Bendigo might well be the hub for Australian performance cycling. After Canberra, anyway. With the likes of Peta Mullens, Chris Hamilton, Tasman Nankervis, Jarrod Moroni, Dan MacMunn and countless NRS level roadies calling Bendigo home, the per capita “pro” count is pretty high.
With just two months to go to the kickoff of the 2015 Golden Triangle Epic, elite riders will be looking to make their mark on one of the biggest mountain bike events on the Victorian race calendar. Scheduled for Sunday the 26th of April, the Golden Triangle Epic is entering into its 10th year, and to celebrate Bendigo Mountain Bike Club are giving away over $10K in cash prizes to riders in the 50,100 and 160km categories.
Many of the region’s biggest hitters will be saddling up at the Golden Triangle Epic start line, including Peta Mullens, Chris Hamilton, and Tasman Nankervis. They’ll be defending their hometown reputation against the likes of the TORQ team with Jenni King, Adrian Jackson, and Jess Douglas.
Local hero Russell Nankervis is looking to rub shoulders with the Elite field, after a blistering performance at the Cairns World Cup round last year.
“I’ll be trying my luck in the 100km race. I like that sort of distance and it should make for some close racing”, said Nankervis, who’s looking forward to battling it out with the nations best alongside his brother Tasman.
When asked about what he thinks makes the Golden Triangle Epic stand out from other XCM events, Nankervis exclaimed that “the course is always great, and based on last years experience we should have a very impressive start list!”
In the Elite Women’s field, Jenni King is back for more after having raced the Golden Triangle Epic twice in previous years.
“I have fond memories of the trails, particularly over the last few kms of the course, with some awesome descents as well as some tricky obstacles to negotiate”, said King. “The track is definitely one of my favourite marathon courses.”
For King, the Golden Triangle Epic will be a key part of her campaign to win the National Marathon Championship in May. However, it isn’t just the quality of racing that has drawn King back to Bendigo.
“The Golden Triangle Epic has a great relaxed feel to it. While it offers some fantastic trails and some of the highest competition, it also has a friendly atmosphere.”
While the Elite field will be racing the full 100km marathon, riders can choose a shorter 50km option, or a 15km option for the juniors. For the physically ambitious, there is also a 100 Mile category that will have riders racking up a mammoth 160km of riding.
Shane Roberts took out the 100 Mile category in 2012 and 2013, though he returns with unfinished business after losing his title to Jason Archer last year.
“I’m looking forward to riding some of the new singletrack that has been built by the Bendigo MTB Club over the past 12 months”, said Robbo, who is also drawn to the event for its accessibility and broad appeal.
“It has a great club race vibe, but with a huge mix of riders from beginners through to elite level. Oh, and the bathtub full of Coke from last year? That was mad!”
With quality singletrack in the forests around Bendigo, the course will take riders through some of the best riding the Goldfields region has to offer, along with sections of the historic Goldfields Track.
Event coordinator, Joel Rockes, is expecting numbers to surge this year off the back of significant growth of the Bendigo MTB Club, along with the growing recognition of Bendigo as a premier riding destination.
“It’s one of the largest club-run events in the country”, said Rockes. “As a grassroots mountain bike race, all the money raised from event entries goes directly back into the local trail network and Bendigo MTB Club development programs.”
The Bendigo MTB Club has also been active in trail advocacy, having developed the Strategic Trail Development Plan, which will bring more World Class trails to Bendigo in the coming years.
Riders can also expect a bounty of spot prizes and prize money for category winners, with over $15k of cash and prizes up for grabs. Accommodation is available onsite, with both dorm and camping options available, though a new later start for the 2015 race will make it easier for riders coming from outside of Bendigo.
Entries are now open at www.mtbbendigo.com