Gippsland MTB Three Stage Race – 24-May-2009

Sunday 24th May saw GMTB stage a slightly different race where it was held over three stages, all of which started & finished at the canteen in EG TAFE’s Forestech Building.  Riders completed a 7km time trial, a 2 hour enduro over a 5km course then a 12km off road ‘rally’ where riders were paired and sent out into the Colquhuon Forest with a set of instructions & had to make their way back. Unaided. Some without women to guide them. Happily, all made it back.

The time trial saw riders take off in order of race plate at thirty second intervals, thanks mainly to the utterly fabulous CROSSCO clock. That big, voluptuous, yellow CROSSCO clock, ticking away ever so efficiently. The time trial took in 2.5 km of walking trail & fire trail so the boys who could grind out a big gear could catch a rider or two. The trail soon turned to washed out fire trail followed by some sandy, motorbike affected rubbish followed by some sweet singletrack followed by some more sandy rubbish & even some bitumen before a loop of the Forestech building back to control.

Race organisers didn’t even smirk when the lycra lads came in grinning, popping mono’s & skylarking in general whilst the baggy boys looked a tad spent already. With two stages to go. Aaaaah, the lycra strikes back!!!

Local boy Ben Blackman charged around and still managed to win the time trial despite a crash 100 metres from the finish. No 1 race plate wearer Trevor Nicklen lived up to his number to get pipped by 13 seconds, and being first away with nobody to chase down. Local MTB stalwart Brian Wallace was at his irrepressible best coming in third 8 seconds behind Nicklen.

The Enduro took in a flowing, cruisy 5km loop that incorporated some road, some long, gradual descents and one abominable climb. The cream soon rose to the top with Blackman just keeping his nose in front of Wallace & Nicklen. Blackman managed to keep about 1 minute ahead of Wallace for the entire enduro with Blackman just out of sight the entire journey. Trevor Nicklen joined Wallace & Blackman as the only riders to complete 9 laps. Next was GMTB race regular Dino Giove, Bairnsdale’s Ashley Higman & brand new club member Judd Boeker; all having completed 8 laps. Sharon Dilly fresh from the Keen Adventure Race only weeks prior also managed 8 laps to be first female by a mile.

Which leads us to the off-road rally, which is a concept completely & utterley hijacked & stolen from the Keen Adventure Race then adapted, mapped & prepared by virtual Colquhuon resident Sharon Dilly. Competitors were paired then given detailed instructions like….

TL onto ST and proceed 480m. TR onto WT and proceed 890m.

Which translates into Turn Left onto Singletrack and proceed 480 metres, Turn Right on Walking Track and proceed 890 metres.  There were other ones which perhaps due to severe fatigue went something like……

TL onto ST and FT in RQ. TL onto WT and D of ICB and DS.

Which of course translates into Turn Left onto Singletrack and Feel Tightness in Right Quadricep. Turn Left onto Walking Track and Dream of Icy Cold Beer and Dim Sims.

Given that Race Director Stuart had no idea where the course was going & had even looked at the course notes, he did know it was 12km in length.  ‘If we can average 15km/hr’ he thought, which is about standard for the Colquhuon, ‘should take 45-50 minutes’, when quizzed. Ha. Ha. Very funny. 1 hour forty minutes….

In an utter surprise, Ben Blackman teamed with Brian Wallace, probably used a bit of local knowledge, and churned up the course in one hour 5 minutes flat, to merely formalise what was a bit of a foregone conclusion; that Ben was the quickest, strongest & best follower of instructions on the day. Lyn Kahsnitz combined well with Howard Blegg to take the trophy in the womens division, finishing just ahead of Sharon Dilly.

Sunday’s result also makes for interesting reading on top of the GMTB riders championship ladder with Blackman & Trevor Nicklen in particular staking their claim to overall honours.

After the dust had settled, everybody made it back in one piece, a fun if not exhausting day had been had by all; notorious ‘let’s get ourselves lost’ addicts like Steve McRae & Simone Morris didn’t get lost once. Not one little bit. Club veteran (he’s old enough to be everybody’s father) Howard Blegg managed to give his son-in-law a flogging in both the time trial AND enduro. Dean & Al managed to keep beer-o’clock at bay until after the enduro, (btw: is there something about wearing baggies & drinking fancy imported beer?????) Did I say that Steve McRae didn’t get lost? Newbie Rick Lawson looked good in camoflauge, he blended well into the tables outside Timbers Café. Spencer Morris managed to give Uncle Rohan a bit of a MTB lesson in the enduro until he decided to do some laps with his Mum until she um, er fell off.

Huge thanks to Ashley Higman, Bryce Dilley, Taylor Cameron & all the timekeepers & marshals helping out on the day, to President Lenny for some of the most spectacular trophies we have seen. And to CROSSCO for that big yellow clock. The Big Bird of clocks.  Special thanks to Sharon Dilly for drawing up the rally notes & making sure they were spot on. As expected they were. Fairly sure we’ll see another one of those fairly soon.

Click here to view full event results.

Click here to view current Championship Standings.