This was about 40km North of Traralgon – only 2 hours drive from my house.
I loaded up the car on the Friday night, after a pub meal + dinner with SharePoint Saturday friends (I was skipping “SPSat Melb” to go MTB’ing !).
I didn’t sleep great – nervous that I’d miss my alarm clock, and was a little like my namesake – grumpy indeed.
5am – quick brekky – load the bike onto the car, and set off. Cold & dark, but no traffic – and I was treated to the most amazing sunrise, after almost swimming through the thickest fog I’ve ever known.
The venue for the race was the Glenmaggie Caravan Park – great setup with lots of parking close to the track, and toilets/showers – a bunch of people were already setting up marquee & testing out bikes.
I always love the pre-race atmosphere – always a good buzz, and friendly people. I set up my table, prepped my drinks, food – and got my race number on. I still had an hour or so – to wait & get nervous.
Said a quick hello to a few race regulars (Kelvin & his mate Reece) – and chatted to my transition area ‘neighbours’ – and Steve, who was racing the 3hr from 1pm.
And – wandered over to talk to a few of the 6am’ers riders – friends of a workmate (Ben). They’re a road-riding group – first-time MTB race for some of them.
I remember shivering & teeth chattering during the race briefing – c’mon, let’s go !!
10am – everyone had gathered for the start, with an extra ‘prologue’ segment to spread out the field – which ended up being a ‘dirt peloton’ – and into the singletrack – so there was still a slowish conga line of bikes (for the first few km’s).
I settled into the race – with a looong day of riding – no real hurry.
The circuit was ~13km – with about 200m of climbing.
But – wow, these trails are awesome ! Smooth & flowing – I was averaging about 16-17 km/h.
I’d heard from some Lysterfield Trail Riding buddies (Mike D) that there was a pinchy rock-climb ascent to ‘Trig Point’ – they’d done a LDTR Epic ride there the previous weekend.
The smooth trails suddenly changed – into a rocky volcanic rock style “where is the trail” challenging technical section – slow pace, but don’t go too slow/stop.
You can see here how steep it was – that’s my buddy Kelvin in the blue/black (#42).
I was pretty happy to ‘clear’ this first climb section – up+over the rocks – no real lines, it was just pedal & rock/bob the bike up !
When I got to the top, there was a team of spectators & officials – taking photos – and handing out SNAKES !
I had a LOL, and grabbed one as I headed back down the fairly tricky descent section.
After this section, there were a few more rocks – and then it smoothed out a little – and more ‘flow’. One section was a back-and-forth over a river bed – flow left / flow right – amazing trails.
I was having a blast – and was back at the start area before I knew it – 16 km’s done.
For today, I’d intended to ‘race’ a little more (not just ‘ride’) – so I grabbed a piece of fruit cake – and rode on quickly – to minimise the stop time.
There were some great sections over the 12.8km circuit – mainly singletrack – with a few open fireroad sections. I kept the pace up – aiming for 16 km/h – which would mean I could be up for ~100km for the 6 hours.
Over the next few laps – it was a mix of Lysterfield + You Yangs ‘flow/smooth’ trail – and then a bit Albury style Nail Can Hill up/down – right in the middle.
The best of everything – seriously, some of the best trails I’d ever ridden.
Again – back into transition – and scoffed a few orange 1/4’s – and changed out my drink bottle. I was amazed that I’d done nearly 30 km already – in less than two hours.
With each of the VES rounds, I’d learnt & changed something – and for this event, I’d put my bike seat *UP* by 2-3cm’s – thanks Ross for the tip. This made for easier bike control, better hill climbing – and less back pain later in the day.
It was about 12pm now – half-way – and the 3hr riders would be starting – so that would mean more ‘traffic’. Oh well – I just kept my pace/rhythm.
Sure enough – I had a few ‘encounters’ with passing riders – one in particular, when I could feel/hear them behind me – and I was feeling pressured to go faster. I skidded in a corner, and over-corrected – just as he tried to push past – without any communication. And then *HE* said “oh, fvcken hell, seriously ?”
Sorry to be “in front of you”, your highness…. Stick to road riding, perhaps ?? I’m surprised he didn’t bash his EGO on one of the trees on the tight, winding trail.
I actually mentioned the incident to the race organisers – when I was paused for a breather at the top of Trig Point. They asked “how’s it going !?” I just said “Yep, all good – a few rude riders, but…” They asked what happened – and they were surprised. Unless the offending rider had a number on his BACK – there’s no way to identify him, so…. *shrug*
I kept on my way – and pulling over if/when I was able to do so – and into transition for a few more food stops. I said hello to Ian + Ben from Lysterfield – and spoke to Kelvin’s mate Reece – who had crashed out (kinda badly, it sounded).
By the time I was back to transition after 6 laps, I’d done about 80km – and was about 45 mins until the cut-off time. So – I headed out again.
The last lap was pretty tough actually – I was a little sore in the back – and had a mini-cramp after a big push up the fireroad hill. I had to take my time a little – stopped a few times – all OK – but glad it was the last lap…(!)
I ended up completing 93km – and 7 laps of the trail circuit.
I ended up placing 23rd in the 40+ ranks – out of 35 riders on the list.
I would have actually finished higher, in the Open Male category – I would have been 21st (out of 38 riders).
Suffice to say – I was pretty darn happy !
Here’s the main numbers for the race :
I’d been on-the-move for 5hrs 50mins – out of a total time of 6hrs 10mins – so only 20 mins of stop/resting – that’s about 2-3 mins per lap – over 6 hours – fantastic.
And 16.2 km/h average – wow !
Here’s the map + trail from Strava :
As always, the lap profile ends up looking like a heart-beat – or pulse :
What a great event – thanks to the organisers and other riders/racers – see you again at the next race – end of September.
After this race – I’m now sitting in 17th place for the season – with 52 points.
There are 72 riders listed in the category – some riders would have only participated in one or two races – but I’ve done all FOUR so far.
17th – out of 72 – that’s in the top 25% – awesome !