Well it appears that we have a new news group dedicated to Mountain
Bikes and Mountain Biking. I thought it fitting to start with a post
describing my first entry into an "Orienteering on Mountain
Bikes" competition which happened yesterday.
The basic format is to be issued with a map and coordinates for a series
(18) of check points that have to be visited within a four hour peroid.
It was held in an area of dry sclerphyl forest. The area was fairly
dense bush with streams and a variety of trails. The underlying
tera-firma was granite based and well suited to MTB'ing due to its
fairly hard packed nature, hard to damage with fat tyres. The nearest
smoke is a town called Gembrook about 50km east of Melbourne, Victoria
Australia. Major storms last weekend livened up many of the trails with
trees down everywhere.
To get to every check point would have required 50 odd Km or riding a
feat only achieved by two teams who would have had to be very fit and
good with a compass and map. There was a group of nine of us trying
this for the first time. We started out together but this proved not to
be a good move. The minimum team size was 2 and this is also obviously
the optimum. Check points were valued at 10, 20, 30, 50 and 70 points,
with a total of 510 attainable, depending upon the difficulty in
attaining them. The 70 pointer was as the ride from hell, unfortunately
I only have this on hearsay. Another thing we learnt was not to tackle
anything too steep. At one point we found our team climbing, carring
aour bike for about 1km up a particularly steep trail. I found myself
with a pulse close to the max when I had to dismount and it was still
there when we got to the top about half an hour later. This sort of
high jinks might be good for the soul but not a good tatic time wise.
The down hills were phenominal though. The steepest was down a cleared
area under some high tension power lines. I managed to stay mounted for
almost all of it and a couple the whole distance. One guy managed an
endo in slow motion, his center of gravity just that touch to forward.
Some of the gentler down hills could be tackled at speed. I managed to
hit 60K in one stretch on the home leg. You really feel like you a
flying but some suspension is looming on the shopping list. When I got
out of the car at home I was so stiff I could hardly move. I fell
asleep the moment I got inside and slept for four hours, totally
stonkered. It was probably the greatest fun I have had on two wheels
ever. Absolutely magic.
The crowd organising it supplied the map etc, water at some of the check
points, bannanas, prizes and a container of fresh pasta (tortelini) to
replace some of the lost calories to take home. The charge was a modest
A$15. The cruised the area to pick up casualties and keep an eye on
things. There is one more such event this season. It is at Narbethong
on the other side of the mountains in a couple of weeks time. (Drop me
a line if you are interested.) Narbethong was the the idilic country
town featured in the film "On the Beach" from Neville Shutes book. As
of now I am in training ;-).
666 Doncaster Road, Doncaster, Victoria, Australia, 3108.
Phone (+61 3) 840 2222 Fax (+61 3) 840 2277