Thursday, July 5, 2018

Ourimbah - SuperFlow

It was only last week we were racing at Ourimbah in the GP4, AND this week we are back again, this time for SuperFlow! SuperFlow is the new generation of Rocky Trail's Rollercoaster Series, of which we participated in originally (1st - 2012, 5th - 2013, 23rd - 2014). It is the XC take on Gravity Enduro, with probably the most popular Enduro series, the Enduro World Series (EWS) grabbing most of the attention.

So we are back at Ourimbah and there is a buzz. It is different from last week’s Grand Prix, a more casual, more fluro, baggy and longer travel buzz. This is the second round of the RTE SuperFlow Series we have been able to get to, we missed the Thredbo round a couple of months ago. Not surprisingly the SuperFlow Series has some serious followers, just about all male categories were buoyant with enthusiasts and punters alike.

We joined JetBlack MTB Racing team mates Eric, Troy, Matt and newcomer Brad at the event rego and hub area for our racing plates. There we also met with the Rocky Trail Entertainment crew, Martin and Juliana for the pre-race brief. We had a couple of hours to check out the two race trails before the 11am race kick-off.

It was a cool start for the practice session, we transitioned along the XC trails to warm up the legs. From the bottom of the valley it was couple of hundred vertical meter, fire-trail climb, to the start of the timed sections. This round I teamed up with newcomer Brad and we sessioned the shorter, steeper “Fox” trail first. 

The short, steep trail was a portion of the Ourimbah Downhill track. It was pretty intense and we stopped a number of times to sus out lines. We also had a chat with a couple of Ourimbah regulars, gleaming some invaluable insights for our race runs. Then it was back on the climb to the top to roll the “Fox” trail again, just to make sure we had absorbed as much trail information as possible in a couple of sighting laps.

We managed to squeeze a roll through of the “Stans” trail before 11am. A couple of sections we hadn’t seen before, but much of it was used last week during the Grand Prix event. All good, lets go racing!

First trail to we chose to race on was the longer "Stans" section. Having just rolled this trail and it being significant longer, our fairly fresh legs would stomp the XC styling of this section. I headed out first with Brad chasing, but through the dusty first descent section with adrenaline pumping I pushed to hard, driving into a tree on a tight left-hand corner. Shaken and with signs of some blood after taking much of the hit to the tree via my arm I went to jump on the bike, but the bars were twisted. I quickly re-aligned the bars as I saw Brad crested the hill and begin descending to my position. I had just about lost thirty seconds due to this off, I remounted and whipped the bike with a frenzy of pedal strokes to get me back down the trail.

At the bottom of the "Stans" trail I quickly self diagnosed some pretty good inflammation to my elbow, no joint pain or deep cuts. All good to continue racing, we headed back to the top for a couple more runs of the shorter DH trail, and get timed on the "Fox" section. 

For the first run at “Fox” Brad went first, I quickly counted twenty seconds and chased after him. My idea was to close the gap as much as possible on the mostly flat transition to the singletrack, then hold onto that smaller time gap as I wrestled the hardtail through the rough course.  It seemed to have worked; Brad was just heading down the singletrack as I was coming up to it. In regards to the “Fox” course it was a definite balance of control, because gaining speed no problem, it all pointed downhill. I was glad I replaced the brake pads a few days earlier, keeping the bike on the trail and pointed in the right direction was executed with volumes of braking.

After transiting back to the top to have another go at “Fox”, Brad checks out the online results, I had set initial time of just over three minutes. That result was not to shabby, with Brad sets a time seven just seconds slower. A quick hydrate, a chat with other riders and we were in the mix for another razz down the track. There was a shuffle of riders as we improved the line-up and self-seeding situation, this time Brad was to chase and potentially improve his time. I let the rider in front go just long enough that I knew I would catch them just before the singletrack to ensure free trail for the tech section. It works, I pass the DH rider just seconds before the trail narrowed and I get a clear shot at sprinting down the trail. At the bottom I wait longer than I should have to, but eventually Brad rolls in, seems he had an off mid-course. I set a time almost two seconds faster, pushing me in the sub three minute bracket.

With my young team mate having a crash it was time to make our way back to the event hub for a break, sustenance and refocus. Of course, we still had to do another lap of the longer “Stans” course to post an official time. A transition back to the top again and a good half day of riding is finally catching up with us.

We roll up to the start of the longer trail, this time I didn't need my own crash again but it was important to set a solid time. I rolled away first, diving through the tough loose first section and onto the little climb, boom, there is the first rider I catch, in fact there were three riders all up. I was feeling pretty on fire, pushing the bike as much as I felt reasonable. I launched over the finishing matt and skidded through the mid of the watching bunch on the firetrail. It was good to finish the trail with no major errors and a big smile on my face.

There was time, and energy for one more lap and see as though Brad had made a mess of his last "Fox", I encourage him to finish the day with a smooth run down. We rode to the top again and hit the trails for the last time that day.

All-n-all it was a fun day out. My three times on "Fox" had only a two second deviation, pretty consistent (placing in the top 100/300 riders). And my two runs on the longer "Stans" had a thirty second deviation, which was about what it felt when I crashed on the first of the two runs. The faster of the runs put me in the top 15 riders for the day. This result put me on the top step of the podium for the hardtail class!

Next stop is near Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast for the Jolly Nose, Round 4 of the SuperFlow Series. Thanks to the JetBlack MTB Racing Team and our sponsors for another fun day out!

JetBlack MTB Racing continues to be partnered with The Odd Spoke, Natural Balance, Rocky Trail Entertainment and AMB. Full results from this SuperFlow round here. Series results so far, here (yes, we are leading the Hardtail Category).

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