Tuesday, June 28, 2022

2021 NIAS MTB Program - Wrap


February: Lawson, Campbell and Ashton attended the Ourimbah SuperFlow with a 7th, 11th and 51st respectively. Ben placed 2nd at Tamworth Cycling Club Crits.

From an ongoing pandemic to a weather pattern that induces unpredictable wet weather we continue to face challenges through our sport and more broadly life.
We can develop many psychological skills and habits through training and competition regimes which help us deal with challenges. A sporting injury, for example, requires athletes to be resilient and to mobilise their psychological resources to help them adapt to a given scenario. Regulating emotions, learning acceptance and self-compassion, and visualisation or mental imagery are all techniques that can be used to cope and gain personal growth from the postponements, cancellations, and restrictions.
Three points to look at could be;
1. Connect - social contact with teammates, training partners, parents and the wider community benefits an athletes well-being.
2. Discover - develop skills, both technical sports skills and psychological skills (visualisation etc), or learn something entirely new.
3. Recover - through sleep, relaxation, healthy nutrition and engaging in personal hobbies that can give athletes the headspace to cope and thrive.

2021 Regional Training Sessions began with a visit to The Broken Spoke in Tamworth, it was great to have all the NIAS MTB athletes together for the start of the season. At The Broken Spoke Andy showed the athletes how easy and simple a bike wash could be.
From the bike wash demo athletes moved to basic bike fit lead by Compass Health. With help from the day’s coaches, Ann was able to adjust both new and returning athletes to a position more suitable for their current ride.
From the bike shop athletes were lead on a ride by local shredder Justin Roberts to Tamworth Mountain Bike park. This warm-up and fitness ride gave athletes a chance to settle into their new riding position. Athletes worked together, many riding in a bunch for the first time.
At TAMMTB park new NIAS athletes shared with returning athletes the two specific stretches learnt at the 2021 MTB Trials in November. In return, the returning athletes shared last year’s learnt sun salutation yoga warm-up and stretch routine with the squad.
With the assistance of Justin and Steven Roberts, Conor Noonan, Nathan Watson the squad was broken into groups to cover some skills. With a high coach to athlete ratio the groups quickly progressed from basic to high performance techniques throughout the skills. Head Coach Crummy was ably assisted not only by the riders above but also by Alyssa Rogan and Lachlan Butters.
On conclusion of skills training athletes moved to application on TAMMTB’s new flow trail with whoops of fun and the runch of tyres. From short downhill session athletes moved to uphill applications on Taming Taipans.
To move all the skills together athletes lined up for a three lap race on TAMMTB’s XXC specific loop, SouthPark. This short loop gave athletes a chance to apply their refined abilities, plus under the watchful eye of the coaching team, look for collective improvements.
To finish off the session Steven Roberts took athletes through the race start process. The start sprints pushed athletes to get their technique and process right while under the fatigue of the activities already completed.
There will be a Regional Training Session at the Piney on the 20th followed by the Life Skills Education Weekend at UNE on the 27-28th. Look forward to seeing you there!

March: The Life Skills Education weekend for 2021 was packed from start to finish with education sessions, squad trainings, strength and conditioning, and pool recovery sessions 🏊‍♀️ Athletes were able to immerse themselves into life at the University of New England, AU with education sessions being held on campus with Marni Hietbrink from Peak Psychology, Warren Ansell from Pro-Active Physio, Selena Chan from Food Smart Selena, and Ben Bible and Tania Court from UNE.
Over the weekend, the athletes used the wide range of facilities available at Sport UNE for their squad trainings, S&C sessions and pool recovery, and also attended an Academy dinner with the Academy's major partner Armidale City Bowling Club . The Academy athletes also welcomed captain of the Nsw Swifts Maddy Proud to hear about her journey into elite sport.
The Academy would like to extend a big thank you to all the athletes, coaches and volunteers who assisted over the weekend to make it a memorable experience for all!

