Event Organisers Wrap Up
What is better than School Holidays and Mountain Biking? – School Holidays, Mountain Biking, Camping AND Christmas Festivities!!
The 2015 Giant 3PLUS3 – A Mountain Bikers Christmas in July, held across the weekend of 11-12 July, was the perfect vision of a Queensland Winter MTB Wonderland…complete with those gusty winds that can only be compared to the icy gales that blow across Santa’s homeland of the North Pole!
The week leading up to the event, had Santa’s hardy helpers raking tracks, rolling out bunting, attaching arrows, putting up marquees, bringing out tables and sifting through the decorations to create the perfect bush christmas tree for the Mountain Biking Santa visit, HVAP Race HQ was soon set and ready for the roll in of cheery campers.
By Friday, the road to Race HQ started to fill with a line of bikes atop vehicles, as each driver made for their favourite camp spots, and soon pit lane and the designated ‘nighttime quiet camping’ areas were full of noise, activity and kids on bikes escaping the parental requests for help setting up.
With final event setup checks being ticked off one by one by the race officials, the last moment of the pre-event Friday night was a test run of all lights – Race HQ was encased in warm glow, and the sparkling lights on the Christmas Tree draw a few excited children to give their happy approval, and then with a quick flick of a switch, the lights were out, campers were off to bed and the quiet that descended upon the camp grounds was similar to that favourite Christmas Story…
“Twas the night before A Mountain Bikers Christmas, when all through the camp,
not a creature was stirring, not even the champs.
The bikes were leant by the tents with care,
in hopes that the Mountain Biking Santa soon would be there…”
Saturday morning began with a buzz, comments on the clear skies and the “ever-so-slightly” warmer than expected weather could be heard. The last few race essentials were put in place, with the arrival of the coffee, mechanics, pizza and bbq, and final sponsor marquees, flags and signage were set up.
As soon as registration opened, volunteers were met with a line of competitors eager to pick up their race plates, rego bags and to purchase their souvenir event tees – “Ride 3PLUS3 | Ride Giant”.
While some kids opted for the Jumping Castle, Kids Christmas Movies and Colouring in, many of the kids on site were already warming up through the pit lanes, excited to kick off the event weekend with the Kids Saturday 1-3lap Ride.
By 10:20, Marshals, proud parents and a cheering crowd of spectators lined the pit lane and kids 2km course, and a hoard of 100+ kids listened intently to their rider briefing, course outline and on track behaviour instructions whilst seeding into their lap categories. ESi Photographers headed out on track with their new ‘SMILE’ signs, ready and waiting on track to capture the action shots. Within seconds of the starter horn, pit lane was filled with kids displaying ‘race face’, ‘cheshire grins’ and a few looks of ‘what do I do now?’ as the crowd encouraged the littlest riders ‘GO!’. From the big kids on 29ers through to the tiniest of bodies testing out their Balance Bike skills, all kids were a flurry of activity as they lapped, 1, 2 or 3 times around the kids only course.
After all kids completed their designated lap event, presentations were swiftly underway awarding medals and sweets to those who placed in the Saturday only portion of the event, and leader plates to those kids leading the way in their category for the Sat/Sun event.
With just enough time to sneak in some proud hugs to their kids, Dad’s and Mum’s joined the throng of self seeding riders at the start line ready to run through their race brief. With the ‘In it to Win it!’ riders leading the pack, followed by the ‘I want to get x laps finished!’ and then the ‘stoked to be on my bike with this bunch of awesome people!’ competitors drawing cheers and waves from their support crews, kids and cheer squads, rider rode through and exited pit lane for lap 1 of their event weekend.
As riders lapped past race HQ, reports and stories started to filter through – ‘Love the rocky parts!’, ‘Hate the rocky parts!’, ‘I think Hayden watered the rocks this year!’, ‘A few people need to learn track manners’, ‘So inspiring watching the fast rider come through!’, ‘This rider was giving me tips on how to get up the hill when he was stuck behind me – he was really nice’, ‘How much longer to go?!’, ‘Can you have a beer ready for me next lap?’, ‘My favourite bit was the uphill rocky part’, ‘Flat tire!’, ‘Don’t think the mechanic can fix that!’, ‘The tracks are great!’, ‘So much fun’, ‘Is the feast ready yet?!’.
Coffee and biscuit orders were filled at Jungle Bean for event crew, support squads and spectators almost as fast as water bottles were refilled at the Infinit Nutrition and Water stations by racers, riders and their designated support crews.
