The Bike Vault/Merida Dirt Crits series update

The 2019/20 Bike Vault/Merida Dirt Crits series is at the halfway point with a clear leader in the Dirtmasters category, and an old hand asserting his claim for back to back titles in Seniors. The most pleasing aspect of the season to date has been the strength (in both numbers and enthusiasm) amongst our younger riders with close to thirty riders competing in most rounds. As a result there have been a few issues with rider management out on the track, but the skill level and trail confidence is increasing simultaneously. The second half of the series promises to be very exciting.

In Dirtmasters young Ned Lock has shown great form and reliable consistency to establish a significant break on the rest of the field. He currently leads the series by more than 20 points over second placed Angus Melville. Note however that Angus has only competed in four rounds compared to Ned's five round tally so the gap is not actually that significant as Angus has been consistently scoring 20 plus points per round. This could turn into a very close contest as the season progresses.

Following Ned and Angus we have a bunch of riders that have accumulated seventy points or more and fill positions from third to seventh on the leaderboard. This includes the highest placed female rider, Maggie Drydon, currently holding down fourth place on 75 points, also from just four rounds.

Remember that the final series tally is based on each rider's best seven results, including a maximum of one Individual Time Trial, so there could be some significant adjustments to the leaderboard as the series reaches its conclusion.

In our Seniors division entries have been lower than in previous years, while a number of the Dirtmasters have been backing up by riding in Seniors events. Defending champion Rob Hole is still riding his trusty Kona to good effect and has established a six point lead over Grant Barnett as we head into the second half of the series. Tim Godfrey has recorded some consistent rides and holds down third place from just four rounds. There is still plenty of scope for any of the other riders to climb the leaderboard, or even for some new riders to make their mark in the second half of the series.

Round 6 will be the second of our Individual Time Trials to reset handicaps for the remainder of the season. The series re-commences on Thursday 30 January so get your race preparations in place now.

Rider Profile - Sam Krajnik

NameSamuel Krajnik

Profession - Roof tiler soon to be pro rider in XC

Uphill or Downhill? Both! must have disciplines in each to be the best

When did you start riding mountain bikes?
I started riding mountain bikes 1 year and 6 months ago and have seriously come very far from just a casual roadie rider. Its all in the moment and the thrill of the ride.

Who/what inspired you to begin riding?
My friend Geoff sent me a few clips one day and next day I purchased a Giant Talon (destroyed it in 6 months).

Most epic day on a bike?
My most epic day would have to be Bright - Mystic Mountain. The second mtb I owned was a downhill! All I could do was just go for broke and let loose. On every jump I just got higher. The trails had me hooked, all in my first 6 months of riding. I was doing in months what takes most people years. The thrill of being in the air and seeing how hardcore one can go is the first moment a person knows who they are and where they were meant to be in life. Riding is more than just a love; it is my passion and is in me physically to a point I look at any mountain and I see where we are meant to be.
But the best day of my life to the point of super epic was meeting a man named Ian de Kam, a fellow member of the Castlemaine Rocky Riders (rider profile September 2019). He took me for a spin out there as I just decided to ask him to show me around and ever since I've been riding the Castlemaine trails!! I fell in love with how hard you can push your self mentally and physically. I was doing things I thought I couldn't and dropping the gnarliest loose trails so fast and swiftly on my BH Lynx bike. Wow what a day that was!!

I'm currently riding…
a BH Lynx 2014/ Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 10/ Giant XTC Advanced 2018/ and GT Avalanche Expert.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine)
- Favourite would have to be one in Harcourt - Track 8 - risky, gnarly, insanely loose and still scares me every time I drop in! A few more as well but too many to mention.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be...
a very sad man! I'm glad I am; I wouldn't be in a good place, maybe not even here alive today, honestly.

One day I'll ride...
BC bike race and trails in Canada - Squamish etc.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without...
food! water! pump ! tube! multitool

My race highlight? H
arcourt and Castlemaine! XC 3rd place!!!!!!!!!! And 3rd place overall! Wow; never thought i could be such a beast.

Dirt Crits - Total Fire Ban

Thursday 21 November has been declared a day of Total Fire Ban for the whole state of Victoria ... on such days we are required to suspend our Dirt Crits event. So no Dirt Crits this week. Let's hope this is not a common occurrence this summer.

Read more about the fire ban ratings.

Rider Profile - Mandy Chilcott

Name – Mandy Chilcott

Profession - Fitness Instructor

When did you start riding? I started riding road bikes back in the early 90's while living in Cairns. I played netball with Cindy Grant, wife of Pete Grant from the Bike Vault. Pete owned a bike shop in Cairns and was running a triathlon club; he encouraged me to give triathlons a go; my love of cycling started then. My first road bike was an Apollo, I still have it hanging in the shed!
I also had an old mountain bike back then, but never did any 'mountain biking'; it was my commuter bike.

Who/what inspired you to get into mountain biking? We moved to Barkers Creek in 2011; a couple of years after that Carrie Edney started up a Facebook page 'Castlemaine Women Cycling'. It was the introduction to Carrie and her coaching skills that inspired and encouraged me to give mountain biking a go. Carrie was great at getting groups of girls together and showing us the trails around Castlemaine. Carrie was very generous with her time and enjoyed coaching us to mountain bike ride.

Uphill or Downhill? Definitely uphill, had too many stacks on the downhill.

Most epic day on a bike? Cycle touring the East Gippsland Rail Trail with the 2 boys on our back seats. It was a race against the clock to ride the 42km from Orbost to Nowa Nowa Pub in time for Christmas Day lunch. Sandy conditions, inclined gradient with our 2 boys and luggage was an epic effort.

I'm currently riding … Carrie Edney's old Giant Anthem

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Victorian Rail Trails- cycle touring with the kids.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... Road riding. Or in the garden.

