By Brian Ashby

There are two things you can be sure of on the Five Passes. The first is a bit of rain at some point over the four days. The second thing you can be sure of is a plethora of really ordinary Dad Jokes!

Marlborough Boys College student Finn McKenzie was a late “Ronnie Ring-in” in the 2022 tour, replacing former Olympic road cyclist Robin Reid. No pressure!

Finn spent four days hearing the same Dad Joke over and over: “Pick on someone your own age!” He rode brilliantly to take the A Grade Yellow jersey and also win the respect of his older peers.

The flying teen has turned to picking on people his own age, this time on the mountain bike. Mckenzie is not long home from Rounds One and Two of the UCI Mountainbike Junior World Series at Stromlo Park in Canberra.

For someone who is very much a rookie on the dirt tracks at that level, finishing ninth and tenth in the two rounds is a very good starting point for the year ahead. Finn admits it was a bit of an eye opener. “The course was brutal featuring lots of rock gardens, drops and jumps, this mixed with 30 degree days- it was a test of both physical and mental strength”.

The weekend provided Finn with a good gauge of where he is at as he prepares to head off to race in Europe from mid March.

The Marlborough flier has built a remarkable sporting CV already, that also includes some impressive performances in the Boy’s College first fifteen- about as far removed from smashing it out on road bikes in the Southern Alps as you can get! So while he was preparing to race in the ACT, he was also preparing for the Coast to Coast this coming weekend! Finn is lining up in the two day school male 15-18 category. “I’m pretty new to paddling having only started at the end of last year, so that’s been a big focus for me”. While a win in the schoolboy category is a distinct possibility, don’t be surprised if cages are rattled in the overall standings of the two day race!

Finn’s rounded longer term outlook shows maturity that’ll guide him well in the years ahead. “The training side for Coast has been good for me and it still keeps the mountain bike fun and vice versa. I’m a believer in the theory that while teenagers are young, it’s important to keep your options open and not just focus on one thing.”

Turns out Finn has had a beaut training partner for Coast to Coast. Dad Jeremy is lining up in the Longest Day! So, good luck to both F-Mac and J-Mac! Your Five Passes fan base will be cheering you on!

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