Fork in the road lies ahead for cyclist

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Promising...James Corry has been starring in both mountainbiking and road cycling. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

Up-and-coming young cyclist James Corry (16) will have to make a decision one day.

Will it be mountain biking, or will it be road cycling?

The Mountainview High School pupil has achieved success in both cycling disciplines and could excel in either of them once he reaches senior level.

For the present, he has been logging up a list of notable achievements over country and on the road.

Recently he finished an impressive second in the South Island under-19 mountain bike championships in Timaru’s Centennial Park.

Last year he won the South Island under-17 secondary schools road championships and Aoraki schools road championships. In mountain biking, he won the Bridge to Bridge open event in North Canterbury.

He has found he can mix the two.

“There are a lot of similarities over both but if I’ve got a mountain bike ride, then I have to work on the technical skills. I do a lot of base training on the road bike.”

At this stage he enjoyed mountain biking perhaps more than the road, “because you really have to think”.

He rides for Cycling South Canterbury and the South Canterbury Mountain Bike Club as well as a development team, the NZ Cycling Prospect Team.

“We go to road cycling series and race as a team in the South Island. There’s a chance I might be able to go to China in the next couple of years.”

His coach, James Williamson, of Alexandra, was a part of the team and had been a role model for him, as had a former pupil at his school, Shane Archbold, a Commonwealth Games champion and Tour de France rider.

But of the two, Williamson had been a particular inspiration.

“I’ve always looked to James as being one of the best all-rounders. He has been New Zealand champion on the road and is a champion mountain biker.”

Juggling schoolwork with cycling could be a challenge, he said, especially when he had a big block of racing over six to eight weeks, but he realised he would have to work hard for future success.

“I’m not going to get too many results going into the older age groups, so I will work more for my teammates.”

His next big aim was to win selection for the world under-19 road championships.

And he did not intend to limit himself to this in his long-term aspirations.

“I’ll try and develop as a rider. My goal from two years ago is to make it to professional level.”