By VeloNews Interactive
In his first race back from the offseason, Kashi Leuchs scored a win in the Karapoti Classic near Wellington, New Zealand. The 17-year-old event took place on a single 50km loop through the New Zealand countryside. This year’s field included nearly 1000 riders.
“I had no idea about how my body would be feeling, as this was my first mountain-bike race in over four months,” Leuchs said. “I went into it cautiously.”
At the first steep climb Leuchs broke free from the lead group and set off in pursuit of the course record, which he set back in 1998. However, his asthma, which had troubled him in the lead up to the event started to make its presence felt, and he began to have trouble breathing.
“Maybe this was a good thing, as it forced me to ride a good even tempo,” he explained. “I was having heaps of fun and by the time I got to ‘Dopers’, the final climb, I was actually feeling quite good again, and my asthma had disappeared.”
After the final climb Leuchs had a three-minute lead, but though conditions were ideal for breaking the record, he had to settle for a win and let the record stand for yet another year.