Peta Mullens' late decision pays off with dominant win
Peta Mullens (Victoria) took the elite women's XCM national title, her attendance at the championships a last minute decision. It is the second time she has won the title, her first time in 2012.
“I was always going to race but after Oceanias I had a rough run and thought I probably need to have a big break into Cairns. But was feeling good in training and really had the itch to race," Mullens said.
“All I had to think about was getting to the top of the climb in the last lap and last hour was great fun.
“I felt good on the first climb and thought I’ll try and dishearten them and go out and hurt myself.”
Mullens finished the 70km course in four hours exactly, almost 13 minutes ahead of her nearest rival, fellow Victorian Jenni King.
King sat in fifth after the first lap following what she said was a terrible start.
"But (I was) really lucky on the technical descent and those other girls were climbing really well. And I had to put everything in to get second today.”
Briony Mattocks (NSW) took bronze despite losing over a minute on the final lap. She eventually overtook Eliza Kwan (ACT) and Anna Beck (QLD).
National XCM Series leader Imogen Smith suffered a technical on the final lap to finish back of the pack.
Brendan Johnston wins back to back titles
Brendan Johnston (ACT) claimed his second straight Elite Men’s Australian XCM Championship, outclassing Tasman Nankervis (VIC) and Scott Bowden (TAS) over the 90km course.
Johnston completed the distance in a time of 4 hours, 34 minutes and 17 seconds, over a minute ahead of Nankervis.
“I was super nervous coming into the race. I didn’t expect to win it once let alone twice so really happy with how I’m going with my form,” Johnston said.
“I had great amount of power which I didn’t think I would have in the last lap and pretty thankful for that and really enjoyed it to the finish.”
An early shower produced some mud for the riders but Bowden, Nankervis, Johnston and XCM National Series leader Andy Blair broke away from the main pack.
It was the first ever marathon distance race for third placed Bowden, a recent bronze medalist at the Oceania Championships in Queenstown.
“It was super good fun out there and I think the muddy conditions made it much harder but it was great.”
Blair was dropped at lap three, the remaining riders headed into the final climb together where Bowden suffered.
Here, Nankervis put the hammer down on a rough section and had Johnston doubting himself.
“I was struggling and I didn’t know how to play it with these guys climbing so well,” said Johnston.
“After the river crossing Trekky was just too strong. It was a bloody hard race.”
“They are really good riders and I was not expecting to ever beat them easy or at all.”
Full results of both races can be found here.