From all I'd heard about Mt Joyce, I was expecting a tough course for race 2 of the MTB Super Series. On paper it looked interesting, with about 250m of climbing in under 4K, followed by a descent of similar proportions. Having never ridden at Mt Joyce, I had no idea of what to expect. The good news was the weather conditions were nearly perfect, especially when compared to the mud of Race 1. On the negative side was my total lack of MTB riding since the 24hr, and an attempt on Friday afternoon to remind myself of what SS MTB was all about, ended in a fairly heavy coming together with a tree and a massive bruise on my left forearm.
From my home on the northside of Brisbane Mt Joyce is a 90min drive. I arrived just under an hour before race start and with the transition a little way away from the carpark, I really didn't have that much spare time to get set up and ready to race. The transition area was very exposed, with no shade from trees and only those organised enough to take a portable gazebo having any protection from the sun. I managed to set up my gear with Paul Fletcher and Emma Thomson. I registered, and it looked like there were only 4 single speed riders.
The race started with an 800m gravelly fire road climb, with a very steep pinch before the single track that offered some climbing respite before turning uphill almost immediately for a further 3km of climbing. With the team riders and faster geared riders heading off into the distance, I was leading a group of 5 or 6 riders, pulling away in the steeper corners, but being caught up on the more gently climbing straights. After what felt like 100 switchbacks, we crested the top of the course, and let gravity be on our side at last. Surprisingly, I caught up to a small group of riders which I had thought were much further ahead, and I was feeling fairly good. The downhill was an absolute hoot, and made the climb so worth it. The remainder of the course was undulating, but the fast descent to the start/finish line was potentially treacherous if taken too fast.
The first couple of laps seemed to go quickly, up then down, not really catching other riders, or being caught. The track was fun, but finding somewhere to eat and drink was tough. Essentially the run in to the finish, and the fire road climb were the only places. I stopped bothering to carry food and I would just scoff down what I could immediately after transition. I rode a couple of laps with Peter Winfield, with me leading up the climbs and him providing me something to chase on the way down. Trying to keep up on the undulating bottom section was hard on the SS, but when Peter stopped for food and I did not, I caught back up and we were back in formation for 1 more lap until I stopped for water on the next lap
It warmed up quite a bite, and by the 2 hour mark, I was sneaking in a drink at the top of the climb. I was still lapping consistently, and enjoying the down hill and honing my descending skills. I had no idea what was happening at all in the race. I thought for a moment I was about to be passed, but realised the SS rider I saw was actually in a team.. With 2 laps to go, I stocked up on drink bottles, and grabbed a banana. On the climb, I passed 2 single speed riders, who both looked they were struggling a bit, but still rolling OK, but I figured I was in 2nd at least.
I crossed the line in 4hr:17mins having covered 71K and climbed 2413m, 1st in SS and 14th overall in another great turn out of 75+ solo riders. This was my first time at My Joyce, but I can't wait to go back and investigate further. Another well organised event, on awesome trails and fantastic attitude by all...apart from 1 team rider who was really quite aggressive in passing. Race 3 is just up the road at Murrenbong, which is always a fun track.
Thanks Paul and Emma for the use of your Gazebo too.
If anyone has any photos they'd like to share, or I could use on my Blog, drop a link in the comments, and I'd be greatly appreciative.