Ride Bikes

Merida Hidden Vale 24 Hour race

We geared up for a weekend of riding at the 24 hour race at Hidden Vale. We have been the past few years, and it’s a great way to get some quality riding in, and spend time camping with the kids.

As always there was a big bouncy castle for the kids to play on, plus an easter egg hunt for them on the Sunday morning. Our two older kids (5 and 3) also raced in the kids bike race. This year they got to ride some new single track, which was a lot of fun.

We entered the 24 hour race in a mixed duo. So we tag-teamed racing and child wrangling.

Hidden Vale has a stack of new trails, so each lap was mostly single track and it took about 1 hour to get around it.

Our youngest Master Z is almost 18 months old, so he is still quite little. Being out in the hot sun and also fuelled by chocolate meant that our kids were slightly feral by the days end.

On my dusk lap (about 6pm) I was chatting to a guy as we rode around. He asked how many laps I was doing, and I said I was heading back to camp after this one. He kind of called me ‘soft’ and suggested that I should do more laps.

I didn’t go into the details with him, but the tasks at hand back at camp were far from soft!

We needed two parents on hand to get everyone fed and into bed. We had to make sure all the soft animals were lined up perfectly, teeth were brushed and a few Peppa pig books were read. A fresh nappy for baby, and after a long time for them to wind down, Tony could go back on the track.

This was great. Kids were asleep and Tony was out racing. The only problem was I was covered in dirt. But the showers were a long way from our camp. I couldn’t leave the camp as the kids were asleep!! I couldn’t go to the toilet or shower. Argh..


I managed a wipe down with a cloth, but I really wanted a hot shower.

We raced well and came 4th place.


The new tracks were a lot of fun. We had a ball.

All the details of the race are here http://hiddenvale24hr.com.au

Kids love dirt


Mr F (5) raced in under 7s in the kids race and came 3rd. He was so happy. And he got chocolate. Chocolate makes them go crazy.



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24 hours on the bike (well not quite….)

24 hours on the bike (well not quite….)

The Kona 24 hour race was held in April at Old Hidden Vale. We did the race last year when I was 14 weeks pregnant (see blog), which was challenging. This year we have 3 kids (including a 6 month old who wakes up every 2 hours) to add to our race planning and execution. I remember being up in the middle of the night (every 2 hours) breastfeeding Baby Z and thinking to myself that at least I wasn’t the only one up. I could hear riders outside. It gave me comfort knowing that there were other sleep deprived racers out there.

24 Hour Race Report - 2006

24 Hour Race Report - 2006

So after much build up it’s time to begin the 24 hour Dirty Weekend MTB journey. Originally there was a cast of thousands who were keen to race, but with most parties piking out at the last minute, there is only one team, The Ferals who make it to the start line.

The merchandise for our fans is ready (albeit after a few mishaps with the iron on transfers), batteries are charged and the sun is shining.

2:00:00 PM – RABBIT – 2 laps.

Pete goes out first and pushes out 2 quick laps to start with. This is Pete’s quickest time of the race at 28 mins 29 secs.

2:58:62 PM – FOX GIRL - 2 laps.

The track is sweet, nice and flowy, and even a pallet jump which looks like fun. I do it on my first lap and it’s a bit abrupt, so I decide to leave that one in the future. Half way through my first lap I manage to drop my walkie talkie. I stop to pick it up and no real damage is done. Mental note, don’t let that happen again. So on my 2nd lap I drop it again. I stop and walk back up the track to find it, but to no avail. My brand new walkie talkie is gone…..sniffle sniffle.

I do my fasted lap of the event at 32 mins 44 secs. I have to remember to pace myself.

4:05:17 PM – RABBIT – 2 laps.

I take the time while Pete is out to try to find the walkie talkie with Sacha. With only a 1 hr break, we can’t find it. Sacha keeps hunting while I eat and dress my bike up with lights, which is compulsory after 5pm. I check with the timing tent just before heading out and someone had handed in my walkie talkie. Yippie!

5:07:45 PM - FOX GIRL - 2 laps.

