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A 'Real' Mountain Bike Race

chrischris's picture

By chrischris - Posted on 21 May 2012

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.
Re: This ride meeting: 
Paterson Kona 24 Hour - May 21/22.
Breakaway on Brokeback
Race Category: 
Team of 6: Male
Position (Category): 

*I have entered this blog entry under last years event... as I cannot figure out how to log a new ride for an event that has already been run...*

A last minute spot was available for this event, & with the wife's blessing, I grabbed the chance. The 6 man team was a 'social' ride. We were here to ride, but not push ourselves silly. I had only just (1 day earlier) semi-recovered from the manflu. I had to borrow some LED lights & throw the mattress in the back of the X-Trail. I was looking at buying a good LED, but hadn't purchased one yet.

Being involved in mountain biking for only a few years, I had heard of such grand events, but never participated in a 24hr. I always knew that it would be hard work, sleep deprivation, & fun. Now I have a real appreciation for the solo guys! Riding around at 4am & seeing these guys is just amazing.

I arrived at Paterson at 3pm on Saturday afternoon. As a last minute ring-in, I wasn't able to get there early. I quickly set up my o'night equipment & got the bike ready. I'd never been to this venue before, but I had heard rumours. Rumours of a course so tough, rocky, and that bloody big hill! In the last year, I've really grown quite fond of big hills. I curse them as I ride up them, but at the top comes a real sense of achievement.

As I started out on the track, it became apparent very quickly that this was no 'Awaba'. The single track was tight & rocky. Tyre placement was very important. The small amount of 'fire trail' was climbing. About 3km into the track came a sign that said 'The Bottom' & after that I seemed to climb forever! Past the 'Pearly Gates', 'Tuesday Hill', 'Bovine Inspiration', & 'The Plumbers Line'. Around a corner suddenly is another sign. 'The Top'. Smiling

The view at the top was fantastic. You dare not glance at the view for more than a moment in case you crash. Call out your number to the Army Cadets who were manning the checkpoints (Thanks guys!) & continue on into the 'Duel Slalom'. This was a series of 'S' tracks back & forth cut out in a grass field at the top. If two riders wanted to duke it out, they could take the inside or outside line & race side by side! Both tracks were the same length, but the right line did have some bog holes. I always arrived here alone, so never had the chance to race side by side.

Back down the hill. Not many places to sit down & relax. Choosing your line was very important. Fast flowing & technical single track. Smiling :) Smiling Almost all of the 'A' lines were completely out of the question for someone with my skills. I only rode 2 of the 'A' lines consistently, & the rest of my team had the same philosophy.

My first lap was a smidgen over 50 minutes. I was happy with that. So far I'd arrived, not let the team down with a mechanical problem, or shocking time. My evaluation of the course was a REAL mountain bike track! I loved it. Awaba & Ourimbah are fun. Nothing too crazy, just fun. This course was a challenge. Finishing the course in a decent time was an accomplishment. I heard rumours of a sub 40 min lap... But 42 min was talked about quite a lot. Very impressive!

The rest of the team kept on taking turns with no real issues except for the occasional flat. My next lap at 10pm was my first every night ride. That was a learning curve... Thankfully I had borrowed 2 fantastic lights. My handlebar light was borrowed & brand new. About 3km in, my front tyre nudged a 'twig' sticking out on the track. Unfortunately, this twig was actually a tree root & at the astonishing speed of 10km/hr I flew over the handlebars. It was probably the world's slowest OTB. As I sailed over the bars, my knees caught on the bars, & the bike came crashing over me. I sat up. No broken bones. I looked at the bike. My newly borrowed light had taken the brunt. A button was missing & it was completely scratched up. I now owe someone a brand new light... At least I'm wasn't injured. The light still worked. Onward bound up the 'Hill'. That lap came in just over the hour mark.

My next lap around 4am was FREEEEEZING cold. I was amazed at how quickly I warmed up once I started. Once again, just over the hour mark. I was a bit tentative after my initial stack.

By morning, the team were back in good spirits (sleep deprivation doesn't bring 'cheer' at 5am). I wasn't feeling very good personally by this point as I was still recovering from the manflu - & I wasn't keen to go back out. I rang my wife for a morning checkup on the kids, & I mentioned how I might consider chickening out of the last lap. The reply came back... "You WOOSE. Don't you dare let your team down. You signed up for this race - now go finish it!" I love my wife. She supports me!

So out I went, & I thoroughly enjoyed it. I came back in at 55 min and I've never felt better. I was on a high for quite a while as I sat in my chair eating cereal. The sun was warming us all up & I had food in my belly.

I HOPE the event is run again next year. I heard rumours that due to poor numbers, it's a maybe. People of Sydney - COME TO PATO!!! It was a fun event that was run very smoothly. Everyone had a great time. There were around 170 (?) riders in total, so the track wasn't jam-packed at all times. In fact, I'd often go 10-20 minutes without seeing a soul. Jumping castle & mini bike race for the kids. I didn't see much advertising for this event, so hopefully next year they can spread the word a little better. Paterson is 20min north of Maitland.

andyfev's picture

Great result for just a"social ride"! I've heard rumours about that "hill" too Eye-wink sounds like a tough old race but at least you scored yourself a brand new, though slightly damaged, light! If it makes you feel any better I once went OTB whilst stationary as I was taking a peak at what line to take down a steep hill... Needless to say line choice wasn't all that important as I rolled down the hill face first, bike intoe, and to the histerical amusement to my brothers Eye-wink

FYO - You couldn't enter your blog in this years Pato as it wasn't created in the ride calendar.

fat stacks's picture

Great wrap up of the event and congrats on the result for you guys. I couldn't make it this year, but my bride was there flying the flag. You summed it up nicely in your comparison of the track with Awaba and Ourimbah- Paterson certainly is a challenge! Glad you enjoyed losing your 24hour virginity Smiling

chrischris's picture

As a new MTB'er, I was extremely happy with the challenges of Awaba... But it's no longer a challenge. It's still a blast! But not a challenge.

If I could ride Pato more throughout the year, I'd be a happy man! I do understand that it's private property - a huge thanks to the owner for the use of the land.

chrischris's picture

Another great write up - by someone with much more experience than me!

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