Pretty safe to say that the Woodford to Glenbrook race is becoming an annual pilgrimage for me. I love this race. Why? Mainly because it is a super fast, 25km point to point that is mostly downhill!
The race raises money for CareFlight, a not-for-profit emergency medical organisation providing rapid response critical care to patients in the pre-hospital environment. When people cannot wait to get to a fully-fledged trauma department, CareFlight brings the trauma department to you!
This event is extremely well run and gets consistent numbers every single year. Unlike last year though, the weather was EXQUISITE!!!
Firstly a big thanks to Steve Rugendyke who is always the first to remind me that this event is coming up and makes sure that I have entered every single year. I do anticipate that Steve will win his age category in the not too distant future but that will mean he needs to borrow his sons SW EPIC…
There is a little bit of climbing on the 25km course but it is ll over and done with in the first half of the course! And by climbing I am talking about all of 300 metres! But the climbs still hurt no matter how short they are, especially as the race is flat stick from the start with an average speed of around 30kph, a touch higher than your regular old XC.
Perhaps the best thing about this race is ANYONE can do it. Wether you are a full blown beginner or a dedicated cross country whippet, you can get something from this race.
Having had a couple of years experience at this event I can safely say that I approached this years event with a decent level of organisation to that of previous years. This year we stayed in Wentworth Falls and rode downhill to the start line at Woodford Station. Despite the Garmin reading 1.1 degrees this did provide a good warm up before the race and a chance to bask in the morning sunshine before lining up for 40mins of pain!
We even had a driver, aka Alana, arranged to meet us at the finish line to avoid the rather steep climb back out to Glenbrook from the Euroka Park finsh area.
The event does provide transport but ideally get yourself some support and make it that little bit easier at the end of it all!
You can also drop off any excess stuff that you don’t want to race with into a labeled bag at the start line, which is then relocated to the finish and claimable via your race number.
This is the first year that I have raced the open category, having had pretty good success in my age group in the years prior. Having finished my everesting challenge only 5 days prior I wasn’t expecting too much from myself but all the same my legs weren’t actually feeling too bad and my bike was absolutely dialed thanks again to Brad Kelly. For this race we bumped up the front chainring to a 34t at the front to help with the higher speeds at the end of the race, thus allowing you to keep on pushing at a higher speed without spinning out. The way this race went I was starting to wish I had gone with a 36 as only a few weeks prior the entire course had been graded and it was running faster than ever.
Straight out of the gate you negotiate a couple of turns in the backstreets of Woodford before passing through a fireroad gate and spending the next 2 km at 40kph plus! The course undulates for around 13km with a super fast and steep descent around the 8km mark. Out of this descent you dig pretty deep to get through the next 5km after which point you are on the downward run all the way home via some extremely smooth gravity fed fireroad, with some sections boasting in excess of 10% fall. Hello!
I was fortunate enough to hang with the lead group for the first 5km but as it hit the first of the longer climbs I was told by my legs that it wasn’t going to be a top 3 finish! Still, I managed to regroup with 2 other riders Dan Watson and Nick Brain. Both riders were keen to work and we got within 6 seconds of eventual 3rd place Chris Barlin. The key to this race is hitting the final gravity section with some people to work with, as all too often if you are in no mans land you will get swamped by a group working together, unless of course you can drive through the wind for 12km on your own at 40kph+ in which case you will probably be in the lead group!
My hat goes off to eventual winner Benjamin Green and previous winner Brian “BigDog” Price, both of whom went under 40 minutes. Insanely quick.
We will be sure to broadcast this race next year around the same time as Steve texts me to tell me that entries are open, but if you need to tentatively book it in, work on late June 2016. Yew!