Rocky Trail Entertainment MTB Cruise – Mt Stromlo

On Saturday March 5th, four ladies from the NSW Chix team braved a frosty Canberra morning to take on the RTE MTB Cruise at Mt. Stromlo. Adele, Lucie H and Camilla took on the 30km track, while Lucy G decided to go for the 50km option.

Here is Lucie H’s take on the 30 km race:

This was my first ever race, which obviously adds quite a bit of excitement for me. I had an absolutely great time, loved the track (which was nice and cruisy, not having any major climbs or extremely technical bits). I have still managed to stack it twice, but the adrenaline got me up in no time. The people on the track were friendly and professional on relation to sharing the track – which was not as much the case on the section shared with the 50km and 100km rider who were a lot more aggressive.

Very happy and pumped to have made it under 3 hours (02:56) and to have been placed 6th, just after Camilla.

I guess my most important experience was the that after the race I realized that my heart rate has been for 2hours and 53min in the range of 170-189, which means that I was either in a constant adrenaline rush or I am simply very unfit. It was a valuable lesson, to pace myself better in future, if I want to survive a longer race, such as the 4 hour series coming up.

And Camilla on the 30km race:

This was my first time riding at Stromlo and I really loved it. The single track that we used for the 30km race was surrounded by low lying vegetation, so it felt really open – which I enjoyed. I was happy with how my body felt during the race – for the most part I didn’t feel too tired and I felt pretty relaxed. It was great sharing the track with beginner riders (more so than me!) – it was so heartening to see people just giving things a go! When I was riding my last lap, I could hardly believe it – the race seemed to be over really quickly. I will definitely be wanting to ride at Stromlo again.

Adele managed to score second place in the 30km race, with Lucie and Camilla not far behind.

And Lucy G on the 50 km track:

The 50km ride was 3 laps of the main Mt Stromlo trail. The first part was a long switchback-filled uphill slog, which took the riders to the top of the hill. Then the fun really began – a series of sweet descents, including the Skyline and part of the Luge. These are two of my favourite tracks in Australia. This was followed by a seemingly never ending pedally section which returned us to the race village for another lap. The track was in great condition (bar a few scary ruts), and I was very impressed with how polite and good humoured all the riders were, whether passing or being passed. Thanks especially to the guys and girl who were riding the 100 mile category, many of whom seemed to be on single speeds.

I achieved my goal of not changing down to the granny gear once, and managed to come third. I was super happy with my prize – a six-pack of beer.

Thanks to Rocky Trail Entertainment for sponsoring our entry in this race – you will be seeing more of the NSW Chix in action at RTE events in 2011.

Cam on the finish line, looking fresh enough for another 30km!

Adele on the podium looking very pro (thanks to Rocky Trail Entertainment for the photo)

Lucy G looking WAY too happy with her beer prize.


Posted in General by Lucy. 1 Comment

Jeep 24 hour race report (better late than never!)

Recently, the crew at  “MTB Xtreme Magazine” caught up with 4 of our girls who took on the Jeep 24 in extreme conditions, and survived!

MTB Xtreme Magazine: Hi girls from the AMBC Chix Development Team, I’ve heard you’ve recently given the 24 hour race format a red-hot go at the Jeep 24 in Forrest, Victoria?
Kate Stoeckel: That’s right, on November 27-28 we rode in what’s billed as “the ultimate test of mountain biking endurance”.  We entered a team of Foursomes Females – Nadine, Jodie, Meagan and I.  

Nadine Le Mescam: Yes, we gave it a go despite the weather forecast…. Which turned out to be accurate.  Rain, rain and more rain.

Jodie Palmer: We had a couple of others pull out from our larger team due to illness and work commitments, but the four of us were happy to have given it a go.

Meagan Hollole: What Kate said 😛

MXM: What were the conditions like out on the course – I heard that it was particularly tough this year?
NLM: Slippery and slimy!  I went out on the first lap, the first big climb was unridable, needless to say the changed the course straight away to avoid this part.  The fire trails on the nightlaps were like a slip and slide, braking was non-existent so you just had so hang on and hope for the best!

