Canberra’s Mark Tupalski and Jenny Fay hold a slight lead heading into the second of four stages at the two-day event in the Snowy Mountains after winning stage one…

SNOWY MOUNTAINS, NSW—With more than 200 participants signed on, including 20 elite riders from around the world, the inaugural Snowy Mountain Bike Festival kicked off with a bang Saturday morning with the first of three stages set for the day before a fourth and final stage on Sunday.

Fellow Canberrans Mark Tupalski (Torq Australia) and 2013 Irish national champion Jenny Fay (Swell Specialized) each recorded the fastest times in their respective elite fields over the 5.5km time trial on stage 1.

Tupalski finished in 10:13.54 over a twisting, undulating course that had been rain-soaked the night before.
“There were a few mud patches that made it a bit interesting,” said the 24-year-old Tupalski after the race. “But overall the trails here are wicked and really flow.”

When asked what he needs to do to hold his lead heading into the 21.1km uphill stage from Lake Crackenback to Thredbo, Tupalski said timing would play a key factor.

“Not knowing the course doesn’t help but I do like climbing so I’ll see how I go,” said the 2014 Cape to Cape champion, who had never ridden any of the course prior. “It’s just a matter of picking when I think I can go for it and trying to get a bit more time.

“We all knew it would be a bit tight in terms of time because of the short stages, but stage 2 gives us the first chance to take a big chunk so I’m gonna have a crack.”

Shaun Lewis (Swell Specialized), who said before the race that the winning time would come just over 10 minutes, was just two seconds behind Tupalski (10:15.94), while Anthony Shippard was third (10.17.72). In total, just 19 seconds separate the top nine elite riders.

“There is not enough of a time gap to be comfortable with anyone,” he said. “Guys like Andy Blair and Shaun Lewis are getting ready for Cape Epic and will have a solid base and be incredibly strong. Plus, Bradley Morton and Lewis Cressy are in form, I could literally go down the list.”

While Fay slipped out of her pedals coming out of the gate, the 2013 Irish national champion finished with the best time (11:27.42), nearly 24 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Jodie Willett (TRC). Switzerland’s Renata Bucher rounded out the podium in third (12:07.83)

Willett understands she will have to dig deep on stage 2 to claw time back from the 37-year-old veteran who excels uphill.
“I just have to ride faster than her,” said Willett of Fay. “The first stage was good but had a bit of traffic. I’m hoping stage 2 will be a clearer run but it’s a long line.”

Fay, who is celebrating her honeymoon after her wedding to Blair last Sunday, knows a 24-second lead won’t be enough to take it easy.

“I’ve now got a target on my back so I just have to keep focused and have to think about that time gap and keeping that in check,” she said. “Stage 2 should suit me as it’s undulating and I’ve done this route a few times.
“I just have to see how I pull up after this morning.”

The third stage is a 24km descent from Thredbo back to Lake Crackenback on Saturday afternoon, with the final 75km cross-country marathon (XCM) set for Sunday.

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