It’s not until you live somewhere with limited cycling (no cycling club or single track) that you realise how awesome a place that has such a strong cycling club and such wicked single track is. I had taken Alice for granted when I lived there and having raced in the ICME in May it ignited my desire to ride there as much as I could.
When JP phoned and said there was a 6hr Enduro on in August, I bolted into my bosses office and asked for the Monday off. Granted, it seemed I was heading up to Alice for a sneaky visit, up on Saturday and back Monday. The drive to the airport from Marlo is actually longer than the plane time travelling to Alice, needless to say I was pretty tired by Monday night but had one of the best weekends ever.
It was a club race however felt more like a state (or territory) event, as the Central Australian Rough Riders has over 160 members, and had the biggest field to date with 82 competitors signed up for the day.
I left a rainy, overcast cold Melbourne and arrived in beautiful sunny 27 degrees in Alice. Race transition was on Yipirinya School oval and a solo marquee amongst the teams was set up. I did a practise lap of the course on the Saturday afternoon however somehow managed to ride it in reverse and completely miss a section.
The club put on a kids race which had 20 or so young kids tearing round the oval displaying no fear and showing us all how it’s done. The course distance was roughly 11km’s and consisted of red dirt and rocks. A Le Mans start saw us running from one end of the oval to the other and straight on the bikes. Everyone was super friendly and keen to chat, all were so welcoming I felt like I had never left and it was still my hometown!
First lap out and I decided I would race hard and smash myself for 6 hours, about 2 hours I was hanging off the back of a couple of guys and felt a cramp lingering in my foot. My Victorian body was not used to this 30 degrees thing. Hoping it wouldn’t eventuate I pushed on, until at the 2 1/2 mark TWANG the cramp went full blown and I let out a swear word which I shouldn’t have. Ok new plan of attack needed as this clearly isn’t working and if I keep going this hard I will end up a blubbering incoherent mess on the side of the track!! Ok time to back it off a bit, drink more, eat more and get out of this fuzzy head cramping state. This worked a treat and I found a good tempo. I was also happy that by the 3rd lap I had completed the lap correctly without going off the trail onto another equally appealing piece of single track. This was purely due to not only my navigational incapability but also my inability to read a sign!!
|Happy to be riding wicked trails, in the sun with a heap of friendly and fun people! Photo: Kirrili Whitehead|
|lovin the alice rocks. Photo: Kirrily Whitehead|
|at times I couldnt help but tun out from racing and take in the breathtaking scenery! Photo: Tim Hill|
|Photo: Tim Hill|
Coming through transition there were people cheering and throwing out a bunch of support, making me feel like a rockstar it was simply awesome. I was able to dig myself out of the fuzzy head cramping state and finished strongly, finished 1st female and only 31 seconds behind the male winner who was on a SS! Thanks so much to the Central Australian Rough Riders! These guys and girls seriously know how to put on a great event. I discovered JP has some kind of real life super man abilities as he ran around all day Saturday organising the race, then worked night shift, then ran the show on Sunday. Unbelievable!!
Everyone racing and supporting did an amazing job, it was a stella event, it running without a hitch, had a great vibe and uber friendly people left me wanting to stay! So my advice is to get up there asap to ride or race, the trails ROCK, quite literally as well.
A big thanks to all the volunteers, marshals and sponsors of the event, and a big thanks to Liv/Giant, PureSport Nutrition, HSR Seeds and Ay-Up Lights for your support.