By David Olle, www.topbike.com.au
According to a local downhiller, Snowshoe is almost reliably under fog for its NORBA mountain-bike race weekend, which is unusual, given that it is held in high-summer…. but that is how the Australian MTB XC Team found the West Virginian resort, arriving from Colorado on Thursday afternoon. Friday morning (race day for the juniors) found the thick fog accompanied by heavy showers. Shortly before race time at 2.00pm the sun came out, just in time to dazzle everyone, reflecting off the copious amounts of mud.
Five Aussie juniors took to the start line for three laps, but after one lap Lachlan Norris (Cannondale/Maxxis) was out with a broken chain and a broken chainbreaker. Garry Millburn (Cannondale/Maxxis), also retired early, double flatting. This left Joel Healy, Cal Britten and Daniel Johnson at the front and at 50 minutes plus per lap, the boys were looking tired and muddy after 2 circuits. Joel Healy was leading all the way until a wayward root on a muddy, rocky, rutty downhill skewed him into a tree, popping his shoulder joint and rear hydraulic brake in one. Cal Britten took over the lead, but at just on 3 hours he ‘blew himself to bits' on the final climb, allowing Daniel Johnston, who hails from Alice Springs in the dry desert of Central Australia, the muddy NORBA win.