Toowoomba to Ewen Maddock Dam

TMBA What Rocks Enduro – May 16th 2015

The other weekend I competed in the Toowoomba what Rocks Enduro. I jump at the chance to race out on the Toowoomba trails every chance I can get. They have such a good mountain bike community out there working on the trails and developing sustainable and wicked fun trails.

You can check their the blogspot website at here for more information for events and maps of their trails, you can also like them on facebook.

Here are the stage for Saturdays race.




Stage one was the start of the downhill track Frenzie making it’s way onto Canyonero. The TMBC had a nice flow to their event with all the stages following onto each other. Stages two, three and five all started at the same point. There was a new trail called ‘Ida’ going right on to a classic, Reaper. Stage 3 was High Life onto Rollercat. Stage four was Turkey onto Centrelink, which is pretty much awesome corners onto a blast out, down, super fast XC flowing trail. Stage five was Calibre and straight back to the event area.

I didn’t want to crash on something silly and not be able to race in the first round of the Nomad Sunshine Series at Jubilee Park. So I wasn’t giving it my all just incase I pulled a Jared Graves…

At the end of the day I was 4th in elite, but 5th overall. Pretty happy with how the day played out. Smashed out the course on my Trance Advanced 27.5 1, check it out on the page.


 Nomad Sunshine Series, Jubilee Park – May 17th 2015

The first round of the Nomad Sunshine Series was held at Jubilee Park, which sits on the side of the steep slopes of Toowoomba. First round, first time to stretch out the racing legs and see where you stand against everyone else. People who don’t race the national round won’t have done much punchy cross country racing in Queensland unless you were attending the shorted XC races that the TMBC also runs, Wild West Series.

The track was pretty much, go up a nice gradual windy climb with a short fire road descent in the middle followed by a wicked down trail, which was a bit of Turkey and onto Centrelink to hit on back to the event area. Here is the course below.

Sunshine Series 2015_700PX

As the image shows, the course is 3.8km long. We, A Grade Men riders had to pump out 7 of these laps. The whole race I felt like I yo-yoed off the back off wheels. The first two laps I felt like I had stumps for legs that just didn’t want to go. I eventually came good on the third lap. Maybe unknowingly, Declan Wharton paced me into a good rhythm and I found some pace. Unfortunately he was pretty frisky on the climbs and got away from me a few times.

We battled out for the whole race until the start of lap six where I dropped my chain. Uh-oh. I tried to pull Declan back, but I could only just spy him on some of the switchback climbs. Finishing lap 6 I had another train drop on Centrelink. This wasn’t helping at all. I felt like I was riding for 6th position now. I rode as fast as my legs would let me, trying to make the most of the race. Low and behold I found Declan on the climb and I knew I had to make my move before we hit the descent if I wanted to avoid a sprint finish around the hairpin turn on the loose gravel fireroad. I passed and layed the hammer down to try and break Declan and get some ground. I think I must have had a little bit more in the tank at this stage and I got the gap I needed to hold the position to the line.

Bit disappointed with the chain drops because 4th may of been a possibility, but getting up on the podium is always nice. I reckon QLD has one of the best MTB community out there.

If you want to check out the bike I rode on head over to to check it out. I was on the 2015 XTC Advanced SL 27.5 1.


John Russell’s Picture, from left: Bradley Babel, Ben Forbes, Jared Graves, Ethan Kelly, Chris Firman.



For the Riders 45km XC MTB (Hosted by Tre X) – Sunday 24th 2015

This race was a week after the Toowoomba event and this race hurt.

The course was awesome, but it did not give you any chance to rest. Nothing but full gas. The soil was a mixture of soft sand with hard dirt fire roads and some loose dirt covered with pine needles. It felt a little rough on the hard tail although very manageable.

It was a lamont start, meaning a run to the bikes as the start of the race. Having 6m long legs helps with this aspect even though crazy talented kid Dean Cane crushed it to the bike. But I was the first onto the course with pro like cyclocross skills. Sadly my early lead was destroyed by Ethan Kelly’s insane power. Once it got to the fireroad it was bye bye to Ethan and hello trying to suck onto Dean’s wheel to recover. This kid is fast.

I took the lead of our two man chase group. Unfortunately this is where my race starts to deteriorate. Dean and I were flying around this bend one second then I was shoulder charging and having my body slap on the ground the next. I didn’t expect the ground to just move under me. Obviously this was a surprise to me but I honestly did not expect it to happen in this section, I had felt so composed riding the trails just moments before.

