Thursday, September 4, 2014

Chocolate Foot Singletrack Mind Series – Rnd 4 Coondoo Nowra

Words by Belinda Althaus.

Flowing, fast, super fun, and amazing weather. This was round 4 of the Chocolate Foot STM Series at Coondoo in a nutshell.  The weather put on a show after what had been a pretty miserable week and even had the organisers on their toes right till the last minute. However the correct decision was made to keep the race going ahead and I’m glad they did!

BMC Setup.
I was keen for this race, it was my local track and that meant one thing….I knew it!!  This eased the anxiety and allowed for a relatively cruisy morning for the travelling and setup.   After helping the BerryMountain Cycles crew a little to set up their shop tent, it was time to prep the bike, sort my food and get in a warm up – Done!  Before long we were all riding up Coondoo road in anticipation for the start.  With minutes to spare, we were off and racing. 

The race as usual had a mass start followed by single-track which created the well-known bottleneck and slowed to snail’s pace, but I had managed to stay near the front bunch and this provided a good position going into the laps.  I knew I had at least three other competitors, but in reality I only really new who one of these were.  The girls I was up against had been challenging each other over the whole series and therefore I was the dark horse.

Race Reporter, Bel Athaus.
The first lap went well…until the mud. We had been warned about this, and true to their word we just had to suck it up and grind it out.  I still to this day vouch that this was the hardest part physically of the entire lap...No not really it, it just slowed me down  Coming round to the end of the first lap and I found Eva Boland approaching my tail.  She had been scanning for competitors coming up the snake track.  I made the mistake of identifying myself as her fellow competitor in the 4hr open female category, and this was my first mistake. She followed me to the climb and at this point opened up a gap which was going to make me work hard. I held back fearing we were only on the first lap and had quite a few to go and came up towards the “Bridge” at transition. Pedal hard, power up and don’t think too hard about it. Down the other side and I was relieved to have successfully gotten over it.  Lap 2 saw me approach Eva again in the mud section.  I stayed with her, but again she hit it on the climbs, and slowly creeped away.  I knew at this time that the only thing holding me back was some fitness, and therefore settled into a comfortable but consistent pace.  My goal now was to ensure no other competitors in my category passed me.  The laps went well, I was racing pretty well and about mid-way learned I was in second place. I was determined to stay at this position and pushed on to the end.  The final hour saw me squeeze in the last two laps and bring my total to 7.  I was relieved to finish, and congratulated Eva on her ride well done.  Melissa Nuttal came home in third place. 

Photo: Dave Bateman
Another great and successful day out on the bike.  The girls were fair, raced hard and proved to be worthy competitors.  The team at Chocolate Foot did an amazing job with organising and I’m glad they held the race even against the weather gods.  The amazing trail blazers from South Coast United Mountain bikers had the track mickey-mouse and have worked tirelessly over recent months to build new tracks and refresh the older ones, and this day was a showcase of some awesome trails.  I’m glad to have the privilege to ride them whenever! Thanks also to the continued support from BerryMountain Cycles for keeping me geared up, my bike tuned and just for the encouragement.  You guys rock! 

The final round of the CF series sees it heading to Orange in October. I’ve locked this one in because they too have some amazing trails, and I can’t wait to get back there…Till next time.

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