2022 was a breakthrough season for KingsWay School in the Auckland Mountain Biking Series.
KingsWay hasn’t been represented at the Nationals before, but this year David Howie packed his bags and his bike and headed south as an unheralded and unseeded rider, proudly flying the KWS flag. Lots to learn, the weirdness and tiredness of competing out of a suitcase and far from home and comfort zone. But that’s the arena.
David carried himself with focus, determination, and sportsmanship. Bunched in the pack behind the nationally seeded racers David fought his way up the Under-17 field of about 40 riders to finish an admirable 6th in a very gritty effort. And he brought back a whole bunch of lessons from this southern adventure.
But 2022’s adventures weren’t yet over – the last stop of the season was the Whaka 100 in Rotorua, a high-profile national all-age competition. David competed in the Eliminator event run in downtown Rotorua – crowds, live-streaming, and a host of internationally (UCI) ranked competitors. Even Anton Cooper was there, New Zealand’s highest-ranked international XC racer, a national hero in mountain biking. All competitors had to do an individual time-trial lap and only the top 32 got to progress to the small group racing stages. To his surprise and delight David qualified. And spotting Anton Cooper he took his chance to meet him, a real highlight. That would have been enough, but as the names for the next round of racing went up, to his utter astonishment he saw that he was racing Anton himself – unbelievable! To line up at the start with this titan, to race him shoulder to shoulder, was beyond anything he’d imagined.