Then in 2020 I want to try to race at the Olympics. I don’t have any idea of plac­ings yet, but in 2024 I want to be on the podium at the Olympics, and also do the Com­mon­wealth Games in 2018 and 2022.’’

To achieve those goals, his other sports of run­ning and rugby are likely to go on the back­burner.

‘‘If I want to fo­cus on bik­ing I have to drop the other sports be­cause it clashes.

‘‘Town are re­ally into ath­let­ics, so I’ll prob­a­bly do the odd race. I’ll prob­a­bly get pushed into do­ing McKevedy [Shield], but rugby I don’t plan on play­ing.

‘‘Back in pri­mary school I was na­tional run­ning champ and peo­ple saw those re­sults and saw me as some­thing use­ful for McKevedy. In year 9 I was happy with it, but I was rac­ing 1500m and 3000m and it was just round and round and gets a bit mind­numb­ing.’’

Run­ning was the cat­a­lyst for mov­ing into moun­tain­bik­ing.

‘‘I was al­ways re­ally into my run­ning and I was do­ing some lit­tle triathlon things, just mess­ing around. I wanted to do some­thing big­ger – I wanted to do an iron­man when I was 9, but I wasn’t al­lowed.

‘‘So I signed up for Kara­poti, and ever since then I’ve been pretty keen on moun­tain­bik­ing.’’

Eden Cruise be­came the youngest win­ner of Kara­poti in 2015, but a knee in­jury means he’s bat­tling for fit­ness this year.

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