2016 Scott Australian 24 Hour MTB Championship; Live Blog Broadcast

2016 Scott Australian 24 Hour MTB Championship; Live Blog Broadcast2016 Scott Australian 24 Hour MTB Championship; Live Blog Broadcast2016 Scott Australian 24 Hour MTB Championship; Live Blog Broadcast2016 Scott Australian 24 Hour MTB Championship; Live Blog Broadcast2016 Scott Australian 24 Hour MTB Championship; Live Blog Broadcast2016 Scott Australian 24 Hour MTB Championship; Live Blog Broadcast

The Race is On

Hello and welcome to the 2016 Scott Australian 24 Hour MTB Championship. The 2016 Scott has the traditional 24-hour format for teams, plus a 6+6 hour event. This year, the MTBA Australian Solo 24 Hour MTB Championships are also being held at the same time. Stay informed here at NOWUC with regular updates coming your way.


 

The riders at their briefing

The riders at their briefing

11:30am – Riders are currently being briefed 30 minutes before the race about the track and safety. This will be Scotts last 24 hour race, with next year just a 6+6 next year. The weather is quite warm, with 16.5 C, with blue skies and barely any breeze. The 24 hour riders will start at 11:55 while the team riders will leave at 12:05.

12:00am – The riders are on the line ready to go. The track is cleared of the last family members and photographers.  The gun goes off and we are away. The solo 24 hour riders leave first and the team riders leave around 10 minutes later.

12:30am – The first riders have came through with their first laps, completing the course in around 33 minutes. Jason English is the favourite to take out the men’s MTBA Australian Solo 24 Hour MTB Championships, and he is going for his 9th consecutive Australian Championship win. In last years race, he completed 35 laps in 23 hours 27 minutes and 44 seconds.

Also gunning for another win is Jessica Douglas, who is a 3x World MTB champion. She spoke to me before the race and said that she worries before events like these. “I always worry or get nervous about the pain of going into the red in the first hour of the race, it hurts a lot and you know that there are 23hrs to go. In fact, the first 6hrs seems to fly by, then night seems to go on forever…and the next day goes quick.”

1:00pm –  The cyclists continue to cycle through the time shute, swapping with their team mates, who are ready to go at a moments notice. Current leaders in the men’s MTBA Australian Solo 24 Hour MTB Championships, are Jason English and Edward McDonald who are going toe to toe. These 2 guys were first and second respectively at last years event. To keep updated on the results through the day, head to http://my4.raceresult.com/56009/results?lang=en#1_F4AE5F

3:00pm – Despite the rain earlier on in the week, Stromlo has drained well, thanks to the good effort of those volunteers here today. There are a few muddy patches near the top of Western Wedgetail, but beside that the track appears to be holding up well.

To make it into a family affair, this year at the Mount Stromlo they held a 24 minute bike ride for the kids on a separate little track. A pass the parcel has been organised at different times during the day to keep the kids entertained, and with the help of the kids park nearby, fun is never far away.

4:00pm – The tunes are still playing, the legs on the Mount Stromlo are still pumping the pedals, and people are still hanging around to watch the race, even though the weather is not the greatest, with a heavy cloud cover and a brisk wind, it makes the day feel like 10 degrees.

Currently in front of the women’s field is Liz Smith, closely followed by Jessica Douglas. Liz’s most recent lap time was an impressive 42.54, a whole minute faster than Jessica’s.

5:00pm – One of the major sponsor of the event here at Mount Stromlo is Scott, and this Scott’s 18th birthday of sponsoring this event.  So this year will be a bit of a celebration of Scott’s involvement and also to remember the last 24 hour race here at Stromlo Forest Park. Next year, there will be no 24 hour bike race, with only a 6+6 being held next year.

5:34 –  Breaking News – Jessica Douglas has pulled out of the race and will not continue to compete. It’s a shock to the competition which now means Liz Smith’s chances of winning this weekend have majorly improved with her main rival leaving the race. As soon as we know why Jessica is leaving the race, we will let you know.

6:00pm – All cyclists are now told to have their lights on both ends of their bike since it is getting a little dark out. As the lights come on up around the track, the teams in the 6+6 finish their final lap before 6pm. They now can rest up and relax their weary bodies till 6am tomorrow when they need to do it all over again for another 6 hours.

Bri Shephard, who is competing in a mixed pair of 6+6 said that the worse hours are still to come. “We will have to be up tomorrow around 4:30am in time to have breakfast and to warm up again in time to start racing again 6:07am. Everyone will be tired tomorrow because we already have a lot of kms in our legs so everybody’s track times will be vastly slower.”

8:00pm – As it gets to the late stages of the night, it is time for some profiles of some of the competitors out there on the track right now.  Jason English, who is from Port Macquarie on the New South Wales Mid North Coast, is potentially Australia’s most successful cyclist, with a swag of titles including eight consecutive world championships. The crazy thing about Jason is that not many people of heard of him or knows who he is and he has to fund his riding with a full-time job. English squeezes his training in between a full-time job as a physical education teacher in Port Macquarie. Jason was quoted as saying that 24-hour mountain bike racing is “not a glamorous sport. You look wrecked at the finish line. You’re falling asleep, eyes are bloodshot from the mud and dust, people are chucking up. It’s pretty brutal.” He has raced 30 24-hour solo races since 2007, winning 27, including 25 consecutively. He has held the Australian national title since 2008. English has just finished racing in India in MTB Himalaya a few days before he came to Canberra to compete here at Mount Stromlo.

map-of-stromlo10:00pm – The race officials decided this year to use the exact same course as last couple of years have used. This is helpful for the returning cyclists that already know the track form previous years.

