Home' Navy News : May 10th 2012 Contents 22
May 4, 2012
MOUNTAINBIKER PO Dion Blair's
chances of winning the 2011-2012
veteran male national all-mountain
cup series ended cruelly on a muddy
track at Newcastle in March.
With 2km to go in the penultimate
race of the series, which spanned
the country over four months, his
chain snapped -- leaving him with
an almost impossible seven-minute
deficit to make up in the last race the
PO Blair, of HMAS Darwin, won
the last race, but only by 17sec --
which left him in second place
behind Air Force member CPL
Damien Enderby. But considering it
was basically a civilian competition,
that was a win-win for the Australian
Defence Cycling Club (ADCC).
The national mountainbike cham-
pionship is a test to find the best all-
It began in Perth in November and
continued in Mt Buller and Canberra
before culminating in Newcastle.
Each leg consisted of three days
racing. Friday was either a Super D
(a fast descent) or a short time trial,
Saturday was Olympic-format cross-
country (multiple laps of a 5-7km
course) and Sunday was a point-to-
point format race around 25km. The
overall results for the weekend were
based on total time.
PO Blair missed the Perth leg but
was fourth at Mt Buller and seventh
in Canberra and by Newcastle he was
riding into some form.
"I normally wouldn't have ridden,
but the ADCC provided me with the
support to represent the ADF and I
learnt so much from the series," PO
"Most of my mountain bike races
have been endurance types -- 100km
or more -- and this was a foreign for-
mat for me. It is just high-end thresh-
old riding and after coming off a
month at sea into Christmas festivi-
ties, Mt Buller really hurt."
PO Blair felt he got better as the
series went on and he refined his bike
As ADCC members, PO Blair and
CPL Enderby have known each other
for some years now.
"Damien's bike handling skills
were suited to the tight circuits and
fast technical descents whereas I
was better at the longer format of the
point to points," PO Blair said.
It all came down to the last round.
"I was feeling good but it was
during a heavy rain period and the
track was mud. I hate riding in the
mud and Damien's lightness and
awesome bike handling skills gave
him the advantage as I slid out eve-
"Eventually I lost my brakes and
then snapped my chain 2km from the
finish in the cross-country race."
While it didn't go exactly to plan,
he said he was "definitely going to do
this series again".
"Every series provides a new
challenge and enough varying terrain
to keep the fat tyre enthusiast smil-
ing," he said.
Bad chain of events FOUR mountain biking teams from HMAS Albatross
headed to Canberra for one of the biggest 24hr
events in Australia. The Mont 24hr is a fun, friendly
event designed to introduce people to 24hr racing.
The Albatross teams consisted of two teams of
four and two teams of six.
About 80 per cent of this year's 18km Mont loop
was single track. The course featured about 300m of
With more than 550 riders to contend with and
heavy rain falling before the event, it made for an
interesting start on March 24. The race started with
a 400m run for the first rider in the teams. A 3km
longer loop on the first lap helped ease the conges-
tion at the start of the single track.
Albatross event manager CPO Mark Astley
said the lead rider finished the first laps in just over
50mins with Albatross' first rider recording 1hr
"By this stage it is absolutely hectic down in tran-
sition with another 585 riders waiting to take over for
the second lap," CPO Astley said.
"This goes on for the next five or six hours until
the sun goes down as well as the temperature.
"It's a fine balance through out the night trying to
get in some sleep as well as eat and drink enough for
your next lap.
"In a team of four you are only able to get about
90 minutes of sleep in between laps if you are lucky.
"This is all made harder at 2am when it is only
Despite one of the Albatross teams losing a rider
with about seven hours to go, all teams finished the
event. The Albatross MTBC four-man performed
exceptionally well to finish 11th in the open fours
and 34th overall.
The other four-man team, Moots Monsters, fin-
ished 16th in the Honest 40s division. Both teams
of six, including one that had never raced together
before, had a more relaxed attitude to the race and-
both finished mid pack.
dirt in Mont 24
PO Dion Blair
takes on the
mud in the cross
of the national
his chain 2km
from the finish.
Photo: Russ Baker
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