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.
Well it was going to be a big weekend for the 2010 KarriCup from the start, with a few weeks of organising and getting prepared, most of us managed to make it. Unfortunately a few of the crew dropped out due to work commitments (next time guys). The caravan was picked up on Friday afternoon and bikes readied that evening. Saturday morning was almost a no go when someone’s alarm didn’t go off. Luckily the missus woke up and we got the show on the road with not too much time out. The car was packed and we hit the road for the trip south.
Normally a trip south is a couple of hours and not too bad but towing an ‘anchor’ in big winds can double that and the fuel usage. Eventually we made Pemberton were the fellow SPR guys were to race the Pemberton Classic. A quick stop here to drop off a jersey(thanks Kimbo) for Dave then onto Northcliffe to set up camp and have a quick rest.
Our accommodation for the weekend was Round Tu It Caravan Park in Northcliffe. A lovely bush setting to park the caravan and take it easy when not on the bike or checking out the local tourist attractions. We parked up the van and set about getting it habitable, with annex and bedding etc. Once all was done and a quick rest out of the way, I set off back to Pemberton with the ol man to catch the action at the Pemberton Classic Crits series. Meanwhile we left the wife and my brother to guard camp and have dinner ready for our return 🙂
We made Pemberton in quick time and arrived to the SPR crew warming up and getting ready for their Crits races. The lads were looking sharp with a good showing of force in the SPR Team kit. The guys put in some big efforts to make a few key placings, despite the unbalanced grading. (full report here) While in town I caught up with a few of the locals from when I grew up and caught up on the goss about the new MTB course being built.
After the completion of the Crits races we bad the guys farewell and wished them luck on the road race the next day. From here we headed back to Northcliffe with Dave in close pursuit for our pasta dinner and a good sleep before the race ahead.
The campsite was packed with fellow riders and I ran into a few of the regulars who get to these events and had a quick chat about plans for the next day. After a good carb load dinner and final bike and kit prep we were off to bed.
No sooner had I fallen asleep (had a pretty average nite trying to sleep properly) and it was time to rise. The park was springing to life with bikes and riders everywhere. We had a quick breakfast and kitted up for the short ride to the start at the Northcliffe recreation oval. Everyone hustled around the start to hear the pre race briefing, catch up with friends and chat to other riders. Before we knew it though the start was underway. We said farewell to our support crew, my wife & father(thanks guys, was much appreciated by the 3 of us), and got under way. The start was slightly staggered but maybe not quite enough to avoid the congestion on the Round Tu It single track. It was a quick start for most until that point when it became a stop or walk situation for a little bit, but eventually things sorted themselves out and there was free roads ahead.
After the Round Tu It single track there was some open road and fire trails to get riders warmed up. Just before this ended and we hit the paddocks, riders had to negotiated a nice sand patch before the Borara Rd crossing. This proved entertaining to watch as inexperienced riders came unstuck or got caught out. It was then thru some paddocks, over a dam wall, past some cows and back into the bush. Fast flowing sections of firetrails and single track ensued broken up with a couple of river crossings which proved a bit too much for some riders who didn’t exercise caution and had some OTB moments. Thankfully the few incidents I saw were not too bad. It wasn’t long and we were into the Borara State course, which brought back a bit of technicality to the ride and kept you on your toes. Soon after and we were at the end of the 1st stage, were Dave was already waiting.
We had a quick rest & resupply, water was much needed as the day was warming up and then it was on the way again. Stage 2 was the shortest of the 4 and also the fastest. It was mostly flat lantana and dry swamp flats with a few minor undulations. Dave pulled away and Devan and I continued on at our own pace. There wasn’t much to say about this section as it was over pretty quick, just dusty and fast, but fun.
End of stage 2 was the half way point and lunch. The organisers provided a good selection of food including fruit and sandwiches to help riders refuel. Also the local CFA had a truck setup for getting a hose down and bit of a wash to freshen up, this proved pretty popular. As I pulled in the 50km riders were just heading off.
After a good rest, feed and knicks change it was back on the bike. Stage 3 started with a nice section of technical single track just to remind you this was not going to be easy. I found this by far the hardest stage of the day, not because of the actual course but more probably by the fact i had just had lunch and fatigue was setting in. This section was a good mix of terrain and even a tree across the trail (that had fallen overnight) for riders to negotiate their way thru, once some figured out that yes they were going the right way. I think I spent a fair bit of time pushing my bike on this stage as my back was giving me grief and cramping was hitting me. Mainly I think due to poor nutrition, I was finding it hard to eat even though I knew I had to, my stomach just felt nauseous. At least I was able to pump the fluids in but food was probably more needed.
