After a deluge overnight, the race plans for day two at the Snowies MTB Festival saw a rapid change.
After yesterday's twin stages, riders at the In2adventure Snowies MTB Festival would have enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of rain, and wind. Except of course, that it would mean that there was a bit of a question mark over today's stage, racing top to bottom on the Thredbo Valley Trail.
The race organisers were quick to alert competitors that with 100mm falling at Thredbo, the trails were too wet to be raced on, and National Parks had closed all trails for the day. There would be a switch of days, and so we'd all be racing a modified version of Sunday's stage after lunch.
In the end, this looked like a reverse of most of the time trial course, so around 5km right within the Lake Crackenback resort boundaries. There was the odd puddle and splash of mud, but we stayed clear of the roaring river and flooded river side trails. Kudos to the fast action from those making the decisions, letting us all carry on with what we came here to do!
That could mean a lot of congestion on course, so In2adventure split us all up for race starts according to categories, a smart move that kept the racing fast and hot with few bottlenecks on the swoopy trails of Lake Crackenback.
On the trails
As you'd expect, with a short race (4 laps of 5km) on some fast and dry trails, the start was hot! We scorched up the bitumen road for 100m before hooking into grassy trails that connected through to the resort singletrack. While there was less rain at Crackenback than Thredbo, you'd barely know there had been a drop given how dry lots of the trails were, with fast racing lines well and truly developed in the swooping berms.
Jon Odams, race leader Dan McConnell and Ben Henderson lead the charge early, but later it was McConnell who was out the front.
Zoe Cuthbert and Bec McConnell were neck and neck early on, but Cuthbert edged away and continued to build a little more of a race lead. Em Viotto was in 3rd place behind, while Imogen Smith and Jenny Blair were also locked in a friendly battle.
As the race wore on, it was clear McConnell was the winner, as Odams took another second, and Ben Henderson jumped onto the 3rd spot on the podium for this stage. In the women's race, the podium matched the first day, with Cuthbert leading McConnell and Viotto. Full results are online.
We ran a competition to win an entry and accommodation package for the Snowies MTB Festival, and let it be said that Matt is having a blast riding down here at Lake Crackenback. Pizza and beers await as prep for the final stage tomorrow!
We have a great competition going right now, where you can enter to win a Specialized Ambush helmet and four Butcher tyres! There are 5 prize packs to win.
Into the final stage
So tomorrow, we race what was meant to be today - and in some ways, it means In2adventure have saved the best for last! The trails are said to be draining well, and we'll all hop aboard a shuttle bus to Thredbo in the morning, before racing down the whole Thredbo Valley Trail to the trout hatchery at Jindabyne, covering about 40km of purpose built trail. What a way to finish!
This is the longest stage, but can there be an upset? Both McConnell and Cuthbert have good leads, but nothing is secure until you cross the line on the final stage. Expect a high action stage, and one full of a whole lot of fun as well.