It’s three weeks ago (busy !), but thought I’d write up a race report from the 2nd round of the Victorian Enduro Series.
I’d competed in round #1 at the You Yangs – only 90mins from home – but this time, I had to travel to Mt.Beauty – only 30km from Falls Creek – 4.5 hours drive !
I loaded up the new car (!) complete with the bike-on-roof-racks, and tent, camp bed, sleeping bag, esky, food and all the bike race bits & pieces, and drive off about 5pm Friday – quick petrol + McDonalds stop in Wangaratta – and then arrived in Mt.Beauty about 10pm.
Was nice to have a GOOD car for a long trip – I’ve recently updated to a 2009 model Ford Focus – it has cruise control !
And, I can now drive at 110km/h on the Hume without rattling the back teeth.
My buddy Kelvin had already arrived earlier (~5pm) and so he helped me set up the tent – by the light of the car headlights – and then it was off to bed – getting COLD !
When I woke up Saturday morning, I excitedly scrambled out of the tent, wondering was views might greet me. I’d seen some silhouettes of mountain ranges by moonlight, as I drove along the Tawonga Rd – and I could hear the river flowing, not far away.
I can see why they call this place Mount “Beauty” ! Amazing scenery.
I had a quick shower to try and warm up – was only 4 degrees – and then a brisk walk to the shop for some milk for breakfast – and then it was time to think/prep for the race – starting at 10am.
Kelvin & I had a bunch of stuff in our cars – so we drove over to the “Big Hill Mountain Bike Park” to setup.
I remember saying OMFG when I saw the mountain looming over the town – I’d heard it was going to be some hills to ride – yerp…!
We setup the marquee & unloaded tables and such – and then left Kelvin’s car there – he & his wife Charlotte jumped into my car – and we went to grab coffee.
We drove back to the caravan park – and was time to get ready – bike clothes & gear, bike checks, and rode back to the race venue. (Fiddly logistics – but it all worked out OK).
I set up my table with food/drinks – and decided to NOT ride with the camelbak as I normally do – and just use drink bottles – felt like something was missing – but great to not have it on my back.
Another change was to wear a sweat headband – and avoid the stinging sweat in the eyes – a very VERY good choice for the day.
The race briefing was MC’ed by Paul Van Der Ploeg – and it turns out that these bike trails are his local club – and where he trains. I think that made me excited AND nervous…!
Then it was nearly time to start – lots of riders keen to get started – expecting some big hills – all assembled about 500m along a forest road for a mass start at 10am.
After he called out “GO !”, there was a slow procession / traffic jam for the first few km’s – everyone spreading out, and working out the trails. I’d attached my GoPro helmet cam for the first lap – and video’ed a few segments.
It was true what they said about the hills/climbing – lots of up, Up, UP – and then some great flowing downhill sections.
Have a look here for the clips on YouTube (EIGHT in total).
This is my fave one – nice flowing downhill trail.
Towards the end of the lap, there was a ‘chute’ down that I had a wild ride ( too fast !), and nearly ended up into a tree ! I remember looking away – don’t look at the tree ! Phew – that woulda ended my day real quick.
I dropped off the GoPro at the end of the first lap – and was berated by another buddy Steve “Why are you stopping !?! C’mon get out there ! Only 40 mins in !” (LOL !)
All in good fun – he’s a serious competitior – and ended up coming 2nd in his event – 3 hr race from 1pm-4pm.
I headed back out for my 2nd lap – grateful for some clearer trails and able to work out the tougher pinchy sections – and a faster flow-down when headed back down the hill. It was an awesome day – cold/crisp had turned into amazing blue skies – I had no trouble keeping warm !
I saw another buddy Anthony, who was down from Albury/Wodonga – as a track official – and pulled over to say hello. And – saw a few ppl from my local Lysterfield club too – Ian, and his son Liam.
End of the 2nd lap – had a quick food grab – and swapped my water bottle – and off again – trying to minimise my pitstop times. It was more of the same for the next few laps.
3rd & 4th laps were great – into a nice rhythm, slog up the hills, and then nice to stand up and roll down the sweeping hills – this is great !