I’m back on the track and a message comes over the radio “Yay! we can communicate again!”. These walkie talkies are great. The sunset is fantastic and I am hoping that Pete and Sacha are getting some good photos.

6:18:00 PM - RABBIT – 3 laps.

Even though there is an hour and half break, there is still lots to do. Eat, toilet, refill water and cordial, change batteries, set up helmet light, check bike over, eat….. .. where did all that time go.

I’m ready to go off again and Pete comes into the transition, with one statement, “3 laps hurts”. Thanks for that Pete.

8:06:43 PM - FOX GIRL - 3 laps.

I’m out on my first 3 lap stint. Sacha is leaving at 9.45pm so I won’t have time to see her again tonight. This is my first real night riding experience for the race. Pete didn’t tell me there were monsters in the forest, or a disco. This place is great.

10:07:04 PM - RABBIT – 3 laps.

I try to get some rest this time in my break. But there is really loud music playing. It is freezing. I stand next to the warm fire inside and get ready to go out again. Staring into nothingness I fuel myself with a banana, chocolate rice cream, and a RedBull. Burp.

I stop and have a short chat to Pete at transition time, rather than going straight off. Everything seems to be in order and the bikes are behaving.

12:01:34 AM - FOX GIRL - 3 laps.

It is a great night for a midnight ride! The moon is looking spectacular and it isn’t windy at all. I wish I had a camera and a tripod with me, and the skills to take a moon photo. It's pretty lonely out. Pete is trying to sleep so there is no talking over the walkie talkie.

There are party goers in the forest drinking beer with the shiny disco ball. It’s nice to have people cheering you on, even if they are naked.

On my 2nd lap there are no spectators in the forest. It feels like a long time when you are out on the trail, but time goes so quick when you are back at base camp.

On my 3rd lap, my light batteries die. Luckily some dude from Melbourne is riding behind me. I let him know my predicament, and he nurses me home. It’s hard work trying to ride when all you can see is the shadow of your head and ears.

2:08:37 AM - RABBIT – 4 laps.

I think it takes less than 5 minutes after you stop riding for you to start to freeze. I’m glad neither of us has punctured. Pete is off. The plan is for him to do 3 laps. I try to sleep, but the neighbours chat noisily the whole time. Pete decides to do something a little crazy and punch out 4 laps. At 44 minutes per lap his pace is still quite quick. I’m grateful to get the extra rest time.

Pete comes into the transition with his rabbit ears are looking a little bedraggled. He is buggered and heads off to rest.

5:01:53 AM - FOX GIRL - 3 laps.

It’s just me and the trail now. There are not many riders on the track. My first lap is my slowest of the night 46:55 secs. It’s lonely and cold.

On my second lap I can see the black sky lighting up a little bit and turning a faint light blue. But it is still early and not ready for the sun to rise. As I head towards the other side of the track, I can see the sun really is starting to rise! It’s a bit lighter, but nothing that you would call a sun rise yet. 10 minutes later I head towards the same area where I was before (no I wasn’t going the wrong way, its just the way the track went). WOW I don’t even need lights now! The sun rise is spectacular! I wish I was like Steve Austin with a camera for my eyes. Now my spirits have lifted, this is great; I don’t even need to concentrate any more to ride.

On my 3rd lap, I radio in to Pete, “Cock a doodle dooo”. This riding stuff is fun again. My 3rd lap time is back down to 41 minutes.

7:13:15 AM - RABBIT – 3 laps.

Sacha is back and there are people everywhere. I am hanging out for Tony to get in to cook bacon and eggs for breakfast.

9:05:08 AM - FOX GIRL -2 laps.

Time for the iPod.

10:23:12 AM - RABBIT – 2 laps.

Mmm bacon and eggs.

11:35:49 AM - FOX GIRL - 2 laps.

More music and my last laps for the long day and night. Yay.

12:55:39 PM - RABBIT – 2 laps – finish at 2:12:54 PM

The cheer squad cheers Pete on while he does his last laps. Will he stop after one lap and wait for the time to count down? Or will he keep on going like a Duracell bunny?

He kept on going to make the total laps 38. Pete did 21 and I did 17.

