Hey there, I don’t believe we’ve been formally introduced. My name’s Dean. I hail from Tasmania, Australia, and I’m responsible for the look of the Savant and Brigante Carbon.
I’m going to fill this series with my random ramblings and whatever else I can think of, with a few reviews chucked in too.
The funny thing about Australia, is we don’t have to wait until Summer to ride. The temperature even here in the southernmost state very rarely drops below 0 celcius. What does this make for? Epic year round riding that’s what!
The end of March usually marks the start of the Kellevie 24 Hour, a fun time that usually ends up with me in the lead up thinking “Holy shit, why didn’t I train?!”. Unfortunately the 24 hour isn’t on this year, replaced by a 6 hour at the same venue. Nevertheless, I still Haven’t trained so much suffering will ensue.
The track itself isn’t technically demanding, a 9.5km loop of tight forest singletrack, rocky climbs, open plains and plenty of corners. So long as the rain holds out, everyone will be happy and I won’t have to bust out my suit like last time.
I’ll start this recap off on Saturday afternoon. Myself and my partner in crime, Brody “B-Rob” Robins drove down the day before the race to secure our customary ‘spot by the jump’ , the same spot we’ve occupied since 2008, and for over 92 combined hours of racing. Turns out we were the first people to turn up, so we set up camp.
It’s always nice rolling up to a race early, it gives you plenty of time to set everything up without having to rush, then you can sit back and shoot the shit.
Saturday night was cold as shit, to put it bluntly. I was glad when the sun rose on race day. The race start was at 11, so the morning was spent fitting timing transponders, tweaking settings and building a dodgy gap out of some boards next to our jump to see if we could see some action through the day.
Race day also meant the entrance of our third and final team mate, the venerable Johnny Dalco, a legend of the local scene.
11 o’clock rolled around and Brody started us off with the first lap. The camp site/transition area is smack bang in the middle of the loop, so when your rider comes through you know he’s half way there. I was packing up my tent when John called out that he had stopped on the track. Turns out he had pinch flatted (first mechanical in 3 years of racing) in the rocky section into the camp, so John headed out to finish his lap. This meant I was up next.
Kellevie is not so much a hard track, as it is hard on you if you aren’t physically prepared for it (like me). It’s quite rocky overall, and there’s not a whole lot of climbing, but because they reversed the second half, there was a little more climbing and the descents were somewhat tight and unsatisfying. No matter, observe and adapt.
My first run was good, I found it much easier than I expected, having not ridden the XC bike properly for a good year. It was a good opportunity do compare 26 vs. 29 with the guy I was following. I was quicker on the hills and he was quicker in the rough. The track was quite dry and dusty by this point, so it made for some loose riding down the last descent into the camp site and halfway mark. It went downhill for me a little after that point, a niggle in my back flared up making it hard to put the power down up hills.
By the 5 o’clock finish, I’d finished my quota of 3 laps, John drank a litre of coffee, and Brody had 3 pinch flats (two at the exact same time). We did 9 laps overall.
Racing at Kellevie is always a blast. Hopefully next time It will be another 24 hour? Who knows…
Special thanks to Glenn Hyland and all the guys at Dirt Devils MTB club for organising the event, and to the sponsors for donating spot prizes and funding.
Dean here, Signing out.
P.S, If you made it this far, sorry about my disjointed reporting, gotta start somewhere eh?