With the winter sun begin to descend, the last riders for the day returned to cheers and reports on their placings. With a quick pedal down pit lane and across to the Giant presentation centre at Race HQ, Saturday placings were awarded with medals and celebratory bottles, and the leaders for the Sat/Sun event – Ethan Kelly and Jodie Willett – were presented with their Leader Plates.
While the showers filled with dusty riders and stories of conquest, camaraderie and challenge, the team from Spicers Hidden Vale – including a few Spicers Head Office helpers! – were in full swing at Race HQ assembling the Christmas Feast and tantalising camp ground tastebuds as the scent of pork and beef roasts filled the air. Riders also made their way to Sheryl at MTB Mechanic to get their bikes back into top notch shape ready for a 2nd day of riding.
Lights turned on, beanies pulled over ears, brassier fires stoked, and christmas tunes took over 3PLUS3 HQ. The line for the Christmas Feast moved quickly, and jokes about line cutting were passed around, but never needed to be actioned, as the adept Spicers team filled plates with meats, veggies and Christmas gravy. Soon all the dinner tables were full, and more tables were borrowed from registration and surrounding camp grounds as cheerful crowds teemed in to share in the feast and woodfired pizza (thanks to Roam’In Pizza!). The HQ was abuzz with feasting, activity, laughter and kids teeing up games of spotlight, and just as the last plates were cleared of feast, the line to the Spicers tent started again as talks of ‘pudding’, ‘dessert’ and ‘custard!’ were heard around camp.
7pm rolled around and Graham from Giant announced that he would be drawing the Ashgrove Cycles sponsored Kids Bike Giveaway winner! All children’s names who were entered into the weekend kids events were placed into a bowl and the winner drawn randomly – Young Mr Oost! A few tears of overwhelm were shed, and the brand new Talon 3 was proudly received by it’s new owner. Thanks Ashgrove Cycles!
‘HO HO HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!’ – Arriving in style on an Giant ‘Reign’-deer, the Mountain Biking Santa made his entrance, complete with his signature ‘topple off’ at the Christmas Tree! Kids swarmed towards Santa who took his place between the Christmas tree and his bag of goodies, and all those with the lucky golden arm bands were handed their ‘secret santa’ gifts before the next wave of kids came through to collect their gift from Santa for participating in the kids events that weekend. Of course, there are always Santa gifts left over for those younger brother and sisters who are yet to take their position at the start line of a kids MTB event, and Santa gladly handed those out too. Then just as quickly as Santa had arrived, he was off again – off to prepare for next years 3PLUS3, and possible to practice his bike dismounting skills 😉
Just as had happened the night before, the event HQ area emptied as campers made their way to their tents, beds and camp communities. A quick tidy up was made around HQ before covers were placed over speakers, tables and merchandise and the HQ lights were turned off. A couple of jokes were made about who the designated security would be that night and the task was promptly handed over to Graham from Giant – the ultimate multi-tasker and all-round great guy 😉
Over night, the winter winds picked up, talks of snow were remembered and then suddenly, extreme gusts of wind picked up tents, marquees and camp equipment. Campers were out in their skins, having moments of un-expected bonding as they pitched in to peg down camp sites and pull down those marquees that had not yet been taken. Our designated ‘security’, pulled on another job hat as he teamed up with others to become damage control and rescued the tents that remained standing in event HQ, and secured what could be from that that had not already been blown away. Those who had been a-woken by the commotion made their way to the toilet and shower trucks, where an impromptu gathering occurred as half the campers seemed to be all having the same ‘call of nature’ a few hours earlier than would have been normally expected.
Morning light bought with it only a slight reduction in the gusty winds, as more marquees were erected to replace those that had to be thrown away, rubbish was collected that had been strewn around the grounds and the registration and timing areas were re-set up ready for the next influx of riders ready to pick up their registration packs for the Sunday only events.
With a few more layers on than the day before, kids lined up along the start line and were given the course run-down for that day, as the course was the same as yesterday, but this time it would now be ridden in reverse. The sounds of the horn signalled ‘go time!’, and the kids were off, speeding through pit lane and off towards the track – some leaving Mum and Dad chaperones running to try to keep up with their enthusiastic mini Mountain Bikers.
