Hellfire Cup - Em Parkes

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What a week!

I flew into the rather cold Hobart on Wednesday (20th November) to meet up with the team for  The Hell Fire Cup. The race was meant to be 7 stages however due to the darn weather it was pulled back to 4 modified stages. However this did not change the amount of fun we had, even if it was soggy and cold!

Our team started off with 5 pairs but unfortunately after the first day this was reduced to 3 pairs due to injury and sickness. I’m not sure how it came to be but I somehow ended up in a team with Tristan. This had it’s positives and negatives.. Major positive being pushed up every hill and along ever fire trail! And negative being that Tristan was being Tristan..  ;)

Stage 1.

Due to my poor form, from a lack of training and injury coming into the race, I was a little weary to push to the front of the start line and subsequently we didn’t get the ideal start. However I soon got myself into the right zone and with Tristan’s positive advice and a few cheeky comments we found ourselves playing tag with another team. This stage had the most single track out of all the stages so it was by far one of the best.

Stage 2.

stage 2 was a relay where Tristan started off first and came in with a good time to tag (or slap…) me to send me off for my lap. Even though this stage started and finished at the same place, I am positive that it was 90% uphill and 10% downhill… Definitely a harsh shock for my legs! The downhill was super fun but rather skatey as it was basically a creek by the time I got to it! On a good note though, Tristan and I improved our overall position by 17 places! And another surprise was to finish in some warmer weather! Except that didn’t last for long… The rain followed soon after.

Stage 3.

Saturday’s stage was back racing in partners again  and it ended up being super fast! Tristan continually asking me if I was in the box continued from the first day.. And I can assure you that this stage had me deep inside the box! I also realised on this stage that with Tristan continuously pushing me that it was putting him into threshold. As his bike computer was madly beeping because his heart rate was setting a new high record! I reckon our faces in this pic are good enough proof!

It was also quite funny on this stage, because as we were going along concentrating madly on the dirt ahead, some guys road past and said “check the beach out!” Here I was thinking we were in the middle of no where in Tassie!

Thanks to Tristan’s help the whole stage, we managed to retain our position from the previous day, leaving us first in our category and 34th overall.

Stage 4.

Unfortunately for the fourth and final stage the weather had not improved. So the race organisers changed the venue and set up a short course event at some show grounds. Tristan and I could not of asked for anything better as we both enjoy a good fast hit out! Even better, was some cash up for grabs! We turned on our serious faces at the start line and Tristan even stripped off to a skin suit even though I reckon it was close to snowing! Both of us managed to get through without slipping off like many others on the wet, loose, grassy corners.

Our team had to rush off from the event to drop people at the airport and drive up to the top of Tassie to catch the ferry back to the mainland so unfortunately we missed the presentations. So it wasn’t until we were on our way to the ferry when we saw a post on Twitter saying we had won the mixed pairs category for that day! So a nice cash bonus was a bloody good way to end the week of racing!

And Tristan’s skin suit must of given us the greater advantage because our time was ranked 13th out of everyone.

Summing up, I was incredibly impressed by the XX1 drive train and XO brake’s as they held up superbly the whole week in the treacherous muddy conditions. So a massive thumbs up to Sram gear!

And a massive thanks as always to Gen, Dean and Emma from Torq Australia, Mark Fenner from FTP Training, and our team sponsors as getting to these races would not be possible without their amazing, continuous support.

Also a huge thanks to the event organisers for putting the event on even with the bad  weather. Would be very keen to get back there next year!

I should also throw in a big thank you to Tristan for putting up with me! So thanks Tristan :)

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