Attendees: (apart from the other 600 odd competitors, these are the people we rocked up with) (in order of overall placing at the end of the day)
I have grabbed a copy of the results.
In the photos, white number plates mean solo, grey number plates are mixed pairs, blue number plates are mens pairs, orange number plates are 3 person, red number plates are 4 person.
On friday morning runnling late I picked Hiedi and Mike up for the drive to Sydney around 10am, we were plannign to ride the penrose XC course on the way up then get to the race site and get at least one lap of the course in before dark and heading to the motel.
We arrived at the penrose rest area and found two mtbers who were sick that day (well they told their bosses this) who were happy to show us aroiund the course. We are lucky they were there as we could have been hunting down ST for hours otherwise. Anyway we got to riding.
Incredible riding it was, I must say Penrose is seriously fun, truly one of the better XC courses I have seen, there is techy stuff, lots of ST, some tough climbing, all sorts of interesting varied terrain. Damn they need to hold more events here. Like maybe a 12 hour race. Thanks to the two guys who showed us around. Time was short and we could only do one more lap, all of us definitely intend to do more when passing in the future.
We eventually rolled up to the event centre around 5pm, we found Mikey, Jim and the others mentioned above, plus a few others we knew at the rego tent. Mikey said they found Michael Loughlin out on the course in his natural state, crashed on a section of track.
Mikey and the others headed back to the motel while Mike, Heidi and I headed out for a lap. The course was improved over last year (and I loved it last year), all the fun techy bits were still there, with the loose dusty section at the top of the course fixed up a lot, and the added bonus there was you could get air off the crates nicely, wheeee. The new bit after the longer climb early in the lap was good, the ladders were and interesting erosion control mechanism, though by the end of the race lots of riders had opted for going around them.
The new stuff near the lake showed lots of thought and effort on the part of the course designers also, the Chute was heaps of fun, and the wire on the ground to assist with climbing was good, as were the other new bits. Congratulations to the course designers, much fun was had on this test lap, it looked sure to be a fun event.
As we were late to the restaurant for dinner there was no room at the outside table with the others so Mike, Heidi and I sat inside and got tucked into pizza and pasta and beer. The first sparkling ale seemed to hardly touch the sides as it went down. On return to the Motel Heidi said she would set the alarm for 6:30am, this means we were likely to be a bit later than everyone else but I didnt see a big problem with that.
The morning of the race dawned, everyone else had headed off by the time we were ready, we drove over to the venue, parked, set up, ate breakfast generally got ready, planned our strategy, etc. Our basic strategy was just do two laps each all day or until we couldnt any more. This gives us more warm down and warm up/preperation time and gives us less lost time wasted in the transition area waiting for the next lap. Hopefully we owuld be able to sustain resonable second lap in a row times for the day.
I did the running start and opening laps for our team, I was probably mid field for that lap so was guaranteed lots of waiting for slower people during the lap, I got past Dave@ and Terry Eveston and then my chain slipped off, so I had to fix it, but I was able to pass them both again pretty easily. Looking at my watch the lap was about 37 minutes which wasnt too bad considering the trafic on the course. My second lap was about 3 minutes slower though. Oh well Heidi's turn.
Heidi proceeded to put in the fastest lap among the group of people mentioned at the top of this report, with a flat 36:00, the closest anyone got was my next lap after her two at 36:15. I was not complaining as I knew Heidi would ride fast, which is of course a part of why I asked her to team up with me in the race.
The race proceeded, on my laps 5 and 6 later in the day I got past Dave@ again (this was before his nasty crash I think), so that was some of our direct competition a little bit behind now, unfortunately Dave@ soon crashed badly enough that his arm could not be used to ride properly, it is good to hear that since saturday Dave@ has recovered and can use his arm again.
Anyway as the race progressed we seemed to be going pretty well, we were staying ahead of the two three person teams mentioned above, and were pretty consistent with lap times. I put my lights on as I headed out for two laps around 4pm, fortunately I made it through both laps without needing lights so was able to conserve batteries, Heidi headed out for two night laps, we thought we had a pretty comfortable lead in mixed pairs so she took it easy. We later found out that the second placed team in our category finished the race with 18 laps also so were actually pretty close. Also at the presentations the guy in the second place team recognised Heidi, he had apparantly heard her drivetrain squaking out on the course and he stopped and helped her by oiling her chain. He said he had been looking for grey number plates all day as he had no idea who it was they were chasing, yet he forgot (maybe fortunately for us) to look at Heidi's number plate when he helped her, Thanks go out to him anyway)
Anyway I have given away the punchlines here, yes Heidi and I won our category, we do not know where we placed over all, the results will be out soon, I will put them online with a link from this page when they do.
An update since I wrote this, the results I have linked at the top of this report place Heidi and I second by three minutes, it seems they had the results incorrect on the night of the race.
On the whole this was a great event, the course was lots of fun, the camp site atmosphere was great, the number of people being limted kept the crowding on the course, in transition and elsewhere to a minimum. I thank the WSMTB club for putting on a great event and seeming to focus on people having fun at an mtb race to such a huge exent. Bring on the 2004 race :)