The final mountain bike race for the 2016 Rocky Trail Entertainment XC season was the Jetblack 12 hour. This year it was held at Mowbray farm MTB track near Picton in the southwest of Sydney. It was a couple of years since we previously shot an XC race there. Though the course was basically the same, weather over the last month or so had altered the terrain around it.
The main change in the features around the course was the missing lake. Heavy rainfall of the previous weeks managed to wash away a dam, draining the lake in the middle of the course. The rain had left the track over-saturated. More rain overnight also added to the puddles, making some sections of the track more like water crossings. Although the previous night had been another wet one, the new day dawned windy but otherwise the weather was great.
Terrain along the track varies quite a bit. It heads through open fields with some nice views across to the city, crosses and drifts along a small creek that was once the lake and heads off into a young pine forest, meanders a back along the creek then up to the start again. There is about 123m vertical over the course which mostly seems to be crammed into the hill at the end . The wet weather had closed a couple of sections of the track making the course shorter and a couple of sections rather slippery. However, the shorter course just meant faster laps, bringing the riders back in front of our cameras more often.
At 10am a mass start sent mountain bikers racing off into the fields. The harsh light in the open fields below the start line meant shooting there was tricky. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a few clouds came rolling in and softened up the light a bit. Gil set off against the flow and I went with the flow of riders were headed stopping when I came across shots that I liked. By mid afternoon we had both made it probably halfway around the track. We realised the best locations to shoot the sunset would be the fields and dams back near the start so headed back in that direction.
Nightfall saw us both in the fields playing experimenting at using our lights in different ways. Gil lit some of the beautiful old trees in shots and I went to the dams to use the reflections in mine. Chill soon set in around the water’s edge and I headed back up to warm up and await the podiums.
Below are our picks for the race. The full gallery of images that Gil and I captured can be found over on the Outerimage website here
Full results from the race can be found over on the Rocky Trail Entertainment website here