Racing Racing Racing...and travel travel travel

523182 10150996331056003_918863009_nAugust has been pretty crazy.
I can't believe I am still here, with energy and managing to rock up to races, have fun, do my job of being there and then able to knock up a win!

After coming back from the Jet Black Rocky Trail Entertainment 12hr in Sydney, Norm and I got stuck straight into work again.
Meeting our MTBSkills crew at the Melbourne aiport and the rest in the city we hung around for pics, checking out the Giant 2013 range at Zinc in the city, coffee, hot chocolates, and delish Melbourne winter sunshine.  

A great day, great people, great bikes and a great sleep that night...with 3 days to catch up on work, recouperate and get ready to head up to Cairns on Friday 17th August (via plane of course!).
Norm William and I were running MTBSkills clinics the day before the inaugral Atherton 8hr which used to be the Herberton 8hr.
Long story short, David Prete contacted me to see if we could come up, do some courses and have a race.
We knew we had to make this work, to get to Atherton at the end of a Victorian endless winter and be warm for a few days with of course the promise of great trails, great hospitality and wonderful people.

We got there on the Friday, thanks Wil and Anna, Cairns was slightly humid and a beautiful 25 degrees and sunny! Jeans and long sleeve tee off, shorts and ss tee on! Coffee found, visit to Cairns Bicycle Centre (local Giant dealer in Cairns) and then the drive to Atherton.
I forgot to mention that Norm and I left home in Forrest at 3:15am on Friday morning for a 6am flight.  Norm decided it was best that he not even go to bed, so by the time we got to Cairns and then driving to Atherton Norm had been awake for well over 24hrs and finally fell asleep. 

Our accommodation, organised by the Atherton Tablelands Cycle sport club and their sponsor Tropical Pasture Seeds Australia, was at the Summit B & B and it was beautiful.  Why didnt we plan to stay for longer????
There will be a next time soon - I will make sure of it.

MTBSkills day on Saturday held at the gun club close by to the trails hosted over 20 riders ready and willing to hand over their brains for us to rewire and with a trail 10km long with about 700 corners, getting off the brakes was with lots of forward vision was the call of the day.

Norm, Wil and I were exhausted but elated. Teaching is fun and takes a lot of off we headed to the Barron Valley Hotel for dinner with an entree of hot chips and garlic bread! Carb me up Scottie!

Sunday 19th August - Race day.

Turning up at 7am for an 8am start, it was delightfully chilly. A Southerner travelling to the far north of Qld mid winter appreciates a morning chill but I forgot to warm up!
I am such a preacher of following processes, but today I totally forgot to do a good warm up and with a 1km dirt road sprint to the first bit of single track you can guess how that went.

The gun went off, I was sneaking my front wheel up into the gaps of the first row and as we went I hung on to some wheels and dust.  I was missing the same kick as the boys up front and slowly was left in no mans land between a bunch of 10 and a bunch of 5 slowly encroaching on me.  What zest that was in my legs vanished in an instant and I was pedaling on muscle memory and fear of being overtaken by slower riders once in the single track.  As it was, I made it behind a good group that I never had to pass and with wheels to follow I slowly began my transition to most possibly the dirtiest I have ever been racing my mountain bike.


The tracks were mostly only about 6 weeks old, with rain being sparse over this time and the trail base being quite rocky, what dirt was there quickly become fine talcum like powder dust.
With 700 corners later, lap 1 was done.  I decided there were 2 very good drinking spots on the lap, in the 500mts out on the dirt road to the single track and the 500mts back on the dirt road to transition, the rest was full gas pedalling the entire way.

You can see the profile here, 2000mts of climbing in 7 & 1/2hrs in what loops to be not very hilly terrain = pedal pedal pedal.

 Strava data Atherton 8hr

...and so I got dirtier, with 12 laps done and without question I went out for one more, only to really just find that I could not muster up any power, feeling quite ill and cramping all over the place, I turned around and returned to the start on a short cut.  I had to manage the last lap in 39 minutes for it to count, my last 2 laps were done in 37 mins.  It was fine and I will never know if I could have made it.

Everytime I get the chance to race interstate in a town I would never visit I realise that the world has so much to offer and that I should look to visit places with cycling events, not for the prize money, not for the glory, but too meet great people and broaden my horizons.

The results:

I came 1st solo female overall and we worked out that in the overall (male and female) solo I would have come 3rd!
Tough day at the office, and even tougher sitting in a 3hr flight back to Melbourne at 8:30pm.



Thank you William and Anna for driving, for taking us to the airport, for being great company and of course the MTBSkills clinics in Cairns and Atheron.

Thank you David Prete for your great efforts in securing us accommodation at The Summit B&B, getting the skills courses up and running and of course hosting me at your great new event.

Thank you Tableland Cyclesports and all the Atherton cyclists - great vibe in town with all the bikes chained up to trees and fences and signs and of course the effort you have put into the trails.

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