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AIR FORCE March 4, 2010
By John Martin
SPLATTERED in mud and
blood, it was an exultant
CPL Michael Crummy
who crossed the finish
line in fourth position of the final
round of the Rocky Trail Moun-
tain-bike Grand Prix in Sydney on
Fourth is not normally a position
one associates with jubilant athletes.
But CPL Crummy, of 37SQN,
knew it was good enough for him to
clinch the four-round GP.
"When I crossed that line, I pretty
much knew I had won it," he says of
his moment of achievement.
And what an achievement. Last
year's GP series was won by the cur-
rent 24-hour solo world champion,
Jason English. This year's series was
contested by some of the best riders
from NSW and the ACT, including the
2007 24-hour solo world champion
CPL Crummy had easily won
the first round of the GP in western
Sydney late last year, and although
he had not contested the second and
third rounds, he knew a top-five finish
in the final round at Wisemans Ferry
would probably be enough to make
him this year's champion.
The final round of the Rocky Trail
GP was run in conjunction with the
Sydney 24-hour mountain-bike race.
Both events started together on
the same muddy, slippery 9km track
at noon. The difference is that the
80 or so riders in the Rocky Trail
event, who included a bunch of ADF
riders, finished their race at 4pm
and the 24-hourers kept pedalling on
-- until torrential rain forced the race
to be shortened to 12 hours.
The rain had long weighed on CPL
Crummy's mind, even before the race.
By mid-week before the event, it
had been raining heavily in Sydney
for several days and there were wide-
spread reports of roads being closed
because of flooding.
CPL Crummy took the unusual
precaution of preparing a second bike
for the race and he put mud tyres on
both his bikes in anticipation of a wet
to take his good
form into the world
24-hour solo race
in Canberra in
Air Force riders
who have already
qualified for the
event, the other
being FLTLT Shane
As many as 10
ADF riders are
expected to qualify
for the event, giv-
ing the event a
bit of a tri-service
who has completed
three solo 24-hour
races since 2007,
has his sights on
winning his sec-
tion, age 30-35,
which he says
should be good
enough to place
him top-20 overall.
He has not final-
ised his support
team yet, aside
from his partner
and treacherous track. He also cast his
eye over the list of entrants, calculated
his chances and made a mental note of
the cyclists he had to watch carefully
during the race.
Even in the dry, Wisemans Ferry
would be a testing course. It twists
and turns over a variety of surfaces
and track widths and rises 120m over
a 2000m stretch on one section.
"Riding off the top of the climb
you followed the road over corrugat-
ed and gutter ruts to the start of the
descent," CPL Crummy said.
And it is a very demanding
descent indeed -- especially in the
wet.It started out well enough.
CPL Crummy qualified second on
the starting grid which allowed him to
get off to a good start.
But conditions deteriorated. "The
steep dirt road climb began to tax me
and I watched with disbelief as a fel-
low GP rider muscled his way up the
climb in the fog.
"The grit of the track was playing
havoc with my rear derailleur and cables.
"I was finding it harder to shift up
and the cable was sticking on the way
"Things were getting bad, enough
for me to fear a broken chain through
bad shifting. I pushed on as long as
I could past the halfway point of the
race. The chain kept skipping and
So he changed bikes. Thank good-
ness for his foresight.
But that was not the end of his
"The course was being re-carved
with the amount of rain and the con-
stant hammering from tyres.
"Each hour the sections were get-
ting more pronounced. In the third
hour, some workers were out main-
taining the trail -- digging out the
bog, laying sand and putting up some
"It was at this moment with people
beside the trail and a rider not too far
behind me I received mud in the eye.
"This lead to an intimate moment
between rocks and myself as I didn't
make the descent look easy."
Translation: he fell and lay stuck
in the mud until the maintenance
workers kindly unclipped him from
his pedals and sent him on his way.
He was bleeding from scrapes
between his right elbow and his shoul-
der and as he passed the race com-
mentator he remembers him remark-
ing about the "claret".
With a quarter of the race left,
though, there was no time to feel the
pain and he hoped that some of his
rivals were suffering too.
He pushed on regardless over the
last laps even though his bike started
to play up. "The remote lockout on
the secondary fork gunked up."
This made just getting to that fin-
ish line all the sweeter.
'The course was
with the amount
of rain and the
ing from tyres.
Getting ready for the Kokoda Challenge
FRIENDLY inter-service rivalry over
fitness is reaching new heights in the
office of Defence Force Recruiting
Coolangatta -- just ask CPL James
CPL Lavery can be seen hard at
work on the beach at Coolangatta with
CAPT Clarke Brown (Army), PO
Doug Thomas (Navy) and CPL Terry
Toon (Army), preparing for the 96km
Kokoda Challenge in the Gold Coast
hinterland on July 17 and 18. Together
they make Team DFR.
The Kokoda Challenge is perhaps
Australia's ultimate team event, com-
bining endurance and mateship, as
teams of four trek a rugged 96kms of
terrain in 39 hours.
The event is a fundraiser to cover
the costs of the Kokoda Challenge
Youth Program (KCYP) -- an early
intervention program that has been
developed to help young people
who are at a crossroads in their lives
and culminates in them walking the
Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.
Team DFR Coolangatta will join
300 other teams on the trek from
Mudgeeraba to Nerang, which will
include 5000m of ascent and 5000m
Team DFR Coolangatta aims to
raise more than $1000.
To make a tax-deductible donation to
the team, go to http://www.kokodach-
allenge.com and select the big red
'donate now' link, ensuring to select
DFR Coolangatta as the team that you
wish to support.
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