Dean checked if I was ok and I think I nodded, still in a bit of, “What the F*** just happened? Am I dead?”. Then my fellow team rider Simon “Freddo” Frederiksen came by a second later and asked if I was ok. I think I may have hit my head, but everything was so fast I wasn’t sure and I didn’t feel too bad once I got on my bike and rode on. I really wanted to get on the back of Simon to gather myself but I felt flat. I was hitting the fire roads and feeling smashed. Every time I got to single track I felt good, but flat on the fire roads.

The crash wasn’t helping. The small bumps in the track eventually felt harsh and my shoulders and wrists were hurting. Similar to Toowoomba, I felt like I was just racing for 4th place. I think I was bad luck. Dean had a worse stack than I. He told me he just got Ethan into sights and then BAM, he flipped over and broke spokes in his front wheel and got some shifters to the knee. He came into the timing area to swap bikes with his dad. Unfortunately he didn’t move his timing chip over which is apart of the race number and lost a lot of time in the process. Completing the 5th lap he said he had to pull out because the pain was too much.


The only reason my hands are not up in the air is because I don’t think the world is ready for my mid drift.


When I finished I was startled to find out that I had come 3rd and then saw poor Dean with his leg patched up. He had to get stitches! I hope he gets better in time for an important running race the following weekend.

That was the big wrap up of the weekend. Definately have a look at the Giant XTC Advanced SL 2.7.5 1 at for the riders or even the 2015 Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5 0.



Rough, Tough and down right STUFFED!

After the selection races I have gone back into base training. Which means, you know it – lots of hours on the bike! This is fine, and since Monday I have been waking up at 4am and going out at 4:30-5:00am to do 3.5-4.5hr road rides. This also included some easy/fun MTB sessions in the afternoon to help regain some confidence in my single track handling skills.

This week was going to be a 1,000km week, but I mentioned to my coach that I have a XC race at Toowoomba on Saturday (which is very steep and rocky) and a Long distance MTB-O race on the Sunday. So we still decided to have a hard week but half the amount and I managed to rack up about ~400+ kms by the Thursday and did a promotional shoot for MTB-O with the ‘Totally Wild‘ show which is a Channel 10 show on the Friday.


So today I was feeling a little rested, but I was doubting my chances for staying with the leaders after having ridden the course on a practice lap. It was rocky, and I mean ROCKY, as well as steep. I felt, O.K. on the climbs in the practice lap but it was a whole different story when the race started.

I knew it would be an absolute shit fight to get into the single track due to the lack of overtaking chances on the whole course and the sudden rough technical climb. I think there was about 100m of track that was viable to overtake, unless you wanted to spend a huge amount of energy to ride over rocky ground in the bush faster than someone else on smooth or rocky track.

So the race starts and I hit the first climb hard to get an O.K. spot, then about in the first 100m I knew this wasn’t going to be a race against the other guys. This was a race to see if I could make it around four times. My legs felt shot and they weren’t recovering and the close trees and rocks where making me nervous and slow.

The rough descents were effecting my left shoulder and my arms were already fatiguing on the first half of your course on the first lap! I have done mainly road cycling since I was given the O.K. to cycle again but the rough track shook me to bits, let alone my whole body already feeling like it had done the course four times.

It was a mind game and I was losing the game. I came around through my 2nd lap and stopped and had a talk to with Dad and I had already felt defeated for awhile. My back was telling me to stop and my arms were barely keeping control of the rough and narly descents. Don’t get me wrong, they were fun and I loved them but my body wasn’t dealing with it well.

I pushed out a third lap but I was exhausted and my arms were weak and the shoulder was doing weird things. Having seen stacks on the course I thought I would play it safe by pulling out and resting. I wanted to do four laps, but my body didn’t have it in me that day.

The winner Ben Forbes powered through for a victory with a healthy lead of Michael Illing who also had a healthy lead over Aiden Lefmann.


There is a lot of work to do to bring me up to speed. I know I am slow on tight windy tracks and I don’t quite have the explosive speed as the other guys. improving my technical skill is crucial as well. Heading into this race I could have trained differently, but this isn’t what I am training for.

My focus right now is the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships in Estonia and I need to get kilometers into my legs then put some speed into them. I do want to improve my XC performances seeing as it will be better to aim for to have competition to push me to go faster and train better.