It's day one at the Subaru MTBA National MTB Championships in Bright, Victoria.
It's day one at the Subaru MTBA National MTB Championships in Bright, Victoria. The town is buzzing with the sound of knobby tyres on bike paths, and the warm air is tinged with smoke with a burn off nearby. When you get to Mystic MTB Park, there's no mistaking that you're at a mountain bike race. Indeed - a very big one.
The event centre has two massive marquees setup place a veritable village of tech support and team tents (including ours). The whole village wraps around the Trials course, which should make for great viewing.
The XCO start/finish straight is right along the edge, and the course is almost completely within a short walk from the event centre. The trail takes a sinuous line through the lower parts of the pine forest, along a lot of bench cut singletrack which is dusty in parts and rocky in others.
The course is quite tight, with a lot of changes in direction and very little mental respite - and no physical respite at all. It will be a very challenging track to race on - but a fun one.
With most racing starting from 9:30am on Friday, the Team Relay at lunch time today offered riders a chance to hit the course at "race pace". A team of four riders is required, and "ideally" all from one state. A look over the results sheet suggests that rule isn't strictly adhered too.
With the strength of the Trek Racing Australia team and Torq-Merida, you could be forgiven for thinking it would be a two horse race. Save for the fact that Bendigo has strong riders flowing like water. So with Peta Mullens, Jarrod Moroni, Chris Hamilton and Issac Buckell formed another potential winner. There were six teams in total. Each team needs one female, one open, one masters and one U19 racer.
After the first lap it was obvious that the race would come down to Bendigo and Merida-Torq. The 4th lap came around and there was just 30 seconds between the two leading teams. Peta Mullens shot out after Jarrod finished, quickly followed by Em Parkes.
Mullens crossed victorious, crossing 38.6 seconds ahead of Parkes - landing the win for Bendigo MTB Club. Michael Potter came in third securing the final step of the podium for Trek Racing Australia.
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