Eddie Adams had singular focus when he competed in the Super D as the Crankworx Summer Series descended on Central Otago at the weekend.
“To keep in one piece and keep the bike in one piece.”
It was a simple philosophy that paid huge dividends for the Dunstan High School pupil as he competed in the CWNEXT 15-16 – male category on the newly minted Matangi Station MTB course on Sunday.
And staying on a bike is only part of the challenge of the Super D – a blend of cross country and downhill – where most of the race is downhill on trails similar to the downhill segment of a cross-country race.
Representing his home town as part of the Matangi Station Mob team, not only did Eddie win his event, if he had been competing with the professionals he would have placed sixth.
As well as New Zealand riders the Pro-Male category fielded riders from Australia, Canada, the US, Great Britain and Chile.
Twenty-nine seconds separated first-placed Bradley Harris on 11min, 4sec and fifth-placed Joseph Nation on 11min, 33sec.
Eddie’s overall time of 11min and 38sec would have pipped sixth-placed pro rider Brady Stone by a second.
Footing it with the “big boys” was something that took him by surprise, Eddie said.
“They posted some pretty impressive times.
“It was a real pleasure to bring them to my home tracks and show them a couple of wee sneaky lines. It was awesome to be able to ride with people that are the best in the world at this riding, so it’s pretty cool.”
It also had instilled a sense of confidence about his future in the sport.
“I definitely think I can keep carrying on with this.”
Eddie is no slouch in the world of mountain of his time “every day after school” to the sport, working voluntarily at Alexandra business Willbike Cycling Central.
Eddie’s father, Todd Adams, said Willbike’s owner, James Williamson, and former owner-turned-Prospector MTB Stage Race organiser Phil Oliver had both mentored his son in his progression through the sport. His son’s performance on Sunday left him “really blown away”.
Eddie was “kicking himself” he had not entered other events in the series as it progressed into Queenstown and Wanaka, Mr Adams said.
Mr Oliver praised Eddie’s mountain biking prowess and said Eddie was following in the footsteps of other top-level riders from Alexandra, such as Bradley Harris.
“He’s just a smashing-level rider.”
Crankworx Rotorua event director Ariki Tibble said when mapped against the pros, Eddie’s performance “screams of what a bright future a young rider like that has”.
“One of the most amazing things of a summer series like this is we bring these international pros who are used to competing on the world stage and they come to your own backyard.
“What that gives, is the opportunity for some emerging talent to test their mettle against the world’s best.”
That did come with a little “insider knowledge” of the local trails by the local riders.
Mr Tibble also praised Central Otago and Alexandra’s trails, describing them as “phenomenal” and said following a wet Saturday for training runs, the Sunday had turned on good weather for some “amazing racing”.
“Coming from Rotorua, we’re not really used to rocks as such – we’re more used to roots.”
The community vibe of Central Otago was what made an event like Crankworx work and he vowed the event would return next year, Covid-19 ramifications notwithstanding.
“I think you’ve got a bit of a secret sauce, for sure.”