Port to Port 4 Day Stage Race 2015.
200km over 4 days. About 3800m of climbing
There had been a fair bit of interest from some of the JetBlack Team in entering this stage race. For 90% of us this was all new territory and heading into the unknown.
Most of the team arrived Wednesday arvo and settled into setting up, unpacking and heading to rego to grab the usual important stuff like timing plates, goodies pack etc. A quick visit for some carb loading at the local pub was a chance to catch up and talk about what laid ahead. Chris Ryder was an experienced stage racer with a fair few of these type of races under his belt so his advice and word’s of wisdom were great. The rest of the night was filled with NSW vs QLD State of Origin 1 which didn’t go too well for us Blue’s supporters.
Everyone woke to a fabulous day in Nelson’s Bay. Breaky done and a late stage start of 11am allowed the team to welcome Kyle Sharp who had won a FREE entry to this stage race and head into town for some pre-race coffee’s and soaking up of the P2P atmosphere that was present in town.
Stage 1 would be a 34km stage leaving the Marina and heading towards Box Beach. The section after the pace car pealed off was very challenging as all the recent rain had reaped havoc on the course. Once thru this section most people settled into a rhythm and started enjoying the race and scenery. Tomaree National park had a lot of sandy sections and of course the 3 bears. 3 hills that could not be ridden and each 1 got progressively longer and steeper.
The calves were crying out by the end of these. Pickles, Chris and myself settled into some good work together until Pickles made a mistake with around 10km to go and lost some time. As it later turned out he suffered cramps trying to catch back on before the end of stage. Coming into the last 2km there was some single-track and I knew I had to make an attack on Chris Ryder here. As it goes so often – click, click and I was away which saw me take a 12 second time gap on day 1. The rest of the team finished well. Nards rode a great stage and chicked George on day 1. Times as per below:
Michael Brown – 1:36:27
Chris Ryder – 1:36:40
Dave Pickles – 1:39:04
Kevlar – 1:39:55
Nards – 1:50:46
George – 1:55:25
Kyle – 2:24:01
Most of the afternoon was spent hassling Pickles about his 3 minute mistake. This would later come to bite most people in the backside as he continued to perform very well throughout the race.
Day 2 – Lindermans to Briar’s Ridge – 50km
Day 2 saw the team check out of the Nelson Bay accommodation and move towards the Hunter Valley readying themselves for some tough climbing stages ahead. The weather had turned overcast but remained fairly dry for the stage.
Start time was back to 9am. Soon after the gun went off most people settled into an 11km climb before hitting some freshly cut singletrack. At the top of the climb Pickles, Chris, Peter Selkrig and myself headed into the singletrack with a few other guys. A few spray’s later to Chris regarding slipping in we all got our groove on. Following the singletrack was some fire trails which then headed down into what was named the Rabbit Hole. Big descents of mud, clay and 3 water crossings. Chris saw this as an opportunity to move up the GC and entrench himself in the top 10. From the decent there was some flat sections of tarmac followed by another 5km climb to finish the stage off. Nards and George were together during the decent then on the tarmac George decided to try an un-chick himself and drop Nard’s. By the time the stage finished the overalls had changed and were as follow’s.
Chris Ryder – GC – 8th : Stage time – 2:16:53
Dave Pickles – GC – 12th : Stage Time – 2:19:50
Kevlar – GC – 13th : Stage Time – 2:20:36
Browny – GC – 19th : Stage Time – 2:24:15
George – GC – 39th : Stage Time – 2:45:14
Nardeen – GC – 5th : Stage Time – 2:28:40
Kyle – GC – 61st : Stage Time – 3:41:15
Following this stage Rod had brought Nardeen’s van and car to the finish where a few ale’s were consumed prior to moving our travelling roadshow to the Swansea region for the remainder of the race. Our caravan park had full 180’ water views and was amazing. The next day ahead was to be the longest of the 4 days and with weary bodies, minds and legs it was starting to get very real……
Day 3 – Corranbong via Awaba MTB and the Watagans.
Another beautiful day greeted riders this morning. Some awesome singletrack lay ahead for riders with 12km of Awaba followed by some more singletrack later in the stage.
The stage commenced under the pace car for the first 5km before the pace turned very fast. Rider’s jostling for good positions into Awaba was the aim. Nardeen had settled in next to Pickles, Chris, Kevlar and myself to give her a great start for the stage. The team goal today was for the boys to help move Chris up the GC ladder. He rode my tail thru Awaba and this is where I bid him goodluck as we started a 5km climb up Mt Faulk. Soon after Chris Kevlar and Pickles past me. I settled into a nice pace and enjoyed the stage. The 2nd part of the moto track was a lot of fun. 1800m certainly took it’s toll on riders today as the undulations just kept coming. The last 4km singletrack was sensational followed by a freshly new cut singletrack down to the final 3km sprint back to the finish. Nard’s suffered a big crash in the last 4km singletrack and took her time getting thru the rest of the stage.
Standings as per below:
Chris Ryder – GC – 6th : 3:08:18
Kevlar – GC – 11th : 3:15:59
Pickles – GC – 12th : 3:19:20
Browny – GC – 17th : 3:25:11
George – GC – 41st – 3:54:19
Nards – GC – 6th – 3:58:29
Kyle – GC – 74th – 5:14:23
Day 4 – Cams Wharf to Newcastle via Glenrock
This stage was set to be amazing till the rain started pouring from around 11pm on Saturday night and well into the start of the stage on Sunday. At a lazy 50km it was expected to take most of us around 2:20 minutes. But due to the conditions the ride was just under the 3 hour mark. With a wet start and straight into a singletrack climb with some 27% sections this tested the field. What was to follow for the remainder was drivetrain destroying conditions. In looking back it was very enjoying though as the conditions brought out some real MTB’ing for the final fling of the P2P. Pickles suffered an OTB at the 12km mark prior to the untimed section. From there his was in survival mode for the remainder the race. My bike had also copped a nasty v ditch and bent the rear hanger making changing very tough. At the un-timed section Kevlar and Chris were 40 seconds up on me. Pickles was some 1 minute back. Once released the riders rode thru some very deep puddles along the swamp that surrounds the Golf course. From there it was a mix of the Fernleigh track and then into a very wet and muddy Glenrock. Smiles were returned with some amazing singletrack. Snakes and Ladder’s climb in Glenrock really took it’s toll. As we exited Glenrock there was a tarmac climb followed by a massive decent. Stage racing complete for me.
At this stage I was greeted by Rod and questioned where Chris and Kevlar where? He said they werent in. I hadnt passed them so wondered what happended. Next to cross the line was Pickles. Chris then arrived some minutes later followed by Kevlar. Both riders along with some others had missed a track marker and added around 6km to there race. This was devasting as Chris dropped GC spots and this put Kevlar into 16th. On the bright side Pickles moved into 10th in GC and I had picked up 4 spots to 13th. All in all a great event. Definitely worth a look at for a stage race. Hat’s off to the guys who love this. It’s a tough slog day after day. Well done to the JB team. 3 top 10’s in the team is a great achievement.
Chris – 7th
Pickles – 10th
Browny – 13th
Kevlar – 16th
George – 34th
Nards – 8th
Kyle – 52nd
Till the next one.
Brownster – DONE !!!!!