Josie Wilcox won the Whaka100 with a time of 5h 53m 32s. She smashed the course record she set last year by almost 20 minutes. We caught up with Josie to find out more about her second win.
Talk us through the race on Sunday. How did you feel?
The race played out exactly as I'd hoped it would, I went out with a group of guys who didn't go off too fast but at a decent pace I thought I could hold. I was the first female into the single track in around 14th and then worked my way through the field as the race went on. I worked hard on the hills and then just enjoyed the downhills. Sometimes riding grade 4 trails when you're tired is risky so I didn't want to make mistakes. I felt pretty good but the last climb was hard! It was fun riding with some of the boys and 6 hours passed pretty quickly!
How do you mentally prepare for the Whaka100?
I guess knowing you have done the training always gives you a good feeling going into a race. Also, just riding your own race and making sure you ride within yourself. The Whaka100 is a long race if you go into the 'red' too soon. Winning the TT the day before also gave me a bit of a confidence booster before the 100.
How did it feel to win for the second time?
I think it felt better the 2nd time! It was a harder race this time mostly because of the heat! Maybe it got up to 23C? so it was important to be on top of your nutrition. I'm not sure I've ever been so excited to reach Rosebank (the last trail) as I was on Sunday! It was a great feeling to break the record again and go sub 6hours, especially in a quality field of women mountain bikers.
Did you train differently this year?
Yeah I was able to fit in longer rides this year and long back to back days. It's important to push your limits in training and practising riding on tired legs was valuable as that's how you feel the last 2 hours of Whaka. I did quite a few rides of 4-5hrs with at least 2500m of climbing. Last year I didn't have a lot of time for this kind of riding, but fortunately, this year I managed to get more of these key sessions done. My skills have also improved hugely compared with a year ago, the dropper seat post on my bike may be partly to do with that though!
Tell us abut your training.
Fitting training around placement at the hospital is always challenging but anyone working a high paced, full time job has to juggle that. I'm fortunate to be back at university at the moment (radiography school) so have a little more time in the day to get out to ride. I'm super lucky that my boyfriend is really supportive of my training and lets me get training done in the evenings while he makes dinner.
I'm usually starting my longer rides after the 2nd race of the Nduro Winter Series- so maybe early August-ish? I'm racing the Pioneer shortly so it was important not to ramp up training too quickly as I have to maintain this fitness for another 5weeks before my break.
What would you say to those thinking of entering next year?
I would let them know that the Whaka100 is a massive opportunity to challenge yourself and prove that you can achieve things you never thought possible! It's such a great event for anyone of all abilities. The advice I would give is to train on hilly terrain, practise your nutrition prior to the race, pace yourself on race day and just have a lot of fun! I would recommend a full sus XC bike to really enjoy the downhill single track!
Do you plan on returning to the Whaka100 next year?
Yes for sure!! It's my favourite event of the entire year so I couldn't miss it! Tim Farmer is onto something with the Whaka 100! The entire weekend from the TT on the Saturday to the main event on Sunday is really well run. There are events for everyone and riders of all abilities. The spectators, volunteers and marshals on course are awesome and the trails at Rotorua are world class! Any mountain biker needs to have a crack at the Whaka 100, they won't be disappointed!