Commonwealth Games: Bronze Medals in Men’s and Women’s Cross Country

McConnell and Henderson clinch bronze medals in exciting day at Cathkin Braes MTB Park in Glasgow.

Australian mountain biking duo Daniel McConnell and Bec Henderson found the podium in a thrilling day of cross country mountain biking at Cathkin Braes MTB Trails overlooking Glasgow.

Dan and Bec with their bronze medals.
Dan and Bec with their bronze medals.

Victoria’s McConnell clinched Australia’s first ever men’s Commonwealth Games mountain bike medal with bronze in the men’s event, while Canberra’s Henderson also claimed bronze in the women’s race, just the second medal for women in the discipline.

The men completed seven, and the women six, laps of a five-kilometre course of the Cathkin Braes Country Park, with thousands of fans flocking to watch races, despite dark clouds, periodic rain and blustery winds. The riders had to negotiate a tricky course that featured the Brig O’Doom, Broken Biscuits, and Clyde Climbs— all named by local schoolchildren.

In a nail-biting climax to a sensational men’s race, McConnell, 28, was out-kicked in the dying few hundred metres by the New Zealand pair of Anton Cooper and Samuel Gaze.

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“Obviously I’m happy to walk away with a bronze medal, it wasn’t quite the colour I was after but I was just out-matched today by the Kiwi boys who rode really smart and tactical and I didn’t quite have the power to go with them,” McConnell said.

Earlier in the 35km battle which featured 33 riders from 18 nations, McConnell was forced to bridge a small gap created by a small group of leading riders a lap and a half into the seven-lap race.  For much of the remaining five laps, McConnell went toe-to-toe with the lead group of four which included the Kiwi duo and Canadian Max Plaxton. The quartet became three inside the final lap, with the teenage Cooper attacking Gaze and McConnell with just 500 hundred metres remaining.

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Cam Ivory.
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Andy Blair.
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Dan leading out the two Kiwis, Sam Gaze and Anton Cooper.

McConnell had no answer, with Copper crossing the line in a time of 1hour 38:26secs, three seconds ahead of Gaze with McConnell a further seven seconds back.

“It was a hard race, a fast course and I put all my eggs in that basket and it didn’t quite pan out, but I walk away with bronze so it’s not too bad,” McConnell said. “I had to put in a pretty big effort to bridge the gap, but I was still feeling pretty good and that was only the first lap-and-a-half. “It was a build up over the day, I really tried in the middle part of the race to break it up, but (with) the speed of the course there’s a lot of drafting and I couldn’t use where I’m strongest on the climbs to get the gap.

“(But) There’s not really an excuse today I just didn’t quite have the legs to go with them at the end,” added McConnell.

In other great results for Australia, Newcastle’s Cam Ivory finished in eighth, and Canberra’s Andy Blair in twelfth to finish a great day for Australian mountain biking.

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Tory Thomas, Cam Ivory, Bec Henderson, Dan McConnell, Andy Blair and Peta Mullens.

Similarly to the men’s race, an Australian was faced with a battle against team mates, with Canberra’s Henderson, 22, outgunned by the Canadian duo of Catherine Pendrel and Emily Batty. 21 riders from eleven countries set out on the women’s race, with Pendrel, the 2011 world champion quickly establishing a lead of half a minute by the end of the first of six laps.

Together, Henderson and her Trek-Factory teammate Batty worked hard to pursue Pendrel but were unable reel her in. Pendrel cruised to cross in 1hr 39:29secs, just over a minuted ahead of Emily Batty who got over Henderson by twelve seconds.

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“I’m so excited, this is my first Commonwealth Games and first medal and it’s such a privilege to be here and an amazing experience and I’m so happy, “ said Henderson who equalled Australia’s only medal in the Commonwealth Games mountain bike prior to day – Mary Grigson’s bronze at the 2002 event in Manchester.

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Bec Henderson
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Tory Thomas
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Peta Mullens

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“Catharine took off at the start and I was going to go with her and I thought ‘I don’t want to get caught in no man’s land’ but I kind of did,” she explained.  “But I backed off and Emily caught up and we started working together to try to catch her.

“In the last two laps it was definitely on and I was there to defend the third place, I wasn’t going to let that go.”

Victoria’s Peta Mullens finished twelfth and Tory Thomas 14th.

