McIl­roy back in town

Alpine Observer - - Sport -

By STRUAN JONES

MT BEAUTY lo­cal Ben McIl­roy not only won his se­cond McKayos Chal­lenge at Falls Creek two week­ends ago, but has spent over four months this year abroad, train­ing and rac­ing in moun­tain bike events across Europe and Canada.

McIl­roy, 19, left Aus­tralia with his bike in the first week of May, fly­ing to France to race in the third round of the En­duro World Series (EWS), a tough two-day com­pe­ti­tion.

En­duro events see cy­clists rac­ing a series of timed down­hill sec­tions, and rid­ing back up af­ter each within a set time frame.

The up­hill climbs must sim­ply be com­pleted within the time al­lowed, but the rider’s cu­mu­la­tive time on the down­hill sec­tions are what ranks him among other com­peti­tors.

McIl­roy ad­mit­ted that he found the event in France tough.

“They were the hard­est trails I’d ever rid­den, there were lots of crashes,” he said.

From France, McIl­roy trav­elled to Italy and on to Aus­tria, train­ing ev­ery­where he went and com­pet­ing in the fourth round of the EWS, where he un­for­tu­nately crashed out.

McIl­roy then re­turned to France to com­pete in the mother of all down­hill marathon races, the Me­gavalanche.

The fa­mous race is run from the Alps town of Alpe D’Huez, and starts on glacial sum­mit of the Pic Blanc (3300m) and de­scends to the val­ley bot­tom at Alle­mont (720m).

“It’s ridicu­lous - it was the scari­est thing I’ve ever done, the start on the snow, it was so steep,” McIl­roy said.

De­spite get­ting a flat tyre, he still man­aged to fin­ish.

From Europe McIl­roy trav­elled to Canada, where he recorded his best re­sult in the sixth round of the EWS at Whistler, Bri­tish Columbia.

“I was pretty happy with that re­sult. It didn’t rain, which was good, as it does at ev­ery other EWS race, so it was dry and dusty - sim­i­lar con­di­tions to home - I felt more com­fort­able.”

McIl­roy had only been home for two weeks be­fore plum­met­ing down the side of Falls Creek to win the McKayos race at Falls Creek on the last week­end of the ski sea­son.

“It’s such a fun race. Me and my mates love do­ing it, just for the mass start, be­cause you get to race each other.”

As for the up­com­ing sum­mer, McIl­roy says he’ll fo­cus on lo­cal races around Vic­to­ria, while try­ing to save some money by work­ing in Mt Beauty and Bright.

“I’m a bit trav­elled out, I’m en­joy­ing sleep­ing in my own bed for now.” Myrtle­ford - at Stan­dish Street Surgery Bright - at Bright Med­i­cal Cen­tre Ph 03 52 431 019 Email gee­long­hear­ing@qual­tone­group.com Myrtle­ford, 47 Clyde Street Phone 5752 1151 Fax 5752 2992 Email info@ovib.com.au Marita Sa­muels­son BHlthSc(Po­di­a­try).MAPodA Myrtle­ford: 1-7 Al­bert St. Bright: Alpine Com­mu­nity Health Cen­tre, Cob­den St. Phone 5751 1022

ROCK N ROLL: Ben McIl­roy com­pet­ing at the En­duro World Series in Canada, and (in­set) back home on the trails in Bright.

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