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Mid Pack Warrior Report - Port to Port 2017

hank's picture

By hank - Posted on 29 May 2017

Mid Pack Warrior Report - Port to Port 2017

After recent trips to Derby and The Mont plus the football season I was happily putting my competitive riding, (I use this term in it’s loosest sense with a very small ‘c’) to bed and settling down into my winter training schedule of a couple of half hearted laps round the dam when I got an email from NOBMOB telling me I’d won an entry to the Port To Port. To be honest I’m not sure I replied with the level of excitement it deserved.

So belated thanks to NOBMOB for running the competition.

Nelsons Bay – 35km
Having done very little training it was slightly intimidating seeing the semi pro teams prepping at the start, but thankfully most of the other 500 riders seemed to be nearer my rather average standard.

The stage consisted of some tarmac, sandy fire trail and a little section of single track near the end. I couldn’t work out the ‘3 Bears’ climbs as either their metaphor or my memory failed as there were certainly more than three short sharp pinches. All in all a good hit out and just the type of training ride I should have been doing for the last month.

Hunter Valley – 50km
After cutting it fine for years, today it finally happened as I found myself in a portaloo for race start. I think I was last man across the line but once out of the vineyard caught up the back of the pack. Grinding up an unrelenting 8km fire trail I got a small insight into what being a decent rider must be like as I picked off tail riders.

The ridgeline was not unlike sections of the Convict100, in that the course diagram suggests it’s flat but it isn’t. At around the 20km mark we saw the fruits of our labors by descending into ‘The Rabbit Hole’, a fast and greasy 10km drop into the valley. My max speed was 63kmph so god knows what the fast riders were doing.

We wound through fairly flat fire trail to the days final official climb, descending to the finish until the last 500m which wasn’t so much a pinch, more a 300m nipple cripple from the school bully with a Chinese burn thrown in for good measure. It must have been over 15% but the finish line, food trucks and winetasting was just over the top.

Lake Macquarie – 62km
I think bored roadies are crossing over to our patch as the pace on the tarmac and fire trails was fierce, but once we got to the Awaba single track it was carnage with people flying in the bushes. 250 more weekend warrior riders had joined us and The Dogs Descent saw our max speed once more head north of 60kmphas the longest day came to close.

Belmont to Merewether Beach – 40km
The legs were sore but feeling surprisingly good, which was lucky because today’s stage was a ripper and the best of the race.
It felt like 80% single track and when we weren’t doing that we were riding a few km on the beach in spectacular weather. With the fatal combination of tiredness and adrenaline creeping in I over cooked a corner finding myself in a bush in Glenrock, but no damage done and soon popped out at the finish on the beautiful Merewether Beach.

I stayed in an AirBnB in Newcastle which worked out well as a central location, but did involve 45mins drive to most starts.
I rode my five year old (if my wife is reading yes that is a hint) Scott Spark 30 which was perfect, but you could easily do this course on a hardtail as it’s not that technical.

As many races fall by the wayside I’ve pondered the future form of organized mountain biking. Is it day races, multi stage races or just informal destination rides? Personally the most satisfying solution has been a mixture of all of the above - the Kow Classic, the Fling, Snowy Mountain Bike Fest, a trip to Derby, a weekend in Canberra and now I’ll have to add the Port To Port.

Congratulations to the Port To Port organizers for in my case 11 hours 54 minutes of great riding, plus credit to the local councils and state government for sponsoring the event and recognizing the potential in our sport.

hawkeye's picture

Thanks for the report Smiling

I might have to put that event on the bucket list!

Black Flash's picture

Kudos for fulfilling the criteria and completing all 4 stages!

Lach's picture

... and thanks for the report. Would love to do this, but seems I'm always somewhere else in May......

Beggy's picture

I did the port to port to and your description of the final hill on stage 2 is about perfect.
As a fitter rider i still felt the same pain. A universal feeling for all.

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