Here, We Love Cycling speaks to Shannon McCurley, who is tackling her first Titan Desert Race. The Irish/Australian star, who is currently living in Melbourne is swapping the wooden boards of the track for a mountain bike to take on the dunes of Morocco, something that is leaving her tempering her own expectation despite her international recognition.
She starts: “I’m a track and road cyclist so this is a complete 180° turn from what I normally do, so, fingers crossed that I survive! I guess I’m out here living still and looking forward to the challenges the ŠKODA Titan Desert race presents me with.”
Shannon is no stranger to a big stage, having taken part in two Olympics. The 29-year-old is a sprinter on the boards, winning a silver medal at the 2019 European Championships in Apeldoorn. But this challenge, as she explained, is something totally different for her.
Asked why she is taking on the ŠKODA Titan Desert Race, she explained: “My motivation to take part in the event was to be pushed out of my comfort zone. When the opportunity presented itself, I was like sure, let’s do this. Now I’m like wow this is going to hurt a lot.
“It’s completely out of my comfort zone being a track and road cyclist. So mainly I’m looking forward to challenging myself and just diving into the unknown. I always love a challenge. I’ll definitely complain but I’ll get it done!
Residing in the state of Victoria on Australia’s east coast, Shannon is hoping the transition will not be too taxing as she makes the long journey to North Africa.
“I’m currently racing on road here in Australia so haven’t had much time to get on the mountain bike ahead of the event so hopefully the transition is smooth enough for me.”
The double Olympian certainly has the spirit to take on the race along with raw power. And, couple this with a season on the road in Australia, the endurance should see her race well in Morocco. However, technically – given the self-confessed lack of training on the mountain bike, Shannon could see herself slip through the pack on trickier sections.
But, for Shannon, the goal is simply to complete her first Titan Desert Race – something she is already thinking through attitude-wise.
“I feel like I’ll have a lot of challenges, so I won’t list them all. Both mental and physical but I’ll do with it a smile as long as possible.”