We managed to score a lend of a Jayco Hawk camper trailer from the great generosity of the Woods family making it much easier to manage two overnight stays in different locations with minimal cost in accommodation.
Leaving 2pm Friday afternoon we set off to reach Dubbo for our first nights stay by 10pm at Terramungamine Reserve on the bank of the Macquarie River.
Waking the next morning by a brigade of Cockatoos & Galahs we were greeted by many other friendly travelers also preparing to set off for a day at the zoo.
The last time I visited the zoo was 18 year ago before my two youngest kids now 11 & 6 were born & we hired bikes to ride around with our two eldest kids now 21 & 19, when they were 1 & 3. A lot has passed since then getting onto mountain biking & living life a bit more.
It was a great lead up to the next days racing pedaling our own bikes around the zoo with the kids before heading off for the next night by the race track at Orange where I even managed to get a practice lap in before dinner.
This track was awesome. It was around an 8km lap with 180m of vertical gain each time around in a pine plantation, starting with a steady climb weaving its way gradually up a hill through the pines with some great grade reversals helping with the momentum, then it had you working your up & down around berms, over gap jumps & up steep rock formations before coming out on a fire road every now & then giving enough time to grab a drink or get some energy gels down. There were two noticeable descents, one around 1km long & the other around 2 km long back to the feed station with high speed gaps, jumps, drops & berms where you could lay the bike right over & hang on for the ride.
I didn't know where I was in the mix of things with teams & solo riders together racing. I managed to recognize Trent More who was a few riders in front & proceeded to chase him down then sat behind for a bit before noticing his pace starting to slow where I then moved passed at a comfortable pace. A few laps in while I was going passed the timing tent I overheard the announcement of the first place teams around me & realised that I was at the pointy end of the field. At this point I seen Phil Welch in front of me & proceeded to chase him down realizing that he was in a team with Mike Israel racing 7hrs, I found them riding at the pace I wanted to ride the 4hrs at so I used this to my advantage on pacing.
Half way through the four hours I got information that 1st place in Masters was only 25 seconds in front & I began to push hard up the hills going past riders till a few laps latter where I was told I had a good lead & did not know when I had gone around the lead rider. From here I began to enjoy the climbs & have fun on the descents till the end where to my surprise was told I had finished in 2nd place overall in the 4hr behind an up & coming junior rider in 1st place overall, Luke Brame. So I finally got a 1st in Masters category still feeling fresh & wanting to go ride some more ahead of Trent More in 2nd closely followed by Craig Barnes in 3rd.
Series Comes To An End
My newest sponsors at Graham Seers Cyclery for keeping my bike running sweet.
And my family for making a great memorable holiday weekend & supporting my racing.
A huge thank you for Sue & Peter Woods for lending there camper to us for the weekend making all the difference to a great weekend away.