FORMER Trinity Catholic College student Darcy Harris is aiming for gold in the Mountain Bike Australia National Championships at Tasmania next month.
Harris,17, grew up at Lismore and now works in the Coast Cyclery bike shop at Tweed Heads.
He has worked and is sponsored by the family-owned Harris Cycles Co which has been operating in Lismore for 103 years.
He is also a member of the Northern Rivers Dirty Wheels Mountain Bike Club.
Harris and clubmate Hayley Oakes have won plenty of titles between them with Darcy a gold medallist in the Olympic mountain biking (XCO) under-17 division at nationals in 2019.
"My short term goal is to become an international-level racer," Harris said.
"My long term goal is to become a professional mountain bike racer and represent Australia at the Olympics."
XCO is a style of race that features technical sections with rocks and roots, steep climbs, jumps, fast descents and on most tracks, at least one extreme feature.
A high level of cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance combined with bike skills is key to the race.
"So far I have won three National Titles in three separate disciplines of mountain biking," Harris said.
"I won several Tier 1 National Cup races and many top three finishes at high level events in the four years since I started racing.
"I am very fortunate to be employed at a bike shop and work in several roles, whether that be as a mechanic or salesperson.
"It has been really good to learn so much about the different aspects of cycling in that time and to work with good people.
"Especially learning the more advanced mechanical jobs on all different styles of bikes not just mountain bikes.
"Learning how to sell a bike and properly help each customer with anything they might need has been a great skill I've been super eager to get better at."
Harris enjoys the creative side of the sport and has aspirations of competing overseas once international travel returns.
"I enjoy photography and film making about riding or any other adventures I'm having," Harris said.
"I've been combining film making and training to make short videos for companies that sponsor my racing.
"This is good for social media as it is often something a bit different than the usual content so it reaches people who might not be involved in the bike racing scene.
"The eventual plan is to head over to Europe and Asia, you can race in a lot of different places.
"Life for me is mostly taken up with training. Depending on the time of year and type of training, I can be riding anywhere from 10 - 25 hours or 100 - 300km a week along with around 3-4 gym sessions.
"I really love training because I get to go out early in the mornings just before sunrise and adventure around the area experiencing things that most people wouldn't get the chance to.
"I also like to take my camera to do some photography and video along the way which adds another creative aspect to the training.
"Training for me varies but I'm am doing a lot of high intensity work on the bike now that I'm leading into a national championship.
"The goal is to do lots of long rides in order to build up endurance, I can go anywhere from an hour and half of fun easy riding to seven hours of endurance work the longest being about 150km in any one ride.
Harris has a GoFundMe to assist with is upcoming costs. You can donate at https://ie.gofundme.com/f/darcy-harris-national-championships-fundraiser.