What a week it has been, rain, mud, rocks, and finally the sun came out for the final stage of the ICME. Very exiting racing in the men’s and the women’s fields was about to come to an end and although happy to give my legs a break, this week had gone way to fast!
So many new friends made, so many new skills learned, so much fun had. Rapid Ascent organised a fantastic event with great people, athletes and trails. Racing with mates, how much better can it get, I really got a taste for what stage racing was all about. Best adventure ever.
The final stage was another tough one, after my dip in the mud at the night stage I wasn’t feeling very confident but I was going to give it my all. Part of the course took us in the reversed way through stage 3, and although I was feeling strong I really struggled with the single track. I used the fire roads to my advantage and I tried to follow Terri Rhodes and pick her lines through the rocks but she was riding simply to smooth for me to be able to stay with her. After hitting a rock I was only left with a couple of gears on my bike and the race for me went all downhill from there and I struggled to hold on to 5th female for the stage. The tank was empty.
Up front Rowena Fry was dominating the technical riding coming in 1st with Terri Rhodes in 2nd and Kelly Bartlet in 3rd. Jenny Fay didn’t have luck on her side this week suffering a broken chain in the night stage and a puncture in stage 7 coming in 4th .
In the men’s race it was Andi Blair taking the win with Shaun Lewis for 2nd and Michael Crosbie for 3rd.
Riding over the finish line felt like relieve and sadness it was over all at the same time. What an experience this was for me. I came to Alice Springs after a solid block of racing and doubted if I could back up each day feeling a bit tired coming into the race. On top of that the female field was stacked with so many champion riders that with my lack of experience racing mountain bikes I didn’t quite know how I would go riding against them. Finishing so close to Terri Rhodes and Jenny King in the first stage really set me up for the week. I didn’t expect it and it boosted my confidence. Being able to podium in the Marathon, stage 4 when I have been concentrating on that length this season was a real reward for the hard work I have put in. Every day during this week I learned something new.
I really enjoyed the camaraderie that started to develop during the week, to get to know the girls was awesome and although racing I did feel we were actually looking out for each other as well. Special mention to trooper Jenny Fay who first lost her time advantage in the Marathon stage after a mishap with the arrows in the final km’s of the race, then battled on after suffering a broken chain in the night stage still finishing 7th female for the stage, and finally suffering a puncture in Stage 7. Many would have thrown the toys but Jenny kept on smiling, gracefully accepting the results. To finish this week standing next to these girls on the podium in 5th place at the presentations ceremony was such a great feeling. A good excuse to dance the night away.
The trails of Alice Springs were unreal. Every now and then I would sit up to eat and drink and have a look around me being overwhelmed by the scenery, what a place to be. The rocks made it for a real challenge and skilful riders definitely got rewarded. A big thank you to Rapid Ascent for a great week, Subaru-MarathonMTB and it sponsors for their support and all my fellow competitors, especially Kyle Ward and Michael Crosbie for making this a week I will remember fondly for a long while coming.
Stage racing rocks!!
Overall Female Results
- Rowena Fry
- Jenny Fay
- Terri Rhodes
- Kelly Bartlet
- Nienke Oostra
Overall Male Results
- Andi Blair
- Shaun Lewis
- Michael Crosbie
- Ben Hogarth
- Tim Bennett