NATIONAL SERIES MOVERS AND SHAKERS
The Subaru MTBA National Series was one of the best yet, and it’s been an amazing summer of racing. We speak to those who helped make it so exciting to find out what drives them to compete, and how high they are aiming.
SCOTT BOWDeN WON THe XCO NATIONAL SerIeS AS WeLL US SCHOOLINg THe WHOLe U23 FIeLD AT THe NATIONAL CHAMpIONSHIpS. WHere’S THe LIMIT FOr THe YOUNg TASMANIAN? AMB: In late 2014 you really made a big leap – first winning Hellfire Cup and then coming 2nd at You Yangs. What changed?
SB: Nothing really changed other than the fact I was able to achieve a lot more consistency in my training throughout the duration of the year; partly due to the fact I’d had a year off studying after finishing year 12 which allowed me to focus a lot more on doing what I love. AMB: There seems to be a real generation split in XCO at the moment, with the likes of Dan McConnell, Andy Blair, Adrian Jackson, Shaun Lewis etc at one end, and countless strong U23 racers coming through. Who else do you think has really been shining this season?
SB: Looking at the start list prior to any National Series race there is always a long list of names of very strong and accomplished riders as well as others who have shown great potential. Despite being an obvious pick Dan McConnell has shown he is in a league of his own and it is great to have someone like that to look up to and chase. Also in the U19 category there is a number of strong riders continually shifting positions on the podium – in particular first year U19 rider, Liam Jeffries being a big one to watch. AMB: XCO, Short track, eliminator – there’s a fair bit mixed through the series and Oceania and National Champs – what’s your focus?
SB: Definitely XCO – I’m probably not overly well suited to the other two however both XCC and XCE provide some seriously painful, intense and exciting racing and it’s good to have them a part of the program. AMB: Tasmania nurtures some strong cyclists – what is it about the island state that breeds great riders?
SB: The incredible landscape for one – offering world-class roads and trails to train on is a big part of it I believe. Also I think the previous and current success of so many Tasmanian cyclists over road, track and mountain biking is a motivating factor for all riders as there are people close to home to look up to and see that anything is possible with a bit of hard work.
AMB: How did you get into cycling?
SB: Firstly through BMX. The national championships were held at the local track when I was in primary school and I went down to watch. Not long after I started racing. At the beginning of high school I got a 650b road bike as I was tiny and started triathlon. A year later I got one of the mountain bikes used in the Mark Webber Challenge and started doing some riding through school. I loved going out and exploring on my bike through high school and did a little bit of racing before starting to get a bit more serious at the end of year 10 and things gained momentum from there.
AMB: What motivates you to travel around the country, and the globe, to chase your sport – what’s the big goal that gets you out of bed each morning?
SB: There are a number of factors including enjoyment of the sport, which would have to be one of the biggest things and probably the most obvious! When the weather is tedious (quite often the case in Tassie) and you have to go and train it’s the drive to be the best I can that motivates me the most. The desire for the feeling of turning up to a race knowing you have given 110% in training and done everything right in the lead up. I would love to be able to represent Australia at a Commonwealth or Olympic Games and to be a professional mountain biker – those would be the biggest goals for sure. AMB: You’re mixing road and mountain bike this year – what does your calendar look like for the rest of 2015?
SB: I’m still planning this year’s calendar however ideally I would like to do a 6 week block of racing in Europe around May/ June including some World Cups and other UCI races. I hope to also do a few NRS races on the road including some tours and the longer one-day races towards the end of the year. Around August/September I would love to go back to Europe and race the final World Cup in Italy and World Champs in Andorra if all things go to plan!