Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 Brownie Points Burner

I was really looking forward to another race that takes in some of the sweet trails around Taree. Kiwarrak State Forest has some of the best single track in the area and these trails are normally meticulously groomed. A marathon race only 1hr from home is also a bonus.

I was carefully checking media releases leading up to the event to determine who might be coming up to race. There were several top riders listed so I knew it was going to be a tough day out. On the start line a few names were missing but there were enough riders to make it a battle to get near the podium.

The race was a mass start giving every category a chance to take out the serious amount of cash that was put up for the King of the Mountain which was located 20km along the course. I was feeling ok at the start of the climb but I could only watch as a flying Kyle Ward from the Rockstar Racing Team went past me. As I made the summit Kyle had a good gap that took a few kilometres to bridge. The trails from the KOM to around the 30km mark were fantastic. They were motorbike trails that weren't too rutted as they flowed around logs and creek crossing as the course heading towards the Taree Tip Tracks.

Kyle and I were making an effort to stay ahead of the field but with some confusion around track direction the next 7-8 riders caught back up as we rejoined the course now with around 10 riders and 40kms left to race. Over the next few kilometers, which had some steep pinches to the Taree Tip Tracks, Kyle and I started to build another gap over the rest of the field. As we started the "fun stuff" as the sign indicated, Kyle had a tyre issue which left me with a clear run through the rest of the single track. At times I was finding it hard to follow course markings as I was stopped by a rider still marking out the course. With a few instructions on how to stay on course I miraculously made it to the third checkpoint. With 60km on the clock I wasn't sure if I had 15k to go or if this checkpoint was located 25km from the finish. After another 2km of following clearly marked track I came to a T intersection with no markings at all. Taking a guess that we would be heading uphill I threw a skid on the ground to let other riders know the direction I chose. After a few more kms of riding I was at the top of a lookout and I could see the race finish. Following fireroads that felt like they were going in the right direction got me across the line with 84km and 2500vm on the clock which was what the race was supposed to be but I was dissappointed I couldn't follow the planned track. 

I'm keen to come back next year. I really enjoyed the course that was chosen and I want to see how the last 20km of the race was planned. The race directors made a good call to base final positions on placings heading into checkpoint 3. Hopefully next year signs wont get tampered with and all riders can find their way around the same course.

A big thanks goes to Merida for sponsoring both myself and the race and Gordon Street Cycles for repairing my bikes after each race!

I'll also aim to have some picture up of my new Thule setup once I get a spare day to setup my car!

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