The country's best mountain bikers visited Armidale for the third and fourth rounds of the National Series.
A tough and technical course combined with summer heat couldn’t stop the country’s best mountain bikers when they tackled the new tracks at SportUNE for Mountain Bike Australia’s National Cross Country Series.
More than 200 competitors pedalled through the trails over Saturday and Sunday, with some not even managing to finish it.
Olympian Rebecca Henderson was the best of the elite women, winning round three and round four, the latter in a sprint finish with Eliza Kwan, while Armidale’s Holly Harris finished third in both races.
Henderson rated the course as technical and believed her skill around the tricky obstacles gave her the advantage.
"The technical was really good for me today, the pedalling not so much, I think both days I wasn't the strongest rider it was just that I was able to get through the technical sections a little bit better and a little bit more efficiently,” she said.
"I got a nice little lead in the beginning but mentally it was too hard to stay out the front on your own trying to maintain a gap so I just let up a little bit so the girls could catch me.
"Eliza caught us with two laps to go and I thought Anna [Beck] was going to attack so I just used that rock garden to my advantage to get a little gap and got away again and then Eliza caught me.
"I just had to keep my pace under control and hope for a sprint finish because that was my only chance of having a chance.
"This course is quite different, they don't quite have the hillside some of the other venues have but the technical features are quite impressive and some of the best we have in the country so it is really great for the development around here.”
Cameron Ivory won the men’s elite on Saturday.
In the under 17 women’s division, locals Isabella Hosking and Emily Wooster placed third and fourth respectively.
After she finished the first two rounds in Orange in the top spot for the under 19 women, Katherine Hosking faced a tougher task of coming up against New Zealand’s best racers.
She held her own and finished second in both rounds.
"There is not so much competition in the junior girls’ race so it is absolutely awesome to have some more girls to ride with,” she said.
"Riding with them definitely brings out the stuff you need to work on and it gives you a bit of an indication to where you are sitting with the riders as well.
"Riding by yourself, you start dozing off but when you always have someone to chase you are up there the whole time always pushing so it is really great to have some more girls to ride with.”