JP: I’m guessing that what we experienced was like riding in snow- without snow tires….rain, mud, wind, but some very funny up close mud encounters….

MH: Wet, slippery, slimy but fun! It was a a whole new world for me – rain/mud = no riding, generally!

KS:  It was pretty darn muddy. I was lucky enough to ride the first set of 3 night laps though just after the course had switched over and the new night track was still in relatively good condition. The first two laps were okay, but by the third it was turning into a bog pit. And yet I still convinced Nadine to go out for a hot lap!

MXM: What was your race plan, and how did you go?
NLM:   The race plan was to do my first night laps in a race, which I did.  As a team we just were keen to have a go and try to do as much as we could.

JP: we started off thinking we could get in 6 laps each, alas only 3 resulted, we stopped while we were still having fun, that was the ultimate goal.

MH: My race plan was to have fun! We had some really good advice/feedback throughout the day from ‘the boys’ which was great.

KS:  The race plan, as always, was to drop the hammer!  We came a respectable 5th (er hem) in our category.  

MXM: Any big crashes out on course?
KS:  I did do a superb slip-up sliding down a treacherously muddy piece of fire trail and landing squarely on my butt.  No injury other than wounding my pride as it happened right in front of my boyfriend who had just caught up on one of his laps! I was mortified.

NLM: I had 2.  Slipped on a log which wasn’t too bad.  Another one I had no idea how it happened, one minute I was up, next minute my back tyre disappeared halfway into the mud and I was down!

JP: I had a great slow mo crash in the SAME spot, mud is apparently consistent…

MH: Nothing, so apparently this means I was not going quickly enough! Had a few interesting sideways moments, ‘scando’ on the bike!

MXM: Have you raced the 24 hour format before, and did you enjoy it?
NLM: It was my first.  I did enjoy it, it was a great atmosphere.

JP: I do like it especially given that in a team of women at our level it is about completing the course with a smile, I think it would be crazy solo but I think we will all give it a crack at some time, being the oldest I guess I should do it soon.

MH: Never, but I had a blast and can’t wait to do another one; it’s a shame that Vic only has one 24hr. Hoping madly that we have a Mont entry…

KS: This was my second  24 hour event. They’re heaps of fun and I love the camaraderie between all the teams, especially throughout the night laps. Big thanks to the solo guy who lent (?!) me some chamois cream at 11pm! 

MXM: What’s the next goal?
NLM: The Otway Odyssey 100km. I’ve heard it is super tough, but am going to give it a go!  I’ve done a few 50km now so time to up the ante.

JP: I’m starting the commute to work on the bike to get some quality kms in the legs, my lack of bike fitness because of our lack of luck with weather has meant I am slow, I want to be really fit by end of Q1 next year so we can come top three (I know it’s a dream but wouldn’t it be great)

MH: Ride more. Work on my fitness and spend more time on the bike so the skills/confidence increase.

KS: Getting mentally and physically prepared to tackle my first 100k’er in February, the legendary Otway Odyssey, which is reputedly so tough it makes grown men cry. Time to do battle with some demons!

Posted in General by Kate. Comments Off on Jeep 24 hour race report (better late than never!)

Training with Biking the BNT

A good friend of mine (Shannon, whom some of you have met) is planning a seriously epic trip later this year on the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT). The BNT is a 5, 330 km trail from North Queensland to Healesville in Victoria. Shannon is planning to ride the BNT over a four month period to raise awareness for depression. Check out his website and give him some support  http://www.bikingthebnt.com/

Shannon & Bob getting to know each other.

Woooo! Killingworth creek crossing

Shannon on creek crossing

The creek crossing was more fun for Shannon & Bob

On Saturday, I tagged along with Shannon as he took Bob (Back of Bike?) for it’s inaugural test ride in Killingworth.  I must admit riding behind Shannon & Bob for most of the ride (if only to avoid goannas and red belly black snakes) I was impressed with how well Bob cornered on the single track, although I did notice at times Bob was getting some serious air whilst Shannon wasn’t! 🙂

Shannon only had a about 10kg in Bob, but I am so glad it was him and not me pulling that thing up some of the hills eeep!

