When Rocky Trail Entertainment organisers Martin and Juliane announced that the AMB100 Marathon was going to be shortened by 25km for the 100km-ers and 35km for the 100-milers, some might have said this was going to be an ‘easy race’. But when temperatures that day hit 39 degrees on the unforgiving and shade-less singletrack of Stromlo Forest Park, the AMB100 turned out to be one of the hardest endurance events of the year. The lap was around 25km long climbing up to the Mt Stromlo observatory and connecting loops such as Blue Gums, Cardiac Arrest and the Party Line. Even though it’s been ten years since the devastating Canberra bush fires, Stromlo Forest Park still looks like more of a moon landscape than a forest and with temperatures going up that high, many riders got cooked on a course with hardly any shade. Headline sponsor Australian Mountain Bike Magazine was present with cold beers for the finishers, give-away editions of their magazine and editor Mike Blewitt competing and eventually taking first place in the 100km mixed pairs together with Subaru-MarathonMTB.com team mate Imogen Smith.
At 5am the 100-milers lined up with Ed McDonald eager to score another victory, and Brett Bellchambers on his trusty single speed. Most of the 100 mile riders had already started their third lap by the time the other riders arrived at the Stromlo event pavilion. When racing with the crew from Rocky Trail Entertainment you know you’ll have a great time and a big chance to win a prize from one of their many sponsors, no matter if you’ve entered the big 100 mile race or one of the shorter 100km – 66km – 33km races. All these formats started next to the Stromlo car park and after only a very short stretch of bitumen, riders immediately hit the dusty Fenceline singletrack. Those who wanted to make it to the front of the race, had no choice but to go hard from the start as this unforgiving single track didn’t leave much space for overtaking.
Less then six hours after the start, Ed McDonald crossed the finish line for his fourth consecutive win just seven minutes ahead of a very strong Callum McNamara, both riders averaging lap times that would only be beaten by the top five in the 100km race. In the 100km it was an equally exciting race with the top three less then a minute apart. First place went to Jarrod Hughes closely followed by Lewis Cressy in second and Aaron Bashford in third.
In the women’s races, the Liz Smith successfully defended her 100 mile title ahead of Karen Foat and Meredith Quinlan. In the 100km the victory went to Canberra local Milly Brent just ahead of Subaru-MarathonMTB.com’s Naomi Hansen and Lana Moy.