When a marathon feels like a sprint

1 June 2023

Trekky tests legs at the Australian XCM Nationals before heading back stateside

With substantial coverage not possible for this year’s MTB National Championships we asked Brendan ‘Trekky’ Johnston to give us some insight into how this tight race unfolded.

Unusually the 108km event finished Paris-Roubaix style with a (reverse) lap of a velodrome. Brendan ‘Trekky’ Johnston came into the event as the five time and defending national champion. With a green and gold jersey again on the line he was understandably the pre-race favourite.

Photo credit: Pedal and Pic Photography

After nearly four and a half hours of racing, three riders came into the finish together. The short video showed Brent Rees taking the inside line to surge forward and take the win, narrowly ahead of Tasman Nankervis with Trekky half a bike back in third.

Trekky explained the Wagga course with multiple laps was hard enough to reduce the field but didn’t present any chances of a solo winner.

“The course there offers minimal opportunities to make a difference, but that definitely keeps the racing close,” Trekky said. 

“There’s a steep climb at the start of the lap, but it’s followed by like 3km of flat fire road. Tas (Nankervis) attacked there and we lost them. Tas pushed on. I was feeling really good.”

The screenshot below shows splits taken from the main climb each lap.

Trekky gave some more insight into the finale which saw him first launch at 600m to go, trying to get the jump on the others into the velodrome. The sprint ended up being 602 watts for 49 seconds.

“I led it out”, he said “There’s a sharp turn into the velodrome and I wanted to run on the blue painted line and thought they wouldn’t be able to come around, they could.”

“I felt great all day and just lacked some speed in the sprint.”

Photo credit: AusCycling

With all his focus and recent training specific to Unbound, a 9 hour plus event, the ‘marathon’ distance was a little short. Impressively his Today’s Plan gives a glimpse into just how many hours Trekky has put into this build. After some down time to recover from a back injury his CTL dropped down to 119 before putting in three massive weeks leading into XCM Nationals.

Photo credit: AusCycling

Over the three weeks he did 83h:51m of training, 2474 km (on MTB, gravel and road bikes) and 3927 TScore. This is equivalent to the numbers you see from a Grand Tour. For reference, Jonas Vingegaard won the 2022 Tour de France across three weeks in 79h:33m:20s. Although this put him under heavy fatigue (-85 TSB) it boosted his CTL up to 153 and gave him enough time to freshen up leading into the race.