Lasseters Hotel Casino Stage 1
Traditionally Stage 3 but for 2011 this course has moved to Stage 1, the initiation track. Covering approximately 50km we were to start out at Telegraph Station Historical Reserve which was a short ride out of Alice Springs along the Todd River Walking Trail. Close to two hundred riders raced along Herbert Heritage Drive, then onto some open slightly sandy 4wd trail. The pressure was on early and by the time we hit the Stuart Highway, thanks to the local constabulary for controlling any traffic the lead group had opened a gap and were making their way along the next 4wd section and heading for the undulating hills.
A couple of soft sandy adventures (where were my cyclocross skills?), a locked gate (more skills) and we were on almost a continuous single track. The undulations on the north side of Alice Springs with their great views could only be a brief distraction from the flowing and often fast trails. I some sections rocks gave way to gravel then you would end up two inches deep in sand, fighting to control you line.
After plenty of rocky sections and a few technical climbs the single track turned to 4wd trail and we raced along the flatter sections close to town to the halfway mark and water point. With a fresh bottle in the cage and excited by the fact there was more fun to be had I kicked into the second half of the course with renewed vigor. More sweet single track out, we eventually turned and made our way back to Alice. I felt like I had made up a dozen places with the wind on my back, I kept a keen eye out for the key final landmarks, the golf course, the footpath then ultimately Lasseters Hotel Casino. Screaming along the footpath I had the Yeti maxed out and was putting my mountain bike time trial techniques to good use. Crossing the line just outside the top twenty for Open Mens I was happy to have had ridden some sweet trails and make up time in the back end of the course. This was just day one and with six more events to come it is looking to be a great week of riding at the Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro.
How the pointy end finished Lasseters Hotel Casino Stage 1
Jason English worked hard throughout the course to stay with the lead riders and was forced to start the sprint for the finish, luck was on his side as he weaved through the Casino carpark leading Andrew Blair and Aiden Lefmann, who crossed the line together for second place. Around two hours and thirteen minutes for the leading trio.
Anna Beck virtually lead the female field from the gun, on a 29er hard-tail Anna made light work of the rough rock sections and has a two and a half minute lead on 24hr World Champion Jessica Douglas. Jo Wall crossed the line some five minutes after Jess to take third place.