The new Quad Crown MTB Series brings 4 action packed weekends of mountain biking to Australia's eastern states. Here's how to kick ass at them!
The Quad Crown MTB Series is all-new for 2022, bringing multi-day mountain bike events to four popular regions up and down the Australian East Coast. If you need to catch up with what the series is all about - you can read our first post. The full event dates are as follows:
Each event is going to offer something similar in terms of time on the trails, but the trails themselves will be totally unique to each location. Late Friday has a prologue type event. It's not mandatroy, but a good result will mean you can start closer to the front on Saturday. Not happy with your time? You can have another crack.
Saturday will have two stages under 30km. Sunday has another longer stage, planning to be done by lunchtime. Pepper in some planned social activities on Friday evening and Saturday, and it's an easy weekend away with plenty of time on the trails.
Don't forget, you can enter individual days if you don't have the whole weekend free. You can also join the eMTB race! Get more entry details on the event website.
What to expect on the Sunshine Coast
The first race in the Quad Crown Series is on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. You've heard the slogan: beautiful one day, perfect the next! Jokes aside, winter is a prime time to be in south east Queensland. It's the dry season so trails will be in top condition, especially after some extended wet weather over summer. Forget blown out dust, you'll be riding hero dirt and loam.
The Prologue (or Prelude) will be at Sugarbag Road, on a 5km course with 70m of climbing. You'll start at the bottom of the network, which should mean you put the effort in first, to finish on the swooping descending trails.
You'll need to keep a lid on the stoke to make sure you can start Saturday fresh!
Saturday's double header means you get to ride in two iconic Sunshine Coast locations on the one day. Stage One is at Parklands, with 25km sampling the trail network - enough that you may even meet the resident emu! There is 500m of climbing that will be a mix of fire road and singletrack climbs out of the gullies.
Parklands has a real mix of terrain, with some rockier ridgelines with freshly updated flow trails, and technical singletrack in the gullies, linked with a lattice of roots to test your skills when it's damp.
Stage Two is in the afternoon up at Tewantin, right behind Noosa. This stage is 29km long with 574m of climbing. This stage will have a pretty flat start, perfect to get the legs moving again after the stage in the morning. But then the fun begins!
Stage Three takes riders to Ewen Maddock Dam, with 30km and 260m of climbing to contest with. If you've ridden at Ewen Maddock Dam before you'll be familiar with some of the trails. You'll make a big loop of the dam and take in plenty of great singletrack on the way.
With the singletrack back loaded into the end of the stage, you'll need to be on your game to eat and hydrate well not just on this stage, but across the whole weekend if you want to finish strong. Now is the time to kick ass and ride to your best. With presentation at the Mooloolah Valley Golf Club, if you've done well today you may need to scrub up!
What bike for the Quad Crown?
As a mass participation event, run any mountain bike in good working condition if you want to take part. But if you want to feel a little more competitive, you'd be best served with a short travel trail bike that has either a good pedalling platform, or a reasonable lock out. A Merida One Twenty would be a good choice, but so could a Specialized Stumpjumper if you're there to really own the descents! You'd be best served to modify a trail bike a little for the event, and tyres would be the easiest way to do it.
If you have the Quad Crown in your sights (yes, there will be a crown for the whole series for men and women) good luck to you - you'll face some stiff competition. But you'll want to be on a fairly competitive bike. Something like an Orbea Oiz, Specialized Epic or Epic Evo, Norco Revolver, Merida Ninety-Six, Trek Supercaliber (or the new Top Fuel, to blue the lines between XC and trail).
They are all full suspension bikes with 100-120mm of travel, but you'd be fine to race at the pointy end on a hardtail, although Parklands may take a little more finesse. You may end up having more fun on a short travel trail bike - just make sure it rolls fast!
Do you need some advice on getting your bike race ready? Here's some essential reading:
READ: 9 tips for tubeless success
READ: How to make your bike feel like new
READ: How to degrease your drivetrain
READ: How to adjust your derailleur
How should I train for the Quad Crown?
This one is important. If you've done the numbers, you'll realise that you have about 7-10 hours of mountain biking from Friday arvo until Sunday lunch time. That is more than most of us would normally do in that time.
One of the most important things is to recover well. Colin Levitch put a really useful guide together about what works, and what doesn't when it comes to recovery.
One of the biggest factors will be preparation ahead of the event - and that's to do with time on a bike, time on your mountain bike, and specific training. The best way to guarantee success is with an accredited coach. But you can also glean some tips from some of the fitness features we've had accredited coaches like Anna Beck and Jenni King:
READ: Fitness hacks for the time poor.
READ: Strength training for mountain biking.
READ: Optimising fitness when you're over 50.
READ: Training and preparation for stage racing.
There's a lot to take in, but it's essential to not overdo the build up. If you're currently riding 5-6 hours this week, don't double it next week. Instead, add an extra short ride or two, or see if you can add an hour onto one of your weekend rides. Add an hour to both days the following week. The week before the event, do a little less to make sure you're well rested.
How can I be my best, and really kick ass?
There are a couple of things to consider when you really want to kick ass at a mountain bike stage race like the Quad Crown Series. Firstly, make sure your bike, equipment and logistics are all organised. Have a plan on how you apprpoach the event weekend.
If you do the prelude (prologue) use it as a race activation to get your legs firing for Saturday. Don't go all out, but do have a crack! Do a good cool down, and rehydrate. You want to let your heart rate drop steadily - it will help you sleep better as well.
Need more nutrition insights? READ UP!
Saturday is the day to get right. Plan your race food and breakfast, lunch and dinner - plus snacks. Do the same with your hydration. Make sure you do a good cool down after Stage One, so your legs don't feel like bricks for Stage Two. Repeat this after Stage Two as well.
Have a basic bike check procedure to get on top of any issues after each stage. Wipe the bike down, inspect the tyre side walls, and see if any bearings move in the direction perpindicular to the way they spin. That means, does your wheel move side to side? Or your cranks? Are there any weird sounds? Seek advice now!
Check your tyres for sidewall cuts and double check tyre and shock pressure. You should already know what is best. Wipe your drivetrain down and lube the chain if necessary. Run through the gears and take a look to see there is life on your brake pads. You should now be good to go! 10-15 minutes after a stage may prevent a big headache later on when you're against the clock.
Click the links to learn.
Lastly, think about where you're staying. Find somewhere central. Mooloolaba and Maroochydore Beach are great coastal options, as is Coolum. But if you find an AirBnB near Yandina you will be really close to the action.
Lastly, have fun! You'll ride better if you enjoy yourself. With the amount of singletrack in the course plan, you need to be relaxed to ride your best. And if you're not sure how to get a little more speed from your riding, always trust the skills maestro Jared Rando, and his 6 tips for free speed.
Entries are open for the Quad Crown Series right now. It'll be a great weekend of mountain biking however you approach it, but with a little extra preparation you'll finish the weekend on a high, and not broken! And that means you'll enjoy the after party even more.
Enter now, and we hope to see you there.
Photos: Waygood, Lagana, Bardsley-Smith, Herron, Levitch