Video: Port to Port MTB with Drift Bikes, Day 1

Day 1 of the Port to Port MTB 2014 – Four day stage race. Starting from the beautiful back drop of Nelson Bay, Port Stephens. Andrew Blair and Jenny Fay of Swell Specialized battle it out against Australias best marathon racers.

Drift Bikes provided comprehensive mechanical support to all riders bikes participating over the four days of racing.

www.driftbikes.com.au
Supporting cyclists in the Newcastle, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Warners Bay, Lake Macquaire and Hunter Valley Areas.

News: GLASGOW 2014 COMMONWEALTH GAMES TEAM ANNOUNCED

Dual mountain bike Olympian Daniel McConnell, currently ranked number one in the Commonwealth and fourth in the world, and Rebecca Henderson who has flourished in the MTB World Cup Series over the past few seasons, head a six-member cross-country mountain bike team. 

Peta Mullens, Tory Thomas, Andrew Blair and Cameron Ivory have also been selected.

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Dan McConnell, currently the highest ranked Commonwealth rider.
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Cameron Ivory.
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Andy Blair.
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Tory Thomas.
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Peta Mullens.
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Bec Henderson.

Port to Port MTB: Stage Four

The Pacific Ocean has a lot going for it. It’s very beautiful, full of fish and it keeps our east coast beaches nice and wet. It doesn’t, however, make great chain lube!

Still, it wouldn’t be right to race in this part of the world without a bit of beach riding. And just like in the Cape to Cape MTB in WA, we’re sure the run through the sand (and sometimes the water) of Blacksmiths Beach will become a legendary, infamous part of the Port to Port. Even now, just hours after crossing the finish line, the grimacing, cussing and gasping is all starting to blur into one bizarrely pleasurable memory. Funny how that happens…

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Today’s fourth and final stage of Port to Port wasn’t all about the sand and salt though. Less climbing and more tarmac was juxtaposed with the killer singletrack of Glenrock, and the pace was grimace-inducingly quick. Today was all about holding wheels, pulling turns and working with willing riders to chase down the next bunch and do it all again. Given that mountain biking is so often a solitary affair – just you versus the trail – the thrill, mania and speed of this kind of bunch riding is a rare joy.

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Chris Aitken leads the way up the first climb once again.
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After leaving Cams Wharf, the race hauled along the bike path.

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The leaders hit the beach running. It was the only way!

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The Elite men’s race had come back together as riders hit Glenrock.

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Jenny Fay rounds the headland at Glenrock.

With the weather defying all the forecasters’ predictions and delivering a dry, gorgeous morning, the final day got underway with right on the shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie at Cams Wharf. The first and last real climb of the day hit riders straight out of the gate, before the sound of up-shifting filled the air as the pace wound up for a massively fast run through the streets and paths of Swansea.

The beach loomed large in this stage. For most of the competitors it was a challenge to be survived, but for the Elite men’s race, it was an absolutely critical feature that could potentially see Chris Hamilton snatch the win from under Andy Blair’s nose.

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Legend. Mad Rooter. Malborough Man.

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Dean Clarke, the papa smurf of the Torq team, knew that the beach could blow the whole race apart, telling us: “After we recce’d the beach last night, I told the guys: ‘I don’t care if it means you have to become Olympic sprinters, you must leave the beach together with Chris (Hamilton)’.”

Swell/Specialized’s Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair had the same idea. “We knew the beach was going to be really decisive,” said Lewis. “We hit the beach together and had a really good ride along it, only having to stop once or twice, and at the run off the beach it was Chris and I together, with Andy about 30 metres back. I backed off and waited for Andy, then with the two of us together we were able to mow Chris down pretty easily.” For Lewis, who hasn’t had a race to remember, it was a satisfying feeling, being there for his teammate at the crux moment and ensuring the race didn’t become a one-on-one dogfight.

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HERO!

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Isolated and outnumbered, Hamilton showed real grit, hanging on through Blair and Lewis’s one-two attacks and surviving until the Torq team reeled the trio back in just for the Glenrock singletrack. “Hamo really lit it up in singletrack, it was really exciting,” said Lewis, but with the only a few kay remaining and no real climbs for Hamilton to use his feathery frame to his advantage, the race ultimately came down to a sprint finish. “Unfortunately the day just wasn’t hard enough or long enough for me to do any damage,” said a content Hamilton, “with so much bike track, I just couldn’t get a gap.”

