MOUNTAIN bike endurance rider Peta Mullens has edged out hometown hero Jessica Douglas to win Forrest’s Kona Odyssey for the second consecutive year.
But unlike last year, Mullens was the first to cross the finish line after a technicality earned her the title 12 months earlier.
A mid-race drink cost Canberra’s Gracie Elvin victory in 2011 – an act she was unaware was against the rules – and handed second-placed Mullens first place.
But there was no disputing 23-year-old Mullens’ victory in the 2012 100-kilometre ride, finishing in 5:50:42 – one minute and 16 seconds ahead of Douglas, who slipped into second place after the 87km split.
“I wanted to come here this year and prove I was good enough to win on my own merits,” Mullens said post-race.
“It was still tough out there – my glutes were cramping so much in the last five kilometres that I couldn’t sit in the saddle,” she said.
Mullins and Douglas worked together for the first half of the race to get over the range before she said “the gloves came off”.
“I was with Jess for the first 50 ks – she was pretty much babysitting me because I had not done an endurance ride for a little while so I was a bit nervous. Then I saw an opportunity at the fifty, but afterwards I was worried that I’d gone too early. So I’m stoked with my win.”
In the men’s 100-kilometre ride, Lachlan Norris defied pundits’ predictions to win the Kona Odyssey ahead of Chris Jongewaard.
Norris, a rider who tackles both mountain and road disciplines at the elite level, took advantage of Jongewaard suffering a flat tyre early, flashing past as last year’s champion remounted to engage the chase.
“The last few years I’ve had a real crack here and come very close, so this is just awesome to win this year and put everyone away,” Norris said.
Meanwhile, Jack Haig claimed the men’s 50-kilometre title in 2:16:16, while Terri Rhodes became the women’s 50-kilometre champion finishing in 2:41:53.