Social Dirt

Most Saturday mornings since I was thirteen I have meet up with a small group of riders, who over the years have become my friends. We start our ride from a car park close to the mountain bike trails at Gap Creek Reserve. Most of my training rides are over two hours of pedalling and 98% of my training rides I am riding by myself. So this ride is a nice easy ride where I can socialise and muck about with a few of the other riders.


These riders aren’t super men, some ride a couple of times a week. Even my father attends these rides and he is 60! Occasionally the main rider who sort of runs the social ride brings out his downhill bike and I have seen him ride the 18kg downhill machine up some slopes that I have seen people push their carbon cross country bikes up. For me it’s an easy ride, for some it’s a good Saturday morning work out.

I feel it is important to have this ride to slow me down and refresh my attitude to cycling. One can slip into a training mind where you feel like you are forced to get onto the bike and train. This ride makes you jump on your bike and makes you want to feel the dirt under your wheels and grin ear to ear as you pump a jump, bunny hop over dips in the track and flick out dirt as your tear up a berm.


Today we were riding down a trail called ‘Lost’ and we came across a natural jump/dip and we did some gremlin work to set up a small jump with sticks. I didn’t feel comfortable attempting it but a couple of the other riders who come from a downhill background gave it a whirl.

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Christmas Update 2

Again another late post. I have found the maps I had run on for the last two days of the Christmas 5 days. The fourth day was held on Rowdy Flat, which is gold mining country. I rode to the event which was roughly 26km away from Beechworth. The morning was fairly rough before riding out to the event. The night before my front tire had developed some problems with the rubber. It was bulging out on the ridge and felt thin and wasn’t looking well. I decide it would be safer to place a tube in and made sure I had patches in my riding kit.

Rowdy Flat is extremely technical due to the gold mining damage to the terrain and the erosion. This causes low visibility and lots of small steep undulations in the ground. I only made two major errors, and I couple of errors wasting time in the control circle. Heading from the first checkpoint to the second I accidentally veered off to the left along the tracks and had to make my way east back to the control. My next big blunder was checkpoint 6 to 7. I ran my desired route perfectly, navigating my way through the maze of tracks smoothly but when I had take the right hand turn down towards checkpoint 7 I turned right a junction earlier and headed towards 10 and wasted a good five to ten minutes searching in the wrong area. After that last blunder I flowed through the rest of the course.

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After the race we drove back to Beechworth to do the MTBO training. The training was riding on an old sprint course map and then we decided to go off to the local cross country track next to Beechworth. At this training session Adrian Jackson had come down from a Merida Team training camp at Mt. Buller to teach us some cyclocross skills which are quite useful in MTBO. Some how he ended up with a GoPro and was asked to follow me around the XC track. The problem was that I am 6’4″ and he just taller then my shoulder and the Beechworth XC track is a tight windy loose XC course. So it was quite a challenge to ride the course blind and fast with a high class rider bearing down on your rear wheel.

The last race was held in Beechwroth it self. This map I had probably the cleanest run out of all the five days of racing. Apparently the people who set the course didn’t realise the scale of the map and accidentally set extra long courses. We were used to running a 5 to 6km course and ended up running a little over 9km course if you didn’t make any mistakes. At the very end of the course we had to run up a steepish hill to get to the last control and finally finish.


My legs were fairly sore and I was ready to head back to Melbourne to relax for a good couple of days.