Andy Blair is a veteran of this kind of racing, and his experience and diligence once again proved crucial, ultimately securing him both the stage win and the overall Port to Port MTB title. “With so many tricky elements on the run-in to the finish, the recce I did last night really helped,” explained Blair. “The plan was to lead Shaun out, but it was so hectic and that’s not the way it panned out. I really owe the win to him, he rode so hard on the beach to ensure he was there when we left the sand so we could isolate Chris and put the Torq guys on the back foot.”

In the Elite women’s race it really was the Jenny Fay show once again. It’s no secret that Fay is the queen of marathon mountain biking in Australia at the moment. She benchmarks her performance against the Elite men as much as she does against her fellow female competitors, and even though the early parts of her stage today didn’t go as smoothly as planned, she still powered to the stage win and overall victory.

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Torq’s Em Parkes displayed incredible consistency for a young rider, taking second position for the third time this event, and locking in the same position overall. After turning it on yesterday, MarathonMTB’s Imogen Smith couldn’t find the legs for silver, taking out third for the stage and the race.

For the riders counting the hours not the seconds, today’s stage was a great way to wrap up four amazing days; the blast through Glenrock’s buff trails was capped off by a run along the coast and right into the gateway to the port of Newcastle at Nobbys Beach. With the sun refusing to be masked by clouds that held off just long enough, riders stretched out on the grass while pelicans soared above. Countless times we saw riders shake their head and remark how long ago the race start felt; in just four days, a lot of ground was covered, a lot of limits were pushed, friendships (and rivalries) were formed, and all kinds of personal challenges were overcome.

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Without folk like this, races wouldn’t happen. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Stage racing is a real adventure, it’s a completely different way to experience mountain biking, and that’s why we love it. As a first year event, Port to Port MTB was a huge success. Undoubtedly there’ll be some refinements next year, some new trails (maybe less beach), and certainly there’ll be more riders. Whatever happens, we’ll be on the start line again in 2015. See you at Port Stephens next year.

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Event sponsors Shimano added to the glitz with their super blue presentation roadshow. Coinciding with the international release of the Shimano XTR D12, electronic shifting, the riders could check out the new kit over an XTR branded beer. Cheers!

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Imogen Smith, J-Fay and Em Parkes.
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Chris Heverin, left, is the fella who made Port to Port possible. Without him, Chris Hamilton, Andy Blair and Benny Forbes wouldn’t have had a race to podium at!
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Michael Milton. An inspiration, in the truest sense of the word.
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Andy Blair has tasted more podium champagne than most bottle shop owners.

 

Port to Port MTB: Stage Three

No matter how much you think you’re used to it, getting woken up by an alarm clock is always a bit horrible. The sudden shock as it bursts rudely into your slumber is never pleasant, reminding you that you’ve got somewhere to be, something to do. As much as we’d all love to sleep until our body has had its fill, it ain’t going to happen – that’s the reality of the world we live in.

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Young Hunter local Chris Aitken has a crack in the opening kilometres.

Mountain bike stage racing can be a little bit similar; one minute, you’re in heaven, the next, you’re slapped in the face by the reality of the challenge ahead.

Stage 3 of the Port to Port MTB played that scenario out perfectly. The day got underway amongst the beautiful rolling slopes of Mt Bright, at Briar Ridge Vineyard. With morning mist clumped in the nooks of the gullies, it was an idyllic setting and we’re sure that many a rider would’ve been happy to park up until the cellar door opened. But the rude awakening was coming up fast, in the shape of a four kilometre-long, granny gear grind to the ridgeline high above. Good morning, it’s time to get to work!

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Lucky it’s a Saturday, or half the Torq team would be at school! Just kidding, but with an average age of around 20, this young squad has a bright future.
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New dad Sid Taberley came out of nowhere to have a crack on stage three. He’ll be back for stage four too – “I only ride two days a week now anyhow,” he joked.
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The initial kick out of Briar Ridge burned the legs. Shaun Lewis drives it.
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Chris Aitken. You sucking my wheel, boy?

The silver lining? With the shock of the initial climb out of the way, the rest of the stage trended downwards, including one section of the Great North Walk that was particularly cheese grater-esque. After yesterday’s roll in the mud, the course director had decided some reprieve was needed, and the call was made to chop 10km of particularly squishy jeep trail out of the stage.

What remained was 53km of rolling, sometimes rutted, super-fast single and double-track, with a trail surface that constantly morphed underneath your treads. One moment you were humming along on hardpack, the next you were surfing the bike as the wheels shimmied in a patch of greasy clay.

