The 2017 edition of the Golden Triangle Epic is fast approaching. On the 25th of March hundreds of riders will assemble at the new spring gully trail head in Bendigo. Also being round 2 of the national XCM series will see some of Australia's fastest Marathon races on the start line getting ready to tussle it out for the win, the bragging rights and most importantly XCM National series points.
With 5 different distances ( 15km parent child ride, 30km, 50km 100km 150km) the Epic has something to offer everyone.
So you're excited to race. You've either entered or are holding out to enter (entry close tonight so make sure to get your entry in!!!!!) the course is typical goldfields region style of track. At 50kms and roughly 800 vert meters the good news is no big long taxing climbs. This also means no long descents to get your breath back and recover. Its going to be a tough course and make you earn every kilometre. The vertical meters come from short sharp climbs littered throughout the course. The longest climb coming in the first 11km only a few minutes long. The short climbs and decents make for constant pedalling. This will take a toll on the body the longer the race goes on.
If you've never ridden at spring gully before a few things to note would be the endless amount of rocks and corners. This plus the sort climbs makes drinking spots far and few between so you need to make the most of every opportunity. A lot of riders will ride with a camelback to be able to accommodate this. Out on course you'll go past a check point three times allowing you to have bottle drops plus a bottle drop in transition allows you to run with drink bottles and not stress about running out.
When it comes to bike choice if you're looking to be contesting up the front of your category a hardtail would be the bike of choice. If you're looking to go out and have fun and enjoy yourself a dual suspension bike is where it's at. I would also suggest running tubeless tyres to cope with the abundance of rocks and carry two spare inner tubes to make sure that you can get home if you do get an unfortunately flat. Word on the grapevine is that most riders in Bendigo are running Ikon maxxis 2.2.
With a new course for this years event and roughly 7km of un-ridden trail around the spring gully reserve replacing the 5km of fire road along the aqueductt and not as many of the steep pinches along the power line towards the end of the race and a new race village at a new trail head this is sure to be a race to enter or watch.
Chris ‘hamo’ Hamilton holds the previous course record of just over two hours it'll be interesting to see if anyone can beat the time. Local rider Tasman Nankervis looks to be in superb form going into the race after winning the Otway Odyssey and the U23 XCO national championship. Tasman will be hoping to go back to back wins at the Epic while another local Peta Mullens will also be hoping to go back to back wins at the Epic as well. This will be a fun, challenging and rewarding race for everyone who enters from elites to the weekend warrior. Bendigo Mtb club certainly know how to put on a race and the Epic never fails to please.
I'll be racing my Giant XTC advance sl with Schwalbe Racing Ralph's in the 100km. Come and say hi and follow me on Instagram at @haydenmuir13. All photos are credited to Ties Urie you can find all his photos from the race at 22photography on Facebook and @_22photography on Instagram