Nicoll third in Canadian enduro
Even with the Mountain of Hell title tucked away, Nelson's Top Gun mountainbike rider Jamie Nicoll rates his third at the Enduro World Series race as his best result of the season.
Nicoll finished third overall in the Canadian Open Enduro in Whistler.
The event was the fifth round of the Enduro World Series, and the 35-year-old rated it highly.
"This was possibly enduro racing at its best," said Nicoll.
"Whistler put on a great event and the five chosen race stages were about spot-on with good, technical descending and small, punchy climbs."
The rider, who was crowned Top Gun at Nelson Mountain Bike Club's multidiscipline event in January, went on to win the recent 25km Mountain of Hell race, a 2500m descent off the glacier of Les Deux Alpes in France.
In a successful season, the former New Zealand mountainbike representative said the result had come as a bit of a surprise.
"Coming over the finish line to a big crowd and being in that hot seat, I was thinking that I was looking at the last stage result and not an overall, so I was like, ‘Oh, a third is a great stage result' and I would have been well stoked with that.
"[An overall] third-place podium was a great surprise and I am really stoked. For me, it's my best result this season, even compared to winning the Mountain of Hell."
The Whistler event also held some demons, with the solid day ending with a final stage lasting more than 20 minutes, testing the athletes' endurance through "sustained gnarly sections".
"I just kept feeding power to the bike whenever I could. [I was] trying to stay smooth and clean while consciously trying to relax my arms and hands to get any recovery the trail may offer between some of the most continuous, roughest terrain this season's racing has offered," Nicoll said.
"I saw guys hammering cranks back on with rocks, broken cables and frames that had cracked through. Your tyre choice had to last and be one set for all."
Nicoll had not been looking at the race run results all day, except after stage three, when he had placed 22nd. Feeling "a bit disappointed" with that result, he just kept racing, not thinking about how he was doing.
But that was Nicoll's worst run. He had placed consistently in the five-stage event, recording a ninth with a crash, a sixth, the 22nd, 13th and sixth again. The accumulated time from all stages was just under 50 minutes, making it "a solid day out".
- © Fairfax NZ News