Exciting times for mountain bikers and those who like a challenge, no matter how far you like to roll: Rockwheelers Mountain Bike Club is hosting North Queensland’s first 24-hour mountain bike race later this month, HotRock24, adding a whole extra 16 hours to its popular HotRock8 event.
But while there will be some very brave and admirable souls who do the whole 24 hours solo, including world champion 24-hour solo single-speed rider Brett Bellchambers (see video below) who’s coming up from Canberra, there are many who will form teams and embrace the family-friendly atmosphere that includes everything from live music and movies under the stars to slack-lining and bike stunt demonstrations.
We caught up with two riders who are gearing up for this huge event on May 23-24.
What category are you competing in? Team of two female called ‘Witches’ Brew’.
What prompted you to get involved? Since the friend that got me into mountain biking has moved down south, I have been entering eight-hour and 12-hour comps and riding solo. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all and have been thinking about doing a 24-hour for a while. I wasn’t expecting an opportunity to take part in one quite so soon, so wimped out of going solo! However a solo 24-hour race is still on the to-do list.
What is the longest ride/event you’ve entered previously? Dam Dark 12-hour.
Have you done any special preparation for HotRock? No, just riding for the love of it whenever the demands of the day job allow [Leah is a vet] – it’s a great way to de-stress.
Do you have a particular strategy that you’re willing to share? We’ll just be enjoying ourselves and trying not to let white line fever take over too much! Although, it could be a great motivator in the small hours of the night… that and caffeine!
Last words? I’ve been riding (and falling off) bikes all my life. I’ve mountain biked since 2009 and my first race was the Paluma Push of the same year. My first HotRock was 2010, but have been hooked every since. As yet, I haven’t raced anything down south, but I’m looking forward to a four-week tour of Tassie in 2016 where I’ll be doing the Wild Side – my first four-day stage race from Cradle Mountain to Strahan.
Tips for other riders: You’ve got to be in it to win it!
What category are you competing in? Team of three men, dividing up the 24 hours. Our team name CSC: Me, Linton Cox and Rob Connolly. Rob has been cycling for many years and has only fairly recently started to race mountain bike, and has progressed very quickly in to a competent cross-country (XC) racer. Linton Cox (my brother-in-law) has been riding mountain bikes on and off for the last 20+ years and has been showing promising form with limited training – he’s just naturally talented and won the Veterans class in XC2.
What prompted you to get involved? After only nine months post-knee reconstruction my fitness is close to 90%, but upon some advice for the surgeon, I have decided that a team of three will allow enough riding without overdoing it (it’s the second time my right ACL has been replaced).
What is the longest ride/event you have entered previously? I have competed in the HotRock8 four times in different formats – solo, team of two and team of three. While the Dam Dark (12 hours) is more of a social event, I’ve raced it three times solo, finishing first in Veterans Class in 2013.
Have you done any special preparation for HotRock? The general rehabilitation for my knee has involved lots of cycling (can’t complain about that!!). This HotRock event will assist with my training for the 2015 Mates on Mountain Bikes Charity Ride from Townsville to Port Douglas “The Hard Way” – we ride up over the range and through cattle properties raise money for the Royal Flying Doctors. It’s around 100km a day for seven days on dirt trails, so will be a good challenge.
Do you have a particular strategy that you’re willing to share? As I prefer the longer endurance races (four hours plus), the plan is for the other two to tag-team the daylight hours and I will ride non-stop for eight hours through the night. I find once I get in to a rhythm I can just settle in and the hours pass by very quickly. I have a feeling the teams of three and four will need to be fast and will be very competitive.
Last words? I was introduced to mountain biking by the likes of Haydn Tilley (original Rockwheelers member and a close family friend) five years ago. I have become very involved with the club since then with volunteering and assisting on the Rockwheelers committee as XC Race coordinator in 2013. It’s a great club and it’s easy to get involved doing as much or as little as you want.
Tips for other riders? As with all longer races, a good food plan is critical to keep the engine firing.
You can do the whole 24 hours solo, or sign-up as a team with anywhere between two and six riders; or even enter the 5+5 category. This is the first and last five-hour periods of the race for those who like their sleep!
Other awesome activities on the weekend will include:
- Townsville’s resident superhero Captain Active riding with the kids in the Junior HotRock before the main race
- Jumping castle and face painting
- Movies under the stars
- Slack-line skills sessions provided by Hot Rock Adventure Centre
- Bike trials (stunts) riding demonstrations;
- Live music by Spun Monkey
- Food and refreshments