Port to Port MTB – Stage 4

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It seems like only yesterday that we all anxiously lined up on the golden foreshore of Nelson Bay with a seemingly long 4 days of racing ahead of us. Now that 3 had passed, only one remained – The finale. Many had mixed feelings about the last day, some keen to see the end of a hard weeks racing, others not so keen to see their ‘holiday like’ experience of the port to port come to an end. Either way, the final day was upon us.

18699305_1405529209541066_4987254568889040299_ohe day started again with a 30min que for the pre-race ‘ritual’ to ultimately ensure that a Tom Dumoulin like Giro D’italia event doesn’t occur again. With the necessary pre-race ‘activities’ out of the way, we headed to the start line. Again we started under neutral racing conditions as the lead car cruised through suburban Belmont with riders raring to go just behind. It wasn’t long till the lead car sped away and we were on. After a 1km bunch sprint, racing was well and truly underway. As a bunch, we were funneled into some narrow, sandy, and loose singletrack on what was to be the start to a single-track fun filled day.

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Port to port MTB – Stage 3

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Port to Port Day 3 Cooranbong


It was time for day 3 with already over 80km and a lot of climbing in the legs from the previous two stages this was going to be our hardest challenge yet, 60km. Today we were expecting more riders as they came for the ‘Weekend Warrior’, which is just the last two days over the weekend. Jumping out the car was a shock as the cool air hit you as you run over to join the long queue at the single toilet. Arriving at the start line to no surprise the hot topic was the chill in the air, as I watched riders stacking on the base layers underneath their jerseys and wearing their jackets right up to the start.

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Port to Port MTB – Stage 2

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Port-to-Port – day 2


Day 2 of the port to port stage race promised to be an epic stage for the Quantum Racing team. With our bellies filled with breakfast recipes from Way2Live, the day was set up to be a huge success.

Leaving the blue sea and the white beaches of Nelson Bay behind, this stage was held more inland in Pokolbin in the Hunter region. The Audrey Wilkinson vineyard was this year’s starting point of the 50km race on the second day.

At the heart of the beautiful Hunter Valley, Pokolbin has many vineyards and cellar doors, and delicious places to wine and dine. With the spectacular backdrop of the Broken Back Range, and the forecast of it promising to be a beautiful sunny day, it did not fall short of a perfectly planned race day.

With the winter just around the corner, the temperature at 7 am was still in the single digits. Time to make decisions in preparation for the start …. what to wear, or not to wear …. With the sun just rising into the sky surely it was going to be a good day!

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Port to Port MTB – Stage 1

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As a team, we have done P2P in its first edition, and that was in 2014. As a four-day stage race with 50km per day on average it would promise to by tough four days in the saddle, with heart rate in the red zone. All four stages are located around Newcastle and Hunter Valley region. This year it would suit my preparation for the 2nd part of my season, which would be my 4th Crocodile Trophy. And on the other site, it will nicely finish off two months of racing in April and May.

As every year the stage 1 of P2P was held at Nelson Bay. With its sandy trails, this stage would fit local riders like Stu Adams or my team mate Stefan Merriman, both in 40-49 categories. The elite category packed with Australia’s Best MTB talents, such as Brendon Johnson, Mark Tupalski, Ryan Standish, Tristan Ward and many others. Our team represented by Angelique, Ondrej, Alex, Glen, Ryan, Stefan, Andrew, Jacob, Paul and me (Michal Kafka). As a team, we booked two apartments in Wallsend at Newcastle, which play out to be the right spot, with no more than 50min drive to the furthest stage.  It was also good chance for our team riders to get to know each other bit better. Now we know that Ryan does eat pizza with candies topped with custard cream before sleep and Glen weights his gel. “Sorry boys, but I had to say it.”

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Convict 100

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The decision, to race Convict100, was made while sitting on the veranda at Pallarenda Townsville, one day before National XCM Champs. Ondrej was pulling his hair out how to bring my TSB and ATL curves into balance, after the nationals and slow down my form, which started to kick up due to resting prior Masters NSW Road State Champs and XCM Nationals a few weeks back. Convict with his combination of fire-roads, technical single-trails and undulating profile made the cut into my racing calendar. I have done Convict many times before, and every time it was a hard day out, with a big reward at the end and lots of stories to tell.

As the last year, girls from Way2live made the way to St. Albans and were selling healthy food from the morning till the last rider crossed the line. With my breakfast sorted, brown rice cooked in coconut milk with nuts and rice syrup topped with banana and turmeric soy latte. I went to warm up, about 15mm of light spin, with few sprints up the short hill done the job. I have lined up for a start 10 min to go. With relaxed mind and no expectations from the race outcome, I event forgot to check the tires pressure and lube the chain. Also, the bike still covered with dust from Townsville. Standing in 3rd row at the start and looking to the front where usually elite riders are, I have realised there are not many elite riders in the field, few young riders from JetBlack, Jason English, James Downing and Dan McNamara, that is few I could recognise.

