Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Despite COVID, mountain bike racing is potentially one sport with a certain future
Hastings Valley Mountain Bike Riders organise many social rides and are involved in many away races throughout the year. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the clubs activities, but it seems mountain bike racing is potentially one sport with a certain future in the local area.
There are plenty of local trails across the Port Macquarie/Hastings region, but the Club's main racing trail area is located in the Queens Lake State Forest at the Jolly Nose Mountain Bike Park.
The Club has tentatively marked August 8 and 9 as their next race day at Jolly Nose Mountain Bike Park.
Club president Mick Fullbrook says that the club will adopt the same format as recently run competitions in Newcastle for this event and the next cross-country series, an event that encompasses a 10 kilometer loop, to be staged the following week.
All club competitions will adhere to strict COVID-19 restrictions. By following the guidelines, the club will play host in September to a number of schools from around the North Coast that are taking part in the XCO Coastal Series Enduro race.
The club is lucky in that all trails at the Jolly Nose Park can be run separately, hence enabling the COVID restrictions to be followed, having only 200 riders at the most per day.
From Club President, Mick Fullbrook
Being involved with the club since early 2017, President Mick has seen the club grow and move its operations from the Telegraph Point State Forest to Bago Vineyards and then to their current home Jollynose.
Although Club Membership has declined over the COVID year as there have been limited races for members to be involved in, the social side has grown amazingly.
A great committee helps, being small in number with just a base of 5 committee members the club then has a Social Committee of around another ten. Roles vary to help the club function. As the club is a non-profit organisation they pay State Forest for the lease of the Forest permitted area, they organise races, source sponsorship and grants, put together trail maintenance days and membership drives.
Two major event organisers help the committee to put together their big races.
Rocky Trail organises the Fox Super Flow, which is a gravity enduro based race and also the Shimano Grand Prix Series. White Lightning also holds exactly the same type of events in conjunction with the club.
Having over 60kms of trails which are majorly sign posted, the club has 4 gravity trails and 1 down hill trail. All the trails are at different levels and are accessible to suit all abilities. The trails are marked with different grades from easy being green, blue being intermediate and black for the more advanced rider.
The main benefit of mountain biking is that you are outdoors in the beautiful nature filled state forest. Jolly Nose has a vast array of different types of terrain from rocky, rainforest and sparse to dense bushland. It is one of those sports that the whole family can do together so age is no barrier. The individual determines what speed and skill factor is needed. It also is great for your fitness.
There are loads of different types of mountain bikes out there to choose from. Different bikes are suited for different genders, but basically it is a good idea to buy a cheaper hardtail bike to see if you enjoy the experience. From this, you can build up to a dual shock bike which will vary hugely in price. There are also different types of suspension and again individual choice will be determined if you want to do gravity trails or cross country. It is best to buy an Australian Standard, good quality helmet and a pair of safety glasses, footwear and gloves are also essential.
Club social rides are held every Thursday at 5.30pm during daylight saving time. Anyone can come out and meet other people that have the same interest and riding ability.
The mountain biking scene in Jolly Nose is alive and well, with participants ranging from young kids to 60+ bigger kids. The sport brings all ages together, builds great self-esteem and raises confidence.
SUCCESSFUL COMPETITION HELD IN JUNE 2021
Blown away by the number of riders that competed in Round 4 of the Fox Superflow Series, Mick sees a great future ahead for the sport. About 350 riders from all around the state competed, conducted themselves with respect to the Club, fellow competitors and they stuck to the restrictions in place.
The weather threw 2 completely different days at the riders, Saturday was hero dirt and Sunday the exact opposite, it was a mud fest! The majority of the riders ended the competition with major injury free which is always a bonus.
Port Macquarie's Jake De Vries won the overall event by 15 seconds which enabled him to give up the always the bridesmaid tag! Usually coming in second or third place, Jake got lucky this time due to the fact that the club had no professional bikers competing.
James Gregory (over-50s) along with youngsters Ben Harris, Tom Spilsbery and Tom Jenkins (under-17s) and Jarrod Spilsbery (under-19s) all competed strongly in their divisions.
Not to be left out, the female competition was fierce with under-19 racer Connor Mielke continuing her path to the top of the results in a race time of 11:58.04 to claim the outright female title in both acoustic and e-Bike classifications.
In second was Christine Seeliger from Sydney (+16 sec) ahead of Amanda Chiu in third (12:39.7).
Mountain bike riding can be dangerous, it’s fun and exciting, yet nerve-wracking and terrifying all at the same time.
Some health benefits of the sport include:
improved heart health
regular exercise from biking is known to improve cardiovascular fitness
there is less stress on the joints
reduced stress and improved mood