Race Report – Gippsland MTB Enduro 201229 Jun 2012
For the first time in almost a year Al and I packed our bikes into the back of the ute to race the same race. I was super excited about that, and the fact the race was only 50 minutes down the road, the closest race we have. The Gippsland MTB Club were holding a 4hr Enduro at the Colqhourn Forest just outside of Lakes Entrance, East Gippsland. With a turnout of over 50 competitors, it was a world-record number they had had at any of their races!
The track was awesome fun but got harder and harder with every lap. It was a fairly long loop of 14.5km’s and 95% was singletrack. The start of the loop went into “Lollipop Track” a fun, flowy section that went up and down into gullies, a bit long what I imagine if “Whoopse-doos” was a thing that is it what it would be. On a dry day this track would be mega fun! Race day had followed a few days of rain and as a result the bottom of each gully was a mudbath, that got muddier, deeper and slipperier with each lap. The track had 3 fairly steep climbs and then alot of gradual climbing over sandy sections which zapped the legs and made you feel like you were going real slow. There were some fun descents and some cool but sometimes scary as they were pretty massive log rolls overs, there were also a couple of bridges which gave me some practise as I have a genuine dislike or perhaps fear of bridges.
The first lap I was trying to get into a good position so went pretty hard, with such a long track and 50 competitors spread over it, I rode most of the rest of the race by myself. At times I was in full race mode trying to go flat chat and ride real smooth, and then at other times my mind wandered to the most random things and I would forget I was in a race, mosey-ing along admiring the scenery and just loving riding my bike I would have to remind myself I was in a race! The second lap I had a few close calls through the mud nearly catapulting myself into a tree and lost abit of confidence so I went pretty slow through Lollipop Track. I then got annoyed at myself for being a sook and not going fast, so the next lap I was determined to go hard through the mud so I didn’t lose too much time. There was one massive puddle that I had managed to divert but knew that it was really deep as I had wheeled my bike through it and the pretty much lost sight of my wheels, indicating that going straight through wasn’t a good option.
On my next lap, the lap I had revved myself up for to go hard, I thought I had already been through and diverted that big ass puddle. I was wrong. I went flying through the big ass puddle that I didn’t think was THAT puddle and my front wheel just stopped dead, sucked in by the forces of the muddy bog deep in the puddle. Back end up, handlebar turns straight into right thigh, face plant deep into the mud. My whole right side was now the shade of dark grey/brown courtesy of the stinky mud bath I had just laid in. I struggled to hold onto the grips as my gloves were cake with mud, and my right thigh was corked. After grimacing in pain, then laughing at how hilarious that would of looked I thought, surely I am not the only one who has done that…surely!?!??! When I crossed the line a couple of laps later there was quite a few others with one side of dried mud caked down their bodies, phew!! Including Al who had face planted in the same puddle not once but twice!! He had done the same thing as I and thought he had cleared the puddle already and that THAT puddle wasn’t the deep one when in fact it was.
I ended up doing 5 laps in a time of 4 hour 50mins. I had ridden my 4th lap thinking it would be my last and hoping Al would be at the finish waiting. When I pulled in at 3hrs 53mins, I was told Al had gone out for his 5th lap. I figured I might as well go out again so I could finish on the same amount of laps as Al!! It was a fantastic event.
A big thank you to Gippsland MTB Club for all the work they have put in to building and maintaining the trails. Last week we got absolutely hammered by a storm and there were 55 trees over that 14.5k loop, they worked tirelessly and removed them all before the race. It’s these people that make MTBing happen, without their countless hours of hard work we wouldn’t have any trails to ride or any races to race. You guys are awesome, a massive, massive thanks. Also a big thanks to PureSport Nutrition, alternating between Grape and Banana Berry workout drinks were awesome, no cramps at all!!! After the race I had a recovery sachet in my water bottle to help the recovery process.