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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I 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.
My first XCM Nationals,
Taking flight, with Ondrej, on Thursday afternoon, to be at Blue Derby trails 1st thing on Friday morning, to do few test runs. We have booked our accommodation at Scottsdale, which is about 20 minutes from Derby. Self contend unit with kitchen so we could cook for ourselves. It would be hard to found some vegan restaurant at Derby. Actually not just Derby, but would say most of Tasmania.
Easter in Alice Stage 1
Few of Quantum racing team riders have decided to come to Alice Springs for annual EITA race, which includes 4 stages over 3 days. First day is 90km Bunny Buster which is also part of this year National XCM marathon series. Alex and I have chosen 90km, while Angelique decided for 45km option. Unfortunately Hana wasn’t allowed to the start, because they were not accepting registrations day before the race. Start was scheduled for 6:30 a.m. early start, which I really hate, which doesn’t give you much time to digest your breakfast and do proper warm up. My body requires at least 45 minutes to get to race temperature, but with information that there will be 7km of neutral segment, where will be plenty of time to warm up.
Quantum Racing team manager it now at Tauranga, New Zealand getting ready for first Kiwi Crusade 7 day stage race. I had a chance to catch up with him just before he left to get little bit of insight about his preparation, equipment etc.
Being one of the very first races of the season, the AMB 100 is always a bit of a whirlwind in terms of expectations and skill levels. No one is really sure what to expect in terms of who has been training profusely over the summer Christmas break, and who has indulged in maybe a little too much Christmas turkey. With participants opting for either 33km, 66km, 100km and 100mile varieties of the race it sure is a good test – and a great opportunity to see who the contenders are for the upcoming season.
Here is a short interview with team rider Dan Baker, racing WEMBO 24 solo. Dan is now at Rotorua less then a day from a start.
Quantum Racing athletes will now be working together with Generation UCAN Australia, to fully benefit from this amazing nutrition.
It all started on Friday morning. Get to the warehouse, load my van with pallet of beer for Jetblack 24. Get all the camping stuff in, check the new team tent, and get home to get everything ready not just for myself, but rest of the team. Checking weather every half an hour and evaluating the situation. Read more…
Another great race on Quantum Racing calendar. It is the iconic marathon race located at St Albans. The Convict 100 is one of Australia’s most challenging MTB marathon races following the historic Convict Trail through the Dharug and Yengo National Parks. The course features a mix of fast fire trail, technical rock gardens, rocky descents and spectacular ridgeline views.
It was Friday after work and I was in my van on the way to Tamworth. This time I was just by myself, Ondrej has decided to try his luck at this year Convict 100. And it has payed off, Ondrej finished 1st in veteran category. Also with top 5 results counting to overall standing in the series, he could afford it. On other hand, I couldn’t. In 4th round I had crashed and had to pull the pin. At the Bathurst round I also missed out during of injured back after trying my luck at Cyclocross race. After 5 ½ hours of driving I finally arrived to Tamworth. Andrew Lloyd and his “coach” old man have been waiting for me with hot tea on the stove. At the time of my arrival the temperature had dropped to zero and it was getting really chilly. Read more…
3 Rind Circus has become an icon in MTB and it is always on our calendar. Race is located in one of the best MTB locations in NSW – Wingello forest, home of many other big races such as Highland Fling and James Williamson endure. We always love to come to this race, unfortunately this year not many of Quantum Racing boys had turned up due to various events on the same date. Andrew Lloyd racing up in Newcastle, Miles Watson at Terry Hills Cyclocross and Alex Koojiman and Steve Billington already in Europe getting their legs ready for Craft Transalp.
So this time it was only 3 riders from Quantum Racing. Michal Burda who arrived to Wingello on Sunday morning and Michal and Ondrej who have decided to started their round trip with in laws at Belanglo State Forest. Michal missed the windows for online registration so he had to get his registration done in person on Saturday evening, having a chance to experience night race in spectator role. He said it looked like great fun and he won’t miss this one either.
Hooray! It is done.
Today was about survival. Legs filled with lead and 17-20deg climbs for 10km was simply not nice. Followed up by single track descents that are so steep and so long, the brakes were on full power for around 5km and my butt was so far back u were almost sitting on the back wheel. We were screaming for mercy to stop using the brakes and give the braking fingers and arms a rest.