Terrain too slippery or too ‘trashed’ for riders

NO GO: With Pomingalarna closed Alice Debney's bike, gloves and helmet have been collecting dust for three weeks. Picture: Les Smith

NO GO: With Pomingalarna closed Alice Debney's bike, gloves and helmet have been collecting dust for three weeks. Picture: Les Smith

Wagga mountain bike riders and track cyclists are desperate for a period of dry weather, starved for activity after an unseasonably wet five months.

Wagga’s mountain biking trail at Pomingalarna has been closed since the six-hour enduro event three weeks ago.

Fire trails on Willans Hill have been eroded and drenched, with surface-water preventing mountain bike riders from traversing the tracks.

And, for months now, the outdoor velodrome on Kincaid Street has been too slippery to train on regularly.

Wagga Cycle Club coach Cameron Oke has seen a significant decrease in attendance at training, and he blames the weather.

“We haven’t been able to get into a groove,” he said.

“As soon as it gets a little slippery, it’s too dangerous to get on the track. 

“We can’t have kids breaking collarbones, safety’s of utmost importance.

“When we do run training, a substantial amount of kids aren’t showing up, it’s either too wet or too cold.”

Road racing has also fallen by the wayside.

“Our whole road schedule has been wiped out because of the weather,” he said.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating.

“I’m sure sales of indoor trainers have gone through the roof.”

Wagga mountain bike rider, and self-professed adrenaline junkie Alice Debney has been hitting the track at Pomingarlarna twice a week for the past two years.

With the local track closed, Debney has been looking further afield.

However, two Albury races scheduled for last weekend were cancelled, and a race in Dubbo, scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed.

“I’m having withdrawals, for sure,” she said.

She also owns a road bike, and has taken part in social rides with cyclists from Wagga-based clubs.

“Lucky there’s lots of awesome people to ride in bunches with around here,” she said.

But for Debney, nothing beats the thrill and challenge of mountain biking.

“You need good proprioception so you don’t run into things,” she said.

“It’s a lot more interesting to do if you’re doing it by yourself.

“It’s really tough climbing, but you also need good technical skills to get down the hills fast, off the drops, down the corners quickly.”

When the hill finally dries up and volunteers can mend the trails, she will be back there in a heartbeat.

It’s a male-dominated sport, but that hasn’t stopped her, and she hopes to see more women navigating Pomingarlarna this season.

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