Killingworth is the old Hunter Mountain Bike Association race ground, it was superseded by Awaba, but some great tracks still exist that Shannon, Bob & I will be exploring over the coming months.

Posted in Training Rides by jodyb. Comments Off on Training with Biking the BNT

Dropping the Hammer in Hanmer

In the last installment of my “great NZ rides”, I spent three days in the South Island mountain town of Hanmer Springs. The Hanmer Springs Mountain Bike Club http://www.mountainbikehanmer.co.nz/ have built a great network of trails through the forest surrounding the town. There is something here for all level of riders, from a easy cruise along smooth forest single track, to brake burning, bermed, loose and rocky descents. I also took on a loop around Mt Isobel, which included ascending the Jacks and Jollies Passes.  After a hard day’s riding, you can soak in the Hanmer Thermal Pools…bliss.

Fast downhill tracks, and amazing mountain views.

View after descending the Jacks Pass to the Clarence Valley.

Posted in Training Rides by Lucy. Comments Off on Dropping the Hammer in Hanmer

4th Annual Spring Fat Tyre Festival at Awaba Mountain Bike Park

Sunday November 26th saw the NSW AMBC Chix Development squad tackle the 4th Annual Spring Fat Tyre Festival at Awaba Mountain Bike Park.

This is how the teams lined up:

  • AMBC Chix Development Race Team #1 (female pairs) – Kim Stokeld & Rachel Blakeman
  • AMBC Chix Development Race Team #2 (female pairs) – Adele Hanzlicek & Julie Green
  • AMBC Chix Development Race Team #3 (female team of four) – Shelley Valentine, Siobhan Blackett, Jody Blake & Camilla Gunn

NSW AMBC Chix

This was the first official race of the NSW team and can I just say what an awesome team we have.

Cam, Julie and Shelley managed to get to the event early and nab us a great camp site, just big enough to fit Kim’s gargantuan marquee into. We all rushed around madly for about 30 mins unpacking cars, setting up camp, registering and getting changed into our new, very pink race kit.

The predicted weather of afternoon showers didn’t eventuate leaving us with an overcast, humid day. The track was in fair shape and despite a few puddles; it was a really pleasant ride. We all quickly realised it was faster to go straight up Camelback Climb rather than the ‘fun way’. Most of us came unstuck going up the Murderhorn and some of us missed the fun of riding down the Chute (cinderblock twisties). All at the next training day WILL tackle this, as it is one of the most fun sections.

The Bick Chick stylin The Chute

Murderhorn

Now to the racing, before we knew it, Kim, Julie and I we were heading towards the start line, back past the car park along 500m of fire trail. With a less than enthusiastic starter; 3, 2, 1, BANG we were off at snail pace. The fire trail was suffering from some serious road blockage which didn’t bode well for the almost 100% single track fun ahead.

Julie and I said bye to Kim as she sprinted off ahead, no doubt chasing someone’s tyre. I decided to ride behind Julie and be her tom-tom navigator (small log drop, then sharp right pinch coming up etc) since she had never ridden Awaba before and it is my home track, and let’s face it I am pretty chatty on course. Julie and I got caught up in lots of traffic on the first lap; I dropped my chain about 5km in and bid adieu to Julie, who said the same to the skin on her knees somewhere on the track ahead. After a casual first lap, we all tagged out and let Rachel, Adele and Cam have a turn of the super flowing Awaba single track.

The Chute-woooooooo

Shelley & I headed bush to snap some action pics and enjoyed watching some seriously fast riders; we watched Rachel cruise past and started to worry about Cam and Cupcakes (Adele). Still no sign of Cam and Cupcakes, turned out they were having a bad day. The single track fun took Cam by surprise and Cupcakes wasn’t feeling the best (not enough cupcakes??).

