UON Central Coast PhD student Andrew Novak is doing just that with his research within the Exercise and Sport Science department at the University’s Ourimbah campus.

“I’m looking at the physiology and skill components of Olympic distance and cross country mountain biking and how this differs from traditional road and track cycling.”

Originally from Narrabri, Andrew’s family moved to the coast when Andrew’s brother became a student at the University of Newcastle.

Andrew himself was keenly involved in downhill mountain bike racing as a younger student but is now more active in cross country.

“I’m looking at how the training of athletes may need to differ to get them into the condition required to compete at the top level.”

One of these areas involves looking at how an athlete’s upper-body physiology may contribute.

“They’re constantly riding over bumps and jumps, riding over obstacles, and it requires a very different upper-body contribution to the more traditional cycling sports.”

Andrew’s research at UON Central Coast is conducted both in the field and also monitored within the laboratory environment.

“We send cross country riders into the field to do a cross country circuit. We closely monitor their performance and then we bring them back into the lab to get them to do it again and compare the results against what we’ve seen in the field.”