ONE look at a map will tell you Port Macquarie isn’t anywhere near Mount Everest.
But after this weekend’s Australian Solo 24-hour National MTB Championships through Bago State Forest, the top riders will have travelled the height of Mount Everest.
Organiser Jamie Vogele said more than 50 of the nation’s best endurance riders would be challenged as they vie for the national title.
“Each lap is 12.4 kilometres and they’ve got about 140 metres of elevation per lap,” Vogele said.
“At the end of 24 hours the top riders will have travelled over 450 kilometres in total and the height of Mount Everest in altitude.”
In a history-making event for the Hastings, the region will become the first to host the titles outside a capital city.
“Mountain Biking Australia were looking for someone to run the event because down in Canberra the local club no longer wanted to run the event,” Vogele said.
“They saw I ran a 12-hour event here last year and felt the location was perfect for an Australian championship.”
Vogele said riders would come across a variety of challenges over the 24-hours.
“What they’re going to come across are jumps, berms, creek crossings, open fire roads, steep hills … it’s got a bit of everything – rocky terrain,” he said.
“I’ve been to many locations all over Australia and other places around the world and Port Macquarie is up amongst the best.”
At the end of 24 hours the top riders will have travelled over 450 kilometres in total and the height of Mount Everest (base camp) in altitude.Jamie Vogele
The endurance mountain bike rider said the area would continue to benefit from having other riders visit the Hastings before and after the event.
“With mountain-biking at a national level, mountain bikers don’t just come for the weekend,” he said.
“They’ve been coming for the past six months, riding the trails around here in preparation for the event.
“Because the trails are so good around here, they keep coming back for holidays all year round.”
Vogele said it was important for riders to overcome sleep deprivation and ensure they were putting the right nutrients into their body.
“The biggest thing with racing in general and over 24 hours is sleep deprivation and getting your nutrition in,” he said.
“If you can eat enough nutrition and stay on the bike you’ve got more chance of winning than if you sit down and have a rest and then get back on the bike later.”
Former Port Macquarie rider and national champion Jason English will return.
“He was once a local here and a seven-time world champion who now lives in Newcastle,” Vogele said.
“He’s coming back to defend his national title.”
Vogele said the event wouldn’t have happened without the help of Wauchope Lions Club.
“Events like this just don’t happen without volunteers,” he said.
“We need volunteers for these events to go ahead in the local area and I’m very thankful of having them.”