April: Over the weekend Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) athlete Kaden managed to squeeze a trip to Canberra to compete in the Rocky Trail Entertainment GP4 in a team with Rocky Trail JetBlack MTB Racing regular Guru. Here is his race report:
On Friday I arrived in Visit Canberra at Stromlo Forest Park to compete in the RTE GP four hour race, on Saturday. During our practice lap in the afternoon the trail was a bit wet still after some recent weather but still a heap of fun. The trails themselves are very smooth, with very few rocks compared to Tamworth Mountain Bike Park. The course Rocky Trail had set for the GP included a couple of technical sections on the climb and lots of very smooth downhills.
In the morning before the race I hung out with the JetBlack Team and spoke to lots of people.
On the first lap my highlight was the crashed I had trying to overtake someone, where I then fell off the track into a pile of rocks. I then continued to do three laps with my partner Guru. We came fourth in our age group!
All together it was a very good weekend!
Kaden laps were a 42, 39 and 45 minutes respectively over the almost 10km course. Well done!
NIAS athletes continue their progression with a Regional Training Session at Mt Borah thanks to The Broken Spoke Tamworth, and a SuperFlow event at Awaba Mtb Park.

Massive thanks to Andy from The Broken Spoke Tamworth for his ongoing support of us riding at Borah. Again, our first attempt at Borah for the year was dampened.
Multiple quick phone calls later and we were off to find a dry spot thanks to Manilla Show Society . A space is a space and we made the most of warming up, having a roof over our head.
Lachlan Butters led our sun salutations, coach Alyssa took us through a number of warm-up maneuvers AND a balancing exercises. A short rotating station HIIT and some endurance work with a beep-test and atheletes were starting to show their level of fitness and dedication. Some core and leg work was followed by a sun-sal cool-down by Lachie.
Thanks to all for rolling with the changes!

Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) Moutainbike Program athletes travelled to Awaba near Newcastle for a SuperFlow event. The event was run by Rocky Trail Entertainment and hosted on the Awaba MTB Park. A gravity-based event, the trails featured much of the newer trail work completed by the local club, including a purpose-built trail for all-ability mountain biking (graded as black-level).
Some of the NIAS athletes arrived in the region after school on Friday, with most arriving at the park on Saturday morning. Held over two days, Saturday had a lighter attendance then Sunday, with hardly any lining-up and waiting to complete the necessary timed runs of the trails.
On Saturday Jock, Harrison, Jack and Fraser joined Coach Crummy for what was for many, their first SuperFlow event. The fields were going to be pretty competitive and half the athletes would compete on their XC Hardtails. Even still this would be a unique experience to apply their riding skills.
In U13s Jock bettered his times with every attempt of the trails finishing with a total time of 10:33 and placing 21st. Harrison got the team started in U15s with a race time of 12:31. Jack and Fraser both raced in a highly ambitious bunch of 77 athletes in U17s. Jack finished the day with at total time of 8:46, placing 49th. Fraser wasn’t far behind Jack finishing with a time of 8:59, placing 55th.
On Sunday it was said that close to 300 riders were competing, some riders coming from as far away as South Australia. Leon represented NIAS in the U15s with a lightening time of 08:22, placing 8th and only five seconds of a top five placing.
Upcoming events for the NIAS MTB include teams endurance events and a Regional Training Session in Inverell.

Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) Moutainbike athletes Kalean and Andy Blair stayed local last weekend to participate in their local club’s XCO Championship and beginning of the club’s winter race series. The event by New England Mountain Bikers (NEMTB) and hosted at the Sport UNE MTB Track featured a favourite trail selection including Revelation, The Rock and Poplars.
Thirty six riders lined up for the Championship across all grades with Kalean battling it out against a small field and Andy riding solo in his category. Andy also got a clear start to the trail, beginning five minutes after the main competitors and went on to complete two shortened loops of the Sport UNE track.
In U15s Kalean aimed to get out fast and hold off all his competitors. The trail selection included a number of technical sections and a heap of fast flowing trail and getting out in front would help to clear the technical aspects with least disruption. With just one hot lap to complete Kalean put his plan into action finishing with a race time of 25:41, a minute and a half faster than his closest rival.
Well done to Andy and Kalean competing in NEMTB’s XCO Club Championships!
Upcoming events for NIAS MTB include team events and a Regional Training Session in Inverell.

