The SRAM Singletrack Mind Series is set to kick off again on April 17. Shane Taylor reflects back on the final round of 2010 and why, if last year’s series is anything to go by, 2011 should be a cracker!
The fifth and final instalment of the SRAM Singletrack Mind series was held at Appin on the NSW South Coast in September last year. Previous rounds of the series visited Lithgow, Coondoo Rd, Stromlo and Yaramundi. The series venues for 2011 however will have riders be heading slightly further north to visit the excellent Awaba mountain bike track (and how could you not – that place is freakin’ superb), and the racing has been expanded to six rounds; a testament to the popularity of this series.
As with the rest of the series, the final event for 2010 had a casual and relaxed atmosphere that encouraged everyone to just enjoy the day for what it offered. A lap of the showgrounds eased the riders into the action and then it was off into the scrub to see what Appin had to offer. Having never ridden at this venue before, its now no surprise to me why there is some serious talent coming out of the South Coast. There are some truly awesome tracks in the area and, in quite stark contrast to the chilled out vibe back at the event centre, the track was very “in your face”. I say this quite literally because a lapse in concentration would almost certainly result in some time spent kissing dirt or worse.
The racing at the pointy end of the field was tight and mere minutes ended up being the difference in multiple categories as the race and series drew to a close. A noteworthy mention was the Yeti-Gu pairing of Paul Rowney and Matt Potter who had been terrorising the uber competitive Male Pairs category for the entire series. Paul was unfortunately unavailable for the final round, so, in a rather sporting gesture The Choccy Foot crew permitted Matt to race without a partner in the Male Pairs category in order to have a chance to take the necessary series points to clinch the overall victory. Matt rolled around (and by rolled, I mean still would have taken 5th in the Solo category) for the whole 7hrs, finished 8th in the pairs and did enough to take home the bacon for himself and the absent Paul Rowney.
SRAM was the headline sponsor of the series and at each of the rounds there was an embarrassment of riches from all of the sponsors with forks, brakes, lights, first aid products and even novelty oversize cheques to the tune of $1,500 courtesy of Cannondale were given away at each round. There was so much schwag being thrown out into the crowd at the conclusion of presentations it was almost sickening…but it all had to go, the Choccy Foot crew couldn’t take it home! As if the track wasn’t hard enough, you then had to worry about airborne shrapnel during presentations too, good thing we all had helmets.
It wasn’t too long ago that there weren’t any decent endurance mountain bike series in NSW. Not only are we spoiled for choices in events but these promoters are actively working with the local clubs and are being proactive about trying to encourage newbies into the sport. Following that formula, everyone from individual riders to the local shops and clubs should end up winners so this is a series to get excited about.
For more info on the upcoming SRAM Singletrack Mind Series, including race dates and locations, head on over to http://www.chocolatefoot.com.au/singletrack-mind-series.
Thank you to Brad Pepper Photography for the photos.