It’s been a busy period on the racing calendar, with mountain bike races on every weekend at this time of year. Last week was the turn of the Jubberlands 6hr Enduro, one of my favourite events on the calendar because of the awesome course they have there just outside Castlemaine. I entered with the same team ‘Carbon Fibre Footprint’ that I had at
BMC Fourstroke01 ...sweet!
Blores hill a month or so back. We managed to get the win there in the 3 man masters category so we had a lot of confidence going into this race. As if I needed any more motivation, Kaos Andy and Jo put together my new XL 2012 BMC Fourstroke 01 carbon fibre dual suspension in bike in time for the occasion. The fact it was XL and BMC don’t officialy make XLs in the Fourstroke 01(not in their catalogues and no mention of them on the web), and I now own one .....just confirms Andy’s #1 BMC dealer status in Australia is no exaggeration!
Come race start, I had turned up to the occasion and I couldn’t find my team anywhere amongst the tents and marquees. With the race brief just about to start prior to the race start I needed to get the PA guy to ask where they were, and when no one turned up to claim me as I was considering my options my team mate ‘Chris’ came across the finish line after a warm up lap. From here the conversation went like this
Me: ‘Where the hell have you been’
Chris: ‘On a warm up lap, why aren’t you ready’
Me: ‘Cause I’ve been looking for you for the last hour and all my kit is still in the car, you’ll have to do the first lap’
Chris: ‘I don’t want to do the first lap, you’re our fast guy you will give us a good start’
Me: ‘Tough $hit, you’re all ready and you have done a warm up lap and I’m standing here in my jeans...you’re doing it!’
Chris wasn’t too happy, but he managed to get us off to a good start. By the time he came in after completing our first lap I was ready with my new BMC fourstroke 01 all ready to go. Off I went .....this bike is fast. Having ridden my alloy fourstroke 02 for a number of years (still an excellent bike) and plenty of bikes before it – I’m no babe in the woods when it comes to new bikes. But this bike was just so good. It was light yes, many carbon dualies are but what I wasn’t expecting was just how smooth this bike was. The small bump compliance was great, and the bigger hits ware soaked up by the 100mm rear end so it felt like more travel. This bikes comes equipped with a Fox RP2 rear shock. On the first lap I was caning it through the fire roads and up the hills and when I came to the first technical rock garden I reached down to open up the shock, as is habit for me and my riding style, but it was already open. It was just that efficient up the hills and through the single track that I assumed the shock was in firm mode ....it made for a pleasant surprise. So, combined with the best bike I have ever ridden and the excellent cross countrycourse that Jubberlands is, I had a great day. We won our category (a trophy and a bottle of wine each ...thank you very much Rocky Riders) and the day was only let down by the fact that I was in a team of 3 and only managed to get in three laps before the race finished and I had to go home!
Lysterfield Cycle Cross
Having raced for the last three weekends I was looking forward to a weekend off. On the shop bunch ride on Saturday morning I even tried to make my presence felt by riding on the front and jumping away in a
Kaos Jo Cycle Cross - at the beach
head wind and then trying to stay on Waks wheel when he gave it a good knock - all with the knowledge in the back of my mind that I am not racing tomorrow and so I can give it a go this morning. After putting a good effort and sitting down for a well deserved breakfast and coffee after the ride, I was informed by Tim that as I was planning and riding at Lysterfield tomorrow, why don’t I race the cycle cross which was going to be held there. No I said, I was looking forward to a week off, and besides I don’town a cyclecross bike. But Tim informed me that they had a open category where you could race it on your mountain bike. Well by the time my large cappuccino had been brought out I had decided to race again on Sunday.
So being the hardcore races that we are, Jo and I turned on Sunday for a cyclecross race ....on our mountain bikes. The course itself was a tight 3km course that was started at the pump track before taking us over some up and down sodden grass and then forcing us to dismount and run up a hill (it was a cyclecross race after all), and then some more twisty trail. Over a big mound of loose gravel, a big mound of pine bark, before dismounting, running over 3 hurdles in the way of big concrete pipes up a hill, through the car park, down to the lakeside beach, dismount and run upa flight of stairs down a fast gravel descent, 200m of fire road, and then back out for the next lap. It was a compact and fun course.
Jo went first in the open Women and Juniors, 30mins + 1 lap. Jo was armed with her cleanskin Titanium hard tail, the right tool for the job. She started fast, trying not to bin it on all the tight gravel corners on the pump track, before disappearing out of sight. When she came back into view she was trying to stay with the leading girl who was just starting to get a gap, but at the same time she was putting a gap into the girl behind. As the laps went on the participants looked tired and it dawned on me that perhaps this was going to be a hard race. Before you know it 30minutes was up and Jo had come in 2nd in the open women’s.
They decided to run and A and B together which meant about 25 of us on the start line. 50% of them had Trailmix jerseys on, among them Kaos ride Saturday morning regulars Stu and Tim. Snozza’s pre-race briefing was ‘remember this is a public park, don’t crash into some park user and break your collar bone and then come crying to me’ ...urr great advice Snoz!
And we were off. I managed to get into the first corner in 4th place; we were tightly bunched together but Stu was starting to get a gap in the lead straight away. My old sparring partner Gareth was in second on his 29er (my weapon of choice for the day was my BMC Team Elite 01 carbon hard tail). I was tight behind 3rd place but in front of him Gareth was getting away. The first thing I noticed was this was not going to be a normal dirt crit. The mounts/dismounts I was struggling with, and if anybody has seen the amount of seat post I have sticking out of my XL bikes they will know why. Come the end of the first lap I decided to overtake 3rd place and put myself there. The race could end now I thought to myself ....3rd place yeahI could live with that, but a 45min race will not be decided on the first lap. As the second and third laps proceeded I found that my legs didn’t quite have the zip that I would have wanted (I blame Wak and the headwind from the previous mornings ride). Gareth was getting further away and the guys behind me were getting closer (at this stage the top 6 were all Trailmix apart from myself). Scott, another old sparring partner came by me on the hill followed by another trailmixy. Just recover, set a tempo, and try to catch them I told myself. It was at this stage that I found keeping it in the dog (big ring) for the whole lap was proving difficult and that putting it in the middle for part of the course would be a good idea. As it turned out, that was my downfall. As I dismounted and ran over the 3 pipes and mounted again in one of those energy sapping exercises, my gears played up and as I put the power down to stay in front of another fast closing trailmixy my drive chain went slack ....damn I said I had dropped my chain, but looking down I saw my snapped chain lying on the ground! Or well that‘s my race finished ...now where’s the coffee van?
All in all a great days racing at Lystee. The same event will be run again next month and I will be in it for sure. Now next week no racing just an easy ride......