May: Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) MTB Program athletes attended New England Mountain Bikers (NEMTB)'s #mothersday event at Sport UNE on Sunday. It was a great chance for athletes to ride the trails before the upcoming NIXCS event next weekend, and for their Mum's to enjoy the four seasons Armidale can offer this time of year.
Jock Hollis of Inverell completed over 36kms in the three hours available. The variety of trails on offer and a number of graded loops added incentive to session sections working on skills and techniques.
Jock Barwick of Loomberah was excited to be back at Sport UNE after a taste of the trails during the Education Weekend in March. Jock went and made successful attempts at technical sections of the trail during his available trail time. In the end Jock was wrangled by some familiar superheroes bringing his 3hrs to a close.
Fraser headed out to complete a couple of laps with his Dad, while Mum grabbed some trail time herself.
Andy from Uralla teamed up with his Dad for this event, making riding the trails look easy. The pair put in some fast laps, faster than his Dad would have liked, and put a smile on the dials of all the Mums as they colourfully passed through transition onto their next laps.
While everyone was a winner for getting out and braving the conditions, NEMTB handed their annual trophy over to the colourful pairing of Andy and his Dad. Well done!
Upcoming events for NIAS MTB include a Regional Training Session at Inverell followed by a local XCO event as part of the NIXC Series.

NIAS athletes headed to the regional town of Inverell for their fourth training session. Inverell MTB Park offers a unique mountain biking landscape and lots of technical features to play on.
Inverell MTB Club have been busy and the park now has a covered shelter overlooking a sweet pump-track. The granite gravel based trail offers a mix of traction and looseness, without loam.
On arrival the athletes were greeted with the very cool conditions the regional is currently experiencing. But in the sun, with a few stretches and ten minutes sun salutations, the warm jackets were off.
Jumping on their bikes the athletes were put through their paces on the gravel surface with a series of skill based exercises. A highlight for most was the opportunity to learn about free-speed and pumping on the pump-track.
Some athletes were challenged with a three-lap race on the pump-track, local Inverell athlete Jock Hollis set a high standard with a 60 second three laps. Ben Shaw from Tamworth, a first year athlete and close to three years junior to Jock stepped up to the challenge completing the three laps in 58.25 seconds. The fastest time of the day went to Jack MacKay of Gunnedah. Jack’s smooth style saw him complete the three laps in a 58 seconds flat.
Out on the trail the athletes were treated to the sweet flow that is offered by the Inverell trails. A good two kilometres in a series of rock rollers were a daunting obstacle. And this theme of tough daunting obstacles, off the main trail, continued and gave athletes a chance to practise and improve both their climbing and descending bike-handling skills.

Forty one riders rolled up to SportUNE for the first round of the 2021 Northern Inland XC Series. They came from far and wide, and the trails were in pretty good condition after the Mother's Day event the week prior.
Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) Moutainbike Program athletes made up the bulk of the junior field with seven, half the squad, making this event a priority.
Former NIAS athletes from Tamworth were also there, giving the the current crew an opportunity to race some of the fastest wheels going. Eddie Willis placed in the top three at Nationals for 2021 and Lachlan Butters recently performed highly at both gravity and endurance events.
In U17s, NIAS athlete Jock Hollis of Inverell chased the fast starting Eddie Willis while Lachlan Butters looked to make up time after a slow start. Hailing from Gunnedah, athlete Jack MacKay swapped his gravity skill for some XCO and rounded out the field with athlete Fraser McQueen from Armidale.
In U15s Tamworth athlete Kaden Thistle placed second in a small category.
While they might be younger the U13s is just as competitive as other age-groups. The NIAS athlete crew of Ben Shaw (Tamworth), Jock Barwick (Loomberah) and Andy faced-off with Andy Blair (Uralla). Andy got a good start and was followed by Jock , then Ben. With just twenty-five minutes of racing the boys jostled for positions and came over the line with Ben in front, followed by Jock and then Andy.
Upcoming events for NIAS MTB include team and individual race events, from Newcastle to Inverell.

