SRAM Single Track Mind Series 2012 / Rnd 1 - Orange – Kinross Forest.
Round one of the Chocolate Foot – SRAM Single Track Mind Series, kicked off at Kinross Forest, Orange. With a weather forecast of single digit temperatures, we packed the RAV and headed off, initially with brave intentions of camping out at the track. We altered these plans slightly, to take in a leisurely lunch break at a trendy café, dinner at a wine bar, and a night in a cosy hotel. Rocking up to the race at a civilised hour, we set up camp and got ‘race ready’. Bike – check, shoes, helmet, gloves – check, Race plate with new integrated transponder (nice one guys!) – check. Let’s Go! This was a first for the local Orange MTB gang. Normally the dedicated racers have to travel 3 or more hours to most events. This was something a few podium standers reminded us of. Good ol’ local track advantage.
With a field of 280 riders, the competition was certainly tight. The track was built by Central West Off Road Bicycle Club, and I must say, it was superb. No-one in all honesty, enjoys an easy track. It must be challenging, almost bring you to tears, but have you laughing at the end of the day. This definitely fit the description. With around 200m of climbing on every 8km lap it sorted the men from the boys and girls from the women? Starting with a steady switch-back climb, the course incorporated rock gardens, A and B line log rides, and a very small fire trail section where you could drink and eat (once you regained some breath). After this it was fun city! A swooping berm filled downhill had most grinning from ear to ear. And with a finish that included a loop around the event hub it was tempting to do double laps. Solo Riders (myself included), had little choice but to keep going. There’s a saying in the solo rider world, “beware the chair”, and with all good intentions I lasted till 2pm with 9 laps on the board. This advice should also include, beware the coffee van, the steak sanga’s and the complimentary ale at race completion. As always the atmosphere at Chocolate Foot events is great. Joe Ward kept everyone entertained with games for the kids and regular race result updates. And his loyal crew of workers kept the day running like a well lubed chain.
With a cash pool of $10,000 in prizes and over $2000 in cash, the success of the series is largely due to the sponsors. But having said that, the MTB community is a strange lot. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see as many people participating for the pure joy of it. At the end of the day the prizes are a bonus. It’s more about the team effort, the bragging rights, and the funny stories that of course get exaggerated over time. The next SRAM STM round is 24 June and will be held at Kowen Forest Canberra. Sorry Orangites. It’s road trip time again!