Joel Taylor completes World 24 Mountain Biking Challenge

Year 12 student Joel Taylor raced at the 2016 World 24 hour Solo Mountain Bike Championship (WEMBO) in Rotorua on the 20th and 21st of February 2016.  The 24 hour Mountain bike endurance race started at midday on Saturday and continued overnight until midday on Sunday with 140 competitors from around New Zealand and from 17 other countries around the World including USA, England, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Portugal and Ukraine.  Joel crossed the finish line one minute before the 24 hour race cut-off time so had to decide if he wanted to do one final lap or not.  He would not be able to gain any places in his Under 23 class but could possibly gain a place or more in the overall race. He chose to continue knowing that he had to complete the lap within two hours, so off he went again and by doing this he actually gained three places overall.

Joel completed 16 laps of the 17.3km track through Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa forest in a time of 25 hours 7 minutes 4 seconds which gives him a World ranking of 5th in the Under 23 class and 80th overall.  Joel cycled a total of 276.8km, with over 4500m of vertical climbing.

The minimum age to enter WEMBO (World Endurance Mountain Bike Organisation) events is 18 years old, with some host countries allowing riders minimum age of 16 years on application.  Joel turned 16 in November 2015, so was one of the youngest riders to race at the event (possibly ever).  

After training for many months and working full time over the school holidays to earn the money to purchase new and better quality bikes for the event, anyone would expect that Joel would want to take a well-deserved rest. However, he is already preparing for this week’s race at the Hamilton Mountain Bike club’s Summer Series and the North Island Secondary School Mountain bike championship in the first weekend of March and we wish him every success with this.

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