Fourth in male pairs overall in a mountain bike series has WTC triathletes Chris Harmer and Matt Tonkin thinking they might quite like racing endurance of a different type!
Whilst many club members were doing battle up at Challenge Forster, myself and Matt Tonkin took on a different type of endurance challenge in Orange….the final round of the SRAM Chocolate Foot Single Track Mind mountain bike endurance series. Having competed in four of the five rounds this year we were sitting in 4th on the series pointscore with a chance of sneaking onto the final podium!
The format of these races is very simple….do as many laps as you can within the seven hour time limit. The 8km course in the Kinross State Forest was perfectly suited to me; plenty of climbing coupled with open flowing singletrack and a ridiculously fast 1km downhill run into the transition area (which provided plenty of entertainment with everyone pushing extra-hard through the transition area and inevitably crashing in front of 100 people). The first 2km of each lap were brutal, winding uphill before a few kilometres of undulating terrain and then the downhill run to the transition area. The mad rush at the start saw us set into 7th on the first lap and spent the rest of the day swapping between 7th and 8th place. After 7hrs, 13 laps and 104 km of chewing dust we eventually ended up in 8th place. The 2400m of elevation gain over the course of the race meant that this was the slowest race of the series (that amount of gain in that distance on a road bike isn’t too nasty, but it is when you’re lugging 13kg of mountain bike up a dusty trail!), but it was by far the most enjoyable.