Fast, Fun and Flowy: Real Insurance NSW State XC 3

Dave Bateman gets his chameleon on.

I raced the NSW XC Series in 2009 and 2010 and enjoyed seeing new trails and the challenge of racing well throughout the both series to hold on the women’s lead. I remember finding the racing really exciting, but also feeling quite nervous during the lead up to each event. I think it’s the words ‘state series’ which do it – it makes the events sound more serious than the regular old hit out even though they’re some of the most fun, laid back and social events around.

Last week I entered the Real Insurance NSW State XC Round at Yellowmundee on a whim. I’ve just had a heap of repairs done to my mountain bike and it’s feeling better than ever. I found myself entering just so I could have heaps of fun riding my bike fast along some favourite tech bits of trail. So much effort has been put into keeping this series going that I wanted to support it too.

I enjoyed feeling strong and taking in section by section, moment by moment.
Gary Harwood’s rear mech quick fix was looking strong too.

The course was a 6-6.5km loop of some of Yellomundee’s best bits. With Meaghan Stanton, Clea O’Brien and Lindsay Gorrell on the start line any of us could have won the race. This kept everyone honest off the start line and made for exciting racing on the women’s front. I was surprised to find myself pedaling well and I enjoyed using the tech sections for recovery. I love the thrill of riding technical tracks well and enjoyed the format of race as a nice change from a year of long marathon events.

Gary Harwood takes the smoother right line into the V-ditch. The rear mech mod held up well!
The rockier right line caught a few people out.

If you’re looking for a fun day out on bikes, this series is one worth penciling in. NSW MTB have pulled it together in a way that keeps the vibe inclusive and relaxed while still including some state round bonuses that make it feel special – like podium champagne, a blow up start/finish banner, series sponsors, and an event crew that are passionate about riding. They’ve also worked well with participating clubs.

‘Real’ champagne. Woo hoo!
The winning masters women matched medals to their jerseys.

It was my home club, Western Sydney Mountain Bike Club, who hosted Sunday’s event. Ray Rice reported that an estimated 450 volunteer hours have gone into trail maintenance at Yellowmundee this year. Hopefully some new, longer lasting erosion measures (some of which add more technicality to the fun, old-school design of the track) will help keep it in good nick heading into the future. I’ve never ridden this track in such primo condition. Having the opportunity to ride it while it’s so buff and well-gardened made the day an even bigger pleasure still.

Photos: Gary ‘master of unique bike fixes’ Harwood, Gaye ‘don’t underestimate my ability to clean that technical rocky climb’ Camm, and Kath ‘thanks so much everyone for the race’ Bicknell.