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Brisbane’s Porpoise Campbell, relishing the singletrack.
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The tandem rider ducked and weaved their way through the tight singletrack. Hats off to the duo enabling the vision impaired to participate in such a challenge.

 

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Em Parkes.
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Brendan Trekky Johnston was sitting in third overall today before an unplanned knee exfoliation ended his race.
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Into the car for a disappointed Brendan.

Much like stage one, where last-minute line choice in the sand was critical, today’s stage kept you second-guessing – do you risk riding through the puddle (some of which could swallow a 29” wheel whole), or skirt around it? Do you commit to railing that rut in the knowledge it might disappear into a gully, or try to ride the crown of the trail?

The Elite field didn’t seem to be troubled by those kinds of questions, maintaining an incredible average speed that saw the men hammer through the stage in well under two hours, before flying into the dramatic, eclectic and slightly eerie Richmondvale Rail Museum.

Once more, Jenny Fay rode away from the other Elite women and wasn’t to be seen again, leaving Em Parkes and Imogen Smith to duke it out in her wake. This time it was Imogen who had the upper hand, capitalising on her recent climbing form to turn the screws early in the stage and stay away from the young Parkes.

In the men’s field, a youthful train of Torq riders drove the pace, but race leader Andy Blair wasn’t about to be broken by their efforts. Still, as they say, it ain’t over until the heavily-set lady sings; within the final kilometre, the claggy clay got the better of Andy Blair’s drivetrain. With his derailleur locked up, Blair was forced to run, carry and scoot, in full-blown harm minimisation mode, after the Torq trio of Chris Hamilton, Tasman Nankervis and Benny Forbes and who painted all three podium spots bright orange.

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The Torq Train (geddit?) pursued by Dylan Cooper in the dying moments of the stage.

For Blair, it was a very tough break. Andy has been racing mountain bikes for longer than many of the Torq riders have been alive (yes, literally), but all that experience can count for nought when Lady Luck flips you the bird. But that’s racing, and now suddenly the whole game has shifted dramatically.

Blair’s lead has been savagely chopped to 28 seconds, an amount that would be a healthy buffer in most circumstances, but not when you’re short on teammates. With Shaun Lewis by his side as a fellow Swell/Specialized rider, Blair will need to rally some other riders to his corner to help him ward off combined firepower of the huge Torq contingent eager to deliver Chris Hamilton (or as Blair called him, “the motor bike with legs”) the win in the inaugural Port to Port MTB.

Stage 4, Super Sunday, will roll out from Cams Wharf at beautiful Lake Macquarie tomorrow, before threading through the singletrack of Glenrock and into Newcastle. See you at Nobbys Beach, where the first king and queen of Port to Port will be crowned.

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Blairy does his best to minimise lost time after drivetrain issues.

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Back to Briar Ridge for a feast. A tasty way to cap off a great day.

 

 

Port to Port MTB: Stage Two

No one remembers the easy days. The days when your legs feel fresh, the weather is beautiful and nothing hurts – those days are soon forgotten, merged into the blur of day-to-day rides.

But for the 200 or so riders who tackled stage two of Port to Port MTB, this was a day that will never, ever be forgotten.

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Chris Hamilton and Andy Blair. From an Elite standpoint, today was all about these two.

 

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The start of the 14km climb.
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The Torq team launch attack number one.
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Into the singletrack. It’s a pity the rain made the incredible singletrack across the escarpment such a mess, as it would’ve been the pay off that many riders craved after the climb.
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This rut got a lot deeper. A lot, lot deeper.
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Dylan Cooper keeps it on the straight and narrow.

This was the kind of day that hurt you, that clogged your eyes and nose with mud, that stopped your wheels from spinning through the frame, where you couldn’t clip in, or clip out, and your water bottle tasted like dirt.

You wanted more gears, you carried your bike, you tried to work out how to stretch without cramping and you swore. A lot.

Not one, but two, sapping, endless climbs, interspersed with singletrack so slick it was like a luge course. Two of the most amazing, high-speed fireroad descents, so long and teeth-rattlingly fast that you didn’t know whether to scream in joy or fear.

This was a day that you wanted to end, but when it did and you rolled underneath that finish arch at Lindemans winery, you felt like you’d conquered something.

