Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Rocky Trail Grand Prix Orange

Orange's Kinross trails, home of the legendary Ginja Ninja, host to numerous XCO and endurance events over the years. It's blissful winding climbs and joyful bermed descents, were laced together with some XCO-bar-biting pinches and white-knuckle off-camber loose downhills for this the first of the Rocky Trail Entertainment Grand Prix.

It hadn't taken much arm-twisting but we had a posse from Tamworth arrive late Friday after my JetBlack MTB Racing team mates had setup a prime transition position within the event centre.

After a distraught melancholy of overnight moos for those who camped at Kinross, race morning finally arrived, and it was a comfortable and mild. A caravan of cars with bikes attached started arriving and plenty of pre-race rituals were underway. The event centre went from ghost-town to down-town as the RedBull truck arrived and 3x3 shades rose from Kinross's reddish dirt.

As the countdown started, we lined up close to the front as to benefit from the short run into the single-track. It was a cracking start and while the pace was on, it felt good on legs that had seen plenty of kms over the Christmas break. Sitting behind Tamworth local and frother Justin Roberts, our pace solid over the first three laps. 

With a 2019 endurance result not to be scoffed at, we followed a pairs-team from Inverell for as long as we could. These young guys were blasting around the track and had sneaked slowly up on us, Justin couldn't take the pace, dropping off somewhere mid-forest. A couple of laps was all we could handle but this had brought us onto the wheel of a local, who was more of a match to our 4hr endurance pace.

Settled back into a sustainable pace we were caught by the leading 4hr, then eventually the leading 7hr riders. Jon Odams had the lead on Ben Fillingham as he flew by us, but a tyre issue saw Ben take the lead and complete the 4hrs first. Mick Sherwood was on a very good rolling pace when rolling with us, when we paused at transition to take on more water, Mick was up the hill and gone. Mick went on to win the 7hr.

Little did we know there was in-category rivalry as a quiet Matt Clutterham rolled behind us, returning to Grand Prix racing after a few years hiatus. Again we paused at transition to sort out our gear for the final laps and Matt slipped up the trail to take 2nd by a mere minute.

An awesome day on the trails of Kinross and a timely reminder of what cool trails we have on offer around our regional towns. Can't wait to race the next event, we'll see you there!

JetBlack MTB Racing are support by the following;

#ridejetblack #jetblackproducts #theoddspoke #rockytrailentertainment #hubbardproof #prismbike #M2Oindustries #blacktownfamilydental #ambmagazine #mitastyres #raceface #ridefox #northerninlandacademyofsport

@jetblackmtbrace @ridejetblack @jetblackcycling @theoddspoke @rockytrailentertainment @prism.bike @M2OIndustries @australianmountainbike @mitas_tyres @raceface @ridefoxaustralia @nias_sport

Full results here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2019 Wrap!

  • It has been another massive year. Thanks to my team and team mates for all their support. While some our results are individual we get great support from friends and family who give up their time to hand out bottles and drive us after an exhausting day.
  • We have a number of standout events and results, here they are in no particular order.
  • 2nd Pair 12hrs in the Piney
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • 4th Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 6Feb
  • 1st Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 14Feb
  • 4th Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 27Feb
  • 4th Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 16Oct
  • 7th Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 23Oct
  • 2nd Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 30Oct
  • 2nd Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 6Nov
  • 7th Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 13Nov
  • 4th Elite TAMMTB Summer Race 20Nov
  • .
  • 17th RT Grand Prix Series (28th GC Rnd 3 & 5 only) 
  • .
  • 7th RT SuperFlow Series
  • JetBlack MTB Racing are support by the following;

    #ridejetblack #jetblackproducts #theoddspoke #rockytrailentertainment #hubbardproof #prismbike #M2Oindustries #blacktownfamilydental #ambmagazine #mitastyres

    @jetblackmtbrace @ridejetblack @jetblackcycling @theoddspoke @rockytrailentertainment @prism.bike @M2OIndustries @australianmountainbike @mitas_tyres

Friday, November 15, 2019

12hrs in the Piney - 6+6 Pairs

Solos, Teams and Support Crew.
 It has been a massive build towards Armidale hosting the WEMBO World 24hr Solo titles in 2020. As part of this build the New England MTB Club have hosted a couple of National Cup races, and a year out from WEMBO they hosted the Asia/Pacific WEMBO/National 24hr Solo Champs and their annual 12hrs in the Piney race, as one event!