After my 4th lap – it was about 1/2 time in the event – 1pm – the 3 hour guys had just left, and I was getting back to the tent. I figured I’d have a ‘half-time-break’ – and stopped for about 10mins.
I’d been doing 40-50min laps until now – and it was getting tougher – so I had a sandwich, orange, V-drink – and message’d to my wife a quick progress update.
Thanks a lot to Charlotte (Kelvin’s wife) – she was assisting in the team tent with food/bottles – and encouragement too (also from Corey’s wife too – MTB WAG’s ?)
I’d planned for 6 laps of the tough circuit – and done 4 already – in 1/2 the time – and no mechanical troubles or any issues thus far.
OK – time to head out again, for my 5th lap – and got about 1-2km, and got a bad leg cramp – nnooo !! Should I have NOT stopped ??
I stretched it out, and scolded my leg – don’t you cramp up, goddammit…
Thankfully, it eased after about 60 seconds, and I rode on – and was alright for a while. The hills were getting tougher (steeper ?) – and I found myself taking a break at the top of the hills, before rolling back downhill again.
But – it got a little worse as I got into my 6th lap – had to stop a few times to stretch it out – and take a breather on the uphill.
I was being passed by a few people – no biggie – and had a LOL with a few people of the same ability. “It’s getting tough now, eh ?? How much did we pay for this hurt ?”
I finished up my 6th lap, feeling every muscle, and particularly a sore lower back – but still about 1hour to go in the event. After a quick panadol, and a some more food (mini mars bars !) – I said “well, I’m going for a 7th lap – I’ll regret it if I don’t, but might regret it if it do – ha ha !”.
This lap was a sufferfest, with lots of stopping, cramping, and “just keep pedalling” in my head. It was a bit of a blur actually – just bit-by-bit – even the downhill was hurting now, some rough sections that I was simply hanging-on / rag-doll’ing…!
But – made it back to the finish line – just after the 6 hour mark – DONE !
Wow – I jumped off the bike, and sat down to stretch, and relish the achievement – I was knackered…
We all sat around dazed, and recovered a bit, and chatted about what the day had been – some of my buddies did 10 laps – well done Corey !
We watched the presentations – congrats again to Steve F on 2nd place – awesome !
After that, it was a pack-up of everything into Kelvin’s jeep – and then we had to ride the bikes back to the caravan park – THAT hurt…! (LOL !)
When we got back to the caravan park, it was time for a shower to clean up – was a dry & dusty ride – check out those happy feet !
Then, I had to pack up the car for the trip home (the morning after) – and then hunt for some food – I had a hankering for a chicken parma – soooo hungry !
There was a little pub next door to the caravan park – so I scoffed a few bits of garlic bread – and a chicken parma – and a few beers – and was yawning & fading fast.
A quick time check – only 6.45 pm ! (LOL !)
Kelvin & Charlotte headed off for an evening stroll – and I aimed myself back to the tent – and crashed out into bed – at 7.30pm – on a Saturday night !
I awoke early again on Sunday morning – and had to pack up the tent quickly – and take off home – a 4.5 hour drive – and needed to get home for a family lunch at 1pm (my birthday). I left at around 7am – more amazing views :
I just made it home with time for a shower + then out for lunch – and back home again for a few hours – and out to see a concert – TOOL.
My weekend consisted of 800km of driving my new car, two nights of camping, 6 hours of MTB’ing, some amazing fresh air & scenery, lunch with my family – and – a heavy metal concert.
What an amazing weekend !
When I finally managed to check my ride details via Strava – it showed that I’d ridden almost 60km (only) – but that it was 1656m of climbing – yikes – and the ‘suffer score’ was a massive 444…!
Check out the hills !
I finished 10th in the event – the next placed rider was a few laps ahead – I don’t know how they did 10-12 laps !
I would have finished 26th in the open men category – out of 43 riders – the top finished did 14 laps – DOUBLE what I’d completed…
It was a ‘bonus points’ round – every placing getting 1.5x the normal score.
So – my standings in the 2013 Vic Enduro Series (40+) has jumped up from 30th to equal 12th – nice !
NB. I haven’t had a chance to ride my MTB since the weekend away – too busy with work & family – the next event is in late June (Albury) – better start preparing.
See you there…!