Australian National Series '12 - Mt Stromlo

Michael Vanos riding for MSC Bikes

Vanos has just joined the MSC Bikes family. He is a promising young rider who has been racing since 2009. Since then, he has placed third in the 2009 NSWMTB XC series and was awarded the NSW state expert champion. He won his first half marathon in Nowra by 27 minutes and most recently, competed in the Australian National Series 2012. Vanos reports on the spills and thrills below.

Australian National Series 2012 - Race Report

 It was a nice sunny day as we cruised into Canberra on Thursday ahead of the national all mountain cup. Pre-raceday, we spent the afternoon rolling around and checking out lines of the rocky and loose tracks of Stromlo before heading back to our cabin for the night.

Come Friday morning, we headed back out to the track to get a couple more runs in ahead of the super d. I was feeling confident after Buller and the weather was looking good as we jumped on the shuttle bus heading up the hill. But as we approached the top of Mt Stromlo, the heavens opened up and flooded the tracks. After a 15-minute delay, we were out of the bus and looking like racing. As I rolled around still getting a feel for the bike and brakes I had a mishap and put my hands into the road, not the best way to end my warm up.

My race run went well despite the grazes on my palms and legs. I had caught the rider who started 30 seconds in front of me by half way down the descent and it was looking like a fast run. I just had to punch it through the pedally bottom section of track. My luck was once again about to let me down 50 metres from the finish when I dropped my chain. I ended up losing around 20 seconds and quite a few positions to finish up in 14th place.

On Saturday, Chad and I headed off to the track to catch the end of the elite women’s race and get a good warm up in. I knew that the track did not suit me well. With a long, flat fire trail start and the course itself being relatively flat, it was much better suited to the bigger more powerful riders. The gun went and I took off knowing not to blow myself up on this section. I was quickly sitting towards the back of the group and entered the single track in around 25th position. The first lap was tough as I struggled to find my rhythm but as the laps passed I began to feel stronger and I managed to fight my way back to finish 17th.

I made some adjustments to the bike setup for Sundays point-to-point race, which I immediately felt a lot more comfortable with. I knew I just had to race my own race. The start for the point to point was even longer and harder than the XCO, luckily the pack decided not to attack until the hill where I managed to pick up a few positions. Although I entered the single track towards the rear, I managed to pick people off as I had a strong climb to the peak of Mt Stromlo. I continued to push hard slowly picking people off and fought hard to the end where I finished 14th, just 0.5 of a second off 13th and 4 minutes off the winner Dan McConnell.

My Koncept performed exceptionally. Looking forward to Newcastle where hopefully the climbing will be a little more like Buller!