So, with a quick team change, Cupcakes out and a new team of three formed (Kim, Julie & Rachel) the race continued with Cupcakes cheering from the sideline. The race continued at a good pace, everyone was happy, grinding the climbs, enjoying the sweet flowing corners with some nice downhill sections. Julie lost some more skin, Shelley was helped by a mechanical fairy, Siobhan cracked the 60 min lap goal, Cam nailed her second lap, Rachel scored a heap of free stuff (where was I when this happened?), Kim kept on chasing tyres and I was happy to plod along and soak up the atmosphere.

A team decision was made with about an hour to go; everyone had had enough as it was starting to not be so much fun anymore. Everyone seemed to have a great day! Our first race together was fantastic; it was awesome getting to know everyone and to just soak up the atmosphere with some like-minded chix. Big thanks to Kim for re-arranging our race schedule. Thanks to Shannon for the race pics, Rob and Charl for being the token male riders crashing our camp and to Cupcake and her parents for keeping the cheers going. To the AMBC NSW Chix; thanks for an awesome day, can’t wait for more!

Posted in General by jodyb. Comments Off on 4th Annual Spring Fat Tyre Festival at Awaba Mountain Bike Park

Ketam mtb park – not all hard work overseas!

Thought it was about my turn to jump in and share a riding story. I have just returned from a work trip to Singapore, yet, thankfully before I left I was surfing the net and came across the Ketam mountain bike park on Pulau Ubin, a small island in between Singapore and Malaysia.

Well, this set off a series of motions that had me packing my bike gear (sans bike as I read they had some pretty good hire bikes). All that was left, was for me to master enough time off work to get there. I had confidence I could make it happen…

Well, I made it happen. I have attached some pictures of my adventure and a link to my Garmin cycle GPS map to show you where Pulau Ubin is located  (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/57259315)

Pulau Ubin was relatively easy to get to from the Changi jetty, it is a 20 minute ‘bumboat’ ride costing SG$2.50, the catch is that you have to wait for the boat to fill up with 12 paying passengers (or a smaller group that will chip in more).

I didn’t have to wait too long for the boat to fill up, so I was on Ubin by 10.00am. I picked up a fairly decent Gary Fisher 26″ hardtail bike for the day at SG$25. I gave it a good once over and then set off!

My strategy was to head straight to the mtb track, as the heat and humidity was already intense. I didn’t really study the map, but I knew that I was heading in the general direction of the mtb park. It was an interesting 20 minute cruise, but found riding uphill in humidity was stifling. I started to think I was kidding myself about a day of riding around the skills park and the island.

I rested at the top of the hill, overlooking the quarry in a hut with some other riders. I then found some fast, flowing downhill sections, so that helped cool me down a bit and bring the smile back!

The dirt skills park was great, nice and quick, fast grassy berms, with a few tough tech bits in there as well. It certainly had me “whooping” and going around for second and third runs…

The regular afternoon thunderstorm hit hard, so I pulled off at a roadside coconut vendor and stood under his awning. I was invited into his house (using the universal language of speaking with hand signals) and given a bowl of rice and local smoked fish for lunch, it was so welcoming and generous.

I waited 20 mins for the heavy rain to pass and then was back on my way around the island. I cycled through the mangroves, rubber plantation and came across an amazing Thai temple.

Well, after several hours on and off the saddle, taking in some amazing sights, stopping to help other riders find their way, I had am amazing day, an experience I will remember fondly for years to come. I am now planning my work trips to the Philippines and China in early 2011, so open for any riding recommendations. I will always make sure my travel bag has room for my bike gear from now on.

Posted in General Social Rides Training Rides VIC by Meaghan Cohen. 1 Comment

2010 Highland Fling and How I got flung….or how to get post race hospital food?!

Today is Thursday and I am still recovering, so please excuse any spelling errors as my brain is still far too messed up to be worrying about those types of things. My account of things gets a little shady at the end and I am sure things will be cleared up by people who were actually there…eventually.

What follows is the sadly true account of my 1st attempt of the Full Fling and how I ended up in Bowral Hospital (don’t worry, I still have all my limbs!).

