Gympie mountain biker perched atop national podium
GYMPIE'S Jack Shadbolt sits atop the Australian National Enduro Series leaderboard and is within touching distance of claiming the top prize after Round 4 held in Rockampton on the weekend.
The 19-year-old Canyon Strive rider battled through a flat tyre and a crash on stage three of the six-stage race to come home in first place of the expert class.
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Shadbolt said he was thrilled with the way he raced.
"Apart from the crash and flat, I'm very happy with how the day went," he said.
"There was a lot of fast guys there over all the classes."
The Enduro is a race designed to test mountain bikers' endurance, with participants riding up hill, racing down, then going back up again, all against the clock.
Shadbolt said there was an emphasis on finishing each stage as quickly as possible so riders could refuel, refresh and prepare for the next stage before the designated time for each stage ran out.
"It's normally five stages, but this was six. You have to ride up a decent climb to get to the stage," he said.
"First stage required a 600m climb, which killed everyone first up.
"You climb to the stage, then race down the hill, you keep doing that until you finish them."
Shadbolt has been riding Enduro for about four years, and joined on the advice of a family friend.
"I was going to do downhill, which is one course straight downhill, and my dad's mate said to try Enduro out, it would be hard but you would have more ride times."
It is the ride times which attracted Shadbolt.
In Rockhampton, he said he was having a good run until the flat tyre mid-race, but it did not hold him back - the Enduro teaches riders to persist.
Shadbolt persisted for the four hours of racing and was rewarded for it.
"I was going through a stage called Leper's Leap, a really rocky stage where riders go through a rocky creek," he said.
"I was going through as hard as I could, trying to find holes to pump my bike into and I must have pushed down too hard and got a puncture and had to ride the rest of the stage with the flat until I could get it fixed."
Shadbolt repaired his bike, then continued for three stages.
Unperturbed by the setback he went on to finish in first place and claim top spot heading into round five at Mt Joyce on July 30.
"Yes, my favourite is Mt Joyce and it is long, fast and steep," Shadbolt said.
After round five the season culminates in the Championship race at Garapine on October 29, a homecoming for the Gympie racer.
"My goal is to finish off the season and do well at the state championship later in the year. I'm stoked for the win; this was a big race for me," Shadbolt said.