Thredbo, for the Mountain Biking Nationals

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 27, 2008

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Friday, December 7, 2007

After only being in Australia for one week, and having a fantastic first week seeing so much and meeting so many new people, it was time for a weekend away.  This time to the alpine ski resort of Thredbo in south New South Wales.  However, this wasn't just for a jolly, this trip was for a reason and that reason was mountain biking.

It became apparent in our short time that we had been in Australia that both Paul and Mark are very keen mountain bikers - very keen.  So keen that they race at any given opportunity and are both sponsored (I will not mention how they both receive brand new carbon mountain bikes for FREE from their sponsors as the green eyed monster shows his head!!).  They both race at elite level in cross country biking and the weekend in Thredbo saw one of the Australian Mountain Biking stages.  Basically, day one (Saturday) would be a cross country race of which they had to do six laps and then day two would be a short course sprint for 20 minutes.

So on Friday morning myself, Paul and Mark set off on the five hour journey down to Thredbo only for the girls (Nic, Sal and Megan) to follow along later in the day.
I soon learnt one vital lesson that will help me whilst in this country and that is to totally re-evaluate distances.  For example, if someone had said to me that I had to drive 5 hours for a weekend away I may have thought twice about it.  However, this is not the case here.  5 hours is nothing and thus we set off on our journey down to Thredbo.

After not too long the boys arrived and we got settled in.  I borrowed a bike from one of the guys there and we went off out to do a tester lap of the track.  It soon became clear that my fitness levels were way way way under that of Mark and Paul.  Just as an idea, I did one lap of the course and it took me 45 minutes to complete.  By the end of the one lap I was absolutely done in.  For the race proper on Saturday the riders were doing  six (yes SIX) laps and they average around 20 minutes per lap! My ideas of being an elite racer were soon diminished.

On Saturday, while the racers were finalising preparations myself, Nic, Sal and Megan caught the cable car up the mountain and went for a walk around the top.  It was here we spotted SNOW!!! The opportunity to build a snowman, in Australia in the middle of summer (don't forget in the southern hemisphere the seasons are all to cock) was too good to resist.  So Nic and myself went running over to the snow and promptly got on with building our snowman while Sal and Megan headed back down the mountain.

After all this excitement we went to watch the race.  Both Paul and Mark were in for the elite and by all accounts it was a tough race.  Some two hours later the race finished and it was tiring just watching it! After all the races had finished Sal and I decided to go for a ride to a place called Dead Horse Gap (and judging by all the flies up there, there were quite a few dead horses).  I was absolutely gob smacked when Mark, after just competing in the cross country race, said he would come with us!! My god man - haven't you had enough?  Seems not.   So off we toddled and had a wicked ride.  It has been so good to do so much riding since we got here - this is the one thing I was looking forward to doing the most of here in Australia.

Sunday morning, nice and early myself, Nic and Sal decided to go and do a nice gentle stroll. Unfortunately, what the locals classed as a beginners route turned out to be quite advanced and Nic struggled with some of the terrain.  However, she battled on with it and we all finished it.  As we didn't leave England with our bikes we have been relying on borrowed bikes wherever possible.  In Thredbo we had to get bikes from the bike shop so we half expected it to cost a few quid.  However, this being Australia the price of a bike for the weekend was a six pack of beer!! Perfect!!

Before long we were heading back to Berry after a great weekend away with old and new friends.
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