Tuesday, September 6, 2016

2016 Wagga 6hr - Evocities Rd 4

Pic - Dan's Facebook!
With the ability to drop 2 rounds out of the Evocities 7, the Wagga 6hr became the most logical. With crazy logistics required to get to the race and back in time for work I had decided to instead focus on the closer rounds. That is until I made the commitment to race the MTB Himalaya (http://www.mtbhimalaya.com/) which meant I couldn't do the Dubbo round.

Once the "we are on" announcement was made by the Wagga club I looked at booking flights. With a return trip costing over $800 I went for a cheaper option. A flight to Sydney (which was delayed 1.5hrs) followed by a 5hr drive. The return trip was never going to be an easy option!

Tucking into a warm room with a few other FIZO supported riders the sound of rain was obvious outside. I was glad I packed the wet weather gear. The standard being 2 sets of Adidas photochromatic glasses, a windproof / waterproof vest, open tyres (WCS Nano) and Weldtite all weather lube.

From the briefing it was obvious that bikes are riders were going to get punished. The track had been closed the last few days to ensure it had its best chance of holding up and detours were apparently already in place to avoid some of the really nasty sections.

From the start I wanted to stay with Ed Mcdonald who had managed to win the race for the past 4 years. He charged off the front with a team rider and started to build a little gap. It wasn't until the end of the second lap that I managed to catch him. It was then that he pointed out how poorly I was riding downhill. I tried to blame my lack of ability on my lack of vision through my mud caked glasses. I had planned on allowing him to lead me down the final decent on the next lap. That didn't happen as during the 3rd lap Ed managed to hit his pedal on a rock and dropped the chain. I didn't increase the pace any further however, Ed started to slow as his bike started to have some suspension issues.

Heading out onto the 4th lap I was just aiming to build my lead. I was trying to stop every few laps as the mud was getting ridiculous. Its really hard to describe the track. Initially there was a series of switchbacks up the first half of the main climb. These sections where sometimes rocky and dry while other sections were teeming with water that just sprayed everywhere. The second part of the climb was bone dry fireroad. The first downhill was mostly ok,

Pic: MarathonMTB
but all I remember from there is muddy dips, flowing water down both single and double tracks and an assortment of mud. It was quite ride-able if enough speed was carried however, the constant water spray was always going to play havoc on brake pads and drive trains. I cant blame the race organisors for running the event, after advertising it was going to be on, I guess they had to run it! But I think they also made a good call to cut the event short. There were plenty of things being done to stretch out the longevity of the course by re-routing sections however, some of the holes were becoming quite unpredictable and we were destroying the track.

A shorter race also gave me the chance to have a freezing cold shower before starting the long journey home. The return trip was the challenge and started with the 5hr drive to Campbelltown. From here it was a 1hr 15min train to central, a 6hr bus trip north that dropped me on the highway an easy 30min ride home. I finally crawled into bed at 4.30am Monday morning following a much warmer shower!

I really need to thank Pure Edge for supporting to attend the Evocities and Jason Moxham for being my driver from Sydney and fully tweaking my bike before this event. The new XTR chainring and correctly directed chain seem to have made the difference... Thanks Jason you really put yourself out for this one!


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