Last weekend saw race 2 of the PMBC XC series contested down at Pemberton in WA’s beautiful South West. This was set to be a big weekend with 2 XC races on the Saturday with 20% extra points up for grabs followed by a Super D on the Sunday.
With a bit of prepacking on Thursday night it was a dash home from work on Friday to load it all into the car before heading south. The trip down was pretty boring except for the spectacular meteor that flashed across the sky half way down. A quick stop for food in Bunbury and I was soon in Pemby where I met up with Doozy and we headed to our humble accommodation for the weekend, the Pemberton Forest Stay. 1st on the list was to get the fire going so there was some warmth when we hit the hay, really should have been going and waiting for us but we won’t hold that against the rest of the crew 🙂
Saturday morning after some sort of sleep it was up and at em. The crew was ready to roll with 6 of us mounting up for the day including our new recruit Gemma, this was to be her first XC race (did she really know what she was in for??) Most of us were hoping to get in a practice lap before rego and the race, as per usual this didn’t happen. I managed to take Gemma for a quick lap of the skills loop to give her a taste for the terrain and bit of a leg warmup.
A bit of a quick opening presentation and the juniors were soon off and racing, some of these young riders are well on their way to being future champions. Soon after it was time for the 1st wave of riders to line up and head off. Mike was first off with the old fellas soon to be followed by myself in Sport Men & Gemma in Sport Women for race 1. Mounted up with 2 cameras this race I was hoping for some great footage and the spanking new seat post mounted GoPro did not disappoint. The start was not too frantic with many riders choosing to take it easy early on as part of their 2 race strategy.
We headed around the skills loop and back through the transition area before heading up the hill via a number of switchbacks and the firetrail before heading back into the singletrack. A few kms of this and we were soon at the top of the Relentless Blue Downhill course. This is a nice flowing downhill run with a number of small North Shore obstacles to liven things up. This included the much loved wooden berms were I got some good footage of the rider behind be eating dirt on the exit straight (he has informed me that although a little sore he is stoked someone got it on camera). Lap 2 was much the same but with less fuel in the legs and the inherent need to keep some reserves for race 2, and the fact I did an extra lap of the skills course at the end didn’t help.
The GoPro at work
After finishing it was time for a rest and to see how the others had fared. I caught up with Ness (the better half of my team mate at the 12hr) to see how her race had gone and in the process found poor Gemma in the ambo being attended to. I though great this is what she needs in her 1st race, an accident to spook her. Well there was a bit of blood and a nice ‘trophy’ of the incident but Gemma HTFU and was keen for race 2.
By now Cat, Ash & Doozy had headed off for their races so while we rested and waited for our 2nd race we cheered them and the other riders on. There was some tight competitions happening between the different categories which definitely kept things alive from lap to lap.
Soon enough it was time for race 2 and too much chatting and catching up on how the others went almost saw us miss the start, but we made it just in time. Race 2 incorporated some common parts of the race 1 lap but threw in the Hell Mile. As the name suggests, its not the easiest piece of trail to ride, especially for your 2nd race and with the ‘lovely’ conditions. This section would make or break some riders. I took a nice swig of HTFU and just kept on going, the only thing stopping me was a few mislocated tree roots that proved a little slippery for everyone. We soon came out of Hell Mile and hit a bit of familiar trail that would lead us to the top of Cool Runnings. Now this is a lot more enjoyable, a nice downhill run consisting of a number of dirt berms and jumps to negotiate. I swear this is the only reason we are stupid enough to ride up hills.
The first lap was spent mostly trying to find the right pace and get through to the end. Lap to was just a matter of getting to the end and not giving in. Most of this lap I spent with 2 other riders who were around my pace and we helped push each other through and have a laugh along the way. As we were nearing the end of lap 2 I passed the ambo out on course, never a good thing. They already had the rider so I didn’t know who it was. I finished of the lap and was soon to find out that it was Ness. She had come off and bashed her knee on a rock. After a quick pep talk and reassurance we would grab her bike (the most important thing) Ness was off to the hospital for a checkup. (don’t worry she was fine and made it to the presentations that night)
Race 1 Start
Mike, Gemma & myself stuck around for a few laps of the 2nd race for Cat, Ash & Doozy before heading back to camp to get in a quick shower before presentations. Soon after the rest of the gang rocked back to the house, got cleaned up and we headed in for a feed and presentations.
Presentations went alright for the crew, with Mike getting 2nd for his category, Gemma picking up a bottle of wine for competing in her 1st race and Ash claiming the Grand Prize in the raffle. All in all a great day was had. Thanks to everyone who made this event possible, I don’t need to be individual Tony has done that, but I will thank him for making this race happen. With out him and the support he gets from everyone these events wouldn’t happen for us.
Note – I didn’t see much of the Super D as I had to head back to Perth, but it sounded like it went well and the bit I saw will make it worth staying for next year.
Most photos thanks to Jose from Apogee Photography – the race gallery on the Apogee site is progressively being updated this week so check back regularily to find a photo of yourself.