Horsfield and McPhee master conditions to maintain top form
Robin Horsfield and Cassandra McPhee continued their winning streaks in the One Communication MTB Race Series in challenging conditions at Hog Bay Park yesterday.
Horsfield made it three straight wins as he held off the challenge from Alexander Miller and Liam Flannery in the Open Male 60 Minutes category to win in a time of 48min, 35.9sec, completing nine laps at an average time of 5:07.01.
Miller and Flannery both completed eight laps in respective times of 45:11.1 and 45:54.8 as the trio finished in the same positions as in race 4 at Admiralty Park.
Alan Potts moved up from 27th in the last race to a fourth-place finish, completing seven laps in 45:07, while Brian Steinhoff was fifth. He also completed seven laps, clocking a time of 45:25.
Flannery relished the slippery conditions as he tried to challenge Miller for the second spot, with Horsfield again setting the pace.
“The section down by the road was really slow and I think everyone had a bit of trouble there,” said the 17-year-old.
“I know, I crashed twice in there, so that definitely was a setback.
“Other than that the race was pretty good. I felt good on the hills, it was just the technical aspect. I don’t ride the mountain bike as much as I should, so my technical skills aren’t as good as Robin’s.
“He has a lot more experience, he really knows how to take every part of the trail quickly.
“I feel like I could have had Alexander [Miller] if I had taken more risks, but I didn’t want to damage myself for the road bike season which is my focus.
“There is the national championships, then the road bike season starts, which is what I’m training for.“
McPhee is riding away with the Open Women’s 60 Minutes category after her fourth straight victory in the series, completing six laps in a time of 46:57. Two races remain in the series, at the old Casemates Prison property next weekend and then at Ferry Reach on March 14.
McPhee again held off the challenge from Jennifer Wilson and Ashley Robinson who were second and third in times of 45:36 and 48:28 respectively in completing five laps. McPhee added to the win at Admiralty Park two weeks ago, though the conditions, brought on by early morning rain, did present some challenges for the riders.
“It was super slick today, so there was one particular route section where you had to really focus on finding a flow in the course,” McPhee pointed out.
“I find when the course is wet there is a lot more relying on technical and core, so fitness really plays a part. At certain parts you have to slow down a bit just to stay on the bike because, ultimately, you are going to get more time as opposed to get off and running.”
McQuinn Burch, the Southampton Rangers footballer, is quite familiar with bike racing, so the mountain bike racing provided him with a good alternative after football was stopped back in early December because of the pandemic.
It is helping with his fitness, too.
Yesterday, Burch placed 22nd in the Men’s Open 60 Minutes category when he completed six laps in 48:47.
“I’m just really getting back into the road bike and mountain biking, because I’m kind of getting away from football,” Burch, 33, said. “I’m getting older now and it’s tough chasing those 16-year-olds around every week. With recovery time getting longer and more injuries coming, it may be time to branch off to less-contact sports.
“I haven’t played football since Covid, so by the time football kicks back in I’ll be ready.”
Burch added: “This mountain bike racing is serious. It was real slippery, a lot of the logs were wet so you had to be careful about that and a couple of technical climbs were kind of tough. The main thing is to stay upright.
“I’m enjoying it, since I’ve actually had more time. Usually during the football season I don’t have the time, but since the break in football I’ve been able to get back on the mountain bike and get ready for the road season. This is all training for me for the road season.”
Nico Davis was first in the Male Open 30 Minutes, completing eight laps in 31:03 with Sherman Darrell second in a time of 31:39 after also completing eight laps. Howard Williams was third in a time of 32:07, with eight laps completed.
In the Female Open 30 Minutes race, Christine Soutter placed first ahead of Caroline Wright and Zina Jones in second and third. Soutter and Wright completed seven laps, with Soutter finishing in a time of 31:42 and Wright 32:38. Jones recorded a time of 30:18 in finishing six laps.