With team mate Browny looking for a pairs partner, and our only goal to attend, we were off to the races and had our spot booked in the 6+6 event. Riders from all over NSW/ACT, QLD and some from Victoria (we even spotted a kiwi flag) descended on Armidale for a festive weekend of racing.

A combination of WEMBO, National 24 solo and 12hrs in the Piney.
With everyone settled in their pitting areas and the formalities carried out by NEMTB, Browny was dressed and ready to go (for our little team). We had Kevlar, Catherine and Dalene from the JetBlack Team entered in the 24 solo, Guru and Chops in the pits, and Peter returning to riding in the solo 6+6.  In addition to our pit area we had multiple World Champ Jason English and crew Jenni PLUS Grafton locals Michelle and Grant (in their first 24 solo).

A number of small changes had cleaned up the UNE trail providing a mostly smooth hard-packed trail free of loose obstacles and gravel. They had included a couple of kilometres of grass following the creek-line and a steady-grade grass hill to push the trail out to 10km. With the solos getting a two minute lead on the 6+6 riders, we had about thirty minutes to get dressed and ready for Browny's return.

Working our way through the trails on a warm and windy Saturday afternoon.
Browny and I went lap for lap, heading out onto the trail. While resting and fuelling in the pits we helped out as the solo riders rolled through. Many solo riders were just as quick as many of the teams, well at this early stage. It was a very fluid and dynamic environment within the pit, looking out for our riders, being on hand to help and getting ourselves ready for our next snappy lap.

As the afternoon progressed it was evident Browny and I were being outclassed by the duo of Justin and Simon, but we were also having a little friendly competition with the Inverell pair Jodi and Brad. As the afternoon faded and the 6+6 riders completed their first 6hrs, the solo riders plodded on, probably relishing in the quiet open trails.

When the 6+6 race paused, we continued to help the solo riders.
It was time to refuel, savour Guru's custom pizzas and to maintain vigilance for our solo riders. For the solos it was was "lights-on", warm food and bike swap. It had been a windy afternoon and as dusk settled in the wind died down, the party atmosphere paused and the flood-lights were lit. 

After a short sleep it was an early rise to pull on some fresh gear, including all out winter warmers for the single digit dawn temperatures. I was pretty happy to knock out that first lap and hand over to Browny as the sun started it's steady rise into the clear sky. Unfortunately with the rise of the sun the wind began too, punishing all riders with a headwind over open sections of trail.

Having a blast on Sunday morning.
As many of our previous experiences have shown, much had happened overnight with the solos. The drop in the wind had increased the dust through the pine forest. Quite a few riders had paused for lengthy periods overnight. Notably the Elite female leader had stopped at lap 17, around midnight, opening the door for those chasing ladies. There was a few changes of placings in the Elite male as Mick Sherwood faced off with Kevin Hawes for 2nd place. Mick eventually stopped racing at 29 laps, over 18hrs of racing due to issues with the raised dust. There were so many different stories.

The trail conditions hadn't changed much overnight, maybe a little more dusty. Browny and I completed our laps with a double by me. We'd put in a solid effort staying competitive with those around us. We held onto a 2nd place in the Pairs, a couple of laps on 3rd.

A solid 12hrs of racing with Browny.
Our team mates went well too, Kevlar rode into 5th with 24 laps. Catherine held 1st with 29 laps and Dalene placed 1st with 12 laps. Peter completed 8 laps in the solo 6+6. Watch out 2020 WEMBO...

Full results here.

JetBlack MTB Racing are support by the following;

#ridejetblack #jetblackproducts #theoddspoke #rockytrailentertainment #hubbardproof #prismbike #M2Oindustries #blacktownfamilydental #ambmagazine #mitastyres

@jetblackmtbrace @ridejetblack @jetblackcycling @theoddspoke @rockytrailentertainment @prism.bike @M2OIndustries @australianmountainbike @mitas_tyres

Team mate handover.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

North West Mountainbikers - Gravity Enduro

A dozen riders from around the North West region and beyond to join in a morning of shuttles at Mt Borah, near Manilla, 50km north of Tamworth.

Attending were a number of junior riders from our local club Tamworth Mountanbikers, these kids have spent some of this year attending SuperFlow and other Enduro style events from the mid-north coast to Newcastle, and beyond.

