2011 Mont 24 Hour Race

You can’t have an amazing Mont experience without having an amazing team to share it with and it amazes me how many times I’ve hit the 24 hour jackpot. This year I teamed up with Dan Mackay, Kevin Wells, Jason McAvoy, Paul Traynor and Brad Morton to race for Radical Lights in the Mixed Six category. We entered as a ‘fun’ team, meaning our emphasis was on enjoying the trails and not destroying ourselves racing for every extra second, although fast legs, awesome attitudes, quick night laps (due to exceptional Radical night vision) and a whole lot of 24 hour racing experience meant we quickly found ourselves on the sixed mixed leader board.

Having had a good break from racing over Summer, I surprised myself with how much I was looking forward to riding hard and soaking up the atmosphere of this massive event. I enjoyed opening up the lungs and legs on my first lap of the course, but it was the night laps that had me buzzing with the excitement of a kid at Disneyland. With Radical beams shooting off my helmet and my bars, sharp, dust free vision provided by the Adidas Supernova clear lenses, and my Merida Carbon 96 duallie feeling like the perfect machine to power with along the bumpy trails, I found myself racing along the East Kowan tracks thinking how lucky I was to be using some of the best equipment available and experiencing first hand what a sweet trail experience such equipment can provide.  It was all I could do to pedal harder, puff louder and find out how these same trails felt if you’re going faster still.  I came back to transition on the biggest ‘I love racing’ high and couldn’t believe it when I realised that my night lap was only two minutes shy of my day lap time.

Our team cranked out fast laps all night and by dawn we were closing down the gap to first place, and had about a two minute advantage over third. Then dawn came and the sky opened up. Fatigued riders rocked up to transition in shiny lycra and came back home about an hour later caked head to toe in drippy, sticky mud. I waited nervously to find out if I would be doing a last and final lap to cement our spot on the podium and relived my night lap excitement all over again when my teammates extended the gap over third place to be large enough that we would be the first team to finish after 24 hours. This meant I could remain in my tracksuit pants on the sidelines, cheering, happy and holding on to a mud lap credit for some other race.  The team rode so well that on top of our category podium, we finished 10th overall out of the 596 teams that started the event – nice work guys!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Radical Lights and my teammates for their support at this event, and their relaxed, enthusiastic attitudes that have extended far beyond the 24 hours of the race. A big thank you also to the Merida Flight Centre crew – every time I walked into this tent, I came away with so many cool team products it felt like Christmas.  The fleecy hoodies, team beanie and bright green umbrella are sure to be gratefully used during cold post-race presentations over winter and the women’s specific socks make for very happy feet out on the trails!

Photos: Kath Bicknell and Neil Camm.