Full results can be found at: http://www.bikesa.asn.au/events/event_forms/24%20duo.pdf


Dirty Weekend Results 2006_24 hour

Kona 24 Hour MTB Race - Hidden Vale

Kona 24 Hour MTB Race - Hidden Vale

AKA camping with kids and chocolate…and 14 weeks pregnant.

We wanted to race the 4hr event in a duo, however the only option was to race together (keeping within 100 m or so of each other at all times). This format wasn’t going to work for us, because we had the two kids to look after. So we entered into the 24 hour.

We arrived to Hidden Vale on Good Friday and pitched the tent, shelter, set up BBQ, beds etc etc etc… We had intentions of riding the track in the afternoon, but by the time we had set up our campsite, it was getting time to feed the hungry kids and then settle in for the night.

Easter Saturday was race day. The day was full of activities before the main event started. Our kids woke us up at 4:30am and the day had begun.

Hidden Vale is the location of the Spicers Retreat (fancy accommodation and restaurant overlooking lovely rolling hills and countryside). The race HQ was a few kilometres away from the main Spicers area, but we were told we could go to the restaurant for hot coffee. So after having some breakfast we ducked down to get coffee and pretend that we could afford to stay and eat at the restaurant. The staff were lovely and we would love to go back to stay there one day.

Back to the campsite, and I geared up for the kids race. Felix was racing his first event! The course was part of the main race track. There was a huge turn out for the kids, and a big range of abilities and ages. Felix (3.5 years old) was on a balance bike, which had its own class. I rode with him so he would know where to go. The crowd was huge, and cheering all the kids on, it was a great atmosphere. The track was quite tricky for kids. It went down a steep rocky long section where lots of kids crashed. Then it followed some single track up over rocks and through sand, under a bridge and back up onto a fire road. We stopped a few times for a drink, and Felix seemed to be enjoying it. Towards the finish line the commentator cheered on all the kids and Felix and I went through the finish line. He came first in his class, and did the 1.7 km track in about 15 mins. We were so proud of him.

Photo: The kids prizes. Yum!

After the kids presentations, we had to quickly get ourselves ready for the start of the 24 hr. Tony was off first and he took off with the 100’s of other competitors. The 4 hr race started at the same time. It was midday and getting quite warm. Tony went out for 2 laps which took almost 2 hrs. The kids were entertained on the bouncy castle and other fun things.

We transitioned slowly after Tony finished his laps. We were just there to have fun and ride our bikes, and knew that we couldn’t be too competitive (we hadn’t been training for a 24 hour!). I went out for my laps and was enjoying just taking it easy. I had ridden some of the trails before (a long time ago for the Duathlon! See link here 2009) but I couldn’t really remember what was coming up next. The tracks were dry, rocky and loose. HEAPS OF FUN! There was a tricky rock drop section after the skills park where the ambulance people were stationed. I wasn’t keen to blindly ride off it, so I walked it and had a look at the obstacle. The next trails had flow and could easily catch you out if you weren’t paying attention. I loved the ‘Rock Bottom’ track. Lots of little drop offs and fast steep sections through a creek. It took me over an hour to do 1 lap, so I went out for another half lap and then headed back to camp to get dinner and the kids sorted.

I would have loved to have kept riding, but there were mouths to feed. By this stage the kids were feral. Miss 20 months hadn’t had a day sleep and was inconsolable. Felix was hypo and exhausted from riding and playing in the bouncy castle all day. It took 2 hours to wind him down to get him to sleep. By this stage we were exhausted too, and decided not to do any night laps. Slack maybe, but we were enjoying the peace and quiet and chocolate at the campsite.

Morning time and it was Easter Sunday. We had chocolate eggs and the kids were hypo by 7am. Time to do some more riding!

We did a few more laps each and watched the crazy 24 hour racers come in from riding all day and all night. They are machines.

We had fun, came in 3rd place in the mixed team. Took a while to pack up the camp and we have decided that 2 nights camping is not really worth the massive effort it takes to pack up the car, kids, bikes etc. It needs to be longer than 2 nights.

It was great to be out riding.!


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