It was our first visit to these trails and geared up with protection from 661, we felt this could be a good technical challenge. The Borah trails are strewn with jutting rocks and with the current dry weather a super loose top surface.

Photo: Ben Marsh
The Borah trails also have a number of drops, gaps and tabletops, all with B-lines. Rolling these trails can be slow and laborious, racing these trails, a technical nightmare of choices.

We managed to roll through the three trails North West Mountainbikers had put on offer. There were a plenty of sections that you could spend hours perfecting, but we were keen to put some timed runs together, to compare with the other riders.

Photo: Ben Marsh
After a “race” run on each trail, we felt there was still room for improvement, we headed back up to Stage 1 and 2. We put together smoother runs for both stages and reduced our times by 10 seconds on each stage.

Not resting on our laurels we rode back up to the top to get Stage 1 just a little better. Almost at the end of the run we lost some speed in a double drop biting the dirt on completion of the drops. Pushing our bike past the gate, bars bent and with dusty knees, we had managed to drop the race time by another 3 seconds.

Photo: The Broken Spoke Tamworth
In the wash-up we placed 2nd on Stage 1, 3rd on Stage 2 and 3rd on Stage 3 for a win by 8 seconds.

Full results here.

JetBlack MTB Racing are support by the following;

#ridejetblack #jetblackproducts #theoddspoke #rockytrailentertainment #hubbardproof #prismbike #M2Oindustries #blacktownfamilydental #ambmagazine #mitastyres

@jetblackmtbrace @ridejetblack @jetblackcycling @theoddspoke @rockytrailentertainment @prism.bike @M2OIndustries @australianmountainbike @mitas_tyres

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Rocky Trail Grand Prix Championship - Awaba

A smaller crew had turned up at Awaba for the Grand Prix Championship for 2019. It was warm already on arrival with a forecast that only promised further heat and wind. 

We gathered with our JetBlack Racing Team mates, many of which had just completed a reccy lap, sweat already dripping from their brows. Some light banter as both teams and solos considered their strategies.

On our own short reccy we found the trail was dry and loose in sections. With Jason English naming the game for the day being smooth in and out of corners, it wasn’t long before we headed down the firetrail for a race start.

All photos by: OuterImage
On our first lap we were joined by team mate Kevlar, who was on his final run of large rides for the year. With Kev barking orders we wound our way around the increasingly diverse trail Awaba now has on offer.

Passing Kev, we kept an eye on the riders a couple of hundred meters in front of us, maintaining a nice pace over the first few laps. With the inclusion of Camelback Climb there was plenty of sweet long descents to have fun on.

Hitting the midway mark it was getting crazy warm and we could feel our body not responding well to the early heat. But it wasn't just us starting to suffer, we tagged onto, then passed Mobius rider Chris who admitted being cooked. Chis went on to slide 10mins behind over the course of the remaining laps.

All the front running teams and solos had seemed to slip away again for this event, leaving what seemed like a huge gap of space to makeup. Thankfully with less riders on trail this did leave plenty of open trail and very little passing over the course.

Two laps from the end our support crew must have been reading our mind as they handed us an extra bottle of water and a cooling towel. The towel, a permanent part of our riding kit, soaked with water brought some relief from the punishing conditions.

On our final lap we were joined by team mate Dave, who was riding in a team of three for the 7hrs. Having Dave behind us kept our mind focused on riding and not worrying so much about the dry heat sapping all our energy.

We crossed the line with 15mins remaining on the racing clock and very little left in the tank. We waited and were relieved when our competitors chose to call it a day too. This gave us our best result for the Rocky Trail year with a 1st in Category and 5th overall. Thanks to all my JetBlack Racing team mates for their support again!

It has been a solid week of racing with the NSW Police and Emergency Games XCO [1st] and GE [3rd] (a 1200km road-trip) and the Grand Prix Championship (a 560km road-trip).

Full results can be found here.

JetBlack MTB Racing are support by the following;

#ridejetblack #jetblackproducts #theoddspoke #rockytrailentertainment #hubbardproof #prismbike #M2Oindustries #blacktownfamilydental #ambmagazine #mitastyres

@jetblackmtbrace @ridejetblack @jetblackcycling @theoddspoke @rockytrailentertainment @prism.bike @M2OIndustries @australianmountainbike @mitas_tyres