NEW ENGLAND Mountain Bikers are enhancing the UNE 12 Hours In The Piney race by extending the trails and turning the venue into a “mini city” later this month.
The March 12 Hours in the Piney is regarded as the major mountain biking event in the region and the local NEMTB is hoping to make it an even bigger event on March 23.
Last year’s winner, world champion Jason English, will return to add more lustre to the endurance event, reported club publicity officer Steve Chapman who also said the 12-hour enduro race is an epic mountain bike ride where competitors complete as many laps of the 13km course as possible between the 10am and 10pm.
“Most people race in a team of two or four, taking turns to ride a lap,” Chapman reported to The Leader.
“But there are a growing number of dedicated fitness freaks who compete solo, riding lap after lap for 12 hours. With the event finishing at 10 pm, most riders have the opportunity to ride a lap with lights.
“2013 is the third year that this event will be run, and it is solely organised and run by New England Mountain Bikers, NEMTB. The numbers of competitors have doubled each year, and the club is expecting in excess of 300 riders this year.
“The event is held on the magnificent mountain bike trails at the Armidale State Forest, otherwise known as “The Piney”. This year the club has extended the trails to connect to Charleston Willows.
“This provides a large, flat area for camping and transition with power, toilets and other facilities. As usual, the race precinct will come alive like a mini city. Tents, marquees, music, fine food, quality coffee, big screens with live timing updates and places, demo bikes, sponsors give-aways, presentations and plenty of other sources of excitement will welcome each rider at the end of each lap. There will also be free camping at the transition area, right on the track.”
He said the new sections of the track begin at the council-owned Charleston Willows, then crosses the creek into the travelling stock route to the east. Next, the track goes under the bridge on the east side of the river and enters the pine forest, joining up with the existing track. After a long and much varied loop through the Piney, the track crosses the creek again and comes back to the transition area after crossing under the bridge again on the western side of the creek. Finally riders will meander through the tents and marquees that will line the track at the finish. It will be an atmosphere that will excite and motivate even the most weary of competitors.
“There will also be some surprises around the track to keep riders entertained,” Chapman said.
“This year there is a list of quality sponsors. Without these businesses, the event would not be as successful as it is. UNE, Armidale Dumaresq Council, Hutchinson and Harlow Real Estate, Newcastle Permanent and Armidale City Bowling Club have all put forward cash to provide substantial prize money for most categories. Products sponsors include Maxxis tyres, Norco Bikes, Merida Bikes, Shotz Nutrition, Apres Velo Clothing and Red Bull.
They will be giving away a stack of prizes. Red bull will have their Wing Team in attendance with the girls giving away Red Bull products during the event.
Merida and Norco will each be providing a new 29er mountain bike as prizes. They will also have a full range of 10 to 11 different 2013 models of demo bikes for people to try. At the presentation at about 11 pm Saturday night, there will be a number of lucky draws.