May: Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) Moutainbike Program athletes travelled to Glenrock in Newcastle for a Grand Prix event. The event was run by Rocky Trail Entertainment and hosted on the Glenrock National Park trail network. An endurance-based event, the trails had been recently revitalised after damaged caused during a wet summer and autumn. Glenrock Trail Alliance
Some of the NIAS athletes had arrived in the region for an event on Thursday and Friday, but most arriving at the park on Saturday morning ready to race. With over two hundred riders signed up to ride at Glenrock, NIAS riders had a good chance to ride against people from the greater Newcastle and Sydney regions.
For athlete Jock Hollis from Inverell, this would be his second event in as many days, “I went into the four-hour race with no expectations after the Hunter Schools MTB race the day before”. Jock was one of eight riders entered in his solo category, whereas the remaining NIAS riders were in teams of two.
Jock Barwick (Loombah) and Tom Dundon (Armidale) teamed up, with Tom getting the first lap, which included the necessary extra fire-trail climb for the start. They swapped turns every lap averaging just over twenty-five minutes per lap. Jock managed the fastest lap for the team, but only just, the pair were very evenly matched. The athletes went on to hold off all the other U15s teams finishing first, with ten laps.
Athletes Harrison Crowley (Tamworth) and Andy Blair (Uralla) were the other NIAS team with Harrison getting the honours of the first lap. Over the course of the next six laps Harrison and Andy were pulling back time on the team called Snap, at times the gap was over seven minutes and was reduced to a mere thirty seconds in the final laps. Harrison and Andy placed third by about a minute with both teams on nine laps.
Back with Jock Hollis there were competitors in front with fresh legs, over the first hour all he could do was keep consistent. His break came when the leading rider stopped to inflate a tyre and take on food. It was during this time Jock passed the lead rider, taking the lead in the category himself, “all I had to do was believe in myself and ignore the pain once it begun to kick in” Jock said after the event.
The following is from Jock’s race report. “My favourite part of the track would have to be the first section of single-track. It featured high-speed flowing corners and berms coupled with some root-drops and rock up-and-overs. This section made for a break from the uphill slog that seemed to dominate the rest of the track.”
“I was also able to make good time on other riders over the technical sections because of the multiple line choices in some spots, that coupled with some braking technique and cornering skills I’ve learnt with NIAS.” Jock went on to hold his lead over his competitors stretching the lead out to over half a lap, placing first in the U18s solo 4hr.
Upcoming events for NIAS MTB include regional events and a Regional Training Session in Armidale.

June: Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) athletes headed to Tamworth for their fifth Regional Training Session. The weather had played a big part in preparation for the Training Session with a cold snap and snow in the region. Plans were changed to limit the athletes exposure to the very low temperatures from an outdoor session in Armidale to an indoor session in Tamworth.
Thanks to Compass Allied Health the athletes used a cycling specific program to stretch and warm-up before they headed to the Spinbike room. A new experience for some, the athletes were treated to a +45min spin class of sprints and hill-climbs.
The program then continued with a BodyBalance class of flow, yoga and balancing. There were some surprises with tough core and flexibility moves, athletes finding some of the smaller movements the most challenging.
After a small break the athletes found that Head Coach CrummyMTB had set up a "Nino" inspired Challenge based on a program the Swiss-based Mountain Bike World Champion had to do. With unstable platforms to balance on while conducting cycling specific manoeuvres this Challenge was to be a favourite for many of the athletes.
Moving on the session was rounded out with a strength and conditioning session based around the major leg-muscle groups before the athletes got the chance to jump in the pool for a cool-down and recovery session.
All up it was a big morning for the mountain bike athletes.

Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) MTB athletes have been competing in the local Northern Inland Cross Country Series, most recently at Inverell and Walcha.
Inverell is a unique trail and surface, the NIAS MTB Program having recently conducted a Regional Training Session there. Seven athletes attended the event with local Jock Hollis recalling, "it was great to finally have a race at my local track. It was awesome to see the countless hours of working bees had paid off with everyone enjoying our track".
Most athletes had a smooth race, Jock Hollis and Campbell Walsh were chasing recent National Cup representative and previous NIAS MTB athelete Eddie Willis. "I just had week of being sick," Jock commented on his race, "so I was shocked by how well I was able to ride. I was really happy to see that all my training of focusing on lines and efficiency on the track had paid off. I was able to ride 3 clean laps".
Five NIAS athletes raced at the Walcha NIXCS. With snow in the local region and plenty of precipitation, the trails were well saturated. This didn't stop some fast times and plenty of wheel-spinning fun.
Campbell Walsh was the chaser at this round, on the tail of former NIAS MTB athelete Justin Roberts. Campbell couldn't make a mistake though because just behind him was Fraser McQueen from Armidale.
NIAS MTB Program represented very well with Andy Blair from Uralla taking out the U13s category and Kaden Thistle from Tamworth placing first in U15s. While in the U17s category NIAS went 1, 2, 4 with Campbell, Fraser and Jack Mackay from Gunnedah respectively.
All athletes are looking forward to a number of racing oppertunities over the next month including the NIXCS hosted by Sport Sponsor Tamworth Mountain Bikers .