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XCM National Marathon Championship 2017

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Plan executed to perfection.

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Preparation part

Preparation for the National Marathon Championship 2017 started straight from January as we were planning our year of racing. This race was the first A race on our calendar, so I was preparing myself and Michal Kafka (teammate, brother in law, my coached athlete and mostly best friend) for this race with few races prior this one to test the form. We started some base K’s from January, adding some power workouts from late February, with some speed work in March and culminating with VO2 max sessions during April, with some HIIT sessions, core workouts and yoga. We have used a variety of training options to keep us attracted from Short stage races, MTB Short Course racing, Track racing to Crits. Lastly to test our legs at NSW State Road Master Championship previous weekend where we both finished on the podium, which was a good sign of coming form. It is always hard to completely focus on your goals, due to work commitments as we both have a full-time job, and our routine is quite often affected by unexpected obstacles at work. But we are not professional athletes, who could completely focus on their goals and sacrifice everything to their dreams. We still have bills to pay, spent some time with our partners and focusing on other problems of adulthood.

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NSW Masters Road State Champs 2017

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Masters road champs to bring crowds to Orange

Molong is a small town, about half hour from Orange, in the Central West region of New South Wales in Cabonne Shire. To get to Molong from Sydney, it took us approximately 4 hours of driving. Quantum Racing team has been represented by Ondrej Slezak and Michal Kafka, competing in M1 and M2 category.

The plan for the weekend was to race Road Race and Criterium the day after. Ondrej had some experience from NRS racing, in the past, but for me, it was a completely new experience. Both of us have multiple starts and podiums in mountain biking, but to be honest, road racing is a bit of unknown territory for us.

We both took this opportunity to race the Masters, as a good preparation for MTBA XCM Nationals at Townsville next weekend and also four-day stage race Port to Port at the end of May, with most of our team. Those two races are our main focus for the first half of this season. The 2nd half of this year, we will focus to prepare for Crocodile Trophy in September at Cairns.

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LEITA 2017 part 4

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Alice Stage III Race Report

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The stage is set, Alex is leading Master 3/4 by 3 minutes to his Shadow in second place.  Angelique is also well placed in her category, 2nd in Masters Women 5/6.  Steve is three weeks behind in GC and hoping to have a stage without incident.

 

The last stage proved to be the tastiest in the classic XC style, after the Stage I marathon and the Stage II enduro.  It was fast, furious and extremely good fun.  The exception was the 500m total of sand to navigate, but even that could not perturb the smiles on all the competitor’s faces.

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LEITA 2017 part 3

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Day 2 saw us starting at Telegraph Station Lawns at 08:00 am.

Start line day 2 - LEITA

Built in 1872, to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide, the historic Telegraph Station is the site of the first European settlement in Alice Springs. After 60 years of operation, the premises then served as a school for the local Aboriginal children. Now a historical reserve, featuring the original stone buildings and furnishings from the early 1900s, the Telegraph Station is a must to visit and learn more about the history of the Alice.

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LEITA 2017 part 2

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LEITA – XCM National Series – round 3

Day one of the Lasseters Easter in the Alice (LEITA) is marked for the XCM national series – round 3. Now in its third year, the Central Australian Rough Riders (CARR) in collaboration with the Northern Territory Government, have been able to secure this event to be held in the picturesque surroundings of Alice Springs. The XCM is combined with two more race days to make up the LEITA stage race. What’s better than to spend your Easter racing MTB in one of the best places in Australia?

neutral zone

Easter last year was a month earlier than this year, and therefore the temperatures were a lot higher than this year’s LEITA in April. The gruelling 95km marathon through the rough bits around Alice Springs took its toll for most of the riders. This year’s XCM promised to be even better, with 75km of marked single trail, to get you on your toes from start to finish.

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LEITA 2017 part 1

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Alice Springs – Northern Territory – MTB-ing

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If you were ever looking for a great place to go mountain biking, you should look into going to the Northern Territory. It isn’t the typical place you would go looking for MTB trails, but rest assured you won’t be disappointed.

Alice Springs, even though it is considered relatively isolated in Australia, has got so much to offer. It’s a buzzing town, with tourists visiting from all over Australia, in fact from all over the world. It is a landing place for backpackers, who are here to top up their supplies and have a few good nights out in the town centre.

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Otway 300

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otway 300
All have started at the beginning of the year when planning the race calendar for 2017. We have started planning the races for the new season with Crocodile Trophy in September as a major event on a calendar. We have decided to skip few races to prepare ourselves for the “big race”.

