This weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to make it down to the lovely town of Forrest for the ‘Forrest Festival.’ True to our blog sub-heading “The unprepared adventurers” I followed this down to a tee. I hadn’t entered the race yet as entries had closed when I realised I was able to pop down and race. I was hoping to see a supermarket on the way from Melbourne but soon found myself in Forrest set to camp for 3 days armed solely with gels, muesli bars, a loaf of bread and nutella. I was keen to hit the trails as I had had limited time on the mountain bike, nearly didn’t get there as I almost locked the car keys in the boot and managed to bend the key in the process. Took off down the trail like Usian Bolt down the sprint track, so excited to be riding in Forrest, the place I learnt to MTB and where I fell in love with the sport. It had been over 2 years since I had been on these gorgeous trails. 50m down the trail it was clear my bike was having other issues, had a go at fixing it but as I’m not the most mechanically minded I decided to leave it in the one gear and all would be sweet. This worked until the first hill and the hills that followed, single speeding up the climbs was not ideal prep for a race that was starting in about 14 hours.
Arrived at the caravan park and set up my housemates tent, snapped the pole rendering the tent useless. Luckily my new mate Sandy had a spare tent and kindly lent it to me and also set it up for me!! The rest of the crew arrived, most I had met once before and I broke it to them that I had not brought any food. Once again, luckily they were seasoned experienced professional campers and had a wicked set up with a heap of food. Sandy and Liz save the day again! Headed to the Brewery and watched the concerned looks on people’s faces when the lightning, thunder and rain came hammering down. In 4 years I have raced at Forrest 3 times, all in Summer, and each time I have been greeted with a thunderous storm and mudbath so I was kind of expecting it!! Or maybe I was the jinx?
So far Sandy (who I met that day) had given me his tent, set up my tent, shouted me some delicious fries at the brewery, cooked everyone a bbq, and I was yet to ask him if he could fix my bike!!! Perhaps he should have pretended not to see me when I was walking around the caravan park a little lost that day!!! Finally off to bed to discover a massive spider hanging out in there, “SANDY!!” (Tony was closest so came to the rescue!)
A quick run-down on the race:
AM- Race my bike to the Corner Store for Sandy to fix, turns out my derailleur had come loose (100% my fault as I had to do a major unpacking to fit it in the car but didn’t put it back together properly!!) Phew.
Stage 1: 15k XC Sprint Race. Loads of fun, my mind and body had no idea how to react to the fast paced race. I had to keep reminding myself to go hard!!
Stage 2: 5k Hill Climb TT. Hurtfest. (Nearly missed the start as I miscalculated my warm up and arrived with 1 minute to spare)
Stage 3: 5k Descent. Funfest. Stoked to have stayed on my bike and arrived at the bottom in 1 piece. Yehaaa. So tired from all this racing at full pelt that I fell asleep after this stage.
Stage 4: 5k Pairs TT. Got smashed by the super speedy and smooth Jaclyn Shapel. I was still holding on to the start pole with my jaw dropped at how quick she took off before my brain kicked in and told me to PEDAL. Feeling like Steve Monaghetti trying to beat Usain Bolt in the 100m sprint.
Stage 5: 50k Race- loads of singletrack, loads of fun. Finally got my cornering a bit smoother. Loved it. Managed 2 over the bars but somehow landed on my feet. Had enough left in the tank to hammer it home and finish strong in the last 5k which was a good feeling.
This festival was a blast, you get to ride awesome singletrack and hang out with your mates camping all weekend. Get down to Forrest to ride the tracks, drink some beers and eat the best chips ever at the brewery, grab a coffee and muesli slice as well as a heap of bike gear from the ‘Corner Store.’ It’s awesome. So a few thanks, obviously to Liz and Sandy for feeding me, fixing my bike, providing me with the bare necessities to survive a camping weekend! Thanks to Norm and Jess for putting on such a great event. Thanks to Adz, Kylie, Bec, Bec, Tony, Dave, Corinna and Tracey for being such rad people to hang out with! Next time I promise to be a little bit more prepared, or at least try to!! Thanks Liv/Giant, bike and gear ran a treat and great to see the other Liv/Giant riders in action – Well done Jess on 3rd place! Thanks HSR seeds for helping me get to the race which was an 8 hour drive, and to Ay-Ups lights for all your support!! I’ll post some photos when I get some!!