26-29th September 2014.
The JetBlack MTB race team members gave $1,100 to Mitch and Curtis for their MTBA Junior Development Camp and covered their entry fees, fuel and most of their accommodation to and from the camp in Bright, Victoria. Both Mitch and Curtis have written about their experience.
The road to Bright
With a 5.30am wake up call, car loaded to maximum, bikes on, first stop was only Coonabarabran. Pies for breakie and a sleep for mum. After driving, and driving, and food stops, and more food stops, late Thursday arvo, me being the navigator, had to work out where we should stop the night- Culcairn, a dodgy river bank site beside a railway line, a highway and a snoring possum (just ask mum!), yet Curtis and I rolled out the swags and had a good nights sleep. Friday, we had only 2 1/2hr trip left (12-13 hrs drive time all up). Mum kicked us out at Porepunkah where we rode the rail trail into Bright where the sun was quite… bright. After checking in at Dee’s house where Mum was staying, we went for a ride out to the chalet to check out where where our camp base was. As I have been to Bright before, I showed Curtis around some single tracks and found some… Mud! Good fun!
Day 1: with an early morning start, we hit the hills with a mountain time trial followed by breakfast for some hungry boys, then a skills sessions focusing on off camber corners, wheelies, tight turning, endo flicks, track stands and bunny hops. Lunch was next followed by a single track time trial. Dinner was very welcomed as we had built up quite an appetite.Lights out was relatively early.
Day 2: With an extremely early morning, we did a core and strengthening test first. A tough climb up a quarter of Mystic Mountain was soon followed by descending and ascending tips. A descending time trial was next. Lunch and then them some races concluded the day before some inspiration from a local downhiller Aiden Varley. He talked to us about his time over seas.
The 4 sided pyramid, something I had never heard of before, is about pre race preparation which includes food, headspace, training and recovery. The benefit of this is being able to focus on the race better.
The session I learnt the most on was, recovery. We learnt what to do, but I am still unsure of how soon after a race do you do the recovery session. Unpowered assisted manuals is one area I would like to know more about as it challenges me and so I am still unsure how to do this skill properly.
Our fellow riders for the weekend consisted of downhillers, XC, enduro with some roadies and cycle cross guys and girls. Our ages, with me the youngest, to under 17. Curtis and I were the only NSW riders as the others were mostly from Melbourne. One of the guys, Griffen, lives only 10 mins ride from Mt Stromlo, lucky fella indeed! I am so jealous!
The trip home.
Monday after checkout, we drove to Canberra. Next time we are taking a navman! We did a quick lap at Mt Stromlo Tuesday morning, where I busted my tyre. I had only just said that morning on the way to Stromlo that I hated the existing tyre and wanted to change it. Well after a few jumps, my wish was my command. We arrived at Tooraweenah (near Coonabarabran) Tuesday night. At Peter Rohr’s property, his home track, we decided to give it a run Wednesday, after we performed some maintenance first. I have to say, I can now flog, I mean beat Peter, especially in the single track, with many little tricks thrown in too. Yee ha. (He is not happy!!)
I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend in Bright, and although I don’t like to admit it, I did actually learn a lot. I will now no doubt, be practicing to better my riding hopefully, more regularly. One thing Curtis and I have been continuously talking about, is that we need to build another, but more techo track in Manilla, one which has access to rock rollovers, steep climbing, switchbacks, some rather challenging sections, yet close to town. Not an easy request. This will be so that we can practice our skills and push ourselves.
Thank you so much Jetblack for your support for Curtis and I to attend this camp, we are totally grateful!
We arrived at camp around 3.30pm, Friday. We had a quick wash of bikes because we went exploring around Bright prior to the camp and found lots of mud. I was eager to find my new found friends however I was very shy at first because I did not know what to expect, or anyone else, however I quickly found my feet. 1st night, there was a presentation regarding the w/end’s program, this is when we received our … bright shirts (get it, Bright/bright- red).
Saturday, an early start at 6.15am to do a time trial up Mount Porpunkah. I went ok until the 1st corner, that’s when started to hurt because of the sheer steepness. I recovered in the last stretch. I learnt to pace my self from the start and do better warm-ups. After breaky, a skills course. We learnt off camber corners, bunny hops, wheelies, endo turns, tight corners, and how to quick lap around the bmx track, all this before lunch. Sat arvo, single track individual time trial, which was very quick, followed by a track analysis on how to choose the best lines, followed by another time trial to see how our times differed. This I saw as a huge improvement in my own time, the track analysis worked.
Sat night, we had a dietician presentation which I learnt a lot of details about recovery eating and training tips.
Sunday, a crazy 5.45am start with an abdominal workout followed by Mystic Mountain climb to practice technical descents which was lots of fun. Another individual time trial which posed a tough accent back up Mystic to access trail riding. The Recovery session followed, one which I had never done before. I now know why! the pool was freezing!
Sunday night saw key note speaker Aiden Varley, a champion downhiller gives us some inspiration. He was great to listen to as he was where We all were, only 3 years ago.
The best part of the Development Camp Was learning how to pick the lines and know that no matter what we do, practicing the core skills are of utmost importance. Learning the recovery techniques such as food, sleep, relaxation and how the icy old water is beneficial to relieve lactic acid and muscle fatigue is important for a good recovery. Our language has expanded enormously such as pumping, milking, free speed, then how I now totally understand from experience, the true meaning of pedal efficiency, being in the attack position for drop offs and steep descents.
Thank you so much Jetblack. Without your support, I may never had had the opportunity to learn and grow so much as a keen mountain biker. I would love to attend another camp if the opportunity ever came about, hopefully in NSW one day and recommend the camp to others.