Rocky mount 4 hr enduro: Race report (Australia)

About a week ago I got word from Jamey Mossengren (of uniproshow/shop fame) about a MTB event he was going to enter on his Muni up at Wisemans Ferry, on the Hawkesbury river north of Sydney. After having such a good time at my last bike race (The Three Ring Circus) I was keen to partake, and also get some endurance training up for my 100km XC race in November- The Highland Fling. But in the lead up to the event work conspired to eat up most available weekends and combined with a nasty 2-week flu, I was resigned to the fact that I might have to miss this one. However, three days out my commitments changed for work, my cold was pretty much gone and I had 15 min before registration for the event closed- needless to say I jumped at the opportunity, handed over the dosh and made plans for a road trip out of Canberra’s fragile attempts of Spring weather.

On the drive through the winding, canopy enclosed roads en route to Wisemans ferry I started to get a bit nervous. Firstly, I had not touched my muni in the last 3 weeks, I didn’t have much organised in terms of food/hydration for the race, and as the road sank deeper into the Hawkesbury valley, the steep escarpments and looming mountains that surrounded me taunted me with their size. I arrived at the Del Rio holiday resort, the location of the race, as the sun went down. I had enough time to go for a quick ride around the car park to check my tyre pressure and my shifting buttons before it got dark, but after that it was time to pig out on some left over pasta and get some sleep.

In the morning I woke up early to see a black Jeep with a 10ft giraffe strapped to the roof enter the car park. I hadn’t seen Jamey since Unicon, and it was great to have another rider to talk to and chew the fat as we prepared for the race. I was riding my trusty 24” Gmuni on 125s and Jamey had his 29er on 125s. We got a little bit of pre race attention from other riders- and to be honest I can understand why. Jamey has such long legs that when riding his 29er he towers over bikers (and proportions wise his uni looks like a 24”!), and my set up with a serious muni handle had people scratching their heads. Neither of us knew the course and we were a bit apprehensive about what setup would make for the most enjoyable ride out on the trails. We both had the option of 150s because we were both running the KH moment dual hole cranks- but subconsciously I think we were both hoping the course would not force us to swap out.

After a quick rider briefing the race was underway and the pack slowly made its way along the edge of the resort to a sealed road that ran along the Hawkesbury. After a few rolling hills the road doglegged and the pack hit a dirt road that was a pretty sustained climb (150m total elevation gain) including a section of about 300m that was steep enough to have me up and out of the saddle grinding away in 1:1. About 90% of the climbing was done on this initial fire road and it gave lots of opportunities for passing slower riders. Once at the top we veered off down the side of the mountain on a rough, rutted and heavily eroded 4wd track. At the bottom of that descent the trail turned to single track and made its way through a sandy based and squirrelly fern garden. The trail then started to follow a shady and moist gully where the majority of the technical riding was to be had. The Gully section included some tight and technical riding with rock gardens and creek crossings stringing together to make a 400m or so run of very tough riding. I was actually surprised by the level of technicality on an enduro course. I think I only cleared that whole section on my first two laps- after that fatigue and the need to let faster riders pass made it very difficult to negotiate. After the technical section the trail continued in the shade in the surrounding mountains and the enclosed canopy until it hit a small sealed road that climbed to some more technical descents. In the closing stages of the course the trail meandered down to the waters edge and cruised along a fast and corrugated dirt road to the transition/food/ water point. The whole course was about 9.6km long in length.

My first two laps were pretty quick, coming through the transition with 34:43 and 34:32 respectively. As the day wore on my times started to get slower as my legs struggled to negotiate the tough technical sections. On the 4th lap my legs locked out with massive cramps in my quads- it took a good minute to convince them to bend at the knee and let the muscles recover. My lap times started to slip as I paid more attention to food and hydration at the transition point. I also had to nurse my legs up the climbs to avoid more long delays through cramping. My lap times for the rest of the race looked like this
3) 37:01 4) 42.08 5) 41.22 6) 42:02 7) 42:28

After 4:34:16 I arrived at the finish line after completing my 7th lap (totalling 67.2km). Jamey came in not long after completing his 7th lap in 4:52:54. We were 90 and 91st out of 110 riders overall. We were rewarded for our efforts with cases of beer and some other goodies from the event sponsors on the winners podium (we got our own category!).

