Photos: Nick Waygood

Thursday dawned foggy and cool in Maydena, as the road into the tiny town was a gentle thrub of cars, with riders arriving from townships further east for another day at the AusCycling National Championships at Maydena Bike Park.

Cars and motorhomes are lining the streets, as riders flock in from their accommodation each day - some even making the hike from Hobart. It's great to see the response from riders around the country making the trip to Tasmania to ride at a World Class mountain bike park.

Today's racing had Short Track (XCC) titles for U13, U15, U17, Expert and all Masters men and women. Then in the afternoon, U19, U23 and Elite men and women could race a single lap time trial (XCT) to determine their start position. Or, they could rely on their UCI points to assure a good start position for the race on Sunday.

The Short Track racing was strongest in the youngest categories and the mid-Masters categories, like Masters 3. Infact, the Masters 3 podium with Chris Jongeward, Rohin Adams and Murray Spink could be the podium from many a top XC race or marathon over the past 10-15 years. It was also the largest Masters group.

This hard and fast racing is a popular edition for riders looking for a 'leg opener' ahead of the XCO races tomorrow. You can find all the results right here.

Afternoon Time Trials

For those lining up for U19, U23 and Elite races, they had the option of doing a one lap time trial on the complete XCO course. These racers are on a different course to the XCO course being raced by younger categories and Masters. The AusCycling commisaires declared the top of the course not suitable, due to the lack of a B line option.

There's quite strong disappointment from the U15 and U17 riders who were riding the descent (Tinder) in practice, and from many Masters riders who traveled to Tasmania to ride a technical course. We'll have further details tomorrow from AusCycling regarding their decision, and suggest what would be great to see when the XCO Championships return in 2022.

My take? The entry to Tinder is committing but pretty straight forward. In the wet, it could be diabolical - and while it needs a B line for riders looking for a slightly easier way down, a B line is essential for bar to bar racing where traffic and crashes can completely change the outcome of a race. FIngers crossed there is a plan for a dedicated XCO course this in the future, as the scope for Maydena Bike Park to host events like National Championships is huge.

That lack of B line played a role in the time trial, with half a dozen junior men catching the 3 women who took to the start line, all around the entry to the chute. With a B-line available, riders having to stop and leave the track in their race could be avoided. An even easier way around this would be proper scheduling of race starts. Hopefully this is taken onboard for future years.