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2014 Rocky Trail Entertainment Rollercoaster Race Report - Ourimbah

This Race report is written by Sebastien Deubel who is the Mechanical Engineer at Deubel Bicycles. He has been racing All-Mountain and Gravity Enduro style events in Europe during the 90’s, including the infamous Megavalanche in France, which he won in 98 in the amateur category.  He moved to Australia to design and build the Deubel 2UP bikes with his wife Gisella, based on his riding passion and racing experience.

Am pumped, my name is on a start list of the 1st round of what am expecting to be an amazing 2014 AM/GE season organised by Rocky Trail Entertainment. No doubt riders have understood, AM/GE events are for everyone, from all levels, from all disciplines, ready to have some good time with friends. The concept is simple, the race is made of several 5-10 minute timed stages, linked by transitions, on fun trails combining technical bits to keep you on your toes, and physical sections to keep your legs spinning. Up to you to start your runs when you are ready so you can chase your mates the whole way if you want. Overall a unique way to challenge yourself in a laughing atmosphere. Still, some big names from the XC and DH universes are there too to remind you, you are not a world champ, just in case you started to feel like going fast.

So race day is on. Already just to drive to Ourimbah for this first round, I can see bikes on cars everywhere around me, it’s gonna be packed ! Bang, 250 riders united for an epic day. Ice on the cake for me, 3 friends are riding a 2UP with me, Richard Napper, Mathieu Taris and Pat Butler. It’s gonna be unreal. The round at Ourimbah is made of 2 timed stages and an un-timed section to get familiar with the timing system. A couple of tests with the timing system and you understand how it works. Easy. Next, timed stages.

Stage 1 starts with a dozen of switch backs on which you can see Brad Kelly’s signature everywhere. Sure the local guy knows what he is doing. It’s easy to maintain a good flow through but still, challenging to get a supersonic speed without meeting a tree. Then your lungs are contributed for a good section on the pedals through twisty climbs and judicious downhills where things are getting on the edge if you push hard. Practice went well for me on that track, mostly because I was having heaps of fun trying to keep up with all my friends on a great track.

Stage 2 starts also with Brad Kelly’s signature everywhere. Immense berms connected to some sweet doubles and tables to get your speed right before your enter a rocky section, famous for getting your tyres at low pressure. Probably also the fastest section of the day if you are off the brakes. So the challenge here was to see the rocks before you hear them. Then after a good minute of fun, you had to seriously get the power down and pedal like a maniac. The sort of section that sends you straight into the red zone. The track goes slowly down and is narrow, so the speed is there but it’s very easy to get offline. More switch backs and doubles handmade beautifully and then a last fun pedalling section just to make sure you still have some lactic acid to inject into your legs. Here too my practice went well for the same reasons, it was just sooo cool to smile the whole way, doing my best to chase my friends.

My bike set up was safe and simple with some 2.3 Minion tubeless front/back, the Pro-Pedal of my RP23 on and no dropper seat, so I had to stay on the pedals just in case I was tempted to sit down. Am a sentimental guy, so I was still riding the very first 2UP I created 5 years ago ;-)

Race runs. I decided to race early so I did not have to think too much about my strategy, which will have to be simple anyway - have fun!

Stage 1 went well for me, if I don’t compare my time with Brad Kelly’s time, I felt I was riding at my level, giving everything I had when it mattered and stayed safe when trees became more and more friendly. Overall a great feeling at the finish line, I pushed myself, I felt fast even if I was not world champ, I had things under control and got loose at the same time, I still had some good energy for stage 2 and most importantly, I had heaps of fun the whole way. My time put me in the top 10 in the expert field of 60 riders. No bad for a young old man, knowing I could not have done a lot better anyway.

Stage 2 started well for 20 seconds into those massive berms but then...I had a wild moment, pointing to a tree at a speed making me realise pretty quickly I had to avoid the contact. Probably the best way to lose all the speed I needed to carry for 1 minute, but at least, I was still on my bike. I knew it would be then hard to be at 100%, so I kept saying to myself, have fun and don’t worry about your mate chasing you. My mate chasing me ? That’s right I forgot, Mathieu Taris was right behind me at the start so if I did not want to hear him laughing at me for the rest of my life, I had to keep pushing. Well, it did not matter how hard I tried, I could hear the crowd screaming at both of us, meaning Mathieu was not far behind, but the crowd pushed us to dig deep until the finish line for sure. I cannot think of a better way to finish a race, hugging my mate chasing me, laughing at the fun we had whilst being unable to talk for ages because of the priority we had to get some oxygen into our lugs first.

Overall the 4 of us have had a blast. Overall Richard got 15th elite with a total time of 12:18 minutes, Mathieu 5th expert with a time of 12:28 minutes, 13 year old Pat, got 3rd U15 with a time of 14:04 minutes and I got 11th expert with a time of 12:53 minutes. Some sweet results for the 2UP again which could be seen on our faces, smiling the whole day. And that’s what mountain biking is about and what only matters - is having fun ! Here are some great photos shot by Jaime from JB Photomedia. For more information about the 2014 AM/GE series, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com. For more information about the 2UP, visit www.deubel.com.au. See you at the next AM/GE event for sure, the 1st Australian Gravity Enduro round ever, at Glenworth. Sebastien.