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Ride Royale

27 September 2012

27 September 2012

Ride Royale

Finally Race Day was upon the TriHards team of Miss BeerMiddy, the Cyborg and Groucho, who would be more aptly named Prometheus, given the weekend he was having, and what he would be in for. He seemed to be cursed, most likely as a result from passing his sacred roady tactical knowledge onto the Cyborg; his first penance being the destruction of his cherished car, only metres from the event hub (but hundreds of kilometers from home!) And he didn’t even bring his roady to ride home.

The gang woke early to prepare for the race; Miss BeerMiddy poked her head out of the TriHards RV while the rider were preparing their bikes:

“Can I get you guys a drink?” she inquired.

Infinit nutrition please,” replied 00C, “Shaken. Thoroughly”

Groucho didn’t reply, discovering his CamelBack had leaked overnight, losing more than half it’s fluid, and soaking his pack. At least his tyres weren’t flat...

With the preparations complete, the TriHards headed for the starting arch, along with a few hundred other riders; it was nice not to be at a crowded event. They self-seeded themselves towards the rear of the pack, and waited on the fine morning for the race to start, noting any signs of singlespeed recruitment

Mountain bike riders lining up at start arch
The back of the pack.

Within moments the race was on, the riders were off at a rapid rate, jockeying for position along dusty firetrail. This continued for a few kilometers until the riders were onto dusty singletrack, with Groucho following on behind the Cyborg - who was attempting to see through his dust-covered glasses. The scene was reminiscent of his early morning rides in Canberra, save that in the Back Yamma, the mist is brown and choking. The single track wound it’s way through the forest providing a nice, smooth flow, and all of the riders seemed to be going at a comfortable clip- there was no rush to overtake, or to gain a better position, everyone seemed quite happy with the fast pace.

Then came the first of the challenges on the course: reading the signs when riding fast! A sign came up pointing out an A line was ahead, which (as usual) the Cyborg missed. Whenever there is such a line, the Cyborg will ride right past, but stare down it just to ensure he’s not entirely on the right B line either! A few more metres up the path, and the b-line became evident, with an ever-so-short conga line of riders dropping into a gully, then pushing their bikes back out. This started a lightly technical section of drops and rises, but nothing that was beyond the skills of the TriHards.

Back onto firetrail, and the Cyborg was trying his hand at drafting and, in typical fashion, grew impatient and overtook the windward rider at speed, pushing Groucho behind. Naturally, this state of affairs didn’t last long, with Groucho flying up and overtaking the Cyborg once more, just in time for some singletrack in which Groucho found the opportunity to demonstrate his new improved technical skills. Groucho and his bike flowed around the trail like fast running water, rippling and winding it’s way through the banks, then magically hopping over any obstacle in his path. The Cyborg was left behind staring in amazement at Groucho’s newfound grace - no wonder he was designated 00C ahead of the Cyborg!

Mountain bikers drafting on fire trail
TriHards tucked in behind the windstopper

Firetrail again, and Groucho was taking the lead for the TriHards, tucking in behind another rider - codenamed WindStopper - with the Cyborg creating a train of three. This gave the Cyborg an opportunity to rest, take on some fuel, and keep his eyes open for those single speeders!

And so the race progressed, at race pace (a change for the TriHards) until finally they made their mistake. Somehow the Cyborg found himself in front coming up to some singletrack, so he took the lead. Through some short track they went, then back onto firetrail, before turning onto more track. The Cyborg, however, was somewhat preoccupied with assessing the singlespeed threat, and didn’t see a huge rut in the corner they had to turn - at the last minute, he took the corner long, turning late, while Groucho remained on the line and fell into the rut the Cyborg had blocked from his view. He was up in a matter of moments, but it was another bite out of Prometheus’s liver, and their progress began to slow.

Fortunately, they were near the end of the first lap. So, after leaving the windy trail, they picked up a bit more speed on the firetrail before starting the second climb of the lap. The Cyborg noticed Groucho was slowing, perhaps his liver was failing. Perhaps he was less focussed on the race now that his car was a potential write-off in the carpark... Either way, when they started on the cool new downhill singletrack, replete with some jumps and squeezes, 00C did not seem to be having as much fun as he could have.

Moutnain bikers on fire trail
Cyborg and Groucho rounding the home stretch.

“I’ve taken you as far as I can, Cyborg, you’re going to have to finish this qualification on your own.” Groucho called ahead, “I need to go and get my transport sorted.”

“No worries,” replied the Cyborg, “We’ll just finish this lap together.” and they pedalled on...

Down the hill, around the corner, then out onto the plain leading to the gulley - and out of the gulley and along the plain again; riding into the wind before they passed the central transition point - marking maybe six kilometres from the hub and the end of Round One. They pushed on through the flowing track, around and down through the gully, then back up again over the other side and into the home stretch. The riders rode down the firetrail, until they came to a play-pit just before the finish line - with pumping aplenty! Jumping out of the pit, the Cyborg found himself in someone’s sights... Fortunately it was Miss BeerMiddy, who had taken on the role of team photographer!

And the lap was done! 50km! 50km in well under three hours! And the Cyborg hadn’t fallen off once.

Stay Tuned: Cyborg’s Adventures continue in Part 7: The 50km Is Not Enough