Bike Buller MTB Festival - March 9, 10 & 11th - 2013

531519 444040519008322 1259599464 nThe Giant “gigantic” Mt Buller Bike Buller Festivus!
March 9th 10th & 11th - 2013

This is the 5th year of doing this amazing event and it does keep getting better and better.
3 events over 3 days. These are tough races and I personally know of people who took twice as long as I did to finish, but still completed every single race.

2013 I had planned to use this as a great way to get some hills in the legs, spend a week here before hand and ride the event tired and with many miles done already.

Over late February I had spent another long weekend in Bright riding hills for 4 days, had a womens MTBSkills camp in Feb & March at Mt Buller too.

The only fear I have when it comes to these races is the intensity in the first 5-10 mins where putting in 101% is essential if you want to make single track early and get a clear run. This is not what I am particulary good at.

This is where I had Jenni King and the forever in the hurt box, Sarah Riley pushing away on every start of every race. OUCH! With Jo Wall not far behind I just had to accept the pain, ride anyway, know that everyone was suffering and that if I just suffered a little more than the person beside me, I was in!
So that was really the them of the weekend, suffer more than I think I can or even want to, in order to be ahead of the person who is less willing to suffer as much. I do believe that is what cycle racing is all about anyway!

On Friday the 8th March, the crew was turning up at the lodge I had organised. Full house.
Giant crew, PVDP, Rando, Sammy and Scotty Chancellor, Carlso, Jackie Schapel, as well as Al & Rossi.
The rest of the lodge was made up of a bunch of good cycling buddies and we made a good house for 3 days.
The boys did run amuck but politely so – taking into consideration nanas like me who are keen for “quiet time”

529739 626229610737315 1127205286 n50km Mt Stirling Stage
Saturday the 9th March brought with it another sunny day, mild low 20's, no wind, and a 10am race start.
With 50km of hard core single track and back country mountain biking to be done, I personally knew I could work my way into this but would take it easy on the Cornhill 4wd road that always takes many puncture casualities in the first 20 mins of the race. Astounding how many riders would smash their way past, only for me to see them 20 mts along with a flat. This road has serious moving square shaped rocks all along the 2-3km stretch. Its got a mild downhill that eggs you to pedal, but often too much speed requires braking which brings on nasty side wall tears or pinch flats for those still running tubes.

Through this section safely on day 1, always a bonus, but just behind Jody Bush and Sarah Riley who were more gusty on this road. Up ahead out of sight was Jenni King in the lead followed by Jo Wall. No stress, I knew I could ride Stonefly under pressure and nail it all so I settled in to giving myself an honest 101% effort the whole way to the top, which takes just shy of 40 mins. Rocks, very tight switchbacks, small narrow bridges, big narrow bridges, logs and roots and of course all the while creeping up to the top of Mt Stirling.

I was closing in on Sarah Riley and seeing that we were early days in the race, I just sat back and waited for an opportunity once we hit the top open section. Within seconds of me thinking this, Sarah was on the side of the track with a broken chain. She didnt have a chain breaker on her, so suggested that she walk her bike only a couple of hundred meters to the checkpoint.

Apparently she got it fixed pronto without much hassle. In the meantime, I'm heading to Mt Stirling up a rocky steep 4wd track that says”please walk me for at least 50mts” and so I oblige.

Oh hello, there is Jo Wall, just another water bar away from me, pity my riding legs walk bikes up hills pretty much backwards. Finally as I crest the top I see Jo ride off into her realm of fast decents, so I let her go knowing that I need to find my own space and pace, and perhaps there is a chance I can get her on the other side as we climb Mt Stirling again?

The back country section of Mt Stirling Cross Country Ski area is amazing and whats even more amazing is the Red Bull tent offering 50/50 water/red bull in cups. I did indeed scull one like a thirsty mountain biker. Renewal and refreshing, 4.5kms of hill climbing now await. Feeling steady, feeling strong but not like a gazelle / mountain goat strong, just like, “yep, I've got a big hill in me no worries!”

Up the top I do indeed catch Jo Wall and descend right on her wheel down Stone fly. We are having a ball – eating dust, and I am happy to tell the world about how this is much fun!

So much fun that I got my best “strava” time down this trail – ever!

Jo and I ride along again, Circuit road and then onto River spur and then up to Box corner. I did chat to her about how we would manage the finish if we wanted to sprint? She did say she was not keen for a sprint and so the battle began. She pushed, I responded. Bonus really as we started to pass people all around us, then we hit the road and started reeling in more boys for the next 3kms. Then it came, the defining moment when I am in front, suspension locked out, out of the saddle and cranking, legs burning, heart rate nearly at max, but instead of sitting down I go down one more gear on the rear, and punch it over the final crest and go all out to beat her to the chairlift back to the top – which would dictate our finishing position as it was just a quick downhill to the finish.
Jo is now one chair behind me, and its a close set one, like spacing when its full season and snowing. I have about 5-10 seconds up and race it to the very very end. I came 2nd in stage 1 by 9 seconds!

