Terry Franklin, Tourism Media’s technical lead, recently embarked on Port to Port MTB – an annual four day MTB stage race which took place this year in May. According to event organisers, the ride is designed to be fun for riders of all levels and participants get to enjoy the local iconic scenery of Port Stephens, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.

Terry rediscovered mountain biking about five years ago and finds the benefits of the sport last far longer than the ride.

“I rode a lot as a kid but lost touch with bikes in my late teens, when driving became an option and going out every weekend seemed like a better idea. That lifestyle didn’t suit me for very long, but I didn’t go back to bikes for some time. Instead I looked to sports like running and going to the gym to stay active. The problem I found with that approach though, is that without a meaningful goal to work towards or benchmark to assess progress, staying motivated can be pretty difficult. So about a year ago, after spending a few years getting reacquainted with riding as an adult, I started to look for more races & events to compete in.

I first heard about Port to Port from a friend, and immediately liked the sound of it. The four stages cover two hundred kilometres in four very different regions – Nelson Bay, the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and the Newcastle coast. Marathon-type events seem to suit me more than shorter races, but I had never done a multi-day race before so I was definitely a bit apprehensive about making the finish line.

Thankfully I was able to get in lots of quality training in the months before (with the support of my wonderful partner Meg, who travelled to the area with me). During the event, I raced to a planned, conservative strategy. The combination worked and I was able to complete all the stages in times that I was happy with and not feel completely destroyed at the end of each day!

I’m always surprised by the way things can change meaning for you at different points in your life. When I was a kid, my bike was a means of breaking the shackles of parental dependence. It gave me freedom and the ability to get out with my friends. I can’t really remember what I thought about when I rode back then, but I’m pretty sure it was probably typical teenage concerns. Now when I ride I try my best not to think about anything and just focus on the trail, which I’ve learned is when I ride my best. Mountain biking to me now is about more than just fitness, it’s a chance to be present and give my full attention and effort to one single activity, which happens to be the perfect counterbalance to the work that I do at Tourism Media.”