Bike Buller is a 3-day mountain bike festival at, you guessed it, Mt Buller. There’a plenty of XC action amongst the gravity events, and today the Epic Trail point-to-point let us loose on the alpine singletrack in the Victorian High Country.
A flat is definitely a good way to let your race, and your tyre, down. The upside is it lets you enjoy the trail and vistas along the way. After driving up from Melbourne to Mt Buller the night before, watching ominous clouds threaten the weekend, Saturday awoke with serene blue skies, and CRISP Buller air.
For those that haven’t been to Mt Buller, it is situated in the east of Victoria, about a 3-4h drive from Melbourne (depending how much you like to rail corners on the drive up to the summit). It is a resort town, with all the accommodation only a few minutes from the centre of town. On top of this, from practically anywhere on the mountain you can see magnificent alpine forest stretching as far as the eye can see, the town is filled with gumtrees and Australian native plants, making you feel right at home.
The festival itself is based in the centre of town, and is certainly a happening place with over 600 entrants this year, racing various disciplines.
Being a full XC kid, I was naturally racing the Alpine Epic Trail, a 46km point to point race over some of the phenomenal singletrack in the area. Starting at 8:30, I was up and had consumed an adequate amount of coffee (just). From the start the race left the village and descended down to the ridge, it wasn’t long until Van Der Ploeg had kicked his E-bike into gear and disappeared into the distance, leaving myself and Toby Stewart out in front. Unfortunately after enjoying some singletrack, I sliced my tire on a rock, and after nursing it for some time I gave in and put in a tube. My C02 got me halfway and a fellow rider lent me his pump. By this point I was resigned to my position, and hopped back on to enjoy the rest of the ride. However being the competitive person I am, it wasn’t long until I was back on the limit.
I passed a few riders, and promptly took a wrong turn… With the blinkers on I had inadvertently confused my left and right arrows, and gone completely the wrong way!
I only realised after descending hard, all the way down into the valley. By this point I was relatively exhausted and finally managed to shake the competitive mindset. Climbing back up gave me time to look around and get a feel for the different landscapes and flora as I progressed. When I finally made it back to the top of the self inflicted climb, I discovered over 20 minutes of singletrack descent, that took the riders right to the base of Mt Buller, and the finish.
At the bottom all the riders regrouped and enjoyed some food and drink at the local café, before catching a shuttle back to the top, to get amongst the rest of the festival. As always one of the highlights of these races, especially when not racing at the pointy end, is all the happy, like minded people you meet. On the drive back to the top, there was not a single silent moment, with riders chatting about their favourite sections, loose moments, or how much they wanted more coffee/food/beer.
Bike Buller Epic Trail results
1st Toby Stewart Elite 02:00:25
2nd Paul Van der Ploeg E-bike. 02:10:27
3rd Kelsey Boreham Expert 02:15:33
1st Jess Egan Elite 02:37:59
2nd Michelle Delaney Masters 03:25:25
3rd Lucie Blom Expert 03:49:13
The Cornhill Grand Prix
The short and sharp 17km Cornhill Grand Prix kicked off proceedings on Sunday morning. Riders traversed all the local favourites including Gang Gangs, the Misty Twist berm descent, the Medusa switchbacks on Silk Lane,
the Corn Hill descent and the punishing Split Rock climb back up to the village.
Every rider who finished commented on “that hill” at the finish line.
Thankfully I recovered from an average day yesterday and claimed line honours! Toby Stewart was second and Tyler Phillips claimed third.
The XC Whippet trophy went to Toby Stewart ahead of myself for the best aggregate time in the combined XC events.
If you’re after all event results – head to the results page on the Rapid Ascent website.