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The Kiwi MTB Collective - Team Talley’s – is halfway through their European tour. Click here to read more about how Talley’s is proudly supporting the team.
Team Manager Scott Woods says that at the mid-way point, the team is now well used to the ‘rinse and repeat’ of packing, travelling, unpacking, training and racing. Unfortunately, with the cut and thrust of mountain biking, they are also used to hospitals, having visited them in Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland. One player has had to return home after a knee injury, but all other accidents have been minor, and the riders are back on their bikes.
The riders continue to hold their own in the races, showing both their current abilities and future potential. Here are some of the riders’ reflections.
“At the start of the trip, I felt like I was jumping into the deep end. It’s pretty nerve-racking riding on a course alongside pro riders that you’ve been watching on TV for years. But, my first two races were a massive boost to my confidence and confirmed for me that I belong here racing in Europe.” Matt Wilson (20 years old).
“I thought I knew all there was to racing until the first 20 minutes of the Junior World Series race in Albstadt, Germany. I was shoved around and yelled at, with countless numbers of people who don’t speak a word of English all sprinting to get to the single track first, then yelling and climbing over all over you to make some positions on the start lap. This is when I realised, I’m not in New Zealand anymore.” James Officer (17 years old).
“Europe has been the most amazing experience of my life, and I’ll forever be grateful for the memories that were made and the experiences that were had. European racing is next level and definitely something we lack in New Zealand with the courses and the competitors.” Annabel Bligh (17 years old).
“This trip so far has made me realize there is heaps more to learn. Mainly about training and racing but also the admin side of things as well. I am very happy with how far I have come since landing in Europe. I would love to give this sport a good crack for at least three years and see how I stand against the best in the world with the right training.” Mia Cameron (17 years old).
“Racing in Europe has been a dream come true. This is my second trip to Europe and I can tell you it is way better with a bike. I have learnt so much on this trip, everything from how to start a race with 160 other people all trying to win the race to how to speak some basic words and phrases in other languages. I am looking forward to hopefully doing this for many years to come.” (Ethan Woods (16 years old).
“If you had told me three years ago that I was going to go overseas to race my bike with a team, I wouldn’t have believed you. I couldn’t be more grateful for this incredible experience alongside some pretty cool humans. Having never been to Europe before, nor raced my bike surrounded by fast Europeans, this trip was eye opening from a cultural and race perspective.” Amelie MacKay (18 years old).
“One thing that I have really noticed is the increase in technical difficulty the tracks have. I pride myself on being a good technical rider but I have never been an especially confident rider. Only once have I crashed, meaning that I still do have the skills to ride these, but need to work on my confidence. What I find exciting is returning to New Zealand and fingers crossed finding that my tolerance has gone up and I can see how much I have improved.” Anna Bristow (23 years old).
Congratulations to all the riders for their personal achievements in Europe. Good luck for the rest of your season. Talley’s is thrilled to support you.