Got to Bundanoon Saturday arvo, weather was a little patchy but pretty good. We (two of my dearest male riding mates) set up camp between landmines in the Pony Club and proceeded with our pre-race carb loading….none other than the local soccer club’s pasta setup. After 2 plates of pasta and 2 beers I was well and truly stuffed and headed back to the tent for an early night. It rained some of the night but this sent the night owls to bed early (YAY!).

Got up at 6am, fluffed around with the bike, admired my new Racing Ron front, ate and drank lots of water. Starting to worry if this Full Fling was going to be a very big mistake!? Perhaps I should become a clairvoyant?

The ‘team’ plan was to ride together, so after finally making it onto the road I look around to discover I am on my own, hmmm so much for that damn team plan! I decided to be Miss Plod, no need to be the hammer just yet. I must say I was in very relaxed uber cruise control on Stage 1. Saw the Elites zoom past, awesome sight indeed. Had a grumble carrying the bike through the 2 free bike washes 🙁 but dried out pretty quickly and continued onto end Stage 1 Transition..yay! 🙂

I flopped about for maybe 10mins in Transition, ate, drank (what I thought was a good amount, this will come back to HURT me). Considered pulling the pin and heading straight to Stage 3 making it a Half Fling but STUPIDLY talked myself into giving the Full Fling a shot…eeeeep.

Possibly 5kms into Wingello I realise my camelback is suspiciously lite, did I refill in Transition? Surely yes. hmmmm, rode some great singletrack solo (no one else in sight), which all needed bedding in, big thanks to the organisers for letting me help with this! 10kms in, I am wondering how far the next water stop will be, yes I am getting worried and starting to feel quite nauseous. Finally catch up to some guys who are struggling technically, (I am struggling physically) who tell me the water stop is still another 10-15kms away, my heart sinks and I know I am in serious trouble right now. I was dry of all fluids and knew I couldn’t have any gels, not without water. I continue riding, however my legs feel like they have never ridden before and the next I don’t know how long til the water station took forever….seems obvious how my day is going to end up.

RELIEF! Water station in the middle of Wingello. It has taken hours and hours to get here but I just drink like a damn camel. Refill my bottle and camelback, have a break and head back into it. I thought I would good to go, but 5km down the track I realise I am nauseous again, have a cracking headache and am feeling rather shite. The hours and hours it took me to get back to Wingello Transition were really painful, I walked most inclines as I didn’t have the energy to ride.

Clearly I still had a few brain cells functioning when I struggled into Transition, I ditched my transponder and headed for the bus back to Bundanoon. This is where things get a little hazy and perhaps my imagination starts playing tricks with me.

I get my bike off the bus trailer and ride to the tent, fall from my bike, can’t stand up, realise I can’t feel my left arm or the left side of my tongue (had I just been jabbed by some lurking mtbing dentist?). I have trouble standing so I stay seated, my friends bring me water which I feel far too sick to even look at, but I drink. About an hour later I realise I am still in pretty bad shape and one of my awesome friends fetches the St Johns Ambos….my blood pressure is 80/?? and an ambulance is called. I remember a fire engine, but maybe that was a dream. I clearly remember a bumpy ride through that damn Pony Club and getting jabbed in the arm by an ambo, great shot mate! Bowral Hospital and now I really need to dispose of my stomach contents, except I can’t talk….ok far too many pictures and I am starting to feel sick again retelling the story.

In case you didn’t guess Bowral Hospital diagnosed me with a bad case of dehydration, so I got a few litres of IV fluids (a drip in each arm at one point, I was very impressed!)slept for 5hours then staggered to the car and got driven back to Newcastle. Since Sunday I have had continuous back and rib pain, have had a few blood tests which now show perhaps I have/had a virus for awhile which contributed to the damn dehydration and is slowing down my recovery. It hurts to even think of my bike right now, sorry team for pulling out of Stromlo this weekend. Hopefully I will be back on the bike next week and aiming for a nice casual Awaba race.

