As much as many of us love to go on a road trip to Rotorua, Taupo or even further afar to race, I don’t think anyone could deny that it was pretty cool to be able to roll out of bed and just drive to your local forest for a race with mates! And what made this race even more special is that we were racing to support someone from our own mtb community to fulfill their dream to race at the World Endurance Mtb Champs this year in Canberra. What a cool idea Tim Farmer had to create an event to help with his fundraising. It wasn’t just a casual event either, the event was so pro – well done Tim!
DoC was out to represent at this event, and we did with 6 teams and 7 solo riders (incl Jafakids). Tim had given us a primo spot in the pits and many of us were there early to set up. The weather was holding out but we all knew it wouldn’t last. Race briefing was at 9:30am with a race start time of 10am. As the course was pretty much 99% singletrack (pretty damn lucky!), in order to avoid a bottleneck going onto the course it was a le mans start, with solo riders starting just ahead of teams.
And just like that it was game on, or race on in this case. Considering the fairly undulating terrain of Woodhill, Tim had really pulled together a tough little 10.5km course for this race and rumour has it that one of the top solo riders clocked up over 3000m of climbing during the race – that’s pretty impressive for tame Woodhill. Also, as the course was pretty much all singletrack and not the cruisy-type either, there was little time to relax, pull out the drink bottle, or stretch your back on a straight (what straight??). It required almost 100% concentration which got harder as the day wore on.
Back in the pits, an amazing support crew from DoC/Cycle West/Avantiplus Waitakere were there filling drink bottles, making sure people were fed, warm, and cheering on all the riders. A solid support crew is so important in these lap races. They not only make sure everyone is doing physically alright as they pass by, but a smile or word of encouragement can mentally pick up a rider when they are at a low point and send them out on their next lap with a new energy.
The weather held out until around midday or so when it started to drizzle and then the rain just got heavier and heavier. It didn’t deter people from sticking around for prize-giving though and many of our teams and solo riders were on the podium. So proud! There are too many people to thank for their time and effort on the day; everyone just contributed hugely, but I would like to say a special thanks to Ben Edwards from the DoC mtb subcommittee for coordinating registrations, the set up, getting there first and leaving last, we really appreciate it!