McKayos. Have you heard of it? It’s Australia’s only open to the public race with snow and it’s only in it’s second year.
The race traverses from the top of Mt McKay (1849m), down into Falls Creek Village, past the admiring skiers and down toward Bogong Village (600m). Starting at a brisk 7 am riders, take the chair lift and then climb through snow to the peak of Mt McKay, a non chair lifted peak within the resort. Braving the cold and mist riders, race off at 9am. The going is tough with most riders running, over riding through the varying thicknesses of the white blanketing snow.
Paul Van Der Ploeg leads the way out onto the single track, followed my Mt Beauty local, Ben McIlroy. Sebastian Jayne, Casey Griska, Iain Morrison make fast work through the deepening trenches of snow to be close on their heels. In the womens Lisa Brydon begins to put time into Julia Clark and Goele Schmitz. Geoff Vietz who was second off the snow, moved on to take first in Veterans. That vet knows how to ride hard, we saw him riding back up to Falls Creek post race.
Out of the village, the course changes to single track, down the up trail before linking into fast fire road. Suspicious signs marked ruts, build a little excitement. The trail falls and falls, down to the valley below, but there are still obstacles left from river crossings to mossy turns. Smiles are growing from ear to ear.
The front of the race changes little in the descent to Bogong, McIlroy although a category apart, pushes hard to catch the plate of Van Der Ploeg. Behind the race is a lot more feverent, with all categories starting together, races push to pass one another regardless of class. So much so that at the finish, riders seem to second guess their places.
At the finish line, Paul Van Der Ploeg pips McIlroy by a slim thirty seconds for the opens mens win, whilst the junior clearly keen to gain ground took the win in Men’s Under 19. Sebastian Jayne, rides our test bike the Norco Torrent into second place, whilst the hawaiian shirt wearing Iain Morisson slots into third. Lisa Brydon smashes the rest of the womens field with an unassailable 10 min plus win. Julia Clark took home second with a comfortable three mintutes back to Goele Schmitz.Back in Junior Men, Casey Griska slides into second with Joel Grimes not far behind.