Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WSMTB Summer Series at Wylde

It had been a while in the making, with plenty of work by WSMTB and those involved in the making of Western Sydney Parkland’s Wylde MTB Trail. After Round 1 was cancelled, so many riders had been crossing their fingers to get a chance to race the first Wylde event with WSMTB and finally it was here.

Mass rego line, everyone wanting to race Wylde. Photo: Steve Billington
There was some trepidation as the patchy morning sky gradually turned grey and almost on the queue of race start it began raining. A thirty-minute delay was called, the rain cloud passed and mud splatter was guaranteed.

JetBlack MTB Racing team excited in preperation. Photo: CrummyMTB
On race start we had lined up a little further back than we should have and consequently had to put up with a bit of conga-line traffic during the first lap. While out in front and settling a pace only some team riders could manage (Jason English-esque), was teammate Andrew Finlayson.

JetBlack MTB Racing's Andrew Finlayson leads the race. Photo: CrummyMTB
We had made the right choice to ride our Pivot 429 shod with Nobbly Nics and a Michelin Wild Race’r (review tyre) from race start. The huge widely spaced knobs on the Nic were near perfect in the wet conditions and we were able to use that control to our advantage, getting within sight of our competitors by the end of lap 1.

No caption needed. Photo: Scott Reynolds
There were many mishaps, even out on Lap 2, as the trail began to slowly change but it was still very slippery in sections. The Blue Mountains duo of Ian Anderson (fast-man from last weeks Ginja Ninja 250) and Steve Tomczyk (who also pipping us by a couple of minutes last week too) went down on the trail spectacularly in front of us, sliding sideways with their bikes like pancakes along the trail. We lost our numberplate shortly after as it was heavy with mud and we had to run back along the sodden trail to find it.

Making the most of the fast conditions. Photo: Scott Reynolds

The Pivot was having some shifting issues due to ingress of mud to the segmented wire outer (a full-length outer will be the next upgrade) and now a couple of laps in the trail was definatly drying out and getting faster. Time for a bike swap, to the cleaner, leaner, orange On One Inbred.

Now it was just settling into the pain of Wylde's short pinch climbs, which we think was the cause of some back discomfort many riders were experiencing. We had plenty of riders around us to ride with particularly Steve Billington from Quantum Racing. We were often in formation as a little pair zipping along the trails, keeping it relaxed and making it easy to for multiple riders flowing in a passing situations. We were making good time and slowly pulling back any fast XC riders out in front, both solos and teams.

Riding side by side for most of the 4hrs Steve Billington and author. Photo: Steve Billington
Getting the nutrition right was a big part of the day (could be a whole blog in its self) and we had purposely consumed a gel mid Lap 6 in prep for Lap 7, we wanted to ensure Steve had no answer for what our intentions were. Within the first 3km we could see that there was a neat gap between us, but we didn't turn the screws down till the second half of the lap, scream through the final sections making every double and railing every berm.

Solo male podium, L-R, Michael Crummy 2nd, Andrew Finlayson 1st. Not present Steve Billinton 3rd.
Photo: Scott Reynolds

Unbeknownst to most out on the trail the timing computer spat the dummy and the WSMTB timing crew had been working feverishly to pull results together. There was some anticipation at presentations as the top three team and solo riders were announced in each category, and it was a great surprise to hear Steve Billington announced as third place and that we had placed second to teammate Andrew Finlayson.
Massive shout to WSMTB and all the team behind pulling the Summer Series together. Bikeminded and our other LBS for supporting each round. Stans NoTubes and JetBlack for their support of the Series. Our team JetBlack MTB Racing for great camaraderie, and all our sponsors in which we ride for. Another top event and stoked to race Wylde for its first time!

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