Jenni finished nearly 10 mins up on us, but happy to take 2nd and had a heap of fun riding and racing with Jo in the final 23 km of the day.


542609 10151335834481003 1747394557 nBrake Burner/Super D
Stage 2 – March 10th

Ahhh yes,...8:30am start, dry skatey downhilly style trails – this stage always tests my ability or nerve on the bike. Just not as willing to let it rip on the wide open fast trails.

My start group consisted of Jenni King, Jared Rando and self.
Jenni was off never to be seen again, Rando sat behind and I tried my best to find form again today.
Heart in throat, skills are now crapola.
My first lap ends up being my fastest but who would have guessed, it felt bad.

The Brake burner is a race of a 7km circuit that has uphill and downhill in it, its more like a flat out XC circuit on a predominant downhill trail called Copperhead.

Oh and you get to catch the chairlift back up when your 7km lap is done, now thats 10 mins recovery for free that is not counted in your lap time.
2nd & 3rd lap were within seconds of each other, but the last lap was silly, lots of traffic, slower riders and no chance to improve my lap time. With that done I started the Super D.

This start of the race has a lot of steep rocky downhill sections that I just cant help but think of death and dismemberment as I descend them. With that out of the way, dead legs and nervous as hell, the rest of Delatite River Trail is sweet, still fast and needs respect, but its a lot more enjoyable, crossing river bridges and water crossings, its a trail to be enjoyed.

Arriving at the bottom I overshot the finish line and just couldnt find it, damn it, landing me a 4th place overall for the day, coming in 6 seconds behind the gun Jackie Schapel.

Having finished the race, Jacs and I got wet in the river, grabbed a bit of paella, then proceeded to ride our bikes back up the mountain to avoid waiting for the buses and putting out bikes in the truck. The upside of this was that we also got to ride the chairlift one more time and avoided the steep final 2km climb up Buller. Winners!

I am now in 3rd place overall:

After a great early return to our lodge, a shower, bike clean and the rest, I had a 1hr nap with a very quiet lodge.


578523 627364240623852 2005607086 nCornhill Cranker 25km XC race
Stage 3 – March 11th 2013

A much more pleasant 9am start, getting up at 7am meant plenty of time to prepare for the final day. Little chats with myself to confirm that I could race this well and finish 2nd or 3rd if I just thought the right things and made the rigtht moves.

Definitely nervous about the start loop and that steep climb up to the top of Copperhead. It hurt but then as I said earlier, everyone is hurting, I just needed to hurt a bit more and try my hardest to do that again and again and again.

Not doing too bad, I made the first climb in 3rd not far behind Sarah Riley, but man she just keeps digging even when others have quit.

Heading down Copperhead the crew of riders in front and behind were sooo very patient which was good to see. We hit the climb back out and it did take me a while to find my heart lung and leg connection, but once I hit the road up cornhill I was able to bridge across to Jo Wall and then bridge another 2 bunches allowing me to enter the single track just behind Sarah Riley. The entire rest of Cornhill trails, Silk lane, Misty twist were spent on Sarah's tail. Just when I was thinking, “I will pass now” she would put the power on and be up the trail 10 mts in a flash. This went on for ages when finally I had to ask her to pass so I could be first wheel down Cornhill Descent, we had Jo Wall on our tail and I knew I could be faster down there. I asked Sarah to pass and suggested she follow me down and we look after each other for a 2nd and 3rd placing. Unfortunately Sarah crashed and I did too. I hopped back on and yelled at Sarah to do so too, follow me down. She just couldnt do it straight away. I had to take that chance and ride now, the opportunity was there and gone.

I pulled away and passed another 3 riders on the descent, and pushed as hard as I could up Split Rock climb back to the event centre to finish.

Happy to come in 2nd, disappointed Sarah crashed but still she came in 4th on the day. Jo Wall 2 mins behind me. Jenni King finishing nearly 7 or 8 mins up on me though! Total gun.
So overall I came 3rd Female and 1st Veteran women.
Yep I am a 40 year old and get credit for it!

What a great weekend, awesome weather and wonderful support from Giant Bicycles, BikeBox, Jet Black Products, Tekin Suspension, Shimano and Normie boy who could not be there but always supports me long distance anyway.

Woo hoo, oh and a massive thank you to all my friends who I got to hang out with all weekend long.