We headed to Orange to compete in the Ginja Ninja 250, the first round of the highly anticipated Evocities Series. Many top rides from around NSW/ACT were expected to enter this mostly regional NSW series, as it has large cash prize pool on offer.
Arriving on Saturday gave us the chance to ride a lap of the Ginja Ninja course, but it would have been rude not to ride two laps for all the fun the course offered. There were some slight changes over previous years course, with a couple more deliberate climbs thrown in this year, but on the flip side this also provided some exciting descending from said climbs.
We found out that the Banjo Paterson Festival had been running all week in Orange and Saturday night was the annual night markets. The park opposite DG Cycles in Orange was filled full of local food and beverage stalls. It was a great opportunity to sample local produce and mix with the thousands that converged on the markets that night.
|Riders barrel along the firetrail before beginning the race loop. Photo: CrummyMTB|
Race morning dawned and there was plenty of time for a civilized breakfast with a start of 10am for the Ginja Ninja. We had secured a transition location with a JetBlack 3x3 shade that had been erected the previous day. All that needed to be done, was any last minute prep (don’t forget our race plate!) and a warm up before all the fun began.
|Slipping out of the way on start the Ginja Ninja and the Mayor start proceedings. Photo: Jude Keogh, Central Western Daily|
We managed to hold a steady position near the front of the lead bunch slipping into the singletrack within the top twenty riders. From there it was all just gnashing at the bar and stem for the climbs, and whoops of joy while blasting back down again.
The fire was lit and burning hot, it seemed we were lapping consistently, sub 30 minutes, and keeping pace with the leading age-groupers. We were keeping a close eye on our nutrition, the day was expected to warm up and we were burning energy fast with the high tempo. Our nutritional transitions were helped out by James “Chops” Lamb who was also looking after team-mates Kevin (riding SS) and Sara (riding Open Women), and during the midst of the midday heat he was on hand with a water-spray bottle keeping the team just that bit cooler in our fresh 2015 JetBlack MTB Racing kit.
For this event we weren’t stuck in no-mans-land riding by ourselves, it was nice to have plenty of company, like Alex from Quantum Racing and Garry James of Canberra Super Masters fame amongst those we rode with.
|The author on pace. Photo: CrummyMTB|
As for our team-mates, Kev had some mechanical issues and called it quits well before the 250th minute. Still managed a top three placing for a guy new to the joy of single-speed. Sara rode strong amongst a very competitive womens field only to slip outside the top 5 in the final few laps. Well done to both, as this was their first Ginja Ninja outing.
|Team-mate Sara Mills in the mix of the action. Photo: CrummyMTB|
While the fast guys were jockeying for their top 5 positions we went on to place a solid 7th against the quality Open Mens group. Thanks to the JetBlack MTB Racing team and all our sponsors for their support. We rode Pivot’s Mach 429 on a 1x10 (32/standard) setup. First race outing back from servicing for our X-Fusion Trace by DIY MTB, working superbly.
See you all next week!