The blog of Eric Sibly; focusing on mountain biking, .NET development for the Desktop, Smartphone and PocketPC.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The unknown World Champions...

Question: In what recent World Championship did Australia men finish 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th – that is four in the top 6.

Answer: The 2006 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships – Elite Downhill

So how come we read so little of this in the mainstream press; how many other sports does Australia compete in which they dominate to such a level? So why is there no coverage in the papers or on television, why is not more money being invested in a sport where there is obvious success? For goodness sake Australia invested in and sent a competitor to the winter Olympic to do luge – what the – this is not even a sport that anyone can participate in locally – so why?

Sam Hill and Nathan Rennie should be household names for their achievements!

Let’s also see how Australia/NZ went in other categories from a top 10 perspective at the event:

Junior Women Downhill – Tracey Hannah (Aus) 1st.
Junior Men Downhill – NZ 1st and 2nd, Aus 5th, 7th and 9th.
Elite Women Downhill – NZ 7th and 9th.

Update: SBS will show highlights on Sunday, September 10 at 11am.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

12hr MTB race...

Well, this past weekend was the “RACE FACE 12 HOUR MOUNTAIN BIKE TEAM CHALLENGE” – that is quite the mouthful! Anyway, it was a 12hr MTB endurance race ran out at Kooralbyn Resort, the same venue as the recently completed 24hr race. Again, Fabian and I teamed up and entered as a pair.

The previous day’s rain had dampened the track, but we arrived to a perfect morning of sunshine which is what we had all day, could not have asked for more. The track was a bit tacky for the first few laps but dried up pretty quickly apart from one large muddy bog in a darkened corner. The track was fairly similar to last time except some additional climbing was added to the end after the switchbacks section so the final stage of the lap got a bit harder before the fun downhill run into the bridge setting up the start/finish straight.

We hooked up with the boys from Ashgrove Cycles again, this time it was Hayden and Andy in the two man category as well. They were going for the win, and were leading the category until about the 9th hour when they both pretty much ran out of gas. They ended up finishing 3rd, which I guess is still a pretty good effort, although they were a little disappointed.

The race got away right on time at 8am with a ride start versus the standard run to your bike affair. This caused some confusion as a number of us had expected the run and had left our bikes along the start/finish straight and had to go back and collect them. The start was fairly uneventful and we all got away ok. Although, I did hear some dude broke his chain within the first few hundred metres – bummer.

I did the first two laps this time round, a 39:10 and 40.08, reasonable time and was feeling pretty good when I came in. Then I chilled out and ate some food whilst Fabian did his set, 40:17 and 41:21.

Next up, I did another two laps, a 40:29 and 42:08; started feeling it on the last lap from probably going out a little hard on the first. Fabian machined out his next two laps, a 41:14 and 42:58.

Up again. I was feeling really good and set off with the intentions of doing a really good lap, it felt fast and was expecting to be rewarded with a good time, it was a 42:37 – I was really gutted – it really messed with my head and the next lap just sucked, a 47:16. Fabian went out and did his next two, 43:37 and 44:36 – and had some brake problems that he had to fix before his final set in the dark.

The next two were going to be the final two laps, with the last in the dark as the sun was starting to go down. Started out really well and was going along comfortably until I got to that large muddy bog, and I thought I would try the outside line, versus the inside I had done successfully every other time. Well, as luck would have it, the bike slipped out from under me and I went down right into the muddy mess. The only bonus was no one was there to see it and laugh at me – phew! I was now covered in thick mud all down the left hand side, and my glove and grip were super slippery and holding on with that hand became a challenge for the remainder of the lap. I completed the lap a respectable 47:02 considering the unexpected stop. I then stopped on the way back out down the start straight to change gloves and clean the grip to regain some control. It was now dark and it was lights on, I was now starting to feel it in the legs and I slowly crawled around the lap, an almost laughable 55:15. Fabian completed his last two in the dark, with a solid 45:45 and 49:03.

So we completed a respectable 16 laps in total which was exactly what we had planned prior to the race so that was pleasing, and we can 11th in the two person category out of 19 which we thought was pretty good. So overall we came 55th out of 104 starters/teams – which again we were happy with as that meant we beat a bunch of 3 and 4 person teams. Yeah us!

Finally, I would like to thank Two Wheel Promotions for organising another fantastic event, and Ange for being my support crew again; making up my drinks, getting my food, organising my changes of clothes, putting up with my grumpiness after a bad lap, and looking after the kids.