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.
Now I’ve had a chance to recover I can tell you all about my adventures at the Dwellingup 100 (104). It was a long hard day but after finishing I can say it was a rewarding challenge.
After doing the Otway Odyssey back in Feb I also signed up for the BMC & Dirtworks 100s. Then I moved back to WA and with those 2 races on the east coast, I had to pull out. I was left with a void, at that time WA had no 100km enduro races. Thankfully soon after the Dwellingup 100 was announced. For some reason I have that sadistic gene in me that likes to punish myself with these enduro races, (I can’t really call them a race, as at my end of the field its just an achievement to finish) so I signed up. Comparing the courses I expected this one to be slightly easier than the Otways. I also talked my younger brother into doing the 40km event.
The weekend started with us heading south to Dwellingup on the friday to find our accommodation and settle in and prepare for the big day. Finding a place to stay was pretty tight with so many people going down for the event but we found a quaint little place just out of town called Froggy Creek. Plenty of room for all of us and a nice break from society.
Having registered, packed and organised ourselves on the Friday night meant we could sleep in a bit longer on the Saturday, pre-race briefing wasn’t til 0815 so plenty of time to get there. The event was based around the town’s football oval so parking wasn’t too much of an issue. As we arrived everyone was putting bikes together and getting themselves warmed up. Was going to be a big day and a lot of riders on the course early on. The briefing was the usual, stay safe, look after each other and the trails, fairly standard, but some people need the reminder (and others still didn’t listen to the take out what you take in). At this time we also found out that there would be an extra 4kms added to the first loop, meaning the 40 became 44 and the 100 became 104km. This was due to all the extra rain making 1 of the river crossings non negotiable, so we had to go around, no real biggy.
From here the 100km riders lined up for the start. We began with a self seeding lap of the oval, I just sat back and waited, I was never going to be at the pointy end of this race. This ended up being a good idea as someone went down with a bit of a domino effect at the front of the pack. Nothing major but enough to dent the ego. After the lap we headed out of town to hit the trails, a short trip on the main road then the Munda Biddi as we headed into the bush, things were a bit slow moving here as the field was still spreading out. The first 10km were pretty uneventful, then we hit 1 of the steepest climbs of the day which had most people resorting to the hike-a-bike method, no point cooking yourself on the first big hill. Most were still jovial at this point but a few 100km entrants realised this would not be as easy as expected and knew they would be stopping at the 40km mark.
Due to the recent rain parts of the course had some challenging muddy patches to negotiate as well as the deceptively deep puddles and creek crossings that brought a few people unstuck including a spectacular OTB right in front of me (if only I had a helmet cam). I continued on at a steady pace not wanting to go to hard to early, stopping occasionally for the odd stretch and nutrition break and a bit of a chat to fellow riders. gradually the front runners of the 40km race caught us. About the 25km mark I passed some poor guy who had come off and done his shoulder/collar bone (unsure how bad-hope it was ok, said he was fine), not good cos it was a long walk back. Soon after I came to a sweet downhill run with a few nasty roots that I think caught a few people out going by the off course divets. The next challenge was the timed climb and again many resorted to the hike-a-bike method, I rode the 1st half then went that option myself. Some parts required you to be a damn mountain goat to negotiate, kudos to anyone who actually rode the whole climb. If it wasn’t the gradient it was the mud that brought you unstuck (or got you stuck). The remainder of the 1st loop was nothing exciting as riding goes, but did provide a few spectacular views across the valleys around Nanga Brook.
On the trip back thru town to the transition point it was good to see spectators out showing their support to the competitors, and encouraging them to the finish/transition line. Here I had a short break to refill water and get some more food into me, there was still another 60km to go. My support team were waiting with the food & refreshments as were the event staff. I stocked up on the essentials, did some stretches and got a nice back rub before heading back out to tackle the north side of town.
The beginning of the north loop involved a few kms of the black stuff to get us to some of the sweetest singletrack that WA has to offer in the XC track at Turner Hill. This was 11kms of pure bliss (well normally it is, this afternoon it was a bit more painful due to the 55kms already ridden). Turner hill has it all, and you can decide for yourself how technical it gets depending on whether you choose the A or B line. Both offer a challenge to the rider. I just wish I had more in me at the time to really enjoy it like it should be. It also was the location of my 1st stack of the day, fatigue had set in a bit and I washed out a gravel corner landing on a stump. Such is life in MTBing. I also had another close encounter with a tree in Turner Hill but thats normal for me. I finished here with 10-15mins before the cut-off and knew I would be pushing the daylight hours at the finishline, along with the other few riders with me, we were the tailend.
