Saturday, August 2, 2014

JetBlack 12hr at James Estate

The JetBlack 12hr has always been the mid year event for us where preparation, or the lack of, comes to the fore. It gives some indication on where and what needs to be concentrated on for the remaining years events, especially if there is a solo 24hr involved. Previous results at the JB12hr (2013 19th, 2012 15th, 2011 7th).

We had a bike ready, trimmed with some nice bits for hours in the saddle and it was a scenic drive via Putty Road north west of Sydney to the Upper Hunter Valley. It was Friday night and the JetBlack Racing team met for a pre-race meal and festivities close to the event location, in the township of Denman.

Arrival at James Estate, the event centre was smoky and alive with bikes.

JetBlack Racing team-mate, Kevlar, leads me through a section of singletrack. Photo: Cell Bikes
Race start was a flurry of clips and crunching gears, as we worked our way out of the grassy transition area and onto the open, sandy trail towards the single track. Our last visit to James Estate, April 2013, we had a really good start, entering the single track in the first group, it was a must again. Working hard to hold the back of the leading group we were rewarded with a smooth entry and run on the 
single track.

With the aim of clocking up some good racing time on the bike and practising all the needs of endurance racing it was only the first lap that was committed as a fast lap. After completion of lap number one it was essential to wind it back a little and enjoy the ride. Eat, drink, relax and have fun on the single track. Out ahead, team mate Phil Welch was storming along solo and somewhere just behind was my other solo team mate, Kevin "Kevlar" Wynne-Smythe. 

During a couple of laps and it was good to have some familiar, consistent  riding company as Kevin had worked his way up to us.

Photo: Sonter Photography
It was easy for the hours to fly by, past the 2.5hrs where it was a struggle during the last GP, then onto completing 4hrs. My team mates were great support as they in the transition area for their own laps, offering bottles and food every time I passed by. 80km, 90km, the riding was still fun, the focus became completing 100km of solid race training, doubling my average training kilometres for the week. 

Very happy with the spruce-up we gave the On One, the 9spd converted clutch derailleur worked a treat quietening the rear end of the bike. Racing Ralphs, supported by wide carbon rims, rolled fast and smooth over the mixture of terrain. And the silicon foam grips? We have already raved about them before.

A great day out at James Estate with Rocky Trail Entertainment and JetBlack MTB Racing Team.

Photo: James Estate Winery

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