A Leisurely Arvo Ride At Maryvale: 24-Nov-2019

You know when you’re at a relaxed MTB race – a half hour start time delay is announced, we’re all puzzled - snakes?, fire?, permit?...No...a couple of Melbourne punters have gone to Erica for the race – they’ve rung in an said “there’s no one up here”. Ummm, that was a month ago boys …….”Oh Shit , were on our way”. Any wonder, driving a Volvo station wagon!

We all got underway at 10.30. About 50 punters and one pro…. Brenton Jones. Back from Europe for their winter. For those who don't remember, he raced with us 12 years ago on his way up - ever patient mum getting him to races. Done good for lad from Warragul. He won easily, pounding away at record laps. The following Wednesday I was sent his Strava daily ride - training - 200 kms - 2145 m climbing and av speed 31.0 km/h. Geesus. No wonder he disappeared in the dust.

Second and third was a close, drawn out battle. Dom Keating and Matt Franke stayed within sight of each other with Dom holding second for most of the distance. Two and a half hours in Matt grabs Dom and that's the way it ended. (I found out later that Matt had just come off a solo 24 hour enduro – that may explain his endurance fitness).

Teams were won by Speed Dealers (under 17 I might add), 2nd Berms Are Us (Couple of the track owners) and third, Great Scott (crap bikes but fast old farts).

First in the female division was Sarah Bowman followed by Lisa Worden in second.

Solo Junior U19’s had Ben Patrick home first followed by Hugh Hurst then Brock Smith in third (second and third were under 17). Solo junior U15 was won by Jack Morgan, then Bailey Smith and third was Lucas Clarke. Solo junior under 13, Omkar Joshi cleaned up and had impeccable manners during passing manoeuvres.

Solo Ebike was won by Marita Hurst (mum and son racing together – great to see) and Jacinta Nelsson was out there whooshing along in second in the Ebike cartegory.

Over at the end of transition, the black clad misfits "Somewhere Good Trail Fairies" set up their little camp. The club within the club. All unshaven, nut jobs who have strict rules about who sits in what chair etc. The only glimmer of hope is young Jed Maguire. He can still be saved!

We had our share of the walking wounded. Dru Berryman wearing a body brace after damaging his spine. Now, any normal bloke who went to the worlds in Cairns (collarbone during practice) Alps, split his helmet after a head plant, would back it off a few notches. Ah no! Better idea, let's buy a trail bike and snap my back..... Here's a tip ya crazy bastard. Cut it back 10% - everything you break will ache when your 50 – if you get there without a serious limp.

Zane Pyle - Trying to master a ‘lay down’ bend on 1 of 9 - on someone else’s bike = a collarbone and 3 months off. Good to see Piley senior out racing after a 10 year break.

The E Bikes - nothing grinds your gears more than someone whishing past as you gasp for air on a climb. Maybe in 10 years when I stop enjoying pain??

Great to see the teenagers out there in numbers - keen as mustard and training at Maryvale honing their skills. (And they will get faster)

Snakes on the day .......here I was telling Darrel Crosse’s wife (he wore gaiters the whole race) that the snakes will piss off with all the noise...hmmm maybe not ? A five foot brown had a crack at Darren Brown over behind the dam, second last lap, and Matt Franke had a run in with a black snake, again on the second last lap. So, snakes own the Pines - don't forget it. And just as a heads up, tigers, blacks and copper heads are likely to make you sick, eastern brown snakes will kill you. They follow the taipan in danger levels and in my experience if you upset them, they will not back down. I would never ride without a snake bandage, they have indicators for correct pressure to slow your lymph system but not cut off circulation. The one we are required to use in desert races is called a Setopress – about $22 however there are lesser cost options available. Look them up, they could save your bacon.

The opening of Gippy Cycles has been a breath of fresh air in Traralgon. Danny appeared to have brought half the bloody Drouin Cycle Club mob to raid the place. Lucky they didn't clean us out.

The "Kingman" performed perfectly on the microphone keeping us up to date on positions etc. Thankfully he didn't sing to us all.

G.T. got the timing running perfectly so he headed out on a fast lap for fun. Gets held up going down 1 of 9 so what does he do? back up and tear it a new one! Comes back smiling... Job done.

The tracks were pristine, mown/trimmed and fast. Thanks to all the trail fairies including Keating, Mifsud, Lee, etc. We are greatful for their work and commitment. Dom has put a call out for donations for maint/fuel etc. Kick some in if you can.

Kudos to HVP the landowners, waived the access fee and from all reports, permits/access are a dream compared to other land managers.

Lessons learnt on the day:

  • Don't decide to leave your tools and spares back at camp - "it's only a 7k lap, what could go wrong"? And think of the weight saving...
  • Reality check - slice a tubeless tyre 2 k's into the lap. It's a bloody long run back with a bike on your shoulder.

And finally, a track name suggestion. The track behind the dam should be renamed "Hydroponic Highway". As you will all have seen, some lovely gentlemen have gifted us a trailer load of hydroponic "tomato" growing equipment beside the trail. Not making any accusations, however, the tattooed thug on a Harley stopped at that point on the track two weeks before the equipment arrival may have been involved. Funnily enough he didn't want to talk, when I asked if he was lost. And here’s a tip, don’t leave the unopened mail from the Bridles Estate address, not helpful in your anonymity. I await the new track sign.

Thanks again to all of the people involved in making these events fun and a success, seeing young blood, loving the sport, will foster fitness and outdoor activity in the pups that want to be out there.

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