McIlroy back in town
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 email@example.com Myrtleford, 47 Clyde Street Phone 5752 1151 Fax 5752 2992 Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.