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Hellfire Cup has been done! (6)

28 November 2013

My trip to Tassie – Hellfire Cup

1425633 10151762511101003 1135331168 nHellfire cup was originally meant to be held on the Australia Day long weekend in January earlier this year, but unfortunately mother nature breathed fire down the very region that would be holding the event, leaving it unfeasable and certainly unsafe for us to race let alone camp and have fun in the area. Bad luck for the race, the organisers and local tourism, but with the postponement put forward to late November, surely the timing would be good, albeit a bit busy on the schedule?

Well...no...the weather went exactly the opposite, rain rain and more rain and the fear of flooding of the event centre which was held on private land on a beautiful piece of paradise.
I know every other athlete there was thinking the same thing about how horrible it was for the organisers to have to go through this again, so we all stayed strong, and kept our smiley faces on for the sake of pressing onwards.

Late 2012 MTBSkills ran a Tasmanian competition to get more women on mountain bikes via doing an MTBSkills course and telling us their story about why they should be my race partner in Hellfire Cup. The idea was not to choose the fastest most skillful rider, in fact choose someone totally green and new to the sport and support them with a bit of MTB love and girl power.

And so we chose Allison Turnock, a newbie to the mountain bike scene, a track and field athlete who had a great smile and the perfect attitude to match the competition requirements.

So here I was in November matched up with Allison, ready to race, rain and mud, and see what this Hellfire cup was all about. A huge contingent of mainlanders in attendance and a bucket load of elites ready to win some big cash dollar.

I arrived on Wednesday via the Spirit of Tasmania enjoying the trip over and the drive down from Devonport via Launceston. Yep it was raining but I got to catch up with a few chicks in Launnie and have some good coffee. Arriving at race central around 2pm the road was dry, the trails were dry and life was good...for the time being.

1479139 10152077890883035 197900813 nI got set up, marquees and tent done, and on my bike riding the trails that would be part of many of the events for the next 4 days. They were fun, lots of secret little spots that felt like another land, lots of good climbs with rewarding views and winding descents. I was having fun and knocked over 15km in the evening, finishing in the final climb/downhill for one of the stages.

Happy with the trails, happy with my bike, ready for a quick bite to eat and off to bed.

Overnight it rained, but I did not think it rained that much, however by the time we started the race the trails were quite wet and being at the tail end of the race with Allison the mud was there in copious amounts already. But the rain didnt ease, in fact it got harder and more steady.

Stage 1 – what was it?

The idea was to ride with your partner the whole time, approx 26km long or there abouts.

Starting off with single track, doing some road, onto a bit of 4wd track, back onto dirt road and then onto what would have been wicked single track, but by the time we got there it was wickedly muddy walking track. However, it was fun, and we did make the most of enjoying the rain, enjoying the mud and getting a good look at the scenery. Totally magic area of Tassie.

The finish of the race was pretty fun with some new single track descending back to the farm property, in the dry this trail will be great.

Allison and I were out there for a 3hr stint and by the time we got back it was now obvious we would have to pack up shop and decide on alternate location.

1467453 10151758477101003 988884870 nAlly and her brother, Andrew offered a spare bedroom at their parents house, so I packed up shop and moved in with the Turnocks. Thanks Allison for chicken stir fry – it was really yum!
A sleep in was in store with an 11am start and stage 2 was to be a 20km relay race where you each do a 20km loop only once.

Day 2 – Allison went first in the relay whilst I waited around to for my ride.
A fun loop with loads of climbing too finishing in a mud fest, but hey it was still wet and raining and at least we could race. The vibe was good and from all accounts Allison was having a great time – I hope!

After this stage, I got home to the Turnocks and the sun was shining in Lauderdale, so a massive request from me to go for another ride was met with enthusiasm. Myself, Andrew and Allison went for a really magic 35km ride around their region, it was heaps of fun and I earnt my dinner credits that night so we were off for more

When we got back it was time to have a shower, and get out for dinner at Fish Frenzy. I love the blue eye Trevalla with Greek Salad – YUM YUM!

1461718 10151762531031003 804148663 nMore news of changes in race format for the next day. More rain, wet stuff but it was a nice cruise to the start line and a 17km team time trial with beautiful views of Marion Bay.
Allison and I got a lift back in the sag wagon, what a fun day.

Finished off with even more fish and salad – again! I love the blue eye trevalla – YUM!

The final day was a very very quick team sprint around the Bream Creek showgrounds, it was really a bit of fun and lots of people were drinking beer on corners and crashing and all sorts of banter.
All in all, everyone just kept going no matter the weather.
Sure we didnt get the stages in like planned nor the chilled out party atmosphere that we could have had in the sun...but we did it.
Allison is now a mountain biker and turned up to a local twilight club race only days after Hellfire.

1476706 10152394501484115 900577975 nSo did I reach my race goal? Hell yes, thanks Hellfire Cup for allowing MTBSkills to turn up, introduce one good chick to the world of MTB love and enjoy your energy as well.