Rebecca Henderson clinched her third straight Australian Cross Country Championship in Bright last month, blowing her rivals away on the first lap to streak to the title.
“I like to go out pretty hard,” she said after the race, in what could only be considered an understatement after she built an unbeatable lead early to cruise over the line more than a minute ahead of her nearest rival.
— Mountain Bike Aust. (@MTBAust) January 24, 2016
Yes she Cairns
Henderson will kick of her international season in Cairns this weekend, with the opening round of the World Cup.
Cairns has been a happy hunting ground, with Henderson keen to make the most of the home course advantage.
“I had the ride of my season here in Cairns two years ago, my first top 10 world cup in my first year in elite,” she told Mountain Bike Australia.
“My goals are still a top 10 in Cairns and while that doesn’t sound like a massive improvement, I am expecting a stacked field this year with Olympic spots up for grabs for every country.”
Henderson will be aiming to qualify for her second Olympics, with this weekend’s World Cup in Cairns providing the perfect chance to earn qualification points.
Henderson has a taste for Olympic competition, taking on the world’s best at the 2012 London Games where she finished 25th.
“The green and gold is something you don’t want to let go of that easy”
She was just 20, and straight out of the under 23 ranks, when picked for the London team.
The four years since have provided invaluable experience for Henderson, who scored a bronze at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Henderson knows exactly what she’s up against in terms of the competition and the course, after getting the chance to ride the Rio course at a test event.
Prior to winning her third national title, Henderson took out the National Series in Toowoomba.
Her red hot form continued at the Oceania Championships, with the Canberran picking up the win.
She’s been putting in the hard yards on the training track and it shows - Henderson’s dominant domestic season has her ideally placed for a crack at the World Cup, and strong finish in Rio.
Bec [looks] to the future
At 24, Henderson is hitting her peak competition years, with not only the Cairns World Cup, but the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games set to be held in Australia. It could make for a hell of a few years for the young gun.
A bicycle built for two
Henderson is also smashing life off the bike, recently becoming engaged to her coach and fellow rider Dan McConnell.
McConnell claimed his fifth Australian MTB Championship this season, and will be aiming to qualify for his third Olympics. The couple that rides together...
You can catch Henderson in action in the opening round of the 2016 UCI MTB World Cup from April 23-24.
For more info, check out www.mtba.asn.au/mtbworldscairns/