From Turner Hill it was 30km back to town via Oakley Dam and the Marinup singletrack. This section involved a lot of gravel or sand based double track, which made life interesting on the fast downhill sections. And then it started to rain, not a lot but enough to make the trail stick and the rocks slippery. Midway between the dam and Marinup was the knarliest descent of the day, bad enough to have a sign at the top advising riders to dismount and walk. Judging by the shoe prints many did, I prefer to ride the downhills, I did enough walking up them. By the bottom though the brakes were a bit warm. By now the body had had enough and all my efforts were put into just getting back to town. That last 10-15kms was a bit of a struggle but at about 5kms to go I ran into Tony Tucknott (race organiser extraordinaire) and had a quick chat and catch my breathe. Then headed off for the final burst to town. Coming into town was a great feeling, you knew it was almost over and you could unclip and stop pedalling.
As I came down the finishers lane – which had now become a quagmire – to the line, the presentations where just kicking off and my support crew were there to welcome me and cheer me across the line. I had finally finished and boy was I glad to get out of the saddle.
I got my finishers medal and t-shirt (not that midget M will ever fit me) and almost crumbled on the ground, the legs (and back) had had enough and knew they didn’t have to go any further. From here I grabbed something to eat and went across for the rest of the presentations. The winners had smashed it in at under 5hrs, making my 8hrs+ look very average. After the presentations it was back to Froggy Creek for a nice hot shower and a good hearty feed before some board games with the family (which wifey and I dominated) and then a good night’s sleep.
Before I finish though I must put a big shoutout to Tony Tucknott (from Perth Mountain Bike Club) and crew with the help of Tri-Events, whom put this marvelous event together. The ball was set rolling 11 months ago and they have done a great job to get this off the ground and do it so well. The course was demanding but fun including a bit of everything to keep it interesting. Course markings were some of the best I have seen and the organisation was almost flawless. Also many thanks to the volunteers that helped out through out the day with marshalling and timing etc, without them events like this don’t run so smoothly. My only qualms for the day were the 0830 start time, most enduro events kickoff about 0700-0730 (I am assuming this was to cater for people driving from Perth for the day) and the finishers t-shirt sizing. They were very small sizes and if you were at the slower end of the field you got stuck with a medium leg warmer. Guess I’ll have to fix that next year by riding faster.
But all in all it was a great event that in time could rival the big east coast 100km enduros for numbers and really show how much WA can put on a show. Hope to see you all there again next year and if you missed it this year, mark it on the calendar for 2010.
GPS trace for the day (yes i know it shows less than 100km but that seems to be a common thing for me on long rides with the 705, if you know how to tune the accuracy let me know).
Well with the Dwellingup 100 fast approaching i thought i really should get in a training ride or 2, and with a mate just getting a new MTB bike (he’s a roadie), what better a time than today. Myself and a few friends from Twitter decided to head down to Langford Park, Jarrahdale for a few hours, have a bit of training ride and induct the noob into the world of MTBing.
The weather was looking ok, no rain on the radar, but with the previous days rain the track would be fun. Lee stopped in on the way to pick me, no point using 2 cars to go to the same place when he live sup the road and we headed south. We got to the meet point on time and had to wait for Dave, who needs to remember the road keeps going :p Ended up finding him down the road in the main carpark where a few others had come along to ride the trails.
Heading out we decided to follow the signage and make use of the Wembley 6hr course from a little while back, this would be easiest in case anyone got lost. The course was still really easy to follow and in good condition except for a few low spots where water had built up. Most of the trail held pretty well except for a few of the wet spots being muddy and slippery, normally the dry gravel can be loose and on the edge.
The day was fairly uneventful, except an early trip into the scrub by myself (think i was still waking up at that point) and further down the track Lee got a bit keen over a jump and gave himself a nice graze to the forearm. Nothing that isn’t expected when having a thrash on the MTB.
After a lap and a half of the course is was time to head home as we all had other commitments for the day, if only weekends were longer. But we left with a parting quote from Lee – “I’m selling my road bike and going MTBing every weekend” if only all roadies had this presence of mind…. 🙂