Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Far, far away, in the humble happenings of Gippsland, there is a pleasant escape from the rocky terrain and arduous tracks that can be found in the MTB crazed town of Bendigo. This place is an oasis, where the single-track is magic and the trees and trails speak to one another, and they all combine in sunshine every year to bring us the Blores Hill 6hr. I grew up just 20kms from Heyfield where the fourth round of the Victorian Enduro Series took place, and I feel a little ripped that these tracks existed in my backyard all along and I never had a thought to take-over the dirt. So injuries aside, with my Trek Superfly 100 Pro SL (dually) in tow to relieve any back symptoms, I apprehensively committed to race.

Chris, Ruby (with her V-plates) and I ready to race

I decided that it would be best to team up as a mixed threesome, with Chris Hamilton looking for some fast laps leading into the XC World Championships, and bringing on board Ruby-Marie Greig-Hurtig for her first ever MTB race…woop! We made the epic drive down on Friday for the Saturday feature race, with hospitality compliments of Mum. As per usual the track was in mint condition with the majority consisting of smooth single-track that naturally ebbs and flows as you weave through the trees and sail through the berms. A short bit of fire-trail in the middle leads into the technical ‘Trig’. This part is quite rocky and finishes up a sharp climb before a swish A-line shoots you off down the descent, cascading down the hill with berms and whoops to satisfy the downhiller in all of us!

Nick Morgan and John Groves had a close fought victory in the Men's Pairs

We allowed Chris to start under the condition that if he wasn’t leading, that we weren’t tag-teaming with him. But he didn’t disappoint and I found myself ripping off jackets as he swooped into transition in the lead. I took off cautiously but was still eager to post a good time (you can take away my form but I will forever be competitive). With a clear track I was able to ease back into this MTB ‘thing’ without pressure. Despite my time away, the track was so natural and my bike so effortless that I felt I was just along for the scenery. And with my favourite Rubena Scylla’s carrying me along I felt even more at home.

An interesting tyre choice by the 'fat-tyre-flyer'!

As I had hoped, I rode through the day-3hrs in fact-completely pain free (lungs and legs aside)! It was a relief; I even thought it a miracle. I was on such a high that after the completion of my first lap I rode with Ruby to talk her through the race. But being the fighter that she is she didn’t need my help, in fact she dropped me lol The race day flew. I cheered for the local fun loving, dirt-hugging guys that I grew up with, the city dwellers along for some fresh air, and of course eventual solo winners and close friends Tory Thomas and Peter Kutschera. I snacked on $2 toasties, broke into the lunch of solo riders Shaun Cattanach and Darren Spiteri, and just enjoyed the MTB atmosphere-thanks to Tim and Ray for the company.

Ray and Tim supporting partners Kath O'Shea (2nd solo female)
and Tory Thomas (1st solo female)

When the 5.5hr marked ticked over and Chris came in for our final change, Ruby and I were relaxing in our chairs, fully clothed as per usual, and after some scrambling we were off again. To our surprise, Chis met us up at ‘The Trig’ and the three of us sailed down the hill in sync, chatting away and enjoying the trails. This moment really set the tone of my relationship with MTB’ing-fun, fitness and friends…until I snapped my chain! Luckily Chris had a link and we allowed Ruby to go ahead to finish the lap.

Myself, Chris and Ruby with our awesome trophies
hand-made from old resurrected bike parts - thanks Glen!

We finished second in the mixed and all came home with super cool trophies, although I did have to give Ruby the one that spun…devoed! Now I’m suffering from ‘post-race social-depression’ as I like to call it. It’s a common disease that affects 78% of MTB’ers and even road riders (yes, you people do have something in common) after an awesome day out such as Blores Hill. If you’ve ever suffered from it, put your hand up…now put it down, you look weird sitting at your computer with your hand up!