MITCH CODNER THE INTERVIEW

Railing corners

Name, Age, Hometown?
Mitch Codner, 19 years old, Helensburgh NSW

How long have you been riding?
I have been riding mountain bikes or any kind of bike for that matter for as long as I can remember but I only really started getting competitive when I was about 14, so 5 years now.

How did you get into Mountain Biking? what got it all started?
I’m completely surround by bush where I live and both my father and brother were keen mountain bike riders. So with the constant exposure I was getting from them and being the competitive person I am it was just a natural progression. Plus, I always wanted to be as good as, if not better than my older brother. I think it all started when I used the National Interschool Championship as an excuse to start training so I could chase down my older brother.

What was your first bike?
My first bike umm, not 100% sure but im pretty sure it was one of my brothers old BMX bikes that was handed down to me, I believe it was a Redline Frame with matching red 5 spoke TUFF 1 piece Plastic Wheels haha, classic

Family Guy or The Simpsons?
Simpsons is too old school these days, so its Family guy for me for sure.

Mitch Codner

What do you like most about riding mountain bikes?
My favourtie thing about moutain biking is that its not necessarily the physically strongest guy who wins, there is a definite element of skill and techinique involved.  I’ve seen many A grade roadies that have had their asses handed to them on a platter by C grades Mountain Bikers. Lastly I’d be the obvious, that is shreading dirt is ridiculously fun and addictive.

What’s the worst thing about riding mountain bikes?
Mechanicals. Especially caused by random sniper rocks and precarious sticks.

Who are some of the riders you look to for inspiration? Why?
Trent Lowe, I look at what he did in such a short period of time as a mountain biker and how quickly he progressed through the ranks. I just want to be as good as he is, then theres Matt Flemming and Perren Delacour, ever since I was little these guys have been looking out for me, showing me what to do and what not to when traveling and racing.
Pezza (Delacour) just has this vast knowledge of how racing, training and traveling works and its always a breeze traveling with him. Then of course theres Flemo, the hardest dude I know ( the guys basically made of concrete ) such a great training partner. Whatever the conditions if he’s out there training then I know I should be too.

You were first selected for a World Championship team in 08 which was the Canberra Worlds and have since moved on to include a few World Cups. Could you tell us about these experiences?
In 2009 I was selected as part of a group of 6 to travel to Euorope as a first yr U19 to race in 2 world cups, a Swiss National round and a local French marathon race, as a 16 yr old I was the  youngest in the team, traveling with 5 other guys and a coach we all learnt how to cook, clean and manage mechanical for oursleves pretty quick. I started my trip strong with good results in the French 45km Mud Festival Marathon and the Swiss National round. Unfortunately the pressure of the World Cup circuit on a 16yr old with asthma was to much and I suffered heavily from Asthma during both World Cups. None the less the National Coach at the time Neil Ross knew I had potential and gave me a shot at World’s, which was amazing as it was a home race. This was a choice he wouldn’t regret as I went on to have a clean and more importantly strong race in front of an amazing home crowd to come home sevententh as a first year Under 19’s racer.

Early morning shadows in amongst the pine

You made last years team for World Champs in Mont St Anne, Canada. Do you feel you were better prepared this time with these experiences behind you?
In 2010 I was much better prepared having already spent a period of time in Europe racing and knew the level of racing I was up against. It certainly kept me motivated while training during winter and I knew that coming into the 2010 World Championship’s I had never felt more prepared. Sadly my race ended with a mechanical, not the sort of thing you really want to happen at a World Champs but thats racing. No matter I had a great year of racing in 2010.

Just recently you took a trip to  the USA and Canada to race in the Mont St Anne and Windham World Cups respectively. Can you tell us a little about it?
The North America and Canadian World Cup rounds have always been a pleasure for me, the tracks are either steep and technical or just flat out hard and technical, either setup suits me well. Plus the winter in 2011 was being particularly cruel and I mentally needed a break from the three hour training rides in the rain. It was a great experience overall and I got some great racing in. I especially enjoyed the time I spent there, relaxing after practice and races with fellow Aussies, Sid Taberlay, Josh Carlson and Female National XC Champion Katherine O’Shea. I learnt so much off them all.

You must be stoked with your recent sponsorship with Stevens bikes Australia how did that come about?
I am incredibly happy with my new sponsorship with Stevens Bikes. So far in the month I have been with them I have had more support than I ever had before. The bikes are light, stiff and well spec’ed out with my cross country bike being just 8.4kgs out of the box. The Stevens Australia Team Manager is a local for me and has always been on the lookout for upcoming riders and not long a ago I started looking for a team. So consider it an aligning of stars but when Stevens Bikes put an offer on the table I just couldn’t refuse and I look forward to being a part of the growth in the future of Stevens Bikes.

Mitch rails a berm at the local short course

What is your favourite track to ride in Australia?
My favourtie race track would have to be either Mt Buller (VIC) or Mt Stromlo (ACT), because of there long steep climbs and the long rocky descents. I love a track I feel like I can get into a rhythm on the climb, pin the downhill and then do it all over again.

Surely you train hard what does a weeks training regimen consist of for you? Run us through a general plan of a weeks training?
My coach Ken McMillan never takes it easy on me with no less then nine rides a week. Earlier in the week its nothing ridiculously long but very intense. Then I’ll tend to be working on endurance later in the week, my programme varies from week to week. Both the aforementioned training rides effort will be specified depending on what I’m training for eg Marathon racing or Cross Country racing.

Shaving is for : a) Aerodynamics or b) It just feels so good between the sheets?
The aerodynamics of shaven legs don’t really make a difference on a mountain bike and because of that fact , I’m not really all that consistent with it so I will  go with B haha it looks and feels better then hairy legs haha.

Early morning rock garden sessions in the Royal National Park

Even hardcore cross country riders have to break the rules sometimes. What’s better Maccas, Dirty Bird, Subway or Hungry Jacks.
Subway for sure, but thats not exactly that bad but I definitely have a weak spot for the savoury biscuits and good old Hot Chips mmmmm.

As there is always a sausage sizzle somewhere at a race. Bacon with BBQ sauce or Bacon and Egg Sandwich?
Post race, Bacon Egg roll, with BBQ sauce

With the next major event being the nationals series do you feel prepared? Is there any track you look forward to in particular?
If the National Series was to start this weekend defenetly not, still in Marathon mode but Nationals are still a fair way away. I feel really good at the track after a rather disappointing start to 2011, due to illness and injury.  I’m keen to get some more cross country racing under my belt and really looking forward to the Mt Buller and Mt Stromlo National Rounds.

What do you think of the National’s being renamed the All Mountain Cup? Will you be entering any of the new events on offer? ( the cross country eliminator , the Super D or Short Course XC)
I think its kinda cool now we have an All Mountain Cup, its more of an American Style format of racing and I will be racing all the new forms of the series to get the most out of the weekend. It also gives riders a second shot at the podium eg in case of mechaincal.

Thats all the time we have. Anyone you would like to thank?
I’d like to thank first and formost my parents, Mum and Dad who have supported me through all my years of racing and given me the best chance possible at achieving my dreams and goals. Just as important I thank Stevens Bikes for their current and future support with all my bikes. Ken Mc Millian my coach, I wouldn’t be here without him and finally GU energy gel for keeping me fueled for all my races.

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