A few years ago when we were starting out Andy from Hells 500 invited us on the Ol' Dirty, a one day gravel grinding ride near Warburton just north of Melbourne. I decided to ride my fixed gear Thrasher. The bike and I barely finished the ride but in the end it was a great experience.
When I heard that there was a CX race being held in Mt Beauty, 15 minutes from our farm in the Kiewa Valley I thought it would be a good excuse to get away for the weekend. Since riding my Thrasher on the Ol' Dirty I have been looking for opportunities to test it out again. I did a quick read up of the rules for the Mt Beauty CX race and to my surprise it said in Open division that 'any bike' could be ridden. I signed up to race.
We all arrived at the farm Friday night for a Saturday morning race. I quickly realised that I hadn't even considered what the course would be like and I had brought only two possible gearing options. This made me worried. I ended up going with 36 x15.
When we arrived at the course I considered myself the luckiest man alive as I quickly realised my gearing would be perfect! I was still a little nervous that once the race organises noticed I had no brakes they wouldn't let me race. They didn't notice or they did but didn't care, either way I was happy.
I did 3 practice laps, crashed once, got a lot of weird looks, then pinned my number on and I was ready.
This race was the first time in maybe 2 years that I've raced purely for fun. I was calm and excited rolling up to the start line behind C grade who were racing for 40 minutes combined with us in Open division racing for the final 30 minutes.
C grade rolled out, 10 minutes passed and myself along with the 3 other riders in Open started. We split up very quickly and then for the next 30 minutes I had one of the best times I've had on a bike. The course was almost tailor made for my gearing, the weather was perfect and I didn't crash (surprisingly).
A lot of things could have gone wrong but none of them did so I'll see you at the next Tracklocross race!
Photos by James Hunter @theblackspur on Instagram