I eventually made the end of stage 3 where Dave & Devan were already waiting for me. I managed to get a bit of food in here which pepped me up for the final run home, even though I did have serious thoughts of throwing it in. But I had come this far and wasn’t going to give up too easily. We set off on stage 4, basically the reverse of stage 1, for home. Dave was off from the start and I hung with Devan for a bit but he soon took off as well. Back thru the other half of the Borara State course was quite pleasant and I had a little chuckle at the downhill corner, jump with a tree in the middle of it, knowing good and well that many a rider had been caught out by it earlier (the bonus of knowing a trail). Out the back of Borara and it was into a good section of flowing downhill trails, which brought some welcome relief for the legs. These continued down til the creek crossing and then it was back up again, yuk, I hate hills.
Eventually it was out of the trees and back to the paddocks and I knew the end was not too far way. It was here I caught up with Devan again and we tackled the paddocks together, before he took off again. Coming thru the last paddock, the farm owner was kicking back in his camp chair (minus a beer) cheering the remaining riders on. Back thru the sand pit and along the final fire trail and I forgot about the 50m section of calf burning hill I had to negotiate. I finally made it back to the short bitumen section and rolled almost to town, the temptation to pull into the caravan park on the way and finish there was strong but with only a few kms to go I struggled on and eventually made the finish.
I collapsed into a chair and stretched the legs a bit, while getting more fluids in as it had been a hot day. We watched the final few riders come thru and had a bit of a chat with a few of the organisers while waiting for the presentations. They kept getting pushed back so we ended up going back to camp for a well deserved wash and feed, before making it an early night.
All in all it was a good day. Having done a few 100km races/rides before I thought this would have been a bit easier. I think my nutrition was what let me down the most, as I was fitter than when I had done the previous events. But next time(if there is) I hope to be even better prepared and have more training under the belt. It had been almost 6 months since Dave & myself had been on the MTB bikes, too much scumming had made us soft we think.
A few improvments for next year –
- a few extra signs on some of the confusing intersections
- make distance markers harder for delinquents to remove (this 1 is not always easy)
- more staggered start or change the singletrack location
- bit less of the paddocks, while generally ok, a few grass hidden holes seemed to catch some out.
- better organisation of presentations time as it got pushed back twice (1hr 1/2 in total)
Other than that a big thank you to all the organisers and volunteers who helped make the day what it was. It is a well run event and really well supported by the locals, whether they were lands owners opening their land for use or helping thruout the day, Thank you.
After the usual Christmas food & drink overkill I thought I should get in a few kms and burn some of it off. Being in Busselton visiting the family it was a good chance to see some different scenery. I was lucky to have the bike back on track this weekend after the minor damage I did to it on the Tuesday SPR ride. Thanks to Eddy Holland who managed to fit in a last minute repair and service for me on Christmas Eve.
Knowing the parent’s neighbour was partial to the odd pedal I invited him to join me on the morning ride. We made plans & readied bikes the night before. This was mainly to stop us from piking out overnight.
Early Sunday morning the alarm went off and with much resistance I dragged myself out of bed and into my gear. Mark (the neighbour) was waiting at the end of the driveway as I came out, showing he was more keen than he felt. Both of us having had 2 solid days of food & drink – the usual Christmas fare – it was going to be a gentle ride. No overdoing it with full bellies.
We headed out of town past the sports grounds and towards Nannup. Mark was going to take me on an old route he used to ride. Originally I had thought of going to Dunsborough, but due to average road and too many tourist cars about, the other side of town was a better option. The ride out was a gentle gradient increase til the cemetary where we hit the 1st little rise of the day (Busselton is very flat being on a large coastal plateau). I powered on fairly easily while Mark was starting to feel the ‘Christmas effect’ already. Continueing out past the airport it was more of the gentle rise we had seen previously.
After not long we came to the Sues road junction and turned to head back towards the coast. It was a slightly more downhill gradient from here with the only real rise being an overpass. The pace was nice and gentle, sitting just below 30km/h. Very comfortable for 2 heavy laden cyclists. This time of morning was great for a ride out in the country, the fresh smells of the bush and surrounding farms, beats sucking in petrol fumes any day. The roads out this way were in pretty good condition (better than many suburban streets) and provided a nice smooth riding surface.
From the end of Sues road we turned towards Bunbury and headed north for a few kms before turning in towards Tuart Drive. Tuart Drive forms a large part of the cycle leg for the local Ironman competitions. This was a nice section to ride with the morning sun coming through the tops of the Tuart trees and a cool breeze keeping the sweat away. As we were returning down this stretch of road we started to see a few other cyclists heading out for their morning rides, many looked to be Tri guys getting in some course time and Christmas training.Trffic was also starting to pick up a bit too as tourist flood to the area, a popular place to be at this time of year with many places fully booked.
