The event organisers have known Evan James for a few years now and love how he represents himself.
Not too serious but totally engaged, the supportive coach, muso, mechanic, coach, father, weight lifter in another life as well as downhiller, XCO and more recently sticking the the vibrant Cyclo Cross scene in Adelaide. He does it all and he is coming to Forrest again! We are excited, but also because he knows a few good people that have happily agreed to join him on the annual trip.
Evan, just who have you convinced to come to the Forrest Festival with you?
I'm heading over with Chris Jongewaard and Luke Pankhurst.
Chris won't need much introduction to most people. While he is semi-retired these days as he transitions into a career in coaching, he still managed to dominate this year's CX season winning every single race he entered including the full National Series and Champs.
Luke is an U19 rider from Alice Springs coached by Chris. This year he finished 3rd at the XCO Nationals and went on to represent Australia at the World Champs in the Czech Republic. I'm working on a few others but we will have to see if that comes off.
Whats the plan?
Have fun? Drink Beer? Eat chips? Race? Or all of the above?
Definitely heading over for some fun and a bit of a road trip but a race is a race and everyone will be keen to do their best.
Not sure about beer and chips but Chris and I have a long history of eating competitions at races so no doubt he will challenge me and lose again!
Jblood and Luke- the older wiser but always fast Chris and the young fast up and coming XC speedster Luke will have some excellent competition and the format of FF will really suit them.
How do you envisage the weekend panning out for them?
Chris is no stranger to Forrest having won 3? Otway Odysseys - Bet he cant wait to smash out 5 shorter races & have some chill out time too!
The format will definitely suit these guys and they are formidable competitors. Both are coming off a bit of a break after an intense winter of racing but I would never discount their chances regardless of their preparation. I think they are both looking a few days away and a cool race to kickstart their enthusiasm for the MTB again. Chris will have his work cut out for him racing Kyle, especially in the longer stage 5, but you don't race at an international level for over a decade and not have something up your sleeve. Stage 1 and the Red Carpet descent are made for him and I pity anyone going head to head against him in stage 4. Luke is a really explosive and technically adept rider. He is capable of just about anything so I'm really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.
And on a personal note Evan, you are still racing even though you are flat our coaching and working for MTBA. What goals do you have for the weekend?
My work with MTBA and my commitment to coaching both with MTBA and the handful of athletes I work with in my own coaching business has definitely had a major impact on my own racing. I don't race anywhere as much as I used to but I do still get out on the bike a fair bit. I'm about 10kgs heavier than I was a few years ago so that's my biggest performance limiter especially considering a was never a lightweight at the best of times. I love the FF format though and I'm stoked to be back after a few years break. I don't expect to be a contender in my category but I will be giving it a good crack.
Huge thanks to Jess, Norm and the crew for having us over.