Today I registered for my first mountain bike event of the year (and technically, ever). I’ve only ever done mass-participation road events such as the Noosa Classic and the Great Brisbane Bike Ride so this will certainly be a first for me.
The event I’ve gone for to pop my cherry, so to speak, is the first round of the Kooralbyn MTB Endurance Series in Queensland’s Scenic Rim. This first round - on Sunday 7 March - is a four hour event (with six, 12 and an epic 24 hours later in the year), and riders will be tasked with completing the looped course as many times as they can within the allotted time.
I’m using this event as an opportunity to test the water and see if I even enjoy this type of event. Typically I’ll go riding alone or with my wife, so having a lot more riders on the trail - most of whom will be racing to get past me - will be a different experience for sure. Either way, it’s great to be able to support more regional events like this.
With about a month and a half to get my training in there will be some specific areas I will be focussing on.
I don’t think I have ever ridden my mountain bike continuously for four hours - sure, I’ve ridden my road bike 100+ kilometres with not a whole lot of training so I know I have some innate ability to keep going, but mountain biking is a whole different ballgame. Not really a lot I can do to prepare for this other than spending time in the saddle.
In this instance I won’t be getting particularly scientific about my training - there are some longer events and personal challenges that I want to take part in later in the year that will require some more tactical training. My main focus this time round will be finishing. My performance doesn’t have to be pretty (or even rank) but as long as a I make it through the four hours I’ll be happy.
I often joke that whilst I love mountain biking I’m not especially good at it. Whilst I am happy with my own abilities insofar as I get to ride the trails I want to, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. Technique isn’t just about being able to jump those gaps or rail berms, it’s also about riding efficiently to get the most out of your energy output (whilst climbing, for example).
Looking at the course maps online, this event does seem to mostly stick to category green trails, which means that the terrain and obstacles won’t be too hectic, but I will still want to brush up on a few techniques beforehand.