Over the weekend many Canberrans and interstate visitors headed out on their bikes to enjoy some of the many events of the Brindabella Challenge cycling festival. Proceedings started on Friday evening with the adventure race, which would have been interesting with the thunder storms and huge downpour – I’m sure the kayaks would have been used on more than one stage.
Saturday morning saw 148 mountain bikers gather at Stromlo Forest Park for the XC (cross country) race, which also doubled as a round of the NSW XC race series. It was great that so much effort went into the trail design so to ensure the trails are able to disperse water, as the course had only a few small puddles and was otherwise beautifully tacky. The 7.8km course for the race wasn’t too punishing, and most riders finished smiling or grimacing.
Activities resumed after lunch as CORC hosted a free mountain bike skills session, which saw about 80 people of all abilities learn the fine art of riding off-road. Groups contained people of all skill levels and ages, from absolute beginners to intermediate skills, and from young kids to grandparents. Fun was had by all, and the instructors were stoked to see people learning to ride on dirt and having a great time without losing too much blood.
The skills session was to be followed by a social ride, but a deluge turned the mountain into a waterfall. So the ride was cancelled, but the social part went ahead as people took shelter from the rain at the event centre, and talked bikes (what else is there?).
On Sunday the legendary Urban Polaris mountain bike event was run for the final time (as the organisers of this event are retiring). Riders score points for visiting the check points all over the Canberra, with the big points to be had at the top of the city’s peaks and far northern & southern suburbs. All reports were that this was a great event, except for some lowlife scum breaking into cars which were parked at Stromlo for the day.
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The second part of the Brindabella Challenge this weekend cranks things up another level, with the Brindbella Epic 100Km XC race out in the Brindies, and mountain cross, road bike criteriums, and the kids fun ride all out at SFP on Saturday. If you still have any energy in your legs on Sunday there’s mountain bike orienteering at Kowen forest, downhill mountain biking at Stromlo (which will be awesome spectating if you don’t have the nerves of steel), BMX at Kambah, and the Brindabella Challenge Handicap road race.
If all goes well, I’ll be providing a first hand report of the Epic 100Km XC race sometime next week from my hospital bed.