One day I'll ride ... In NZ; have a trip planned to Rotorua this December with a few other Castlemaine families.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... Telling someone where I’m going or filling my water bottle.

My race highlight? Haven’t done many race events, but beating the steam train to Maldon in ‘Race the Train’ is always fun!

What is in your backpack? Don’t carry one - my phone, dried fruit and nuts fit in my seat bag.

Rider Profile - Quincy Robertson

Name – Quincy Robertson

Profession - I'm a kid. I don't have a job.

Uphill or Downhill? Uphill because I can't do big jumps or drop offs without crashing yet.

Most epic day on a bike? 2 hour ride with dad in the Pineys.

I'm currently riding … Giant 20 inch and my old BMX

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Harcourt. I really like Harcourt

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... Just at home probably

One day I'll ride ... Track 6 at Harcourt.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... my bike and helmet.

My race highlight? The best bit about Dirt Crits was making friends. I came first once!

What is in your backpack? I don't take my back pack always. Its too heavy if I put water in it!

November Social Ride - The Pineys

The final Social Ride for 2019 will be held on Sunday 17 November with an exploration of the rejigged Pineys trails. Much of the Pine plantation was harvested in 2017 with the loss of some trails. However the local "trail fairies" have been beavering away to reconstruct some trails and create some new challenges.

Please note that the Pineys trails are among the most technical in the Castlemaine region, featuring lots of steep climbs and descents, plenty of tree roots, technical components and some significant rock features. A 20km ride in the Pineys is equivalent to at least 30km around the Baco trails. As such this social ride will be geared to riders with good technical skills. We will however offer two groups to cater for faster and slower pace riders.

We will assemble at 9:30am at the Theatre Royal to ride out to Colles Road and warm up the legs before tackling the Pineys trails.

You will need to be a technically competent rider with good fitness level; the riding distance will be around 20km with a duration of 2.5 to 3 hours. As with all Rocky Riders' trips, you need to bring your own food, water, spare parts and have a bike in good repair. An MTBA Day Licence can be purchased on the day at a cost of $10/$7 if riders wish.

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Castlemaine Rocky Riders will be held on Saturday 26 October commencing at 4pm. The meeting will be held at the Forest Creek Gold Mine, Duke Street, Castlemaine. With the support of Parks Victoria, this is the site of the Rocky Riders storage shed.

Along with the formal business of the AGM, including the election of office bearers, there will be an opportunity for members, families and friends of the Rocky Riders to enjoy a relaxed and sociable afternoon/evening. Drinks and nibbles will be supplied by the club with soft drinks for children. Mark the date in your diary, bring the family, and join us at our defacto HQ for a general catch up. BYO chair and glassware (if required) ... plus any ideas and input you have for the club's activities and plans for 2020.

If you are interested in joining the Committee please think about nominating for one of the Committee positions; if you are unable to attend the AGM and would like to cast your vote please complete a proxy appointment. Any queries regarding the AGM please contact the Secretary via

October Social Ride - Fryers Ranges

This month's club social ride on Sunday 20 October will be a cross country epic starting in Malmsbury and navigating backwoods trails through the Fryers Ranges to Castlemaine. We use the word navigating in the loosest possible way of course - but there will be farm tracks, jeep tracks, some fire road to tie everything together and a fair chunk of single track to finish the ride. In all, about 45 kilometres of steep climbs, sharp descents and everything in between - about 4-5 hours riding.

There is a train leaving Castlemaine for Malmsbury at 8.21am but bike space will be limited. Alternatively, drivers and car-poolers should aim to get to the start of the ride at Malmsbury station at 8.30. Usual self sufficiency terms apply (food, water, spare parts etc.).

You will need to be a technically competent rider with good fitness level, and possessed with a fair dose of confidence and endurance. An MTBA Day Licence can be purchased on the day at a cost of $10/$7 if riders wish.

Car Free Carnivale Maldon - Rolling Ride

Sunday 22 September is World Car Free Day and to celebrate Maldon is hosting a Car Free Carnivale in the main street from 12 noon to 3pm. The heritage shopping and café strip will be transformed into a car-free thoroughfare of ideas for sustainable living. Innovative exhibitors, children’s activities and live performances will be on offer, as will plenty of local food, with Maldon’s cafes and hotels all open on the day.

The Maldon Climate Action Network is encouraging people to walk, cycle, bus or train to Maldon for the day. So why not join the Rocky Riders for a spring time rolling ride along the Castlemaine to Maldon rail trail to join in the festivities. We will depart the Camp Reserve in Forest Street at 11am, for a relaxed ride out to Maldon along the rail trail - also a good chance to preview this trail in the lead up to the Race the Train event in November. The trail is well formed, and not technical, making it suitable for families. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to ride back to Castlemaine (mostly downhill) or catch the steam train for the return trip.

Riders must be self-sufficient with food, water and spares. MTBA membership is required. Day permits available for non-members $10.

September Social Ride - Baco Trails

Our September social ride will be held in the afternoon of Saturday 14 September (note a Saturday not Sunday). This ride will explore the best bits of our much loved Baco Trail network (also the venue for our Dirt Crits series in 2019/20). The ride length will be around 20 kms plus so come prepared for around 2.5 hours in the saddle. Depending on numbers and experience of riders we may be able to break the group into two to cater for a slower paced group.

Riders with intermediate skills are welcome but you must have a reasonable level of fitness and all riders must be self-sufficient with food, water and spares. MTBA membership is required. Day permits available for non-members $10.

The meeting point will be at the Botanic Gardens, Walker Street, Castlemaine (opposite Das Kaffehaus) with the ride commencing at 1pm. An opportunity will exist for some post-ride refreshments at the Taproom. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for any weather or other updates.