Riding your first MTB enduro is much like kissing your first boyfriend. You're nervous, it takes too long and before you know it you've run out of water and are covered in red dust and saddle sores. And at the end, everyone cheers and you can't wait for the next one. OK, maybe it's not that similar. Maybe it's more like being in an abusive relationship. The longer you go, the more it hurts, but you don't want to get out of it because it really loves you, deep down, it just has a funny way of showing it.
Last weekend was one of the highlights of my year, mostly because it involved 2 things: the Spring Racing Carnival, and getting as far away from it as possible. Don't get me wrong, I love small men with high-pitched voices and billowing satin pants as much as the next woman (or man: I'm a modern-thinking woman), but after my invite to the Emirates marquee was yet AGAIN lost in the post (and if you're reading, Angelica from Emirates, yes I am a member of the Tongalese royal family), I packed up my most treasured possessions - Andrew, 2 bikes and a small dinosaur called Charlie - and headed for the mountains.
The Bright enduro is put on each year by Ross Walker and the Alpine Cycling Club, a club which punches way above its weight in organising top-quality events. These guys also organise Tour of Bright. Enough said. Ross was kind enough not to laugh at me when I turned up to race rego, although I think I did catch him checking his public liability insurance policy afterwards as I walked away.
I opted for the 3 hr race, an option which seemed eminently sensible when the temperature starting heading towards the mid-30s. Not so sensible was my decision to ride an extra lap at the 2h58min mark rather than wait before the line for the 3hrs to elapse. That's a lesson for next time. Andrew did a better than brilliant job as chief pit manager and Head of Bidons (that's a salaried post, he interviewed well), and High5 did an excellent job of stopping me bonking. My favourite product of the moment is their smooth orange Isotonic sports drink, check it out if you get the chance.
And I won, hurrah, which meant ice creams all round and an excuse to lie in the river afterwards while I mumbled something about core temperature and cold beers. I also tried to use it as an excuse 2 days later when riding to Falls Creek 2 days later with the TE bunch, but it turned out that not only are Mick, DOB, Rudy and Phil very fit, they had also knocked out a lazy 230km of mountains on the same say as I did the enduro... through thunderstorms, shredded tyres and hypoglycemia. Respekt.
The Bright enduro results are up on http://www.alpinecyclingclub.com.au/. There's a link to some excellent pics taken by Sarah Black too - including the one at the top of this post.
Here's hoping you are always riding 3rd wheel when the snakes are about (that's a DC quote, you will have to ask him),