National-XCM-Series-Mick-England-Alice-SpringsMick England has busted through the Bunny Buster Stage for the National XCM Series in Alice Springs (Northern Territory). Congratulations to you Mick and we can’t wait to see how you go in Round 3. Read on for the race report…

Finally the second round, but the first for me, of the National XCM Series has arrived. The 90km Marathon lap around Alice Springs turned out to be an awesome form indicator. With some of the best mountain bikers in Australia competing, this was exactly what I required to start my National season.

In 33 degree heat with dry and dusty conditions, on a physically demanding coarse, we set off at 6:30am with the Alice sunrise. The pace (thanks to Chris Jongewaard) was full gas from the start. Staying with the front riders early was important to set up a good position for the remaining race. Chris Jongewaard and Andy Blair created a gap between Ben Mather and myself, with Jason English and the rest of the pack always hot on our heels.

Settling into my groove, Ben and I found ourselves 7 minutes behind Chris and around 2 minutes behind Andy at the 60km checkpoint. With this in mind and feeling quite good, I pushed on as Ben started to lose touch. I was now on my own and hoping for some kind of miracle of seeing Andy up the trails. With 4km to go, the possible reality of placing 3rd at a National event started to kick in. I was thrilled to come in 3rd with a time of 4hr 2min 39sec, 7.5 minutes behind the winner Chris Jongewaard and 3.5 minutes behind Andy Blair in 2nd place.

How grateful I am to be able to line up against this calibre of riders and also for the great chats afterwards. Such a wonderful sport and environment be involved in.