At the roundabout we turned right and headed through Wonnerup and the estuary. We started to get a bit of a light headwind along here as we got closer to the beach. I got into a nice rhythm along here and Mark jumped on my wheel to have a bit of a rest. We headed on back to town skipping around Geographe Bay marina and along the foreshore to the Jetty.
By the time we got there The Goose was open and ready for us to relax and enjoy a coffee overlooking the bay and Jetty(which is currently under repairs). It was a nice way to wind down after the morning ride before heading home to relax and enjoy some holidays.
Well Lil Mocha and I decided it was time for a weekend away from the big smoke, so we decided to head south to get away and visit the olds. They just so happen to live in WA’s wine central. So a weekend away at Hester for 2 was in order.
Straight after work Friday we packed the beast and headed off, traffic was ok but i’ll be glad when the new freeway south & bypass are completed. We made good time and got in at a decent hour. The plan was to have a good sleep then head out to find a Beer for the non beer drinker.
WHAT?!? I hear you say. That’s right I’m not a beer drinker i enjoy a good Scotch or Whiskey after a nice glass of red. But Lil Mocha and I had been contemplating the merits of coming home to a beer, or the cliche, enjoying a beer on a hot summers afternoon. Unfortunately neither of us like that golden ale stuff, not 1 that we have found yet.
Saturday morning came and we slightly overslept, but was much needed. A spot of shopping was to be done to grab items for dinner (no late or extended shopping hours in this state – but we’ll leave that for another post), then off we went.
The plan was to try and hit all 5 Breweries in the Margaret River area. This would be a mission with time against us.
First port of call was to be Bootleg Brewery, they are one of the big supporters of mountain biking in this state, and supply many of the prizes at local events. Michael “Brookesy” Brookes is the head brewer and an avid mountain biker. When we rocked up the place was “rocking”. It was a full house with Buck’s, birthday parties and the Eagles getting a smashing from the Crows. Making our way towards the bar we ran into a few of the locals we knew and checked the menu. After hearing the wait time for a feed was over an hour (we had a lot to fit in) we decided to put the tasting on ice, I prefer to have the whole experience food and drink. I said a quick hi to Brookesy and we headed out.
Next stop was to be The Colonial Brewing Co, but due to the navigator misunderstanding the map we ended up at theCowaramup Brewery instead. We had been here once before just after it opened and really enjoyed it. By now we were hungry and keen for some food and lubrication. Having tried all the beers here I knew what I prefered, the Cowaramup Hefeweizen. I don’t mind this beer, its good for 1 with a meal but its not a long afternoon drinker. The food at Cowaramup Brewery is top notch, we went with some wedges with sour cream & sweet chilli sauce + a antipasto platter of local fare, featuring meats and cheeses, with other bits and peices. The menu varies thoughout the year but all food is a good complement to the beer. Staff are very friendly and helpful, with no qualms answering my mother’s list of questions.
Our 2nd attempt for The Colonial Brewing Co was up next, this time we got it right. (just so happens the AUDAX PAP 2010 goes past its front door). Here we were welcomed by a bit of live entertainment, some guy doing covers, but added to the atmosphere. The ol man and myself went the tasting paddle here, a collection of their 4 most popular beers. The standout here for me was the Weit Beer, not too bad, but again i think its like the Hefeweizen, ok for 1 with a meal. Although beer lovers will be happy with the purchasing arrangements, a 2L beer jug (flavour of choice) $30 and you can bring it back for refills.
By now the day had gotten away from us and the last 2 Breweries on our list (there are many more boutique micro-breweries scattered around the area) Duckstein Brewery & Bush Shack Brewery would have to wait for another day.
But on the trip back to Busselton there was just enough time to drop in to an
old favourite The Grove Vineyard. This is ‘the’ place to go for Port and Liqueurs. We basically dropped in to see if the 2009 Port was ready (unfortunately still a few months away) but had a quick taste of some new liqueurs while there. The Grove has grown a lot in the last few years and have even added a nice deck out over the ‘croc infested’ waters of the pond.
Finally we were back home and the Lil Mocha whipped up an awesome serve of homemade fish ‘n’ chips with calamari rings, washed down with a nice glass of red.
Really today’s mission was not achieved, we didn’t find a beer for us non beer drinkers. That said we probably didn’t put in a very good effort. I feel a lot more research is needed in the area and I believe I should also take along a 2nd opinion or 4 on the next trip…..