Before I end this epic a big thank you to Adam, Shannon and Andrew for being such great friends when I was in a world of pain…oh yeah and thanks for riding off on me! 😉 Thanks to the St Johns, RFS (if that wasn’t a dream), the Ambos and staff at Bowral Hospital and to the 100 milers who gave encouragement to me as they flew past, thanks!

My ride from the fling

Posted in General by jodyb. 4 Comments

Surfcoast report… (better late than never) by Nadine

Well, it has been some weeks since I rode this event, but due to a hectic life I have left the blog unattended until now. Here ‘tis!

This was my first race so I had very little idea of what to expect, other than I was going to ride my guts out for the 3 hour enduro and hope the terrain wasn’t too technical in the process! The unknown of the terrain is what played on my mind the most, so I spent the week before picking the brains of anyone who had ridden the race or ridden out that way. People gave me advice on nutrition, tyre choice, carb loading, braking, and I had way too much information!

I drove down that morning, and met up with some of the girls at registration and it was so good to see some familiar faces! All prepped up we got the starting line, and we were to be let off in waves of riders. I decided to not go in the first bunch in case I got steamrolled at the first sign of singletrack, but bundled myself in at the rear of the second group to give myself (and my fellow riders) some space!

I decided to take it easy on the first lap just to get to know the terrain. There were some super tough climbs. The biggest one of all I found my first fall, when the person in front decided to get off their bike and walk up it right in front of me. Needless to say I rode straight into them as I was on their tail! Never mind… I knew as the riders ‘stretched out’ and got into their position I would tackle it next time around!

I finished the first lap, and picked up the pace for the second as the riding path was much clearer by now. I managed mentally toughened myself up for that big climb next time around, and was pleased I got all the way up by picking a clear path and keeping my bodyweight forward. DONE! (Heart rate max plus though I must add).

By the second lap I felt pretty good, energy wise and realised if I kept up the pace I could manage to hit 4 laps so made that my new goal. I came in at the end of the third with a good 20 minutes to spare so I scoffed a gel and sucked on the Gatorade before giving it my all for the last lap. About 5 minutes in, I felt a slight twinge in my adductor…. And maybe a quad… and thought… “That’s annoying”. The big hill climb came around again, and right at the top that annoying twinge turned into a massive cramp and it KILLED! Arrrrrggghhhhh! I got to the top, and made the mistake of putting my foot down on the ground… BAD IDEA… made it worse… haha! I stretched it out, jumped on and kept going. Over the second half of the last lap it attacked me several times…. AGONY!

Needless to say I was super pleased I got to the finish line… when I did, I found I had come 5th and I was very surprised.

The great thing about the race is not only the awesome people out on the track who were super friendly no matter what their experience level was, but also it gave me HEAPS to work on for next time. Descents and corners! I must get that finger off the brake, and get my bum off the seat more. All good I say. A great event all up and I will be back again!

Posted in General VIC by Nadine. Comments Off on Surfcoast report… (better late than never) by Nadine

Dirtworks Debrief from Nadine

Dirtworks at Woodend was a new experience in that it wasn’t an enduro event.  I knew once I left the start line there was no coming back for a nice chit chat and snack at transition!  I had entered the 50km and once again was haunted by the ‘possible terrain’ before we started.  I hadn’t crossed paths with any fellow Chix, but knew Kate was out there somewhere!

It felt super cold at the start line, but I knew I would turn into a sweatball soon enough so decided to shiver it out.  I went with the second wave and rode up over the hill tackling the fire road designed to spread everyone out before the singletrack.  Some of the singletrack was tough technically but plenty of awesome flowy sections through the forest.  Firetails were a feature, as were super duper massive deadly puddles!  Most people tried carving new paths by bush bashing, and I made the mistake of trying to ride through one I thought didn’t look too deep after watching someone ahead do it with ease…. EPIC FAIL!  My front tyre hit a pothole under there somewhere and I tumbled to the side bashing my legs on a log as I went.  So I was now muddy and bruised, but lesson learnt… A few major saves in future puddles and mud sloshpits kept me upright for the rest of the race.

