The options for MTB racing seem limitless at the moment. Coming into March, a mountain biker based in the South East of Australia has a plethora of bike races to attend. National Championships, the opening rounds of two different Marathon series, lap based endurance races, club cross country, stand alone marathon events… it’s a long list. And that’s just within a drive from Sydney.
So how do you choose? What do you pick? What do you race, and what do you race, to train?
With the investment in time, entry and accommodation for a national marathon round, it’s clear these need to be raced as if you are to attend. They must be made a priority. But surely, you still want an event that will give four hours of hard riding as a way to get some of the basics right, like pacing and nutrition, while hopefully working on your skills too. Lap based endurance races have always fitted that bill. Obviously a great race themselves, the results sheets of previous years for the two pre-eminent series near Sydney by Rocky Trail Entertainment and Chocolate Foot show that plenty of fast, national level racers turn up and have some great racing. And so do plenty of other enthusiastic mountain bikers.
So this weekend I’ll be heading to the 1st round of the Shimano MTB GP, run by Rocky Trail Entertainment, at Awaba, about 2hrs north of Sydney. The 4 hour category has become increasingly popular, and with the next two months getting close to being back to back marathons on every weekend, I could use a little more training in a racing environment, remembering how to ride my MTB fast on the singletrack at Awaba. Solo lap based racing used to be thought of as a long slog, but it’s so competitive now I do wonder how big the field will be.
I don’t think I’ll be the only person going there for four hours. Hard.
Entries to the race or the whole series are online.