Mackay Cycling Club members Tom Hall and Harry Ney will compete at the Queensland Junior Road State Championships on the Gold Coast this weekend.
Mackay Cycling Club members Tom Hall and Harry Ney will compete at the Queensland Junior Road State Championships on the Gold Coast this weekend.

The 14 year old from Moranbah who rides 170km for fun

TO MOST people, just the idea of covering 40km is enough to tire them out.

But to Harry Ney it’s just like riding a bike.

The Moranbah State High School student is on the Gold Coast this weekend, ready to contest his first Queensland Junior Road State Championships.

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Harry is a relative newcomer to the sport of cycling. Dad Geoff has clocked thousands of kilometres in his cycling lifetime – most recently for long-distance charity rides.

“I thought it looked a bit of all right, so I gave it a go,” Harry said.

Now Geoff admits, proudly, that his son already has him beat.

Although this weekend marks Harry’s maiden foray into the state cycling set-up, he is no stranger to covering long distances.

Moranbah locals would have likely seen the 14 year old on the side of the road at some point over the past few months, as he completed one of his many three-hour training rides.

Harry rides six days a week, often covering upwards of 50km in a single session.

“I like to listen to music when I’m riding because it keeps me focused. It’s a good time for me to think about anything other than school really,” he said.

Harry and Mackay Cycling Club teammate Tom Hall will compete in three gruelling endurance events over two days, up against the best young cyclists in Queensland.

Today, the two boys will contest the 11.7km Individual Time Trial and Criterium in their respective age groups, before backing up tomorrow for the 38km Road Race.

All up, Harry and Tom will cover about 60km worth of high intensity, competitive racing over two days.

It’s a far cry from the eight-day marathon Harry and Geoff endured at the Tour Down Under in January.

“I think the longest ride that he did was 170km,” Geoff said.

“So he shouldn’t have any problem backing up (for the road race on Sunday).

“When he does normal club races, he’ll often do a three-hour ride on the Saturday just to get the legs ready for the race on Sunday.”

But Harry’s greatest test will come this weekend, when he rides alongside the best Queensland has to offer.

“It’s hard because we don’t know any of the other riders in his age group,” Geoff said.

“This will be more of a ‘see how he goes’ (championships). It will be a good learning curve.”

Despite his competitive inexperience, Harry still rates himself every chance of a strong showing – particularly in his favoured discipline, the road race.

“I ride a lot of long distances, so I’m used to the sub-40km rides,” he said of the 38km event.

“But I think I’ll also go well in the ITT. Since it’s just 11kms, it’s pretty much just go hard the whole time, because it’s not that long.”

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While Harry and Tom race their hearts out on the Gold Coast this weekend, many of their fellow Mackay Cycling Club members will be gearing up for the Rodgers Memorial Shield.

The annual 44km handicap event begins at 7.45am on Sunday, starting at McColl Street in Walkerston.