Another major feature… CLIMBING.  We went up, and up, and up, and up (you get the picture).  The fire roads curled around and around, and as people started to get off and walk I became more determined to stay on the bike and get to the top which I did.   Eventually we hit the halfway mark where I gladly stopped and scoffed bananas, lollies, and my new secret weapon… COCA-COLA!  That gave me a new burst of energy… much needed.

With my eye on the Garmin we had hit the 40km mark and I knew there wasn’t too long to go.  By this stage racers were getting weary, and I got the old familiar twinge in the adductor again, only on both sides this time!  CRAMPS!  Good news, they only attacked me in the last 30 minutes, and I was able to stretch them out on the bike and keep going.  I didn’t dare stop after my last race experience with them.  As the Garmin hit 48km… I was picking up the pace expecting the finish line.  When we hit 53km I realised the race was longer and I had no idea when I would get home!  HAHA!

Over the rise, I could hear the music, and I gladly booted it down the hill to finish.  After cleaning all the mud off my face, I discovered I had come 5th, and was super pleased I managed to make it through a much tougher course this time around.  Next year…. Maybe the 100km??

Posted in General VIC by Nadine. Comments Off on Dirtworks Debrief from Nadine

The Half Fling – My First Mountain Bike Race

3 days ago, I completed my first mountain bike race and it was such a fantastic experience. My partner entered me into the Half-Fling back in July 2010 and as I had been riding a mountain bike for about a month – I have to be honest, I never actually thought I would do the race! But, as the months rolled by and as I started riding almost every week – I started to realise that this was actually a possibility after all.

So, onto the race……my race strategy was quite simple – not to poop myself out in the first stage (27km) – and then, if I felt I still had some juice in the tank, up my speed in the second stage (32km). I had looked at the course profile and spoken to friends who have done the race – and from that information, I was pretty assured of at least 9km of mostly flat fire trail in the last 15km. Stage 1 went according to plan and I made it to the Transition area in 2 hours – I was feeling well exercised, but fine. I was actually thinking to myself – this is very good – if I can carry on like this, I can get to the finish line in just over 4 hours – yeehar! After a brief pit stop, I pedalled my way out onto Stage 2 – the first 16km was a fair slog – I could feel that my hill climbing was not as good as it was on stage 1, but still, I did very little walking. I looked down at my bike computer and I saw that I had 15km to go – I was now ready to “put foot” and smash those fire-trails! I then saw a sign saying “Roller Coaster”. This turned out to be the most insane bit single track I have ever ridden. And for that matter of fact, the second bit of single track ever I have ever ridden! Prior to this, I once rode the single track at the end of the Oaks – which is mostly straight. The Roller Coaster had rocks, roots, and tight turns and was generally rather scary! I was so incredibly grateful at this point for the skills weekend I had done with AMBC – because I could clearly remember Kim saying (and quite emphatically!) – look where you want to go!! Thanks Kim!

I then started hearing a lot of bike activity from behind me and realised that the Elite Full Fling Males were coming though – not wanting to get rear ended and also not wanting to be forever known in the Mountain Biking community as someone who caused a massive crash, I pushed my bike through most of this section so that I could get out the way quickly. The downside was that my time suffered greatly, the up-side was that I got to see something that very few people get to see in the flesh – Elite riders bombing through bits of track that most riders would do at slow, steady, safe pace!

After this I saw the “10km to go” sign – from here to the end I just focused on keeping the pedals turning. When I saw the “1km to go” sign, I felt pretty emotional. This was a huge effort for me and today when I write this, I am most happy with how I dealt with the Roller Coaster – I was tired, but I still managed to ride over, round and through spaces that I had never thought possible – and even when I was pushing, I still felt happy with how I was doing.

My final time was 4hr54min, which placed me bang in the middle of my category. I know that if I just carry on riding my bike from now until next year, I’ll do a better time – and doing a good time is not to be knocked – but for me, where I am at right now in my mountain biking, just getting out there and riding is the most rewarding experience of all.

Posted in General by Camilla. 6 Comments