Horsfield and Mayho set for intriguing battle
The first champions of the new cycling season will be crowned when the Bermuda Bicycle Association holds the National Mountain Bike Championships at Ferry Reach, St George's, on Sunday.
Five championship categories will be contested: Junior Male, Junior Female, Male Masters, Female Open and Male Open.
It is sure to be a hotly contested race in the Male Open category between the defending champion Robin Horsfield and Dominique Mayho, who has already won the two races he has competed in locally this season.
Horsfield, who studies in Barrie, Ontario, and specialises in the mountain bike discipline, said he is determined to retain his title.
“My training has been going quite well but as you can imagine it is hard to ride a lot when its minus ten outside and snowing,” Horsfield said.
“To make up for that, I've been doing some cross-country skiing and spending a bit of time in the gym.”
Respecting the course, and the competition Mayho will no doubt offer, Horsfield added: “I look forward to racing on a familiar course again and I hear there are some new pieces of trail, too, which I'm excited to ride.
Horsfield will be racing in the Elite Category in the Ontario Cup Series and the Canada Cup Series this season.
Despite being better known for his road racing, Mayho is no stranger to the winners' circle on a mountain bike, having won the championships multiple times in previous years. Mayho, the 2017 champion, missed last year's race and will go head-to-head with Horsfield for the first time. Last year's race was Horsfield's first in the adult category.
Mayho acknowledges that Horsfield's technical skills will likely give him the edge on some sections of the demanding course during 75 minutes of racing.
“I am really looking forward to going up against Robin,” Mayho said. “I have heard a lot about him, of course, and have seen him race as a junior and I'm expecting a hard race.”
Renowned as a rider who throws down the gauntlet early in races, Mayho does not plan to change his strategy.
“There are a lot of things that can go wrong on a tight, technical course, so I don't plan to get caught up behind other riders,” he added. “It's not the way I race.”
Not to be underestimated, Adam Kirk, already in the winners' circle this year, and Brian Steinhoff will be looking to capitalise on any mistakes the two favourites might make.
Caitlin Conyers is the favourite in the Women's Open race as her fitness and strength on the road has already been evident this year.
However, Ashley Robinson, who has far more experience, and is known for her bike handling ability off road will no doubt prove to be a worthy opponent, especially in the early stages of their 60-minute event.
Nicholas Narraway and Alexander Miller are expected to battle it out in the Junior Male race, which will be a 60-minute event.
Narraway, who attends Miller School of Albermarle in Charlottesville, Virginia, has already performed well overseas and locally, and with Miller only recently returning to action after a broken wrist.
The Junior Female category will also be a 60-minute race and has no clear favourites.
Last year's Male Masters Champion, Hans Hirschi will be looking to retain his title and has proved that he is the man to beat in the age category.
The only blemish on his record this season came two weeks ago when experienced Charles Swart got the upper hand. Enjoying a consistent year, Dennis Fagundo could also find himself in contention.
There will also be non-championship races for boys and girls in two categories: 12 and under and 13-16 years.
The race, sponsored by Winners Edge, starts at 9am.