Forrest Festival Dec 1st & 2nd 2012

704570 10151164459251003_641423254_oThe 2nd Forrest Festival...same same but different!

2012 has been a mega year for me. Personally in so many ways.

Norm and I have been so busy with working, and me ...well I have been hanging on desperately to my former Elite MTB rider self and suprising myself along the way with what little training I can get away with and still achieve some decent results, and I am nearly 40!

This year, 2012, was our 2nd year of running the Forrest Festival.

We extended the Stage 1 to include 2 more climbs and about 4km extra.

12271 10151171313238226_950351824_n_1Starting at 9:30am in the main street of Forrest, Victoria the race heads up bitumen then onto gravel path, back onto road for a bit before the relief of sweet single track takes over for the next 30 mins. The addition of some climbing and the finish on the bottom half of Red Carpet was well worth the extra time in the saddle and I came away with a solid 3rd place against Peta Mullens (1st) and Jenni King (2nd).

Stage 2 & 3 were as hurty as ever. After a 2hr break, we lined up with 30 second intervals to go from fastest to slowest and ride as fast as you can up to the top of Red Carpet, around 15 

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mins of hurt and 5kms of climbing. There is nothing that can prepare you for hurting this much in a race. I know I just used the strategy to hurt for 15 mins and have no regrets when I got to the top. I came 3rd to Jenni King by 1 second! Doh!!!! A one second regret!

Stage 3 was Red Carpet Descent and I can tell you whilst I enjoyed it, I was 4th slowest on this one, and all I can think is that I was a bit jittery from my massive climbing effort. Peta smashed it but Jenni, Jac and I all came under 13 mins for the descent.

With that done and dusted, we had another 2hrs recovery before the most fun stage of the whole weekend.
I had convinced Norm to add this Dual Time Trial ( like I had experienced at Wildside this year) as Stage 4.

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Set off against your opponent closest to you in your category, it was a test of fitness and riding skill to lose your partner by staying smooth and damn fast through the single track. 5Km long, approx 15 mins long and a fun way to hurt. I know I spoke to many people afterwards and even though they were sure that it was painful, they also commented on how much fun it was. I agree, it was a hoot and I got to face off with Kat O'Shea and came in 3rd overall in Elite Female Category.

Holding a solid 3rd place by the end of day 1, I was excited to face day 2 with the Forrest Festival Stage 5, 50km marathon stage.

Perhaps I should mention my preparation, I almost laugh thinking about it now...6 weeks of opening The Corner Store, being a retail shop owner, working from 8am – 8pm for days on end, training about 5hrs a week, and then even on the weekend in between stages I dropped into the shop and helped make smoothies and serve customers for at least 6hrs on top of my race stages. Whilst this sounds exhausting it was such a fun atmosphere, I got to race, chat with people, serve customers and chat some more, and all the while mingle with people who came to Forrest to be a part of what Norm and I had only wished for! It was just perfect.

So day 2, 50km, excitement and nervousness just to get started. I rocked up to the start line 15 mins before the start as I just had to drop into the shop – again – to work for 2hrs before the start. We made around 100 coffees in this time.

228351 303970589702584_357212340_nOnce the race started I felt good, missing some accelleration I still felt fresh and was having fun. The entire day was spent smiling at how much fun I was having, chatting with other riders, but then remembering to pedal hard. This 50km stage is just perfect, enough road and open sections to drink and fuel up, but so much single track to take your mind off the pain.

When I realised I was going to knock off 4 mins at least of my 2011 time and come 3rd, I knew I had done my best and got to smile and celebrate with all my team mates and my new found mountain bike friends. What a great ride, what an awesome weekend. How lucky am I to be involved in this sport, to live in this town and have so many wonderful people supporting what Norm and I do.

Thanks to Jac and Evan from coming across from SA, to all the Giant riders and my Liv/giant girls.

Thanks to our sponsors, Giant, Shimano, Jet Black Products, Torq Nutrition, Forrest MTB Club and of course Normie Boy Douglas.
Totally marvelous weekend....and coming 3rd Elite Female overall for the weekend was a special bonus for all my hard work.

Thanks to Nic Learmonth from FLOW magazine for the great story too: