Awaba On My Mind

Words by Michael Crummy | Images by Dave Bateman

The final round of Chocolate Foot’s Singletrack Mind (STM) Series 2012 was hosted by the Hunter MTB Association on everyone’s favourite trail – Awaba.

The Awaba MTB Park is well know for its smooth lines and flowing sections, attracting over 300 riders registered making up 177 teams. A quick crunch of numbers proved that this Awaba round was the biggest STM round this year.

The hot conditions were tough for most, but it was a real shock for Steven’s Bikes guest rider Frank Ziemann who’d just arrived in Australia from a snowy Germany.

It was again a battle between the Canberra locals, Ed McDonald and Andy Hall, in the Solo Male category, with Andy having the upper hand in the series points thus far. The Ed and Andy show began from the offset with Andrew Lloyd keeping them company. It was on their 7th lap, in the 4th hour where Ed and Andy began to ride away from Lloyd. Late in the 6th hour Ed continued to push, breaking away from Andy and cementing well over a five-minute lead for the remainder of the event.

With 4 wins out of 6 races Ed McDonald had plenty of reasons to smile this year. Locked in battle with 2011 series winner and training buddy Andrew Hall (also pictured), 2013 is set to be a real grudge match!

While the morning’s temperature did start out at fairly comfortable it didn’t take long before it became a hard slog in 35+ degree temperatures. Thankfully the coolness of the rainforest section offered brief relief before rider were cooked on the Camel Back Climb.

In the Masters Solo category Radical Lights’ Gary James lead from the word go, a little further back his team mate Jason McAvoy was plugging away with Phil Welch remaining consistent just few minutes further back. Jason started to have trouble in the 5th hour with the heat and began slipping time to Phil, who eventually moved into 2nd. This battle of attrition was evident across all the categories, especially the solos, with a bulk of riders calling it a day some where between three to seven laps.

Jet Cycles fielded a stack of teams for the final round a walked away with plenty of podiums and bragging rights. The biggest brag going to Kyle Ward who recorded the fastest lap time of the race (30.58) over team mate Garry Milburn.

There were plenty of temptations to call it a day in the heat, with local winemaker Jimmy Jack offering free tasting, and the local downhillers filling the air with the smell of their bacon and egg BBQ sangers! The local gravity crew also kept the friendly STM vibe going with their hoots and calls, encouraging passing riders.

It was the steady efforts that reaped the rewards in the Female Solo category. Libby Adamson started the day sitting in around 5th and midway through the day moved into the leading position, eventually taking a well deserved win in the testing conditions. Janet Martin and Jess Simpson made the most of the morning’s cooler temperatures setting the fastest female solo laps and rounding out the podium.

You’d think after winning the Real Insurance XCM series Jenny Fay would have had enough racing but the trails of Awaba were calling and she answered yes please! Another win to Fay, this time in a relaxed mixed 3’s.

Wendy Stevenson, already the clear Female Masters Solo category series leader, was conscious of her placing against the Female Solo category but chose a conservative approach through the latter part of the day. Wendy went on to complete the eight hours while her direct competitor Nicole Lancaster called it a day early.

Even the St Johns guys were even getting into the swing of the STM vibe out on the trail; their pannier-laden bikes mightn’t have been the best tool for shredding the trails, but they were seen to be giving it a go and hung out at the spectacle that is the bessa-block descent.

Part-time male model Luke Dale’s career in fashion looks to be in doubt after sporting a dodgy mustache which allegedly caused him to crash in the opening lap. The Bike Culture/Whyte team decided to call it a day as they already had the series win in the bag and come the end of November that mo’ is set to go!

With the final round of the STM Series over for 2012, the full results from the round are available online, you can look forward to more excitement from the Chocolate Foot crew in 2013. It all kicks off at the end of April with Round 1 of STM 2013.

While the Singletrack Mind series attracts a high calibre field, it’s not often you get to ride with an Olympian. Bronwen Watson represented Australia at the London games in rowing and won the Women’s pairs for the second race in a row with team mate Belinda Diprose.

Brad Prescott headed up a big contingent from Turramurra Cyclery.

 

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