Everyone has ‘a local’ that they go to. More than just a fallback option, I hold some pride in going to my local. It matches up well with where I live and where I train – and getting to it and back home again doesn’t require too much thinking ahead. I’m not talking about a pub or a cafe. You can have a local bike race too obviously, even a Marathon MTB event. This past weekend has seen the running of the third Capital Punishment Marathon by AROC Sport. And this next weekend we’re rolling into the Convict 100, which has been running for some time now. It’s a bit of a classic.
More than just being my local Marathon MTB race though, it’s my first chance to get some points in the 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series, that CycleNation have put together. With inclement weather causing some event shuffling in March, I lost the opportunity to race at the Capital Punishment event. I also missed the Wombat 100, due to being overseas.
Having experienced Marathon MTB racing in close to fifteen countries, it is apparent that some countries do it better than others. In every country it is growing though, in popularity and in general knowledge. It is really exciting seeing this genre of Mountain Bike racing develop. The past few years have seen the United Kingdom, the US and Australia all have a selection of their Marathon (or Marathon style for the UK…) events be brought together for a series. There are an untold amount of different series’ to follow out there for the travelling Marathon MTBer. But the Real Insurance Series is giving Marathon (XCM) racing a huge boost, via increased publicity, and deeper fields in the men’s and women’s elite – and beyond! Even if you protest that you only race for fun, deep down you want to progress and improve. The next round, the next race – or just to get in front of your mate on the overall point score. The XCM Series allows that – it draws more people to each event. 2011 was big, and 2012 is set to be huge.
So finally at Round 3 of the Series I can hopefully make it to the finish and score some points. In others years, I have had some of my better Marathon finishes here – but with the talent that Real Insurance are attracting, I’m not so certain this can be maintained. It’s a fast course, more so in the past 2 years, with grading having taken place in a lot of sections. The first climb is highly decisive. it’s not uncommon for the placings over the top there to be well matched up to the finish. But more Elite riders and more on offer for the winner brings a different style of racing. Will everyone just watch Shaun Lewis? Will Rockstar send Matty or Dylan up the ‘road’, as they have the strength and depth to do so?
I have great memories of racing with Shaun Lewis and Hamish Elliot in 2010, pretty much on my limit in a trio with these two. And that limit was well and truly met as things got harder, and they rode away on a technical climb while I flailed and tried to regain my vision. So although the course is fast, technical ability still comes into play through the middle section. If you can ride that cleanly, and fast, you should have something in reserve for the second big climb of the day. Just because it’s your local, it doesn’t make it any easier!
This is the transition into an awesome period of racing back home in Australia. After the Convict 100, the Ingerreke Commercial MTB Enduro is on the agenda, plus the Rock Wallaby Enduro and the XCM Nationals down at Canberra. I’ll be at all of those representing the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team – and maybe at a couple of other events too. XCM is strong in Australia – from your local event and upwards!