Stage 6, a classic in the ICME line-up. Run on the same course as the mornings ITT, the trail is usually familiar for most but under lights, this adds another element and can dull the sense of familiarity.
The whole peloton positioned on the start line, lights on, watching, waiting for the sun go down. Smiles, composed faces hide pre-race nerves and competitive tendencies. It seems like the calm before the storm, but not long AC/DC’s Thunderstruck begins to reverberate through the crowd. Woo-oh, woah, woh, woh!
Crack! And it is on, the peloton launches onto the fire-trail at hypersonic pace, everyone trying to get hole-shot into the single-track first. Conga lines build quickly and when the lead rider of the train suddenly stops, there can be utter confusion in the darkness. Conversations are blinding!
Bush bashing back to find the track, you’re in catch up mode. Steve had it good at this stage, “a local was sitting behind me calling out the corners rally navigator style… awesome”
A tiny breaking in concentration and you can hit something unseen, they litter the trail at night, and you’re over the bars crashing into the mulga scrub. There are plenty of challenges when night riding.