12:00pm – It is that time of the night when it starts to get lonely on the track, but those crazy solos soldier on, and on, and on. I had the opportunity to interview Jessica Douglas a few weeks before she came to Canberra, and she was very helpful in painting a picture on what goes on up there on Mount Stromlo during the race. This is what she said:

“The body starts to fatigue after about 6hrs, like physically the soreness starts to happen in the legs, back, hands, feet etc…but then it goes again, and it comes back, and then around midnight until 6am the pain disappears. Well it does for me anyway.  During the night the focus becomes intense which is probably why thinking about hurting just goes. All this intensity allows the mind to be focused on the job, and most endurance athletes do speak of one song that repeats over and over in your head as well as a rotation of processes and checklists to maintain accountability.  I don’t think about much else other than this.”

Luckily for Jessica, she doesn’t have to experience that excruciating pain tonight, and can afford to be resting well.

3:00am –  The second cyclist that we will be having an in-depth look at is Liz Smith. Liz, who is now in the lead due to Jessica Douglas pulling out of the event, is the current solo 24-hour world champion but she has been unable to defeat Jessica Douglas in their last few encounters.

The 24hour solo riders ride on during the night

The 24hour solo riders ride on during the night

“Jess tends to go out a little bit quicker than I do,” said Smith. “Then I have to play catch-up for a little while and in the last few times she’s pulled away in the latter part of the race, so we will have to see how things turn out over this weekend.”

6:00 am –  The 6+6 competitors are back at the starting line ready to start again. All the competitors start at different times depending on what time they finished their last laps last night. For example: if you finished your lap at 6:07, they would be starting this morning at 6:07am. Everyone has been treated to a spectacular sunrise. We have completed 75% of the race and are on the homeward stretch.

7:00am – Jessica Douglas has posted on her Facebook saying, “Today Norm Douglas and I woke up with the luxury of having slept. I’ve been searching for regrets and there are none. in fact it had to happen this way for both Norm and I. it’s as much his race as it was mine. I don’t know what is next or what this means but seriously right now it doesn’t even matter. I’ve just looked at the results though and I am so excited to see Liz Smith smashing it out front of the women’s field. …and come on Jude Young and Shane Wetzel keep going strong. ….and in the men’s…wow! There’s some solid riding by Ed McDonald going on being close to 30 mins up on Jason. still another race to race and it’s not over. Thank you to CORC and really huge thanks to people like Russ Baker who nurtured the sport and gave people like me an elite pathway of sorts.”

Congratulations to Jessica on a wonderful career and all the success she has had, and the whole 24-hour mountain biking community wishes you all the best.

9:00 am – Ed McDonald is currently in the lead over Jason English, by a whole 30 minutes so Jason has got some major catching up to do if he wants to take out his 9th straight Australian Championship. It looks like this race might come down to the last few laps.

10:00am –  With only 2 hours to end of the race, Liz Smith has now completed 27 laps of the track in 21 hours and 42 minutes with her nearest competitor Nina McVicar has completed 26 laps in 21 hours and 56 minutes.

11:30am –  Liz Smith has just finished her last lap and she is going to be crowned Australian champion. She crosses the finish line to applause from the crowd.

12:30 Ed McDonald crosses the finish line completing 27 laps and claiming the crown of Australian Mountain Bike Champion. He has claimed a 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championship on his home track at Stromlo Forest Park, on the last solo event to be held at Stromlo. This is what Ed had to say a few minutes after he crossed the finishing line.

“Jason was really strong in the first six hours and he kept testing me, testing me, testing me, and eventually I let him go. I thought I was racing for second from that point because I couldn’t respond at all, so I was really surprised a couple of hours later when I picked him back up again and I just rode away from him.

The whole way through I was thinking that he would come after me in the morning but apparently he had some mechanical issues and I got enough of a buffer through the night.”

1:10pm –  The last rider has crossed the finish line, so all that is left to do is the presentation.

Edward McDonald had this to say at the presentation: “Canberra has been pretty much under water for the past few weeks, so getting tracks that we can race on for 24 hours is fantastic. I thought it was an awesome course, a little bit of mud, but given the conditions we have had we couldn’t have asked for much better. A big thank you to my support crew. I think I spoke a total of 4 words to my support crew the whole time, but they always seemed to know what I needed exactly when I needed so big thank you to them.”

 

The Male 24hour solo winners

The Male 24hour solo winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a list of the top 5 male and female 24 hour solo winners:

  • 1st. Edward McDonald and Liz Smith
  • 2nd. Jason English and Nina McVicar
  • 3rd. Chris Hanson and Kate Penglase
  • 4th. Sam Moffitt and Jude Young
  • 5th Scott Nicholas and Charlie McCabe

Well that wraps up all the activity here at Mount Stromlo this weekend. Thank you soo much for keeping me company. Until next time.

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