ab-jf-300-Mountain bike champions Andy Blair and Jenny Fay follow wedding with the Snowies Mountain Bike Festival at Lake Crackenback…

SNOWY MOUNTAINS, NSW—Less than a week after exchanging their vows in a beautiful Snowy Mountains ceremony surrounded by many of their friends – and rivals – that mountain biking’s new power couple Andy Blair (AUS) and Jenny Fay (IRL) are more than happy to celebrate their honeymoon doing what they do best – race mountain bikes.

The newlyweds and race ambassadors spoke at the event’s media launch on Thursday in front of a crowd that included Monaro Member and Minister for Regional Tourism John Barilaro, Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa general manager Anthony Cleary, as well as ‘The Man from Snowy River,’ Nev, and his trusty steed, Boss.

The reigning Australian national champion is fresh off an AMB 100 victory two weeks ago, where Swell Specialized teammate and fellow Canberra resident Shaun Lewis (AUS) finished a close second. Both me will line up on Saturday for the separate stages before the two-day, four-stage race concludes on Sunday with a 75-kilometre cross-country marathon (XCM) – a discipline both men excel.

“I feel good at the moment,” said Blair, who along with Lewis, has sights set on South Africa’s Cape Epic in March. “It’s been a crazy week with the wedding and everything, but this race is being held in one of our favourite spots in the world and is fielding an impressive elite field.”

With a rich $10,000 prize purse up for grabs, many of the world’s best have descended on the picturesque resort community of Lake Crackenback, including 20 elite riders, as well as 150 age-group participants. Stage one consists of a 5.5km time trial on Saturday morning, followed by a 21.1km climbing stage at noon and concluding with 24km descent on stage three in the afternoon.

“This race is fabulous actually,” said Lewis, former Real Insurance XCM Series Champion (2012). “Each stage is a bit different, so the time trial is going to be small time gaps on a really fast course. I think the real decisive stages will be the uphill climb where we may see some time gaps and the endurance stage on Sunday with maybe some gaps opening up on the fourth or fifth lap.”

“Racing three stages in one day can be gruelling,” added Blair, who represented Australia in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. “So, recovery between the stages will be critical.

“The trails here are not too technical which means the marathon on Sunday may not be as big a factor as you might think.
While the 34-year-old concedes that both he and Lewis will be amongst the pre-race favourites going in event, “The stages will be fast and overall this race can be anyone’s to win and that’s what makes it so exciting.”

“Lookout for Mark Tupalski and Dylan Cooper are both very strong. Anytime those two are racing nothing is a given.”
For the 37-year-old Fay, she is quick to point out Jodie Willett and Renata Bucher as her biggest threats on the day.
“On the downhill I think Jodie Willett is really strong and quite fit, as well as reigning Swiss Cross Triathlon Champion Renata Bucher and she can be good over the whole weekend.

“I’ll have to keep looking ahead and over my shoulder.”

Even with last weekend’s festivities, Fay feels good about her chances. “The longer stages plays better to my strengths as I have a lot more endurance, but then again I am a good climber as well. It just depends on who turns up on the day with the form and conditioning.

“The wedding has been quite a long buildup the last few months and the last few weeks have been particularly crazy,” said Fay, who is also a full-time architect in Canberra.

“I do remember leaving work at 7.30 the day before the national ride in Stromlo and I surprised myself and I did better than I had ever done on that course and then I won the AMB 66 on Sunday, so I think it’s case where you just control what you can and just put the focus on race day.

Next weekend (28 Feb – 1 March) Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa hosts the Oceania Cross Triathlon Championships, and features a $40,000 prize purse for the winners of the 1500m swim, 30km cross-country mountain bike and 10km trail run.

The Oceania Cross Triathlon Championships is a Continental Championships awarded by the Oceania Triathlon Union (OTU), and is one of three events in Australia that are qualifying rounds for the World Cross Triathlon Championships in 2015 to be held in Sardinia, Italy on 26th September, 2015

For more information visit the Snowies MTB Festival HERE

About The Snowies MTB Stage Race:

The Snowies Mountain Bike Festival brings you some of the very best riding found anywhere in Australia. Based in the heart of Australia’s iconic Snowy Mountains, riders wil be challenged with 4 diverse stages that will test speed, endurance, stamina and technical skills. Tackle all 4 stages as a solo or as a team of 2 or 3, OR choose to do the 75k marathon or 30k XC only in this ‘not to be missed’ Mountain Bike Experience. For more information visit the Snowies MTB Festival HERE

About In2Adventure:

In2Adventure are Asia-Pacific’s premier adventure event specialists. With a full calendar of national events scheduled throughout Australia, including adventure races, cross triathlon, XC Mountain Bike, trail runs and corporate events, In2Adventure fully embraces all things ‘off road’ and ‘off the beaten track’ and offers a unique, individual experience for all ages and skill levels. For more information visit In2Adventure HERE

Upcoming Events (2014/15):

  • TreX Cross Triathlon Back 2 Back – Sunshine Coast, 17/18 Jan 2015
  • Snowies MTB Stage Race – Snowy Mountains, NSW, 21/22 February 2015
  • Oceania Cross Triathlon Championships – Snowy Mountains, NSW, 28 Feb-1 March 2015
  • TreX Cross Triathlon Championships – Sunshine Coast, QLD, 2/3 May 2015

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Photo Credit: Courtesy In2Adventure

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Aaron S. Lee
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February 21st, 2015 / Media Release