Slee's riding high
VERSATILITY is something Suffolk Park cyclist Matt Slee knows all about.
The 18-year-old is predominately a road racer, but that didn't stop him from taking out the Emu Creek Lunatic Fringe enduro race last Saturday.
Slee finished the event in 3 hours and 13minutes, two minutes clear of the next closest competitor.
"It's one I wanted to do and it's good to do a mountain bike event every now and again," Slee said.
"People were shocked and I don't think anyone expected me to win it.
"It was a bit daunting hitting creek beds at full speed."
The torturous event covers 9km of steep climbs and descents, forest, mud water and rock tracks.
Slee was happy to get out of his comfort zone and test himself in a different environment.
"It's mentally tougher because you're constantly focussing on what's around you," he said.
"I sat back for the first couple of laps and watched what some of the experienced riders were doing.
"I made a run for it after that and really enjoyed myself."
Whether he is at work or university, Slee always finds himself on a bike.
He works at Sunrise Cycles in Ballina and trains between his Sport and Exercise Science classes in Lismore.
"It's full on but I like having the routine," Slee said.
"I train as much as I can in the mornings and afternoons and whatever I can fit around that.
"I work at the shop with my coach and they have been really good to me."
Slee hasn't ruled out the possibility of going professional with study opportunities in Europe an option.
"The ultimate goal is to go pro," he said. "I want to start small and achieve smaller goals first.
"I can defer and go overseas or maybe even study somewhere like Spain."
Coach Shane Russell is confident Slee has a big future in the sport.
"I think he can go as far as he wants and it looks like he'll go a long way," Russell said.
"He's only been riding for two years and he keeps to himself but he is very driven and motivated.
"Matt has set some goals and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go pro in the next couple of years."