Sure, for some riders today was a very big ask, but no matter if they finished the stage in three hours or six, today’s racing was the kind of affair that will leave them with a lot memories (and maybe a bill for a new set of brake pads). It was a day that may hurt right now, but that will be laughed about over a beer in a week or two, and definitely, definitely be remembered in years to come when all the dry, easy rides have been forgotten.

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Jenny Fay. Laughing? Or grimacing?

As predicted, the elite end of the field didn’t see any real shuffles. Torq’s Chris Hamilton outsprinted Andy Blair for the stage win, but with such a big lead from stage one, Blairy’s overall wasn’t in danger. And Jenny Fay, despite the mud wreaking havoc with her drivetrain, stayed away for another win (surely even she’s losing count by now).

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Jackie Schapel, always smiling. She must get very dirty teeth. An amazing descender and a real champ.

Tomorrow, the racing stays in the Hunter, departing Briar Ridge winery before finishing just east of Cessnock. With more rain on the horizon, the stage will be shortened by a few kays, avoiding the worst of the mud, which will make most riders smile. There’s only so many ‘memorable’ stages your bike and body can take in one week!

Racing: Wallace and Fay crowned Real Insurance XCM series champions

Canada’s Cory Wallace and Irish national marathon champion Jenny Fay have taken out the 2014 Real Insurance Cross Country Marathon Series following an exciting conclusion to the series at the weekend.

Both Fay and Wallace capped off standout series’, clinching victory in the final round’s Convict 100 in St Albans.

In the men’s series, former Canadian national champion Wallace had a consistent series which included taking out round three’s Wombat 100 and a runner up place in round four’s Tablelands Classic.

Wallace finished the series on 225 points, just 20 points ahead of round one winner Adrian Jackson (205.5 points) while Shaun Lewis (184.5 points) finished third overall, 40.5 points behind Wallace.

After winning round two in Mt Joyce and round four’s Tablelands Classic, Fay took out the series on 248 points, 17 points ahead of national marathon champion Melissa Anset (231 points). Sarah Riley (185 points) rounded out the podium, 63 points in arrears.

Runner up Anset also had a stellar season, finishing on the podium in all four events she competed in, including claiming top spot in both the High Country Classic and Wombat 100.

 

 

Racing: The CamelBak Highland Fling Is Just a Stone's Throw Away!

The 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling mountain bike event is just four weeks away. That’s still plenty of time to get your training on a roll and be ready to leave no stone unturned when you line up for the ninth edition of Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

If you’ve noticed there seems to be a bit of a stone theme, you’re onto something. One of the many things that make the CamelBak Highland Fling unique is its annual theme; designed to ensure that serious racing is also serious fun!

2013 sees The CamelBak Highland Fling go stone-age with a Flingstones theme. And while there is an assurance that no actual stones will be flung (other than flung up by tyres), there could be a dinosaur or two taking to the trails (and we’re not talking about riders in the Grand Masters category).

Briars Highland Fling 2012

On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November, the picturesque New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon will a celebrate all things mountain biking with the CamelBak Highland Fling welcoming a large field of both Australian and international elite riders, category racers and weekend warriors, together with their support crews, families and friends.

Last year's podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.
Last year’s podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.

2012 men’s champion Adrian Jackson will be back to defend his title saying: ‘The Fling is one of my big targets for the second half and I hope to hit it in top form. It’s rated in the top tier of marathon races by all elites. To win one is an honour but to win back-to-back, is legend making.’

Making sure it’s not an easy win will be a stacked men’s elite field including 2012 2nd and 3rd place-getters Dylan Cooper and Brendan Johnston, Swell Specialized team mates Andy Blair and Shaun Lewis, along with Dan McConnell, keen to show his form locally after a stellar world championship season in which he placed 2nd overall in the World Cup Series.

The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.
The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.

Defending women’s champion Jenny Fay has just picked up the Irish National Marathon Jersey after a win in Italy too, but she will be back in Australia, and in top form, to ensure she makes it three in a row at The Fling. The likes of Australian XC champion Peta Mullens from VIC and Jo Bennet from WA will be keen to stop the hat trick.

Former Singlespeed World Champion Garth Weinberg from NZ, will be over to shake up the Full Fling SS category and no doubt will finish up toward the pointy end overall too.

