Last weekend saw the 10th Annual 24 hour MTB championships. The first race was held in 1999; I first rode in 2002. I didn't ride in 2003 (Frambo rode it solo and the gang rode the 12 Hours of Gravity instead) but have ridden it every year since, so this was my sixth race.
Originally, it was held at Stromlo but the tracks there were burned out by the fires of 2002 and 2003. The race was then held at Kowen before returning to Stromlo in 2007. The tracks are now there but the trees are still saplings. This year's course was fairly similar to last year's with the hourglass shaped course divided into Red and Blue loops. Changes were minor - a couple of bridges are now permanent and there were a couple of new bits for the Blue course that had been built for the World Cup. The technology gets more sophisticated each year. This year, the top riders were equipped with GPS devices that allowed them to be tracked on a map on the scoreboard. Weather was perfect - dry but not too warm - which translates to dusty in a 24 hour race. About 2,500 riders competed, down somewhat from the 3,000 that entered in 2006.
Due to my shoulder, which hasn't fully recovered from the crash a couple of weeks ago, neither myself nor the team rode as fast or as many laps as last year.
Transition area on the criterium. The riders are coming in off the Blue loop. The people standing around are waiting for their rider to return. The Red loop starts on the right of the picture and ends on the lane to the left. Scoreboard is at the top right. The camp site is in the background.
Photo by Marina Neil. Scanned from the Canberra Times
.Endurance race turns 10 in style