Nicholas Narraway on form in return to action overseas
Nicholas Narraway has enjoyed an impressive return to racing action as part of the Miller School of Albemarle Endurance team.
In his first race outside of Bermuda in a year, the 19-year-old clinched a podium place competing in the open male category of the Stokesville 600-kilometre mountain bike race last month.
Taking on the challenging Narrowback Mountain course within the Stokesville Lodge campground and the George Washington National Forest, Narraway managed to secure a third-place finish from the 276 riders who took to the start line — hitting an average speed of 12.8mph.
“My focus is on road racing but it was good to be back in race mode,” Narraway said.
“The conditions were a mixed bag, there was snow still on the ground, mud, wet, streams and footbridges where we had to dismount and wheelie the bike over a swing footbridge.
“Unfortunately, my team-mates had mechanical issues, which meant I was on my own.
“I got a little wetter than I should have crossing the stream, which cost me some valuable time but I was still there for the final sprint. Overall, I was happy to podium.”
Building on the momentum, Narraway gave another promising performance in his maiden race on gravel terrain competing in the Stokesville Little Switzerland 100km earlier this month.
Battling the gruelling course, the 100 riders raced through the George Washington National Forest along the North River at the edge of the Little River Roadless area on one side and Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness Area on the other.
After passing over the lowest gap on the mightily Shenandoah Mountain the route turned up into the back roads of Highland County known as “Little Switzerland”.
Despite maintaining his place among the leading pack after a breakaway during the race, the Bermudian rider narrowly missed out on a second successive podium place, crossing the finish line in fourth.
“This was my first gravel race. It was something in between road and mountain bike racing, on a bike with drop handles rather than a mountain bike, so a faster race on gravel roads and trails,” Narraway explained.
“When the eventual leader pushed the pace to break up the race, my team-mate, Christopher Hardee, and I were ready and made the four-man breakaway.
“Hardee and I were able to work together to keep the pressure on, and it remained the four of us till the end, where I was outsprinted and finished fourth."