July: Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) Moutainbike Program athletes travelled to the Mid North Coast near Port Macquarie for a double-header weekend of events. The events were run by Rocky Trail Entertainment and hosted at two locations, Jollynose MTB Park near Port Macquarie and at the Kalateenee trails in Kempsey.
In most cases the athletes had been assigned teams, with some of the most senior riders opting for a solo challenge across the two days. It was a mixture of nervousness and excitement as the athletes rolled into Jollynose, some had managed a preview ride the day before and by all accounts the MTB Park was on the slippery side of wet.
In the U15s Pairs there were three teams, Jock and Fraser, Ben and Tom, and Andy and Lawson. Each of these riders had proven themselves of the last couple of months and it was going to be interesting racing, not just against other teams but competition within the NIAS teams as well.
Riding solo for NIAS at Jollynose was Campbell and Jock in the biggest U18s field ever contested at this event. Additionally, the NIAS coaches were thrown into the mix with Coach Alyssa teamed up with Harrison and Coach Crummy with Kaden.
One of the Programs younger athletes Jock had this to say about his teams race at Jollynose, “I was teamed up with Frazer McQueen to ride the 4 hour U15s Pair category. Frazer had a long sprint for the start and he went through into the single-track in the second bunch. I waited anxiously until he came back, then it was my turn for a lap”. The Pair riders rode in a relay format, with one rider out on the trail at any one time. “The track was a bit rough and technical. I learned that when it is wet and muddy on the track you need to wash and lubricate your chain to keep everything running properly.”
There was a tight race between the U15s Pairs with Ben and Tom riding smoothly. Andy and Lawson weren’t far behind either, a mistake could cost time and see other teams pass you. Fraser came through first followed closely by Tom, Ben backed up Tom’s lap by passing Jock during his lap. Ben and Tom came away with a great win with Fraser and Jock placing second, and Andy and Lawson holding comfortably onto third.
In the other teams Kaden and Alyssa had the starting lap and this would see these paired teams battle it out with Alyssa passing Kaden and Crummy passing Harrison some time mid-lap. This would be another close competition as athletes and coaches swapped laps. While not directly competing in the same category the pairs both rode well with Alyssa and Harrison placing 4th and Crummy and Kaden in 2nd, in their respective categories.
With the widest field of U18 solos ever seen in Grand Prix history the NIAS athletes were going to have some stiff competition. There were a number of local riders and Hunter-based riders in attendance, all vying for a good race. Jock and Campbell got away smoothly into the single-track but a mistake during the first lap saw Campbell complete the lap a bit further back in the field than he would have liked.
“I was really excited to race at Jollynose as I had been working hard to prepare,” Jock said on his solo effort, “I was happy to find that my legs felt fresh and strong the entire time, this left me feeling confident.” Jock rode strongly to hold off all the competition leading from start to finish, Campbell was able to refocus from his early mistake to ride into an accomplished third position.

Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) Moutainbike Program athletes travelled to the Mid North Coast near Port Macquarie for a double-header weekend of events. The events were run by Rocky Trail Entertainment and hosted at two locations, Jollynose MTB Park near Port Macquarie and at the Kalateenee trails in Kempsey.
After getting the first event at Jollynose under their belt with some good results, the athletes looked to the Sunday at a fun-day. A limited number of competitors had returned after the overnight changes in restrictions. In better news, the trail conditions were almost stark opposite to the previous days event, Kalateenee trails were 99.9% dry and, in some spots, almost dusty.
The teams were similar to Saturday’s racing, minor changes include Campbell going from solo to now team-up with JetBlack MTB Racing 's Lachlan Butters to race Pairs. There were a few riders who couldn’t make the two-day commitment as well.
Yesterday’s U15s Pairs were chomping at the bit to get underway, after such close racing. Would Ben and Tom come away with another win, or would Jock and Fraser fight back? The boys chose a similar format to yesterday with the older athletes Fraser and Tom going out for the first lap. At the end of the first lap there was just shy of a minute between the teams with Fraser coming through first. During the second lap Ben was able to overtake Jock swapping the time deficit the opposite way. After the third lap it was neck and neck with Fraser pipping Tom close to the line.
Jock takes over the commentary, “Frazer and I teamed up again for Sunday. It was a rocky, hilly and a bumpy track. We had a nice field of NIAS people and a supportive team to make it fun. I felt I rode better today, with my legs just getting warmed up! It was a neck and neck race for first place with everyone giving it all. Ben and I had a great sprint finish to our final lap!” Fraser went on to lay-down a quick time Tom just could respond to, clinching the win the pairing of Jock and Fraser. Ben and Tom held onto second with plenty of daylight to third.
In the other teams Harrison and Alyssa rode well to sit midfield and finish with a third place. Campbell and Lachlan had their work cut out for them with Port Macquarie pairing of the Spilsbury brothers getting away from them on the first lap. Lachlan caught back up on the second lap and over the next few both he and Campbell formed around a three-minute lead. On what was supposed to be Lachlan’s and the teams last lap, Campbell was sent out for an unexpected double. Jarred from team Spilsbury was sent out on a flier after Campbell. The NIAS support crew were on edge as the boys completed the 30min lap, waiting to see who would come around the corner and over the timing mats first. It was the maroon colours of NIAS, Campbell had held onto the lead, Jarred just twenty seconds behind on his fastest lap of the day. “It came down to the wire at the end, and I had to give that little bit extra for the win”, Campbell said after the race.
We asked Jock, who rode solo again how his race went. “At Kempsey I felt surprisingly good and after some stretching and warming up I felt ready to do it all again. I was really disappointed that the latest COVID restrictions had ruled Thomas Jenkins out (Thomas placed second the previous day at Jollynose) as I was really looking forward to racing him again. However, I found that I still had a battle on my hands as I was being chased down by pairs riders Campbell and Lachlan. I was determined to stay in front as long as I could.” Jock was caught by the pair on lap five but went on to comfortably win the U18s solo 4hr, placing sixth against all other solo riders for the day!
It was a massive weekend for all riders and support crews. Everyone had a blast and look forward to the next event. Upcoming events for the NIAS MTB include Northern Inland XC Series at Tamworth, Armidale and Inverell, plus a Regional Training Session on the trails at the Piney – Armidale.

Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) Moutainbike Program have a number of local events coming up as part of the Northern Inland XC Series. The Series is run by the local clubs across the diverse trails of the region. This week it was Tamworth Mountainbikers turn at their amazingly developed park.
Eight athletes were keen to roll around the park across the three junior grades. Recent weather had left some of the trails slightly tachy but there were plenty of smiles as riders lined up for the start.
In U13s our three dominate NIAS riders took on the challenge of a full loop the trail. It was tight between Jock and Ben as they raced up Central Mountain, Jock had completed the start loop with a lead. Close behind was Andy and the three had a visual sight on each other for much of the race. Ben caught Jock through the climb and held his newly acquired lead to the line. The boys place 1st, 2nd and 3rd in U13s.
Kaden was joined by Leon in the U15s category. Sadly, Leon snapped a chain early during the race lap, scooting his bike back but unable to remedy the problem. Kaden went on to ride away with another victory in the NIXC Series and a commanding lead in the U15s Series points score.
The U17s was the most popular junior category, local and ex-NIAS athlete Eddie Willis was taking no prisoners (across all grades). Jack, Fraser and Jock all has a mixed start with the leg burning fire-trail climb on the starting lap. Jock had this to say about how it looked for him, “The track started of quite wet but as the day progressed and the sun warmed up, the track became tacky making for a much more pleasant final couple of laps. Overall it was a nice day of racing and it was nice to catch up with the whole NIAS crew and other fellow racers”. Jock went on to place 2nd in U17s with Fraser placing 4th and Jack in 6th.
Upcoming events for the NIAS MTB include Northern Inland XC Series at Armidale and Inverell, plus a Regional Training Session on trails in Armidale.

Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) athletes headed to Armidale for their sixth Regional Training Session. Once again, the weather was playing a big part in the leadup to the Training Session. It had snowed ❄ in the region, just like the leadup to last month’s session, a cold snap, high winds, some rain. Like last month plans and ride locations were changed, riders were prepared for some exposure to cold temperatures while fine-tuning specific trail sections and obstacles.
After a short trail walk to identify the main style of obstacles and a warmup, athletes broke into their respective groups to session sections of trail under the watchful eye of their coaches.
The advantages of looking at the trail when off the bike became more apparent and athletes were able to balance their skill, speed and vision with repeated rides of specific sections.
The ride back to the top of the trail was steady and a good effort for all athletes, with the majority of the riders completing three rides back to the top.
A solid effort by all athletes in what was some of the most extreme conditions they will find themselves in. Overcoming the adversity, applying their skills, and having fun all while sharing that experience with their teammates.
It was a big morning for the mountain bike athletes, and we look forward to the presentation night and upcoming racing.

Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) athlete Leon travelled to the North Coast of NSW to compete in the Gravity Enduro at Byron Bay.
Saturday was practice and after catching up with a couple of other Tamworth locals Leon walked all the tracks to look and discuss the trails, and line choices. On completion of his trail-walk it was time to grab the bike and hit some of the most technical aspects of the trails.
On Sunday (race day) it was an early start, Leon and his support crew arrived at the race venue to collect his race plate. Racing began at 7:00am sharp, but before it all began there were some stretches and a warm-up to do.
"I started my first run on stage 2 after warming-up, throughout the day I completed 12 runs over 5 stages", Leon said after the event, "all of my last runs on each trail were my fastest."
Leon felt happy with how he rode and his end result of second in his age-group adds to his successes already this year.
"I will continue to train as I’m hoping to get to the remaining rounds in the series as well as the rest of the Rocky Trail Entertainment Superflow series."
Leon wishes to thank NIAS and his coaches for the targeted training, encouragement and support. With a massive thanks to his parents for everything they have done to help.
NIAS athletes are looking forward to their upcoming presentation night and future racing.

August: A small crew of Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) athletes returned to Mt Borah after their planned Regional Training Session was rained out a few months ago. For some it was their first time, while others are regulars enjoying the gravity based trails as part of their training.
Athletes were able to apply their skills to the different obstacles, learning from each other and openly discussing their options and techniques. "I found that the Mt Borah training sessions have really helped my confidence when tracks become steep and rough," athlete Jock Hollis reflects, "I use these technical sessions to help guide myself through challenging trails, and to give myself the confidence to back my skills".
The Mountain Bike Program athletes will now attend their award and presentation night, plus a range of upcoming racing.

October: We returned to gravel training rides!

Tamworth Mountain Bikers returned to twilight racing on Wednesday and Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) athletes were making waves stepping up classes. Leon placed 2nd in A Grade with Ben, Jock and Kaden placing 2nd, 5th and 10th in B Grade. Harrison placed 6th in C Grade.

An exciting weekend of NIAS activities. Today TAMMTB hosted the 2022 MTB Program trials with applicants from across the region. More news on selection to follow.
Tomorrow night is our NIAS Awards Night via YouTube. https://youtu.be/lGQSg_7jsic
- Our 14 atheletes completed in excess of 24hrs of small group skills coaching.
- Close to 50hrs of racing at Grand Prix events.
- Individual results include, Club Champions, Hunter School Champions, amoungst other great results at NIXCS, SuperFlow an Enduro.
- Endured and persevered through a tough and challenging year, testing weather and trail conditions.
I encourage all athletes to enjoy the rewards and their achievements, no matter how big or small. And to have fun at our events for the rest of the year.
Thank you athletes and parents!

Our first virtual awards night. Great to have Jamie Lyons as guest speaker.
On behalf of the coaching team,
Most Improved – Jock Barwick
Most Dedicated – Andy Blair
Coaches Award – Campbell Walsh
Athlete of the Year – Jock Hollis

December: What a massive weekend for the final tour with the Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) MTB 2021 crew. Athletes attended the JetBlack Cycling 24hr in relay teams of four within the 6+6 event, with a team of 4 and a team of 3. The 4 rider team placed 3rd in their Open category (23 laps), and out-performed most other four person teams at the Rocky Trail Entertainment event. The team of 3 placed just outside the top 10 in their Open category with 21 laps.
Congratulations to all athletes on their performance over the weekend, and this whole year! Thanks to our sports partners and parents for their continued support.

We are wrapping up another tremendously challenging year. Thank you for raising to the challenges and remaining flexible throughout.
I’d like you to cast your mind back to not only your individual results but what we have achieved holistically as a group. From Grand Prix to SuperFlow, local Road Crits and Twilight Races, Hunter Schools to 24hrs to National Champs. The hurdles we came across just getting to our Regional Training Sessions and our Education Weekend!
The coaching team would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a safe festive season!
We look forward to riding with you next year.