Hippy’s Kona 24 Hour MTB Race Report

Fri night:

Madly buy camp gear, food and other nicnacs and pack it for race.


5.30am: Wake, shower eat some weatbix and pack everything into car (inc. Avanti gearie and GT SS).


Arrive at Troy’s place worried that there is actually no room for anything of his!


Leave Troy’s with all his stuff (inc. On-One SS) packed.


Arrive at Redesdale and setup bikes and everything else, except tents, which can wait until later (when it’s even hotter!).

We sit under the shade provided by Steve and Jukka’s tarp arrangement, get ourselves registered (collecting a horrid, evil, black, drink-approximation and not paying the $5 mtba fee??).

After attending the race briefing we send our first rider to the line. Jukka was all set to draw straws to decide the first rider until Aaron “volunteered” to go off first. πŸ˜‰

12pm: The start was a 400m run along the campsite from the transition tent, around the corner through the entrance gate and up Mt. Lofty Road to where handlers waited, holding the runner’s bikes.

Once riders had grabbed their bikes, there was a short prologue course before returning through the transition start/finish line.

The first rider to complete the prologue won $100. I think someone mentioned Sid Taberlay winning this?

Wisely, Aaron took it easy at the start and followed most of theΒ  bunch through – after all this was only 5mins worth of a 24hr race!

Start-line antics consisted of one male rider stripping off normal clothes to reveal a (SBR?) bikini, complete with major wedgie action – a technique to scare away other racers perhaps?

Another rider decided to do their first lap aboard Kona’s ridiculous (but oh so cool!) BikeHotRod.

The ss gearing looked super-low and I don’t think this machine would even fit through most of the twisty singletrack!


Back to Tarp City to hydrate, eat and talk crap.


My first lap is shocking…

I’m nervous and too excited. I go out too hard so that I’m nearly hurling. It’s really hot and I’ve had too long off the bike before the event.

The track starts with unsealed road, and moves into some seriously fun, twisty singletrack that has riders dodging trees, left then right, down, hairpin, flick the back around, pedal out from the corner, fast down, flick back around tree, “damn, those trees look close together..” BANG! Bars smack into one of them.

At least I know I’m not the only one to do this as there are bar-height marks on both trees already!

The uphill firetrail and heat cane me but there’s nothing really steep and they link to a lot of singletrack which is really fun and gives riders a rest.

Some rocky sections, where I’d dabbed lots during a practice ride a few weeks before, I managed to clean. I was trying so hard I didn’t even notice the rock drop until I’d plowed right over it!

Nice πŸ™‚ Pity I couldn’t bring myself to do it again for the other two laps.

Mid-lap I do what everyone says not to do – I try something new – a gel. A few minutes later, lunch almost comes back to say “hi”.

A short and steep ascent had me pushing the bike uphill which atleast gave the backside a rest.

I cross the line looking like death on two wheels and the commentator comes over with the mic and comments on me doing it tough. He spots the fact I’m racing in my sneakers with flat pedals, wearing board-shorts and pays me out about it. I mention something about crashing lots and needing to get my feet out quick. I think I was one of the only riders on flat pedals and I won some patches and tyre levers for it. Lap time was 1:17, or about 30 minutes slower than the fast riders!


Eating, drinking lots of Gatorade and the best bit.. showering!

9pm: Wood-fired, teriyaki chicken pizza from the stall. Yummo!

11pm: My second lap. This one is at night. Uh oh! I’ve never ridden real mtb tracks at night – this is going to be interesting. I strap the 10W Vistalite to my helmet with the battery in my Camelbak and attach the 5w onto my bars with battery strapped to the Avanti’s downtube. Head over to the transition area and wait for Steve to show…

High five Steve and I’m off and racing. This time I force myself to take it easy at the start and with no sun I’m wearing a wind vest over my jersey – much more comfortable – except it’s all dark.

I quickly forget about being worried about the darkness and start having fun shining my lights around the bush. I’ve never used a helmet light before (good prep eh?!) and it makes it heaps easier to ride twisty or fast sections as the light is higher and shines where you are looking, not where the bars are pointing. Glad I bought that helmet mount now…

I managed to go over the bars in a slightly rocky section this lap. A short time later when looking for the distance remaining, I noticed I didn’t have a speedo! No, wait. I did have one, it was dangling off the bars – I’d snapped it off at the mount.