Overall it was a great event and I was so glad to be able to take part in it. The guys from rocky trail entertainment were very enthusiastic about having us take part and making us feel welcome. With a bit more training I think it would be possible to climb the results ladder even further in these types of events. Massive props to Jamey for tacking the whole thing on a 29er on the 125s (and with full 661 4x4 pads too!)- the race was a massive undertaking and he smashed it.

Get out and ride.

Mark

Great write up!

Hey, great writeup. Sounds like an awesome event!

Great write up Mark. It was my first ever MTB race and I was very nervous but was so nice to have another one wheeler. Even though I didn’t see after the first 15 minutes until the finish. I tried my hardest to keep up with you. Maybe next race.

I felt good the first 4 laps and then started to slowly fall apart. On my 6th lap my legs cramped up on the climb and had to rest for a bit and walk. I was happy this would be my last lap but when I crossed the line I made the cut off by 2 minutes and had the pleasure of doing another! I almost quit then but forced myself to do another. Had to walk the entire uphill and this lap took 15 minutes longer than any previous lap but I made it. Afterwards it felt like one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. Glad I didn’t do the 8hour.

It was awesome to have our own category and the case of beer and other goodies made it worth it. Now it’s time to save up for a schlump so I cam give Mark a run for his money. Mark I’m curios as to what gear u used the most. Was it 50/50?

I also entered the Highland Fling which is going to be harder and longer than this so better start training. Mad props to you Mark for doing this race with little to no training!

Hi Jamey,
To answer your question about how i used my gears i’ll write you a lap description.

1)High gear:The whole bottom section of the course next to the river until the dog-leg and start of proper climbing
2) Low gear: 2/3rds of the climb on the way to the top
3) High gear:remaining 1/3rd of climb and flatter bit at top of climb
3a) High gear: (only first 3 laps) majority of descent on rutted 4wd trail until fern area.
4) Low gear: 4wd trail descent (all other laps)
5) Low gear: Whole fern section as well as the technical/rock garden bit.
6) High gear: section between technical rock gardens and sealed road.
7) High gear: sealed road
8) Low gear: climb to dirt road beside oval
9) High gear: flat section at top of climb before 661 dh bit
10) Low gear: at dogleg prior to technical section until-
11) High gear: hit sealed road and dirt road to transition point.

You should def. save up and join the schlumpf club. For your size (and the way the unicycle manufacturing scene is going) i’d go for a 26".

I’ve got to get training for the Highland fling! More importantly i think i’ve got to sort out my food/hydration system better for the event. I had a bit of success using the GU energy gels in the first 3 laps (but they were left over from the ‘3 ring circus’ and i ran out. I might go buy another hydration bladder so i can have one for plain water and one for a gatorade/staminade style drink too. I think my cramping was totally related to losing too many salts and not replacing them properly during the race- Thats the last thing i want when i’ve still got 40km to ride in a race!

mark

mark

Thanks Mark. Thought you would have only shifted 4 times but did quite a few more than that. Can’t wait to get one myself.

I was also wondering if a 4 hour race would work at a Unicon? it would have to be towards the end of it but it might be fun for those interested. Just a thought…

Congratulations Mark and Jamey. Great efforts on your parts. Wish id known about this I would have come and cheered you on as its close to where i live.

If you ever want to ride Manly Dam with me I usually try and ride it twice a week. Just let me know.

If you ever want to ride Manly Dam with me I usually try and ride it twice a week. Just let me know.

Great write up Mark and a super human effort from you and Jamey.

John

Awesome effort and write up!!

They have it here. but they got the finishing order wrong.

Cool one guys, great effort. The relatively small drop off in lap times over 6 hours, impressive. Any more pics?

I’ve done a couple of 6 hour orienteering events on the uni (36’er and 24 GUni) and am hoping to participate in a 6 hour enduro next Winter which is part of the state MTB enduro series and held locally. The 10k loop they hold it on is awesome on the uni, loads of tight, twisty, undulating single track. The hard thing will be to decide which uni - with its lightweight, extra clearance and consistent speed I reckon a 29’er might be the one for the job.