To quote event photographer Dave Bateman, who took the great image above, “I got so many awesome shots because riders looked like they were absolutely loving it! I got so many “this track is rad”, “this is awesome” comments from riders of all abilities. Great to be part of it.”
Ignoring for a moment the degree to which Dave’s talent and skill also contributed to said shots, the number of riders who really were absolutely loving last weekend’s SRAM Singletrack Mind race at Nowra speaks volumes about the success of the event. Based at the South Coast United Mountainbikers (SCUM) Coondoo Rd track, the course was fun, flowy and virtually hill-less. The sky was sunny, the racing tight and exciting, and the atmosphere one that genuinely celebrated why riders love fun events.
Fellow Merida Flight Centre rider, Shane “Tails” Taylor, and I teamed up to race for our local bike shops: Sydney’s Bicycle Garage and Canberra’s On The Rivet (the newly revamped Onya Bike Tuggies and Phillip). We tagged in and out of laps with pretty much no communication at all about race tactics, goals or how much we were hurting toward the end. Things just clicked in a rhythm of “we love racing” awesomeness and before we knew it we had pulled a tidy gap on the rest of our category that we held on to until the finish line.
Tails rode like a champion coming through transition with clock-like precision all day long in less time than it takes me to make a sandwich and catch up with a few mates on the way to the loo (lucky for double laps and a cool campsite crew that were also enjoying the event). As far as my own laps were concerned, I had a few wild moments getting loose around corners and loved the way my bike felt at speed on the fast course. Apart from one big slide that saw me finish a lap with plants coming out of my tights, my body felt strong and I really enjoyed the way this translated into a great feeling out on the trails. I seemed to hold on to some quick guys longer than normal and spent a few laps riding in tandem with new found trail buddies giggling about the course, our bikes and the day. Like Dave said, absolutely loving it.
If you were at Nowra for this event, there isn’t much I can tell you about it that you didn’t experience for yourself. What made the event successful for me was not only the excited, friendly attitudes of other bikers, but the scaffolding for these experiences put in place by SCUM and event organisers, Chocolate Foot. A great trail doesn’t just happen by accident and when event organisation is as slick as this one was it’s easy to forget the time and effort that goes into making it happen, so thanks guys. If you missed this race, there’s five more still to come meaning five more flowy trails to be experienced and five more weekends to spend absolutely loving the mountain bike lifestyle in like-minded company. I hope to see you there!