Hey! It was still reading the k’s πŸ™‚

About 3/4’s of the way around the track my helmet light starts dying. I make do with the bar light and only switch the 10W on when it gets twisty. Doing so squeezes out all the sweat in my helmet pads.. yay! another shower! πŸ™‚

With a kay to go, my helmet light is totally dead and I’m forced to try and work my way around the last paddock section, which is scattered with rocks (lots of ’em, hidden in the long grass).

I do the best I can but end up losing the track. I can see the finish line from here and just head towards it. Over the line with a 1:33 lap time, I hand my pump to Troy and he sets off to set another blinder of a lap. Even in the dark, on a singlespeed, this guy’s flying…

Even though I was slower, I felt heaps better this lap and ended up with the biggest smile on my face. It was only out of consideration for the poor, sleeping masses that stopped me screaming out “YEAAAH!”.

1am+: Not sure of the time but after putting the 10W’s battery on charge I try and go to sleep. All I can remember doing is shivering, no sleep, just laying in a sleeping bag shivering.

All too soon, I hear Jukka return and Steve head out – something had happened to Steve’s lights, I think, so he had come back to camp to fix them.

5am: I crawl out of bed and put on lots of clothes… I was soo cold! Eat, drink and grab lights I’m ready to go again. By now we had a pretty good idea of everyone’s times (‘cept maybe mine!) so waiting at transition wasn’t too bad.

5.30am: Third lap was the dawn lap..

I thought it was too dark at the start to end up seeing sunrise but one of the other guys on the line was sure we’d get it.

I was pretty buggered now, but this lap was awesome!

I was now a lot faster downhill and through singletrack, just slower up the hills with low energy and a seriously complaining lower spine.

15 mins in, my 5w bar light dies. I carry on with just the helmet light until it is bright enough to do without lights altogether.

Having the twisty singletrack churned up in corners from countless riders before me meant that I could slide through and use the mini berms with less braking. I was running 45+psi to avoid pinch flats on my hardtail so the bike was a bit skittery earlier laps.

The scene from the really fast firetrail section, across the valley, was Special with the early morning colours looking fantastic… okay! okay! I slowed down a little bit before cresting the hill to get a better look! πŸ™‚

I love the big berm just before the rocky last section, near camp.

But each lap I got so excited about hitting it fast that I always messed my timing for the next turn. This time, I nearly went OTB (again) when I smashed a pedal into a large, grass-covered rock. No wonder there’s no red ano left on my V8’s!

I think Troy and Steve attempted similar tricks during one of their laps too?

With a 1:25, I handed over the baton, err.. mini-pump to Troy so he could go and put a fright into those other breakfast riders…

8am: Our 6th rider, Paul, arrives and does a double lap with the boys refilling his Camelbak in-between. Phew! We were all worried that we’d have to go out for another lap! πŸ™‚

12pm: Race ends and everyone waiting to cross the line after 24 hours (you have to, to make it a 24 hour race) walks across the line from around the corner.

We sent our last rider (Jukka) out “just” before 12 to get another lap in. He still managed to rip out a 1:15 lap time! He passed some riders on that last lap, so the final rider came in a bit after he finished.

1.45pm: Last rider crosses the finish line and soon after presentations start. After the winning teams/solos were awarded, (www.fullgaspromotions.com.au for results), the organisers started giving out chain lube, patches and stuff.

Then someone won some bars and out goes an $800 pair of forks!

Next prize is a $600 set of CrossRoc UST disc wheels. The number called was “1338”. Now, I thought I was 1336 so that’s pretty damn close! I was sure 1338 must’ve been on our team? Sure enough, “from Team PubBUG” was mentioned – our team. Then… MY name!

Holy sh*t! I just won a wheelset!

…and all this while eating a free pastie from the caterers πŸ˜€

3pm: Packing up camp. I took beer, but during the race didn’t touch it. I was already brain-dead so thought better of downing one before the drive home – Coke instead. From the first lap I was battling – mtb’ing seems so much harder than road riding (at least if you are not used to it?) and I have a whole new appreciation for the solo riders. Next time, I’ll take less stuff, but include a torch and a towel. Maybe even try clipless pedals!! Now the hunt is on for a light-ish duallie – something to take care of my back while doing races like these – because I WILL be doing more races like this!

Mon: Sore back, sore legs, sore arms, sore fingers.

Maybe I should’ve actually ridden my mtb before doing a 24hr?

Big thanks to all the people that ran such a fantastic event as well my team: Steve, Troy, Aaron, Jukka, Paul!