Four hardy (or perhaps foolhardy!) Garingal members ventured to Cessnock at the weekend for the Australian MTBO Champs. Torrential rain midweek meant that already wet courses were by now underwater and/or muddy, which made for very slow going and a blowout in times. It was like being flogged on SAS Australia.
It is noted that our MTBO gun Michael Ridley-Smith showed his pedigree with 2nd in M50 in the Long on Sunday - his only ride for the event. Ian Jessup, riding in his M50 age class for the first time instead of a recreational category, managed 7/9 in Friday's Mass Start, covering 24km in just over two hours of hard work.
On Saturday morning Ian came 6th in the Sprint, which featured a fiendish track network in the second half of the course with several knee-deep creek crossings, and James Lithgow came 11th in M60.
That afternoon Ian opted out of the Middle to go wine tasting, during which James improved to 9th and first-timer Edith Chow (a new GO member) unfortunately mispunched on the non-championship Recreational 1 course. Edith only had the last control to go but noticed she was already on course closure time so went to the finish (I am sure if it had been better weather the organisers would have really chuffed that Edith did that!! it is such a relief to have everyone back), but she did not realise the organisers were allowing some leeway due to the slow going. (And that was after she had done the 3D SOS at Balgowlah in the morning.)
On Sunday Edith was determined to finish and - riding in W21 (Open Women Elite) - completed her course in 4 hours 16 minutes! Wow, what an epic. Bigger than Ben Hur! Our spies at the weekend put her stamina and endurance down to Edith's extra large helping of dessert on Saturday night to store much-needed energy. Also, she's a budding adventure racer so has some talent there.
Newcastle club had this event postponed multiple times due to Covid and we THANK them for the thousands of volunteer hours they put in to ensure riders from six states could compete. They have earned some rest, but the washing machines could be in for some punishment!