• Holly Harris

Hellfire > SRAM > NSW State Champs

Writing is not one of my strong suits, but after some consideration I have decided to put together a blog for whoever would like to read about me fumbling around the country side ...... ! I thought the last few epic weeks would be a good place to start.

Hellfire cup, one of my absolute favourite races on the calendar! Duncan and Sarah + their amazing crew create the most relaxed, fun vibe of any race you'll ever go to. They then incorporate awesome single trail and a different approach to stage racing. Instead of having your run of the mill stages, Hellfire cup incorporates longer stages, sprint stages, relay's and even TTT's!! Also focusing on pairs racing adds a really cool aspect to the event! Not only do they supply the atmosphere and racing but also bangin' sandwiches at lunch!

This time round I was lucky enough to race the female pairs with the famous Kath Mac! My biggest concern was having the endurance to keep up with her for the four days of racing, as she is pretty much the endurance queen and loves to inflict pain on herself .. and me apparently!!

The first stage was a 25km loop incorporating a bit of everything! Kath and I emptied the tank and managed to get a little bit of time on second place. We were pretty happy about that as second place was well known racing weapons Anna B and Briony Mattocks, two girls you do not want hot on your heels!!

We managed to hold onto a lead throughout the next few days. Not without difficulty though.. Kath had to nurse me through the biggest stage after I tried to get the Strava segment down a fire road descent to make up for my poor form on all the fire road parts. Rather then making up time I managed to plant my head firmly in the dirt. The day after Kath decided that her speed was putting the rest of us to shame, so to handicap herself she undid her front wheel and raced a 10km balls out stage with her front wobbling all over the joint!

Everything aside we seemed to make an awesome team and I loved racing every second of the race. It helped remind me why I love mountain bikes so much. Taking home the elite womens win was just a bonus!

Massive thank you to Kath for being an awesome team mate and being an all round legend! Cheers also to Anna and Briony for being awesome gals to race with!

Well done to all my Torq teamies for getting first and second in the elite male pairs, especially Mick ( my brother ) who had his first race with the Torq team and survived !!

The Monday morning after the race I flew into Bendigo with Tas for a few days of RnR before heading to Melbourne for a few days at SRAM ... which turned out to be not so relaxed, with an "accidental" 3hr ride, including a race and some nasty rocks..

Wednesday night I jumped in the car with Peta Mullens and headed for a weekend at SRAM HQ with the other women ambassador's.

To ensure my training was kept on track Peta encouraged me to ride from the city out to Rowville which was just over a 30km commute. All I can say is my commuting skills are not up to scratch. It was so bad that I had to ditch Peta for the commute home until I had more commuter training under my belt..

Over the three days we brushed up on all our SRAM knowledge and finished it up with a womens skills day at Lysterfield. I think everyone needs to give the SRAM guys a pat on the back. The three days would have been harder for them then it was on us - as Claire Whiteman put it, it was like herding cats.

After the women's coaching day on Saturday I thought I'd like to test myself by flying to Brisbane and driving all night to make it back to Armidale for the NSW State Champs. A massive shout out to Big Red (Riley Taylor) for leaving his drive to the last minute so he could pick me up!!

I made it to bed at 1.30am Saturday morning, getting a nice lot of beauty sleep for my 8am race start.

Rolling up to the start line I was just hoping that my hometown advantage and freshly dialled SID Fork would nurse me through the race! I was pushed to the limit the entire race by Megan Williams and young Zoe Cuthbert (from junior category) who just would not let go of my wheel the entire race!

By some miracle I managed to drag my tired ass across the line in first place and take out the Elite Women's NSW State Title. I then watched my younger brother, Mick, win Elite Mens'.

So not a bad way to end and epic few weeks! Huge thank you to all the people who helped me during these weeks. Whether it was supporters at the races, people giving me lifts or letting me stay at their houses. I am so lucky to be apart of such an awesome community of people.

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