In the 100 Mile Fling local elites including title holder Ed Macdonald will be battling it out with international riders including the UK’s Matt Page. 2012 Half Fling winner Kyle Ward is stepping up to the Full Fling in 2013. Can his 18 year old younger brother Jayden, recent victor in the Kowalski 50km event, hold onto the family honour by keeping out last year’s 2nd place rider Andrew Arthur, 50km specialist Brad Morton and evergreen old foxes like Matt Fleming?

The main racing takes place on Sunday 10th with riders selecting the 110km Full Fling, 55km Half Fling or 100Mile Fling, with routes winding through mixed terrain. Private farmland tracks cross into the beautiful forest and gully trails of Wingello State Forest. Open paddocks become rough 4WD trails and flowing single track. Challenging climbs are rewarded with sweet descents.

Leading into the main event are also a host of sideshow events across the weekend, including the Casual Fling to cater for those who prefer a more social ride and the Bundanoon Dash for those who like their racing fast and furious.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

The Battle of the Businesses, for locals only, provides stunning costumes for spectator entertainment, while those who like to race without having to put any power to the pedal can line-up for the second Rolloff World Championships.

For young racers, Saturday’s Kids Skills Clinic tips can be tried out in the hotly contested Todds Real Estate Kids Fling on Sunday.

 

Racing: The CamelBak Highland Fling Is Just a Stone’s Throw Away!

The 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling mountain bike event is just four weeks away. That’s still plenty of time to get your training on a roll and be ready to leave no stone unturned when you line up for the ninth edition of Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

If you’ve noticed there seems to be a bit of a stone theme, you’re onto something. One of the many things that make the CamelBak Highland Fling unique is its annual theme; designed to ensure that serious racing is also serious fun!

2013 sees The CamelBak Highland Fling go stone-age with a Flingstones theme. And while there is an assurance that no actual stones will be flung (other than flung up by tyres), there could be a dinosaur or two taking to the trails (and we’re not talking about riders in the Grand Masters category).

Briars Highland Fling 2012

On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November, the picturesque New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon will a celebrate all things mountain biking with the CamelBak Highland Fling welcoming a large field of both Australian and international elite riders, category racers and weekend warriors, together with their support crews, families and friends.

Last year's podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.
Last year’s podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.

2012 men’s champion Adrian Jackson will be back to defend his title saying: ‘The Fling is one of my big targets for the second half and I hope to hit it in top form. It’s rated in the top tier of marathon races by all elites. To win one is an honour but to win back-to-back, is legend making.’

Making sure it’s not an easy win will be a stacked men’s elite field including 2012 2nd and 3rd place-getters Dylan Cooper and Brendan Johnston, Swell Specialized team mates Andy Blair and Shaun Lewis, along with Dan McConnell, keen to show his form locally after a stellar world championship season in which he placed 2nd overall in the World Cup Series.

The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.
The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.

Defending women’s champion Jenny Fay has just picked up the Irish National Marathon Jersey after a win in Italy too, but she will be back in Australia, and in top form, to ensure she makes it three in a row at The Fling. The likes of Australian XC champion Peta Mullens from VIC and Jo Bennet from WA will be keen to stop the hat trick.

Former Singlespeed World Champion Garth Weinberg from NZ, will be over to shake up the Full Fling SS category and no doubt will finish up toward the pointy end overall too.

In the 100 Mile Fling local elites including title holder Ed Macdonald will be battling it out with international riders including the UK’s Matt Page. 2012 Half Fling winner Kyle Ward is stepping up to the Full Fling in 2013. Can his 18 year old younger brother Jayden, recent victor in the Kowalski 50km event, hold onto the family honour by keeping out last year’s 2nd place rider Andrew Arthur, 50km specialist Brad Morton and evergreen old foxes like Matt Fleming?

The main racing takes place on Sunday 10th with riders selecting the 110km Full Fling, 55km Half Fling or 100Mile Fling, with routes winding through mixed terrain. Private farmland tracks cross into the beautiful forest and gully trails of Wingello State Forest. Open paddocks become rough 4WD trails and flowing single track. Challenging climbs are rewarded with sweet descents.

Leading into the main event are also a host of sideshow events across the weekend, including the Casual Fling to cater for those who prefer a more social ride and the Bundanoon Dash for those who like their racing fast and furious.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

The Battle of the Businesses, for locals only, provides stunning costumes for spectator entertainment, while those who like to race without having to put any power to the pedal can line-up for the second Rolloff World Championships.

For young racers, Saturday’s Kids Skills Clinic tips can be tried out in the hotly contested Todds Real Estate Kids Fling on Sunday.