Hastings Valley Mountain Bike Riders is one of the oldest cycling clubs in the area, incorporating both social rides and competitive racing. Kim Gould catches up with Lloyd Newell to find out about the upcoming 12 hour endurance race.
> Tell us about the Hastings Valley Mountain Riders.
The club formed here in the Hastings Valley around 25 years ago, and we still have some of the original members. We have a club house at Telegraph Point with full facilities, including hot and cold showers and a canteen which is open during races. The oval is also floodlit, because we do night riding.
It’s a very inviting club. We welcome people from all walks of life – Mum, Dad and the kids, serious competitors and beginners. We hold both social rides and competitive races throughout the year, and we have a big Junior section of the club. Jai Cooper runs a Junior Skills workshop every Thursday from 4pm. It’s open to all juniors; anyone can come along and learn some new skills and ride the track.
> What type of competitions do you hold?
We run a series of competitions throughout the year. Firstly, there is the Cross Country Race Series, which is a two hour lung busting race. It’s on a circuit of around five or six kilometres, where competitors ride flat out around the track for about two hours. It’s run on a short course, which is the same as the Olympic format.
We also run an Enduro series, which involves racing over three hours or more. There are races run over three hours, six hours and we even do a twelve hour race, which is pretty intense.
This year, for the first year, we’ve joined with clubs from Taree, Kempsey, Coffs Harbour and Armidale to make a Mid North Coast Cross Country Race Series. This allows us to travel and compete away from home.
> You’ll be hosting a 12 hour endurance race this month. What will that involve?
This is the race’s fifth year, and Pivot is the major sponsor this year. In the first year we had 100 competitors, and this year we’re expecting 350 riders. It’s held at our track at Telegraph Point – which is pretty famous, because it’s not too hard for a 12 hour race. We get a lot of competitors from across the country. The track is a ten kilometre loop, and the race covers around 450 kilometres in the twelve hours. It’s one of those single flowing tracks that mountain bikers love!
The race is a little unique because we actually start in the dark; it runs from midnight to midday. The level of competition is the best in the world. Jason English, the current Enduro World Champion, has competed and won every year, and he will be competing again this year. There are a few other riders of his calibre who also compete.
But we also cater for first timers and social riders. As well as the Pivot 12 hour race, we’ll be hosting the Gordon Street Cycles 6 hour race. So if you’re not interested in racing all night, you can do the 6 hour race instead!
This competition is for everyone. You may have never set foot on a mountain bike before, but you’re still welcome to join in. Mountain biking is a lot more casual than road racing. You can turn up in shorts and a T-shirt, throw on your helmet and away you go. It’s probably also the only sport where you can race on the same circuit and compete in the same competitions as the world champions. You just can’t do that in any other sport.
All the competitors are encouraging and they always look out for other riders. For example, if the world champion rides past and sees a little twelve year old who’s just had a crash, he’s going to stop and make sure that the kid’s alright. The majority of people on the track will look out for their fellow competitors, which is a big part of what makes mountain biking such a great sport.
> What are the divisions for the Pivot 12 hour race?
There are a few categories that we cover. There’s the solo men’s and women’s, male and female teams of two, mixed teams of four, teams of six and juniors. There’s also a schools category, because over the years it has evolved into a big schools competition, with schools from Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Taree entering their own teams.
> What prizes are on offer this year?
We’re offering around $6,000 in cash and prizes. Francis Furniture have made some fantastic custom trophies for our winners. The prizes are mostly cycling equipment donated by our sponsors.
> How do people get involved with Hastings Valley Mountain Bike Riders?
The club has a website, www.hvmtbr.com. All the information about the club is on there, including contacts and event calendars. People can also enter the Pivot 12 hour or Gordon Street Cycles 6 hour races through the website. Otherwise, they can come in to Gordon Street Cycles and we will point them in the right direction.
> Thank you Lloyd.
The Pivot 12 Hour Endurance Race will be held at Telegraph Point on 20th and 21st March. Visit www.hvmtbr.com or contact Gordon Street Cycles on 6583 3633 to enter or find out more.