Riders woke today to a perfect Snowy Mountain dawn – still mountains, pink glowing eucalypts, and bright sunshine. Much of the water that came down from the enormous ranges had washed away overnight, as had the wind, leaving the mountains brightly-scrubbed and the trails in mint condition.
After an early shuttle to Friday Flat at Thredbo village and a brief rider briefing, racing got underway. Today’s Snowy Legends Descent saw us take off at 20-second intervals in reverse TT order – that’s to say, with the fastest rider first and the slowest last. This is a format that In2Adventure have used a couple of times over the weekend and has proved really successful, minimising traffic and overtaking and keeping racing clean and the trails uncluttered.
Racing at the Snowies MTB Festival
Today’s stage presented riders with a very special privilege – the chance to ride the multi-use, two-way Thredbo Valley Trail at full gas without fear of a head on collision and without traffic. The rain had left the trails in perfect condition – grippy and tacky – and the weather, as I said, was perfectly clear and sunny. The Thredbo Valley Trail takes in a range of ecosystems and the trails change significantly from top to bottom, traversing alpine heath and sclerophyll forest, with surfaces ranging from skatey gravel to soft loam, to rocky, armoured pinches in the second half. The entire trail is flowy and fast, with just a few short climbs towards the finish to make the swoop down the final curving bridge extra rewarding.
Before long I was listening to the beeper count me down and sprinting, locked out, into the trails. I had a fairly uneventful ride, except a dropper malfunction at the halfway mark that slowed me down for the more technical second halfa bit.
For the most part I was able to enjoy the trails and the final day of some awesome racing. Dan McConnell again lit up the men’s field, taking the win in a staggering 1:38. He was followed by Jon Odams, then Ben Henderson in third. In the women’s field, Zoe Cuthbert completed her clean sweep of the event, followed by Bec McConnell and Meaghan Stanton. Full results are available on the In2Adventure website.
No sooner had we finished than it was time to throw the bikes into their bags and check out of our accommodation. This year’s Snowies MTB Festival has been a little more special than most, with everyone making the very most of an opportunity to get together and race, and with extra appreciation of how fortunate we are to do so. The event showcases the incredible and rare alpine riding that the region has to offer, and with four varied stages packed into a long weekend, it’s one for each and every bucket list.