Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Action Asia MTB Festival 2013

As our diet of MTB racing seems to get more and more limited each year it becomes more and more important to support the excellent Action Asia race series. It may only be once a year now, but it is certainly the best race we have in HK. Yet as the races get fewer and far between, the popularity of this event seems to grow each year, and so the standard rises also.

This year Thai superstar Jay Kiangchaipaiphana set new course records on Tai Lam Chung and Chi Ma Wan, also setting the record straight on the whole wheel size debate- it's not about the size of your wheels, it's generally about the size of your legs, lungs and having the balls / technical skill to match. So yea, 26" hard tails still do the business with the right pilot.

Meanwhile, on team Chiru, Pierre, Aron & I all lined up for Saturday's Tai Lam Chung speed fest, with some scorching times over the first lap- Pierre in a 40:29 and a 41:45 for me. Without the benefit of drafting on the tarmac the second lap is always a bit slower, but I still made up a place or two for 8th on the day. Pierre was evergreen in 6th, whilst Aron was fairly unique in that he went faster on the 2nd lap to come home in 23rd. Given I was riding a bike I'd only ridden twice in advance of the race and my summer mountain biking has been extremely limited, this was not a bad day's racing at all for me, and, Mr Leeper aside, everyone seemed pretty happy with their performances.

Chi Ma Wan was a new day, with rain greeting our arrival by ferry. I decided to take a zero risk approach to the day, keen to avoid a fall ahead of Trailwalker the following weekend. This turned out to be a sensible approach given the medical tent queue at the end of the race- no shortage of scrapes & tumbles, though nothing too serious.

Overall, the time I lost by bailing the tricky stuff meant I dropped a place to 9th (2nd in Age Cat), whilst Pierre's excellent knowledge of the course and MTB skills moved him up to an impressive 4th overall. Aron's technical let him down even more on Chi Ma Wan's tricky rocks, but he was still happy with the day, as were we all. Bring on 2014!

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