The cheer squads gathered at the finish line and every child was met with applause, congratulations and candy canes as they completed their event. Final presentations for the children’s rides took place, as medals were awarded to those who competed in the Sunday only event, and then – with tallied laps and times – medals were awarded to the winners of the Sat/Sun combined event. The proud faces on the podiums were worth every moment of putting together the events, as we witnessed the pride, joy, sense of accomplishment and sportsmanship of the next generation of Mountain Bikers. Two little Christmas princesses were also awarded prizes for their gorgeous outfits that were proudly worn across the weekend – including during their races!
The start of the Sunday only event and the final section of the 3PLUS3 Sat/Sun event was soon underway, though this time there was an early start collision and a few race plans that needed to be altered. The winds seemed to throw a few additional obstacles in the mix, with riders battling the winds and trying to get their body heat up during their first lap. The short first lap saw riders coming through pit lane sooner than some support crew expected, and the second lap bought with it reports of a couple of riders down. The swift and ‘always on top of everything’ team from Kalianah Outdoors, were always promptly on site to every report, though fortunately many riders required nothing more than some encouragement and a few light jokes and laughs. Not everyone came away so lucky though, which is the time that having a team who is so attuned to the unique situations of Mountain Biking pays off. Many thanks to all riders who stopped to check on and stay with these few riders until official help arrived, and also to all riders who took care and rode respectfully as a vehicle was guided into location.
While waiting for the first riders to come back through pit lane, spectators and support crew visited the Grandchester Social Club BBQ setup and got their lunch time fill with fresh burgers full of farm fresh goodies – local meats, fresh eggs and local produce.
The change in course for Sunday gave riders a new challenge and new trails to conquer – many coming through pit lane with ‘woohoos!’, and a few others with ‘uh-ohs’. Some riders paired up with new friends and rode the course together, while others challenged each other for fastest lap. Teams strategised their final laps, and Solo riders looking for the win were obvious with their always inspiring ‘race face’, hammering out the last minutes of pedalling to get through the countdown course cut off, clocking up one more lap…with a few opting for the calculated s-l-o-w entrance into pit lane so that they wouldn’t be ‘encouraged’ to go for another lap!
For the final time at the Giant 3PLUS3 for 2015, the presentation area was set up with medals laid out for each category – from the Sunday only event, to the Sat/Sun Single Speed Solos, to the Sat/Sun Social Teams of 3. Two more Giant bikes (a ladies LIV Tempt, and a mens Talon 1) were put on proud display waiting for the announcement of their new winning owners.
Category Winners were announced (including Overall Winners holding onto their Day 1 lead – Ethan Kelly and Jodie Willett), Ride Mechanic and Infinit Nutrition prizes presented, medals awarded, backs patted, cheers were heard and applause was given to the amazing efforts of riders who took up the challenge of training their hardest, riding their fastest and beating their own best efforts – as well as those of the others who challenged them – to dig deep and pull out the most laps in the best times for their categories. In the final few official moments of the Giant 3PLUS3, random winners were selected from all female entries and all male entries to take home the coveted Giant bikes – Amanda Reddy being presented with the Liv Tempt, and Declan Waller with the Talon 1.
The 2015 Giant 3PLUS3 lived up to its reputation as being a weekend full of friendship, challenges, food, outdoor fun, fresh air, camaraderie, team work, endurance, laughter, family bonding, stories and new memories made.
Many, many thanks to all those who helped to make this event happen: Our sponsors – Giant Bicycles Australia, Ashgrove Cycles, Infinit Nutrition, Ride Mechanic and Spicers Retreats (BIG Shout Out to Anj, Ash and the Hidden Vale team – including David, Luke and Chantelle from Head Office – who put on the AMAZING Christmas Feast!). Our supporters – Kalianah Outdoors, Jungle Bean Coffee, ESi Sports Photography and MTB Mechanic. Our volunteers and event crew – The Sey crew, Mark, Noah, Joe, Graham, Hazza, Sue (“…are you bored Sue?” ;), Georgia, Ellie, Gill, Shamala, Caitlyn, Isabella, Elise, Gisele, Scarlett, Bruce, Kadison and to everyone else who always puts their hand up to help make these events run so smoothly, welcomely and warmly!
As one of our childrens favourite events (although, we’ve started to notice that they say that for for every event now!), the Giant 3PLUS3 certainly continues to get better and better each year – We’ve already even begun plans to make next years event the biggest and best yet!
Thank you to everyone who came to this years 3PLUS3 – it’s because of you that this event is always such a great weekend!
We look forward to seeing you on the Hidden Vale Adventure Park trails again soon!
Hayden and Fleur Brooks
Epic Events Management – By Spicers