With just six months to go until the fourteenth edition of Emerson’s Whaka100, we caught up with four time champion Carl Jones to get some tips on training for one of the toughest single day MTB Marathons in the Southern Hemisphere.
Jones won the Whaka100 in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 making him the only champion to take four consecutive wins. Will he be back for a fifth title?
Q. What do you think sets the Whaka100 apart from other events?
A. Being 100km of mainly single track in the iconic Whakarewarewa Forest is a massive part of the point of difference. Everyone loves the place and everyone loves racing there. The race is also quite a challenge for most people both physically and mentally.
Q. Tell us what it was like to win the Whaka100 events?
A. Each win was quite different, some were hard and some were easy. As it was always one of the first races of our national season and one of the harder races, it showed how hard I had worked in the off season and put me in a good head space for the season ahead, so it was always a huge target of mine.
Q. What are some tips you can pass on for training?
A. Long rides and good structure to training. If you don’t have a good training structure there is no point doing the long rides however.
Q. What are some tips for anyone taking on the Whaka100?
A. Probably get a coach, it’s a long way to coach yourself. Eat and drink every 20 minutes, starting on the start line!
Q. Which win was the best one you have had?
A. 2013, Sam Gaze was National Champion and we were together the whole race, absolutely smashing each other with non stop attacks. With 4km to go I managed to ride away from him to take the win! My least favourite win was 2014, the year he ripped me to pieces but got lost in the last few km for me to win my 4th title.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?
A. I will be back for a 5th title.