Charcoal Never Lies!

Roughly 50 punters showed up for the “Eaglehawk Scramble” latin for “a downhill ride with mostly climbing”. A couple of ‘private’ pre race briefings were held … one for Ash Webster ……don’t worry Ash , in your definition of ‘hills” there are none here, it's flat….after his banquet of bulls**t served up when he said of Foster “only one 200m climb”.

And another to Black Caviar ( Brad Fisher ) “do you understand the reason we have guide tape, try not to make up your own route.”, after his pioneering trail blazing effort at the Blores Twilight race last year.....

And the normal pre race verbal jousting and mind games, “I've just got over a 400 k race last month”, “I raced yesterday” (another idiot), and again Brad “I've barely been on the bike , bloody fire season”. Trev Nicklen, (man with a dog – a kelpie ) skulking around the perimeter , “I’ve been fighting fires , no time” blah blah blah. And over in the background smiling was Lauren Fox, jumping around like a frog in a sock with excitement.

Steve Blake bandaged his calf feigning a hammie or something …. Jules, his resident physio (and ever suffering child bride) was working on his “injury”…..apparently she is pregnant AGAIN… how does this bloke find the time to work, shag and race bikes??????? Kirsten looking keen, a mouth full cheek, and the Kaska , the broken ‘pit b*tch’, having done the Achilles again.

A cursory scan of the remaining crowd saw a lot of new faces on this side of the Strezleckis, and not surprisingly, that long streak of Wiggins looking as inconspicuous as possible. Foster must have been devoid of adults.

A pissweak bell ring broke out from the roadside, as Bainsy set us on our way. Half a k down the Cowwarr Road we entered the scrub in single file with the pointy end rapidly disappearing down the flowing single track. Massive amounts of brushcutting had occurred thanks to the trail fairies, making this section a pleasure to ride. Across the road junction and back up into single track, again for a couple of k’s then we turned right onto a rapidly declining bush track. It became obvious at this point, that trail bikes and mountain bike trail sharing is a nightmare. Max would have been off his bike and having a complete dummy spit at the inconsiderate bastards. Furrows to swallow a wheel became the norm, all luckily devoid of water, and strength and fitness became a side issue to concentration.

In amongst all this I come across young Tom Deller, then Matt Franke with time wasting mechanicals – broken chains . The only time most are ever likely to see ‘their’ race plates disappearing behind.  Gullies, gullies more gullies and ruts prevailed. Thank Christ it wasn’t wet. Somewhere amongst all this, another whippet, Brian Wallace decided to break a derailleur, so off to the sag wagon with him.

Across the Cowwarr Road again, to the south and into more single track. Are we having fun yet???    So far there had been little time for a feed or a drink, those who were brave did, however chunks out of the bark on the trunks of the trees told a story of brief moments of brain fade. Little else now (apart from concentration) for a while until the smell of the old “controlled burn” ( a Nicklen speciality) and Mossy (where do I sign) standing at the “gates of Ewok” with that knowing grin…….

Inside this little burnt patch was Northshore Dan, like a proud dad with his camera hoping to record some stupidity…. Easily provided. As evidenced at the finish, a lot of riders had some interesting charcoal marks all over their bodies suggesting there was a lot of very ‘loose’ technique displayed in there. Yes, we know Downsy, you didn’t hit anything, it was dust from the track.  Charcoal never lies.!!!!

For all those treehuggers who appreciate nature, we wandered around the most spectacular knoll of grass trees hidden from the world, and fortunately well away from “that’d  look great in my garden” brigade.

The first 18ks were tough and the last 10 or so were heaven, still cerebal but once in the groove most had a ball. Full marks to the Kingman, out with his nephew, at the back of the field providing encouragement for the young pups to learn to love the sport. Lauren was still smiling at the end, doing well and loving it, and Malte had that subtle grin.

On Malte, and the younger riders, these are perfect examples of kids with drive and focus, parental backing, club and sponsor backing realising potential and getting higher up the list event by event – the future of the sport.

Back to the finish line and ‘sausages are us’, and the presentation. A gallery of charcoal, shoulders, faces ,back of necks (wtf).. awesome, we know Downsey….. dust. As the presentation proceeds, the clapping follows and Sharon's kelpie (moral standards unknown) barks her head off every time there is an applause. Now Sharon's not a big girl, however she has been known to subdue many a large bozo with a tummy full of beer…. but do you reckon she could shut miss kelpie up????  We later learn that Sharon the dog trainer has taught miss kelpie to bark when she claps…… why???? to stir up the bats when they are paddle boarding together. Logical.

Fairly disappointed with Sharon by the way, her result was reasonable, however not up to standard, the Sharon we have known in the past would not have driven to the event, but swum up through the Gippsland Lakes to Sale, paddled up to Cowwarr, then hiked up to the start line, with her bike on her back dressed only in a deerskin she shot earlier. 

On a more serious note, the trail fairies who put this trail together had done an awesome job, I know easily said, however, that length of trail, the changing terrain, inaccessibility, no looping and shared with the trail bikes was a massive task – a huge thank you.

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