George Rookes rides towards cycling elite

02 Mar 2022

College cycling standout George Rookes has stepped up a gear, finishing an impressive 7th in his first season at the U19 level at the National Mountain Bike Championships.

George believes that having a new training plan each month that focuses on targeted fitness – to be prepared for every part of each race – has paid off.

“This result was big for me,” the Year 12 student says. “It showed that if I put in the training and effort, my results would show for that. Having all of the racers in the country fighting for a place on a podium meant the pace was intense and the race was action-packed.”

The U19 competitors raced alongside the Elite men and U23 men, so there were about 40 riders on the track in Christchurch at the end of February.

While training over the past year has not been too difficult, there have been challenges.

“The seasons play a big part in the sport, so when it comes to winter I was spending a lot more time on the road and road bike than on the trails with my mountain bike,” he says.

However, the biggest recent disappointment for the Julius House student has been the cancellation of all secondary schools racing for the season.

Following his recent performance, George plans to see “how far I can push myself in the sport”.

“As I finish off this season and head into next year, I want to see where the sport can lead me and what other opportunities it has to offer, possibly overseas.”