A couple of real-fidi’s, Libby and me (Bleeksie), and a couple of apprentice-fidi’s, Martin and Brooke, made their way to the Back Yamma 100km MTB race near Forbes on Sunday 9th September.
As it was a solid 3+ hour drive to get there, we decided to drive up on the Saturday afternoon and to check into the local pub in Eugowra. We weren’t quite sure what to expect from the Grand Hotel and probably a good thing we didn’t expect much, as there was not much grandness to it.
After reading their dinner menu and rejecting it, we walked across the road to the 2nd pub of Eugowra where the menu wasn’t much better, so we decided to drive 30 minutes more to Forbes where we found some semi edible pub food.
It’s funny how there are two pubs in Eugowra seeing the population isn’t much more than fit in a shoebox.
Ok, a couple of hours later we are fed and ready to get a good night sleep, having shunned the camping option, only to find out that the beds seem to pre-date WW1 and the old springs nearly bounce on the floor as you lay down, with the mattress wrapping around you, sucking you into a black hole…… heeelp!
Good thing we each brought some breakfast food as the supplied white sponge bread for toast wouldn’t have filled a thimble. You know, the stuff you can squeeze down to nothing in your hand and when you let go it springs back to the original size…. healthy stuff.
Anyway, what can you expect for $25 per bed & breakfast, it might still have been better than fumbling around with tents and a thermarest non-sleep.
The race is a 104km course with about 950m climbing in total, fairly flat. A Fair amount of single-track but so not technical that it doesn’t come across much like single-track riding.
There was a 52km lap that we rode twice, except for Libby who DNF’ed after a mechanical with her rear derailieur exactly finishing one lap. The tracks were fairly well marked, except for Martin who did some unique GPS drawing while getting lost.
It was dry and very very dusty with the “black lung” hitting everyone within minutes.
I set a fast pace from the start, with the fidi’s not far behind (not as fast a Jason English & co of course), trying to keep in mind that it was 104km and not over cooking it in the early part. It is surprising how quickly the riders got spread out across the course so the dust settled and I could concentrate on a steady pace. Reeling in some other riders as we got further into the event, no idea how many riders were ahead but obvious whenever I caught some 40+ category rider. At the end of the first lap I was riding with another 40+ racer and when we hit the small climbing sections I managed to drop him, but due to near cramping and having to manage my power output he caught me again at 3 km togo from the finish.
I made sure he went to the front and I just sat on his wheel until the final 30 meters where I out sprinted him to the line, still not knowing how many riders had finished ahead of us.
My final sprint actually put me into 2nd podium spot… woohoo!
Brooke rode consistently and managed to collect 2nd in the Open Female category…. speed it up next time!
Even though Martin was ahead of Brooke most of the race, his little route mishap saw him finish a little further back and off the Single Speed category podium, in 4th by only a few minutes.
Bleeksie – 2nd Masters Men
Brooke – 2nd Open Female
Martin – 4th Single Speed
Libby – DNF mechanical