When it comes to long-distance mountain biking events, it doesn’t get any more complicated than the Convict 100. This year, the event took place at the beginning of May, and riders could choose between three different distances. Depending on skill level and experience, the three events covered the following distances:
As well as one of the most prestigious mountain biking marathon events in Australia, the Convict 100 is also one of the oldest. Held in St Albans (around two hours from Sydney), the Convict Trail is known to most Australians with a passion for mountain biking, and those riders can be found riding hard, and rocking gear from Sendy (https://sendygear.com). As well as rocky hills, mountain ridges, and other challenging features, riders pass through Hawkesbury Valley.
The event is full of history not only for the ride but for everything that comes with it – this includes the panoramic views. In between starting and finishing in St Albans, you’ll travel through majestic landscapes, and riders can’t help but enjoy the scenery (even during one of the most challenging weekends of their lives!).
If you want to complete the ‘Century of Dirt’, this is a grueling 103km circuit and not for the faint-hearted. As a result of the pandemic, works due to take place on the Shepherds Gully Track haven’t yet occurred, so the 2021 event was truly unique. Although the smaller course was untouched, the 68km event became 74km, and the 100km became 103km.
Just when you thought that the Convict 100 couldn’t get any harder, the organisers were forced to extend the two largest circuits. Nothing has been confirmed for 2022 just yet, but it will be interesting to see if Shepherds Gully undergoes the required maintenance. If not, participants next year will also have the claim of doing the extended Convict 100.
One of the best ways to get a grip on the difficulty of a mountain biking marathon is to look at previous results. This year, only one rider managed to finish within four hours with a time of 3:59:22. Traditionally, the marathon is split into three sections: Kayak Bridge, Eight Mile, and Sullivans Arm. While the first section took the winner 1:13, the second section was done in 45 minutes, while the final part took just over one hour.
With this in mind, it meant that the rider averaged just under 26km/h throughout the event. The best female finished in 23rd overall with a time of 4:50:50. However, most of the people towards the top of the classification were considered ‘Elite’. For regular riders, the times went all the way down to 9:30 hours. If you didn’t believe that this was a difficult challenge before, this should hopefully explain a lot more now.
In terms of the day itself, it’s a magical atmosphere, and the campsites open the day before (Friday). If you want to camp overnight, you can access the site from 1 pm. Registration then begins at 6 am the next morning, with the 103km riders setting off between 7:10 am and 7:30 am. From here, the 74km race starts at 8:30, while the shortest event launches off at 9:30 am.
There are many reasons why people love the Convict 100, including the stunning views, the challenging course, the atmosphere, and the reputation. If you’re interested in the 2022 event, make sure you have the right equipment for training, and feel free to sign up for the training plan available on the Convict 100 website.
Good luck and have fun!