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.


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



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

General pic 2

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.


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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.


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.


  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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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”

Jetblack 24 Hour

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​Media release: 27 September 2017


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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Jetblack 12 Hour 2016

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Four of us from Quantum,  Michal Kafka, Andrew Lloyd, Jacob Van Egmond and Blake Shergold had decided to do a team event at the Jetblack 12hr at Mulbray Farm Picton. As the race was going to be a late finish I decided to take up the option of camping next to the track to save on a late, tired drive home. The track report put out on the Friday by Martin at Rocky Trail  said that the track was wet in places and one section would be left out, that’s great, one less hill climb! During Friday night, I could hear the rain outside and thought this could be a long wet day, by the morning the rain had cleared and luckily we only had a couple of millimetres of rain.


At 6:45am I headed off to allow time to set up camp and maybe a practice lap. Pulling into the Farm I could see Michal had already setup our gazebo and table and not far behind was Andrew and Jacob. As Andrew was busy setting up his caravan for the night, three of us headed off for a practice lap. The bit of rain had been enough to make it one slippery ride and a couple of nice mud sections.

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SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix 2016

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Rocky Trail Entertainment's SHimano GP at Ourimbah

Rocky Trail Entertainment’s SHimano GP at Ourimbah

The final round of the SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix Series was held on the weekend at Awaba MTB Park near Newcastle and riders were awarded their series titles. Andrew Lloyd from Newcastle took out the overall four-hour solo men’s title and Natalie Anderson from Sydney’s South won the women’s series division. In the seven-hour series Jason Hewitt from Singleton and Dalene Pretorius were the overall winners after five races that took more than 1000 Rocky Trail racers to some of the most popular mountain bike trails in NSW and the ACT.


As one of the past decade’s longest-standing NSW/ACT cross-country series, the SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix Series wrapped up it’s 2016 season at Awaba MTB Park near Newcastle on the weekend. Race Director Martin Wisata from event promoter Rocky Trail Entertainment said that it had been another successful series under the patronage of Shimano Cycling Australia. “Together with our major sponsor, our goal has been to run this series for all kinds of mountain bikers and looking at the start lines we get a very wide range of male and female riders – from elite racers to weekend warriors to up and coming juniors,” he said.

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RockyTrail Shimano MTB Grand Prix Series Finale

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Andrew Lioyd

Andrew Lloyd

Stefan Meriman

Stefan Meriman

Well, well, well… another year and again the Shimano GP series hosted by Rockytrail Entertainment has concluded. The racing this year has provided some fantastic race locations – some new, and some old favorites. Some of the new trails visited this season include Glenrock MTB Park just south of Newcastle, as well as the new Singleton race location. Both locations provided additional interest to an already diverse array of race locations as part of the series.

Last Saturday (23rd July) was the last race on the Rockytrail GP calendar for the 2016, which drew racers to the flowy trails of Awaba in the central coast/hunter region of NSW. The weather was set for a perfect day of singletrack goodness. As it turns out after some iffy weather mid week, Martin and the Rockytrail crew decided to relocate the race to the delight of many, from Mt Annan Botanic Gardens in Sydney’s South West, to the Awaba MTB Park about 1.5h north of Sydney. This was to ensure the race could fully go ahead with little probability that the race be postponed due to the trails of Mt Annan still being closed following rain earlier in the week.

As always, the showing from Quantum Racing was strong. We had the usual hitters of Stefan Merriman & Andy Lloyd flying the flag in the 4h solo category, Alex Kooijman in the 7h solo category, Paul van Egmond in the Super Masters solo category whilst usual solo contenders Jacob van Egmond and Blake Shergold decided to pair up to contest the team of 2, 4 hour category.


Jacob van Egmond


Blake Shergold


Dan Baker

The race started at 9am sharp with riders shuttled back along the entry road for a nice fireroad start to space out the bunch before heading into the tight twisty singletrack. As soon as the gun went, it was full gas with all racers jostling for the best position possible. With a little rain in the day’s prior, paired with relatively low bike traffic prior to the race, the trail was initially very slippery and a little muddy in spots. However, as the day went on, and riders started their 3rd and 4th respective laps, the trail was back to running in pristine condition with the mud turning to loam, and the trail offering much more grip. Still, watch out for those slippery tree roots though. Stefan and Andy Lloyd were out the front as usual, with team of two Jacob & Blake not far behind. As the race went on, many racers lap times started to slow with the breaking bumps & Heartbreak Hill around mid-way around the lap, really starting to take their toll. This included our own; Andy Lloyd who almost succumbed to the force that is; Stefan Merriman in the final Lap. Stefan really turned up the heat in the final lap, with a blistering 35:06 minute monster of a final lap, whereby he managed to reel in Andy with a respective time of 36:37 – still not a slow time. With a final sprint for the line Lloydy remained victorious over Stefan despite managing to catch up and both finish with the same final time.