With 300km and 7000m of elevation in 2 days, Otway 300 has made our selection for this year and what a race it has been. The race held at Forrest, Victoria a small rural township in the Otway Ranges, about 1.5 hours from Melbourne; famous for single trails and local Brewery (my favourite is the Silvertop lager). Arriving no Friday afternoon, we had plenty of time to test the first few kilometres of the race course, at the same time making sure, that our Pivot bikes are in right order for the race. At the race meeting, held at local Community Hall, we have been warned by organiser about quickly changing weather conditions in this region and few spots, where we should take it easy to eliminate the dangers.

bunch

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Kowalski Classic 2016

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Leaving Sydney on Saturday afternoon, Ondrej and I have arrived to our Quantum racing team mate George just before 5am. Whole family have made as more then welcome, George has prepared macrobiotic dinner from one of Way2live’s recipes by himself. After delouses dinner and long discussion about cycling we went to sleep.

Start of the race has been scheduled for 9am. Arriving 1 hour before the race, is allowing us to have enough time to warm up and discuss tem tactics for the race with Glenn and Blake Shergold.

This year we have chosen Half Kowalski 50km over Full Kowalski 100km. Some say, “there is nothing like too much single trail”, in my opinion this doesn’t apply to Full Kowalski. Too much of anything is simply, too much.

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Start: 2km long fire road with 2 minutes hill at the end has spread the field nicely. 1st single and I found myself sitting in top 10, Ondrej few positions behind. Riding behind one of slower riders, gap has opened up between 1st five and the rest. I have tried to swing past the rider, but he made sure no one could pass. I have waited till the road has opened up to fire road climb and finely past him. From this point it was about get back to the front. The 1st bunch had about 2 minutes on me, 25km to go and one of the JetBlack rider Scott Reynolds has joint my company. High pace and constant attacks start to take a toll. The unmistakable feeling in your legs, NO POWER DUDE!!! I have somehow managed to stay on Scott’s wheel, till the last climb. With no rider chasing behind, my “legs” made executive decision to give up. I have crossed the finish line in 7th position overall with 1 ½ minute behind winner Matthew Dinham, also taking win in veteran category in front of Adam Cooper 2nd and Ondrej Slezak 3rd.

I would like to thanks to my coach Ondrej Slezak from Quantum coaching, thanks for the work budy.

Results:

  1. Blake Shergold – OPEN 8th
  2. Glenn Shergold – Grand Masters 29th
  3. George Skocilas – Veteran 13th

Waratah Master Enduro Criterium A Grade

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crit

It was 6am on Sunday morning at the dinner table and Ondrej and I we were looking into bowls full of Weatbix. Still bit tired and exited from yesterdays mountain bike ride at Camden, such an awesome trail.

But, today is today and training plan pointing to Eastern Creek Dragway where Waratahs Masters Club organizing criterium. Rocking to the site 45min earlier did give us enough time to get race numbers and do bit of warming up. At the start line, Ondrej is having few words with fellow riders about the race. With open mouths we finding out, that expected 1 hour of racing has changed into 2 hours of unexpected suffering. I guess, next time, we should do more research on the word Enduro.  Without gels and just one bottle of water on board the race has started. First 45 minutes of the race has past and I found myself constantly looking onto back pockets of other riders packed with gels sachets. With Ondrej looking still composed we have entered last hour of the race. I had depleted all of the glucose reserves my body could possibly have, burning fat as an energy source in high intensity started to fail and after long time, I am hearing one word in my head “BONKING”. At 1:47:56 of the race time, my brain says NO to fat! The only objective at this moment is to get Sugar, Sugar and water. After pushing my way through the cue waiting for coffee, I get my hands on banana bread. I fill up my mouth to the top and waited till sugar hits my bloodstream. While I was getting high, Ondrej where still in the peloton chasing 1st group. Unfortunately Ondrej missed out on sprint, but after he arrived to our car his face has said it all.

It seems like a good idea to do more research about race you are about to enter, as well as to keep some food in your car for times of “emergency”. “Expect the best prepare for the worst”

http://www.generationucan.com.au/

Jetblack 24 Hour

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​Media release: 27 September 2017

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Jetblack 24 Hour: Awaba MTB Park announced as 2017 venue

Events promoter Rocky Trail Entertainment announces that the 2017 edition of the JetBlack 24 Hour endurance mountain bike race will be held at Awaba MTB Park in the Olney State Forest near Newcastle on 18+19 February. 

 

Race Director Martin Wisata said that this will be the first time that such a long event will be held on the home trails of the local Hunter Mountain Bike Association and all its best trail sections would be linked up to a giant 24-hour circuit. “The Jetblack 24 Hour has been on the Rocky Trail calendar since 2009 and we’ve raced around the clock at a holiday resort, a botanic garden and a winery and for this next one we’re going bush”, he confirmed.

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