The AMB100 has become a staple on the Australian XCM calendar, initially known for its extreme heat, today was to be an exception to the traditionally dry and hot conditions. A wintry change had hit Canberra on Friday evening dropping a few mm of rain, rare for Australia’s driest city. This left racers of the Australian Mountain Bike magazine (AMB) 100 hoping for the trails of Mt Stromlo to acquire the highly desired ‘hero dirt’ status. The rain showers were to be light but a further shower on the night before the race brought smiles to the faces of many enjoying the race track on race Sunday. Could this change the dynamic of the race?
Mt. Stromlo is one of the most historic and highly regarded MTB destinations in Australia. In 2008 a XC world cup was held here and in 2009 the UCI world MTB championship were also held on the Stromlo trails. Hence, the trails are truly world class. The AMB100 uses a 26km lap utilising arguably the best of these. From new style ‘flow’ trails, steep fire road climbs, old school rocky singletrack, big berm DH sections and ‘enduro’ style descents the AMB100 has something to suit every rider’s strength and weakness. The rain did firm up the usually very skatey and loose trails making for more confidence inspiring descending. The other issue that mother nature threw at the organisers on the day was the WIND. A cold, strong wind would dominate the days conditions with the temperature hovering around the 11-13C mark. Luckily for the racers the wind direction was in assistance for the ‘halfway hill’ the most difficult climb on the circuit.
The start list was very strong this year with defending champion Brendan Johnston lining up in his new Giant Bicycles team national champs kit. Again Brendan would prove the decisive athlete on the day, holding off the in-form and strongly developing Jay Vine to take a clear win in the men’s. Third place was Harrison Ernst followed by Alex Malone and Canberra local James Downing. The race attracted riders from many backgrounds and many locations, a cameo appearance from former road professional Jake Kauffman added some firepower to the field and I fought through to finish 6th today in Elite men.
Winner Brendan Johnston is in the midst of a fairly heavy racing schedule that next weekend takes him to Bendigo’s ‘Golden Triangle’ before his national championship defence in Townsville in 2 weeks.
The women’s 100km Elite race was taken out by Bre Vine in a quick sub 5 hour time followed by Michelle Morris and Elise Burris whom all raced within a fairly narrow window of only a few minutes. But it was Cristy Henderson who won overall in the Master’s category, 22 minutes faster than Vine.
The AMB 100 is a little different with categories as Elite is an overarching category so much as age based, being 19-39.
The crew from Rocky Trail Entertainment always put on a stellar day of activities with many support races also run on the day including a 100mile option, a half marathon and a shorter 33km race. Full results can be found here.
A marathon on the trails around Mt Stromlo is particuarly demanding given the rocky nature of the terrain. Many buckled riders crossed the line today who will sleep well tonight and tomorrow be very glad they completed another AMB100!