At this stage I have attended all of the 12 hour events out at the Piney, Armidale. Each time I raced, I have seen improvements in the track and a significant jump in entries.
This race was no different with over 400 riders out on track.
Jamie Vogule and I decided on driving out and back from Port Macquarie around the event so we could stay in a nice warm bed instead of camping in the frost. With the Piney being a 3hr drive and a race start at 10am there is plenty of time to get out.
Unfortunately my 29er dually wasn't quite built for this race so I was left with the challenge of riding the hardtail. I wasn't disappointed to have this challenge as the Pivot Les rides so well.
From the start there was the usual fast pace as riders looked for a good position heading into the first single track, I was balancing out going too hard and busting myself versus going too easy and getting caught behind slower riders. I was happy with where I slid into the single track and enjoyed the sledging I received from Holly Harris as we race the first lap together. On this first lap, we did spend some time looking after an injured rider who managed to finish his first lap after knocking himself out. He just got some serious front wheel slide which led to him dropping the bike and falling off the side of a bridge. Good to hear you are ok!
After a couple of laps, I was really started to have some good fun. I started to settle into a good rhythm, then the bacon started. Half way through the lap at the checkpoint the bbq got fired up and bacon was being handed out to riders. I'm not sure how many people were taking up the option but there were a few laps where I didn't want to be rude and slid a lean cut potion on my peanut butter and honey sangers.
As the night approached I started to think how well behaved my bike was. No mechanicals and Paul Perry kept my pit times short. I'm not exactly sure what he was passing me each lap but it tasted good and seemed to do the job. I had the usually Shotz electrolyte in my bottles, gel flasks in the back pocked and a few caffeinated gels for the last couple of hours. When it did come time to put on lights we came to our first issue. I had packed an older NiteRider helmet cord which didn't seem to be compatible. I was left to ride with a bar light only which I don't normally do. It didn't really slow me down too much more until my third last lap where I took the 'A line' down the final downhill and this time flew over the hanger hitting an unidentified object. I have not been winded so bad in my life! I laid there moaning for several minutes before I realised I probably haven't broken anything and needed to finish the race. While 2 more laps riding when injured wasn't fun, I had a big enough lead to drop the pace back and have a chat to some similar paced riders.
Thanks Paul for feeding me, I owe you a coffee or two. Jamie for the lift out. David Harris and the NEMTB club for the race. NiteRider lights and Pivot once again for such a versatile hardtail!