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06_kbyn marathon re


06_kbyn marathon re

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									     New Race Record as Sydney’s Martin Wins Kooralbyn
                 Marathon 2006 – Jofly Media
Sydney‟s Blair Martin has shaved 36 seconds off Mark Frendo‟s 2005 race record and
upstaged a talented field of Australia‟s emerging endurance mountain bikers on his way
to winning the 2006 Kooralbyn Marathon.

In a display of controlled riding and tactical nous, the ex-pat kiwi (New Zealander) made
his move at precisely the right time, stylishly riding away from all comers on the brutal
final ascent of the race - the aptly named “Wall”.

On a mountain featuring gradients of up 18 per cent, Martin, in the space of five
kilometres, managed to take more than five minutes out of his rivals by the time he
reached the spectacular summit of the 460 metre climb.

From there it was (almost) all downhill to the finish line, where the Sydneysider waited
more than ten minutes for his nearest rival, the rapidly improving Andrew Wilcher, to
cross the finish line.

How It Unfolded

Featuring perfect blue sky, a cool-ish Queensland winter‟s morning and next to no wind,
conditions for racing at kooralbyn were ideal. As news slowly filtered through the elite
men‟s division of the withdrawal of reigning champion (and hot favourite) Mark Frendo
due to illness, the race was on to find contenders for the title of “Kooralbyn Marathon

Aspirants weren‟t slow in coming forward. From race start the pace was on, with the
lead groups including Chris White & Adrian Booth (River City Cycles), Andrew Wilcher
(Race Elements), Daniel Hallam (QAS), Blair Martin, Simon Frederiksen (Race
Elements) and former Crocodile Trophy campaigner Andrew Wegener, among others.

The first major move came in the second half of the race, when seasoned road
campaigner Adrian Booth launched a spirited attack on the flatter profiled middle section
of the course. Had Booth caught a glance of the course profile (which looked for all
money like a heart attack patient‟s e.c.g.), the veteran stager might have thought twice.

Approaching the final two climbs of Mount Sugarloaf and the aptly named „Wall‟,
Booth‟s screams of „get me water‟ provided a hint of what, inevitably was about to come.

“We just kept punching along and thought hopefully he‟ll blow up,” Andrew Wilcher
said of the move from Booth.

“Get enough time out there himself, was going to hit the wall sooner or later. He ran out
of water in the end.”
It was near the foot of “the wall” where Booth was finally caught by the two pursuing
groups. There, Blair Martin made his move, with Hallam, White, Wilcher and the
remainder of the race aspirants, unable to follow suit.

Racing on another level against older and strong riders, fifteen year old Daniel Hallam,
who recently signed with the Queensland Academy of Sport program, had to dig deep to
get over the final climb. The highly rated junior eventually finished fourth overall and
first in the 18 – 29 year age category.

“About the 60 kilometre mark, that‟s when I started to fade,” Hallam admitted.

“Can‟t really compare it to much because it‟s the first marathon race that I‟ve done, just
the climbs make it so mentally tough and physically draining.”

Nearing the end of 85 kilometres, the fight for the minor placings turned into a hot
contest. With the benefit of last year‟s inaugural Kooralbyn Marathon under his belt, it
was Wilcher who prevailed, to claim second.

“I just managed to get rid of Daniel Hallam with about 3 kilometres to go, then saw Chris
White and punched past him with about 300 metres to go,” Wilcher said.

“It was hard, there was a lot of heavy lifting to be done out there and I think the secret
was knowing what was to come.

“It‟s a long race, you don‟t get all the toys out of the cot in the first half out of the race,
that was imperative.”

Triathlete Silvestri Wins Women’s Event

The race for overall honours in the women‟s marathon proved to be another see-sawing
contest, with triathlete Connie Silvestri prevailing against a class field which included
World Cup adventure racer Narelle Ash.

Soon to head overseas to represent Australia in the age group divisions at the World
Triathlon Championships in Switzerland, Silvestri showed the endurance skills necessary
to succeed by bringing it home in the final twenty kilometres of the race.

Just as in the men‟s event, Silvestri launched an attack on the nightmarish ascent of “the
wall”, which proved decisive.

“I did it last year and I found it really tough,” Silvestri said.

“Towards the end, that‟s when I kind of got a second wind on The Wall and I caught the
other girl (Naomi Hansen). it was an awesome course.”
Hansen though, had nothing to be ashamed off. The Sunshine Coast mountain biker
produced one of the rides of the race, shaving more than one hour off her time from 2005,
to claim second place overall

“From start to finish it was an experience, I did it last year and I found it a lot easier than
last year,” Hansen said.

“It was just, it was a huge personal challenge. The last hill she (Silvestri) passed me and
my legs were just rat-shit, then it was just maintenance on the way home.

“It‟s full on man.”

Mathison Shows Promising Form

Cruising to victory in the women‟s division of the 65 kilometre “Lite Marathon”, two
time UCI Junior Cross Country Mountainbike World Champion Lisa Mathison showed
her form is about where it needs to be as she sets her sights on the World Championships
in Rotorua in August.

If her form prevails, Mathison will race in the under 23 division at the World‟s.

“It was really tough out there but I really enjoyed it,” Mathison said.

“It was a fun track for a marathon track. The shorter course I think was plenty for today,
I don‟t really feel that I was up for any more.”

Mathison, whose past year has been punctuated by illness, is taking it slow and steady
with her 2006 campaign, choosing to stay in Australia, rather than race internationally on
the taxing World Cup circuit.

“At least my health feels 100 per cent at the moment and has for a while,” Queensland‟s
most decorated international mountain biker said at race end.

“It‟s hard to tell but I think it is. These next couple of months are pretty crucial, so I hope
I can get it together there and build and get the speed that I need.”

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