Brendan Johnston defends lead at Mitas Terra in the Berra despite grueling hill climb challenge

Video: Faber Film

Day two of the Mitas Terra in the Berra was a treat for local and visiting event participants from all over NSW and VIC alike: in a first for an organised cycling event, a 40km loop from Stromlo took its riders to the iconic Kambah Pools along the Murrumbidgee River to Pine Island, which featured a 13km timed fast and flowy race stage. To return the racers followed the popular Centenary Trail and completed a short 1km hill climb up the infamous Coleman Ridge, which had many a riders legs burning by the time they hit the top to enjoy a glorious view of the Capital in the distance.

It had been a social and pleasurable riding and racing so far said race leader and Australian National Marathon Champion, Brendan Johnston from Canberra at Stromlo Forest Park today. He had enjoyed the neutral rides alongside his mates and fellow elites.

Brendan Johnston defends the lead. Photo:

After yesterdays win in the short course race at Majura Pines, he completed the first race stage today in 27:56.5 ahead of Paul Van Der Ploeg from Victoria (28:35.5), whose brother Neil claimed third in 28:43.4. The professional road cyclist Neil Van Der Ploeg said his big goal of the day had been the hill climb and he claimed the fastest time of the steep ascent in 4:25.5 for the King of the Mountain title – taking six seconds off Brendan Johnston’s time (4:31.8). In third on the gruelling climb stage was Tristan Ward in 4:35.2.

King of the Mountain: Neil Van Der Ploeg. Photo:

Overall, Johnston defends his lead overall and in the Elite classification with a total race time of 2h00:52.8 ahead of tomorrow final day and two laps of the monster circuit of the AMB 100 Marathon at Stromlo Forest Park. The over 25km circuit will have to be completed twice as part of the Terra in the Berra event and offers a classic marathon distance with a triple loop. Six very keen Rocky Trail racers will complete five laps in the infamous “100-Miler” category with its race start at 5am.

Paul Van der Ploeg remains in overall second (+1:11.2) ahead of Master racer Andy Blair (+4:24.8). Tristand Ward third in Elite ahead of Owen Gordon and Ross Goggin.

In the Women’s, Elite racer Karen Hill from Melbourne leads the overall classification in 2h24:02.9 and took the Queen of the Mountain title today. Sitting in 21st overall, the nutritionist said that she loved the variety in the event,

“It was tough today after yesterday’s fast race, but it was kind of nice to break up the two timed stages today. There were really fun trails today, it was fun to ride some different areas. It’s a good variety over the three days.”

On the gas: Karen Hill. Photo:

About tomorrow’s track she said that she expected it to be very hard, but that she enjoyed the fact that the three days offered such a diversity in trails and very different types of racing.

Fun riding and racing for all ages

The Mitas Terra in the Berra offers an “Experience” option, which includes one loop in the AMB 100 event on the Sunday. Young CORC racer Jesse Dunlop leads this classification overall in a total race time of 1h13:54.8. In close second is fellow Canberran junior racer Josh Kluth (+1:23.1). In third is Jetblack Racing Team Manager Michael Brown from Sydney (+5:04.8). Four e-Bike riders are racing in a separate classification too.

Today also featured the Rocky Trail Kids MTB Fair – more than 70 kids from as young as two years old had registered for the fun activities on the skills playground at Stromlo Forest Park with coaches from Dynamic Motivation.

Sunday’s racing will start at 8am at Stromlo Forest Park and the Elite will race for a prize pool of entries to supporting stage races – the Crocodile Trophy and the Outback Easter in the Alice – as well as MITAS tyres and Rocky Trail prizes.



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