After a disappointing World Champs it was finally time to hit the reset button and relax. We hung around a bit longer in Norway to watch the downhill and chill out before jumping on the plane to head back to Germany. The weekend after Worlds I travelled Austria for an Enduro race, the Ischgl Overmountain Challenge, a great event which is very well supported by Cannondale. After a few days riding on my new 27.5 Jekyll I started to get back the Enduro buzz and my speed. I raced smoothly and came home with 4th position in a stacked field, a result I was very happy with. After the race in Ischgl I flew to Martin Whiteley’s place in Granada, Spain for a couple of weeks rest and relaxation in the Spanish sunshine and plenty of good food. I had a great time there with lots of fun riding on the Jekyll high up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range which was good training for the upcoming Enduro World Series round in Finale Ligure, Italy.
The Enduro World Series race didn’t start out to well after I sustained a partially dislocated thumb in practice. This meant I didn’t practice a couple of stages as much as I would have liked. I had my thumb well taped up but on the first stage I was far too cautious and lost a lot of time. I decided to man up and push through the pain and the next 5 stages went reasonably smoothly, apart from a pinch flat on stage 4 which I was luckily still able to nurse to the finish line. I end up finishing around 32nd I think, with times so tightly packed and with the most star studded field to ever take the start of an Enduro race I was pretty stoked to end up so far up the final results sheet! After Finale it was finally time to come home after a very busy 3 months in the Northern Hemisphere. I’d had some huge highs and big lows but overall I was satisfied with how things had panned out and that I’d tried to make the best out of each situation I found myself in. It was great to be able to catch up with all my mates once more and to see my family. There wasn’t much time for rest though as I soon had to jump in my car and drive up to Auckland for meetings with Sky Next, and other sponsors.
I also had to meet with BikeNZ in Cambridge and spent some time training in Rotorua. It was great to be able to catch up with plenty of mates up north along the way also! Something I don’t get the chance to do during the season. I have also managed to escape into the backcountry a couple of times with a few friends for a bit of an adventure in our great backcountry. It’s good to escape the hustle and bustle of town for some fresh mountain air every now and then! I’ve also competed in a few local events to keep the base fitness level ticking over, The Christchurch Singletrack club’s Mini XC series at Halswell Quarry and the Longbeach Classic. I also raced in the 3 Peaks Enduro in Dunedin which is probably my favourite event in NZ. Amazing tracks and fun genuine people make for a great weekends racing. I improved on my 3rd place overall last year to take home first place overall, pretty stoked! I’ll be back next year. It was also an honour to receive the award for North Canterbury overall Sportsperson of the year based on my results this season. I have re-signed with Cannondale Factory racing for 2 more years commencing on the 1st of January. I’m excited about what lies ahead and know that some of the bad luck I’ve had the past two years is due to turn around. I’m looking forward to giving it my all once again and hopefully collecting plenty of race wins in the process! That’s always the goal anyway haha. Thanks to all my sponsors for making life a lot easier and to my parents, friends and coach for keeping me in line and training hard.
I’ll keep you all updated, cheers Anton.