Whilst the members of the Fast GP were battling away, you can’t look past the ‘Furious’ GP competitors opting to stay out on the trails for an extra 3 hours – that’s almost a full day at work. Quantum Racing’s representation consisted of the one and only Alex Kooijman of the male masters category. Don’t let Alex’s relative inexperience to the 7h field in previous years fool you – he can ride a bike. Over the seven hours Alex’s lap times only slowed by 5.5minutes, showing some serious endurance and ability to judge and gauge speed to go the long haul. Alex managed to finish 12th overall, 4th out of the soloists, and 1st in category – a stellar effort.

The final round of the Shimano GP held at Awaba

Alex Kooijman

Angelique & Claudia

Angelique & Claudia

On behalf of all of us here at Quantum Racing we would like to thank all of our sponsors for their ongoing support. TWE Wheels, JetBlack Products, Pivot Cycles, the Odd Spoke, Way2Live, Mitas Tyres, SR Suntour & JTR & Associates. Additionally, we’d like to extend a special mention to Ondrej Slezak for his continued support of us all and overall dedication to the team. We all really appreciate it and hope you can come back to racing soon.



Convict 100 Century Of Dirt

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The convict 100 started in an interesting way as I was playing ‘taxi driving’ for Jason English, collecting him from Sydney airport right in the middle of Sydney peak hour!  His flight landed at 6pm and I left home at 4:30pm, I only live 9km away from Sydney airport, and I was still late, ‘god damn’ Sydney traffic!!!  We finally got on the road to battle the Sydney traffic out of the airport, I put Jason on navigation duties along with Google maps, which was a mistake, we finally found the M1 and we were away…until we hit the centre of Sydney and the stupid GPS missed a turn and we soon found ourselves doing laps around the law courts and Martin place!  It was now 7pm and we only had done 12km not happy, at least I took Jason on a sightseeing tour around Sydney, after all that I finally found the sign to the Harbor bridge and we are away to St Albans; the home on a century of dirt the convict 100.

We arrived at St Albans the doors to the back country. No phone reception, no work calls, no Facebook, no nothing, worry free weekend how good is that, just a weekend of riding bikes good people more could I ask for? Now it was time to find Jason’s bike and tent as that came down with Jamie Vogele (another port Macquarie local), all we had to find it was a really bad and not very bright rear light. We must have spent a good hour walking up and down rows of parked cars and tents trying to find Jamie , and of course he decided to park the furthest place possible from me.

Race day
The smell of bacon and egg rolls filled the air as the sun rises and breaks the foggy, overcast morning; so tempting – not the best race food in anyone’s books, unless it’s a 24hr then anything goes. Luckily the awesome team form Way2Live were there to fill me up with their brown rice porridge. While I was stuffing my face with their great food, I watched the start of the race begin for the elites, 100km, and the 68km begin. As this was my first real race after coming back from the world 24hr champs in NZ earlier in the year I selected the 48km option – didn’t want to jump into the deep end straight away. 10am rolls around and it was time for the start of the 48km race. Bang!! The gun goes off and somehow I end up at the front of the field and in control of the race (first time for everything right??) for the first 8km of the race it was superfast rolling roads

convict 100I was able to tell who the roadies were within the bunch and the people to watch out for.After the road slog and the creek crossing we hit the first and only hill of the day, this hill is insanely steep and loose with ‘baby head’ rocks everywhere. Half way up this hill there was a crash and I was caught up in the spill everyone was ok but I was not happy as the guy that crashed used me to stop him falling off the cliff, although there was trees every to grab onto. As I headed across the ridge line to enjoy the spectacular views below I was in between the lead group and the group that crashed I was able step up the pace again as there were no big climbs to tackle. Riding solo is what I am best at as I can pace myself and look at my numbers from the power meter and grind it out. Off in the distance I spot a familiar rider and friend, Charlotte. Charlotte and I team up to get back on the lead group, yet again the pace picks up again and its full steam again, with a bit of team work we are now sitting in 3rd and 4th place outright, at this point I could see that she was exhausted, but I was determined to bring her back with a smile from here it was all downhill, the last 5km were a blast on my pivot 429sl, the bike was able to eat up the wash board road surface and power along, it really is the ultimate marathon bike, even with Charlotte in tow. The final 1km sign was ahead and I went all out to take out 3rd place with an awesome sprint finish as 2nd was just ahead. I crossed the line with a respectable time of 1hour and 52 minutes, in 3rd place.

The convict is truly a great race in every way, form the people you meet, to the location, and even and the story’s you ride away with. I will defiantly be back next year to race the full 100km race as I will be in full training mode for the world 24hr champs in Finale Italy.

Dan Baker