Moun­tain biker off to Games

Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - Lau­rilee McMichael ■ Sam­mie is sup­ported by a Team Taupo¯ schol­ar­ship.

A Taupo¯ moun­tain biker is about to be­come a youth Olympian af­ter be­ing named in the cy­cling team for the Sum­mer Youth Olympics at Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina.

Sam­mie Maxwell, 16, will join an­other young Taupo¯ sportswoman, eques­trian Briar Bur­nett-Grant, 18, of Taupo¯ -nui-aTia Col­lege at the Games in Oc­to­ber.

Be­ing se­lected is a huge achieve­ment for Sam­mie, who has her sights set on be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional moun­tain biker. But the tim­ing couldn’t be any worse for the Tauhara Col­lege stu­dent, who has to sit level two NCEA ex­ams in cal­cu­lus, English, bi­ol­ogy, physics, chem­istry and sports science just two weeks af­ter re­turn­ing home.

Sam­mie’s event is a new road cy­cling and moun­tain bik­ing se­ries held on five con­sec­u­tive days.

“The Youth Olympics is where they try new events so they have a road cy­cling moun­tain bike com­bined event,” Sam­mie ex­plains.

“The first day is a team time trial and sec­ond day is the [60km] road race and then the moun­tain bike short course, a moun­tain bike elim­i­na­tor and a cri­terium. You all get points based off your plac­ings in the five events but it’s who­ever gets the most points of your team of two. So you might com­pletely dom­i­nate your field but your part­ner might not even place, so it’s im­por­tant to work with your part­ner.”

It’s quite dif­fer­ent from Sam­mie’s usual races and even her spe­cialty, the moun­tain bik­ing event, is much shorter — at about 20 min­utes — than she’s used to. The moun­tain bike elim­i­na­tor has teams of four race a short sin­gle lap, with the fastest two go­ing through to the next round. The road race cri­terium is 30km in laps with some al­lo­cated as sprint laps and points given for win­ning prints, mak­ing it highly tac­ti­cal.

While Sam­mie holds na­tional moun­tain bik­ing ti­tles, this year she also be­gan com­pet­ing in road cy­cling, win­ning two Dy­namo se­ries road races in the Waikato ear­lier this month. She also took up cy­clocross, a bi­cy­cle race which con­sists of mul­ti­ple laps of a short course that can in­clude grass, for­est, mud, as­sorted ob­sta­cles such as logs and even river cross­ings.

“It’s so fun,” says Sam­mie of cy­clocross.

“I re­ally re­ally love that high in­ten­sity and be­ing 45 to 50 min­utes with the re­ally steep pinches and no sus­pen­sion, it’s so fa­tigu­ing on your body. You get 15-sec­ond bursts [of ef­fort] and then a five-sec­ond break and then a five-sec­ond sprint so it’s re­ally on the gas the whole time which is right up my alley.”

Sam­mie is presently rac­ing most week­ends, whether moun­tain bik­ing, road cy­cling or cy­clocross, and dur­ing the week she does high-in­ten­sity train­ing, gym work and Pi­lates. Even when she’s hav­ing down­time — she calls it be­ing pro­duc­tively rest­ful — she’ll still be stretch­ing or rolling to aid her body’s re­cov­ery. She’s also been work­ing with her coach Alex Fierro on men­tal as­pects.

The trip is self-funded, with Sam­mie pay­ing for ev­ery­thing. She and her par­ents will be fundrais­ing for the es­ti­mated $4000 to $5000 needed, via raf­fles and a Givealit­tle page. How­ever, the Youth Olympics is too good an op­por­tu­nity to pass up and Sam­mie hopes this will be a step­ping stone to next year’s World Cup in Canada. Sam­mie thinks the big­gest chal­lenge of the Youth Olympics will be hav­ing to be at the top of her game for five days straight. But, she adds, she’ll be wak­ing up in Buenos Aires each morn­ing feel­ing grate­ful for “this amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity”.

Photo / Page Im­agery

Sam­mie Maxwell, 16, pic­tured here com­pet­ing in cy­clocross, has been se­lected to rep­re­sent New Zealand at the Youth Sum­mer Olympics in Buenos Aires in Oc­to­ber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.