Thursday, July 4, 2013

MTB Super Series - Race 4 - Murrenbong(Swamp Edition)

The last round of the MTB Super Series was once again to be held a Murrenbong.  After fantastic conditions in round 3 the weather on the days leading up to race 4 suggested the track was going to live up the its nickname of Muddenbong.  Living not too far from Murrenbong and only getting light rain, I was in hope of if only being a  damp track, and then only in the lower parts of the course.  News coming back from those that had done a practice lap was mixed, anything from "Its not that bad" to "I'm going home!"  Never mind, these were the sorts of conditions that got me into single speed MTB in the first place.

There was heavy cloud, but it was not actually rain, so hopefully conditions would improve.   Ever the optimist, I decided to stick with the Ignitor tyres that I had on my Superfly SS rather than swapping the more mud capable tyres off my spare bike.  We were racing in the reverse direction from the direction we generally ride at Murrenbong.  I had geared up from the previous race, but a little less than I may have done in dry conditions.  I didn't see either Jacob or Jeff that ridden so strongly in race 3, but on the start line, I spotted Jeff.  I had a feeling I was running lower gearing, but I thought I could try to ride with him for the first lap.  We had an unusual rolling start, and I got boxed in and by the time I got in the clear, I was well behind the front runners as they turned off the fire road on to the first single track.  Once things settled down, I realised I'd forgotten to start my Garmin, which also meant I was not sure of the race timing(I finally remembered to have a look at the official clock at about the 3hr mark).

Even in the wet, the track was a heap of fun in the reverse direction. Conditions on lap 1 were OK, until we got the creek section, and the first crossing was bottom bracket deep.  Otherwise there was some hope that the track would improve throughout the morning, but after 3 or 4 laps the track deteriorated until some parts were slop.  Grip on some of the climbs and descents was almost non-existent, with a couple of logs crossing the trail nearly taking my rear wheel away from me many times.

I started to have difficulty seeing, with the mud covering my glasses.  I manage to clean them a few times, but eventually discard them when I stop to change bottles and grab a banana.  Eating and drinking without getting a mouth full of dirt was impossible, and really meant that I was definitely under fuelled.  Fortunately you can get away with that a bit in a ...4hr race if you start well hydrated...especially when it's not too hot.  Otherwise, I was feeling pretty good.  The whole track was rideable, it just took some extra concentration at each log.    The last couple of laps was particularly treacherous, with the top layer of mud in some sections coming up in whole, sticky layers, turning my tires in to slicks which led to lots of 2 wheel drifting...and lots of fun.

I crossed the line in 4hrs 11mins, which was good enough for 2nd in the Single Speed category, and 8th overall solo.  Jeff Toohey was in a class of his own, winning the single speed category and finishing 1st overall solo. I was turned up enough times in the series to win the 4 race SS category, with Hallam Brooks in 2nd and Jeff Toohey in 3rd.  Although I'd prefer a bit of a mix of race lengths(ie longer), the series was well run and well attended.  Thanks to the organisers, sponsors and assistants.

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About Me

QLD, Australia
My interests include Mountain Biking, Rockclimbing and Photography