Rockwheelers’ annual Dam Dark 12 Hour took-off in a flurry of dust at Ross Dam on Saturday night. More than 200 mountain bikers (a mix of 103 teams and individuals) traded in sleep for the final race of the club’s calendar, seizing the opportunity to end the riding year with some all-night fun.
Three different courses were used for the race, with a swap every four hours to add some variety for riders. Course one included the only significant climb, while course two was a pair of short loops where riders were given the option of earning a short cut if they were up to the challenge: consuming a handful of dry Sao biscuits and a can of warm coke. Course three was the longest and flattest of the three. The three courses ranged in length from 5km to 6.4km.
While competitors set-up camp in the old Quarry area, the event started with a junior ride at 4.30pm. After a race briefing, adult riders were sent off in a memorable fashion at 6.30pm thanks to a line of water-pistol-wielding kids (lead by junior ride coordinator Tim Hughes) firing on competitors as they zoomed past. Much later in the night, when the kids were in bed, bonus laps were available for anyone brave enough to ride the nudie lap. Now a tradition for this event, the 3am bonus lap has been extended to include fancy dress and costumes with several riders making the most of the opportunity.
There were no significant injuries, but plenty of tired bodies as sunrise rolled around at the end of the 12 hours. Dust was the biggest problem for most riders: The dry conditions and calm evening caused the dust to gather in several areas on the course.
Thanks to the assistance of the Apex Club of Townsville, the event ran smoothly with a fun race, and plenty of food and activities for the families and junior members out supporting the riders.
The top riders for the event were Lincoln Carolan and Sarah Kaehler who rode in team-of-two Team Discovery Cycles. They completed 42 laps (including bonuses).
The top solo male rider was Luke Smythe riding in the Solo Open (19-29 years) category and completed 33 laps (no bonuses).
The top female rider was Leah Denman riding in the Solo Masters (40-49 years) category who completed 23 laps (no bonuses).
For a full list of Dam Dark 12 Hour 2014 results click here.