Imagine the physical and mental challenges in riding a mountain bike for 24 hours with only a few breaks.

It is hard to contemplate for most of us but for Tauranga Boys' College student Tristan Haycock it was no problem at all when he won the WEMBO 24 Hour Solo World Mountain Bike Championships Under-23 title in Rotorua in February against much older athletes.

As he was under 18, Haycock was granted special dispensation to compete after he won the national under-23, 24-hour title the year before.

"In total I rode 364 kilometres in 24 hours and climbed 8400 metres," Haycock, now 18, said.

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"That is the equivalent of riding to Taupo and back through to Matamata and put Mt Everest in the middle instead of the Kaimais.

"Doing anything for 24 hours is going to be difficult whether it is sitting on the couch or lying in bed. It is hard mentally. Riding your bike for 24 hours is as much physical as it is mental.

"My longest break was just eight minutes and that was at 11 o'clock at night. You get into a zone I suppose. You are there to do a job and get it done. Once you get into the zone you are on autopilot and your legs are spinning.

"You don't sleep but your mind switches off and you can regain your mental strength while still physically moving."

Haycock then took on the shorter sprints of the North Island Secondary Schools Championships and the Oceania Championships within a month but that took a major toll on him.

"I really should have been resting and not touched my bike for a month, so after that I had this massive trough right through until July.

"I have learned from it but would I do it again? Probably, because it is my
last year in the age group before you get in to the elites so I wanted to make the most of it."

Haycock loved the challenge of the longer, more arduous form of mountain biking.

"I enjoy the determination needed and pushing myself to the limits. I like digging deep. Normal races are an hour and a half, this is 24 hours so is a different ball game with different muscles used, different nutrition and all sorts of different physiology involved.

"It brings out a different bunch of athletes as well."

Haycock, who alternated between 300km and 500km a week in training, was building towards defending his title at the world mountain bike championships in Italy next June.

He was well and truly up for the physical challenges of achieving that but his dreams could be scuppered if he does not get financial support from the Bay of Plenty community.

"The reality is I don't get any support from any big organisations and I am taking my coach and my mechanic with me so it is expensive.

"So far Contact Mechanical Services are my main sponsor and Cycle Obsession at the Mount really look after me, plus smaller sponsors I am grateful for."

Haycock finished 5th overall out of 205 riders in the Whaka 100 held during Labour weekend in Rotorua in a time of 6:00:53 and easily won his age group.

Information: tristanhaycock.co.nz