All downhill for Anslow as he learns the ways of mountain bike racing

Josh Anslow sits inside the top 15 riders in the country for his age group after quickly taking to downhill mountain cycling. Photo: Supplied

Josh Anslow sits inside the top 15 riders in the country for his age group after quickly taking to downhill mountain cycling. Photo: Supplied

The Giant Boulder is a rite-of-passage for many kids: An entry level mountain bike that teenagers can fling around parks, tracks and paths with abandon.

It was the same for Josh Anslow and his 2000's era-edition of the bike, when he went along to some off-road tracks with a friend who had just received a new bike.

"I crashed three times, but I had heaps of fun," Anslow said.

"Eventually, between [me and] my mate, it began to get really competitive, and I began to improve really quick... So I was like, 'Maybe I could have a shot against other people and see how I go.'"

"So I started saving up for a bike, got a bike, and started racing."

The move to downhill mountain biking has paid off, with Anslow currently ranking in the top 15 riders nationally for his age group - under 15s - after only a small amount of racing.

Other unexpected opportunities have also quickly come up, with Anslow currently undertaking a training programme with the Newcastle-based high performance centre To the Edge.

While the centre has a focus on action sports, Anslow, in contrast to the current seriousness of his pursuit, is upfront about why he chose downhill racing as opposed to other mountain biking disciplines.

Anslow (pictured above) hopes he can make his way into the top five riders in the country for his age group. Photo: Supplied

Anslow (pictured above) hopes he can make his way into the top five riders in the country for his age group. Photo: Supplied

"[It's] mainly because I hate going uphill and I'm good at riding downhill," Anslow said.

"I hate pedalling, it's why you pump."

However, with downhill bikes among the most expensive and difficult to handle items on the cycling market, Anslow admits it can be confronting for people unfamiliar descending at speeds of around 60 kilometres per hour.

"Your [handle] bars] stop at a certain point, because there's double forks and it's just way longer," he said.

"It's heavier too. It just has a different feel to it but you get used to it... It'll be more stable going faster and not as twitchy."

While Anslow has an aim of cracking the top five in the country, he also has specific aims for the forthcoming Thredbo Cannonball series, held in December.

"I want to be getting top 10s to top fives for Thredbo in the downhill, but it's pretty tough because there would be around 80 to 100 competitors in it."

Nevertheless, the sport is and will be one which requires significant ongoing commitment, yet Anslow seems unafraid, keenly recalling moments where he's pushed through injuries or ridden without crucial equipment like a derailleur or chain.

One such incident occurred during the national championships in Victoria.

"I had a huge crash on this eight metre step-down... It was two days before the race and my ankle just puffed up like a balloon," he said.

"I was whingeing and I was like 'Dad, I don't want to get it checked out because then the doctor will say I can't race.'

"I still raced on it and came 14th. That was pretty painful."

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