Frequently asked questions

General questions

Do I need to be part of a cycling association or club to race?

No you don’t.

What will expect me at the event centre?

Event registration: The heart of each Rocky Trail event centre is our registration tent – that’s where you come to meet us and our crew to pick up your number plate first.
Food, drinks, music & entertainment: We’ll have the music going, there’ll be a coffee van selling food & drinks. Please bring plenty of water yourself.
Event sponsor displays: Our sponsors will have their marquees set up displaying their products, a lot of which you can test on the day!
Amenities: We will also have plenty of portable toilets organised.

What happens at registration?

Every rider needs to read and sign a Race Waiver. We will have a master copy at registration that you can read through and then sign the document.
You will be issued with your number plate.

What about insurance?

You are responsible to cover yourself for the race.

How do I best prepare for the event?

If you’re starting out in the MTB racing world, Rocky Trail events are a great way to catch the racing bug. We encourage a positive, inclusive and courteous atmosphere. We’d still recommend you do a couple of training rides on your local or favourite tracks to get your fitness up to a level that you are comfortable to ride in a race. If you have never participated in a race before, well, you know your body best. The tracks we race on are not very long usually and we have roaming marshals out on track who are clearly visible and there to help.

In our lap races you can always do a lap and then have a rest. There is no need to constantly rider. If you are in a team, due to the relay-style, you’ll have plenty of time to get some rest, while your mates are doing their turns.

Prepare all your gear and clothes and bring your supplies of race food and fuel. Get a good night’s sleep before the event and eat well – that good old bowl of pasta is never a bad idea!

What do I need to bring?

Yes, you need to bring a bike and a helmet. Racing without either won’t be allowed! However, you don’t necessarily need the latest carbon fibre ultra ‘bling’ bike. If it is structurally sound and has well functioning brakes, you are good to go. Please also bring drinking water for you.

We suggest you take the following with you when you head out for your race or go out on a lap:

  • water (cycling bottle or hydration backpack)
  • your preferred energy gel/bar to keep you going
  • spare tube
  • pump
  • a basic tool kit
  • tyre leavers depending on how hard it is to get your tyres on and off the rims
  • bring camping gear if you want to stay overnight
  • optional: a basic first aid kit

Will food and water be available?

Yes, we will have a coffee van organised at minimum, who will sell sandwiches and some basic food to fuel up during the event. They’ll also have drinks and please bring your own water supplies for the day to fill up your bottles/hydration packs.

What skill level is needed and how will the track be marked?

You should be a quite comfortable and fit mountain biker and we encourage you to take up the challenge to ride in a race! Everyone is out there to have fun and often riders at their first event will most likely race alongside elite racers, that have raced in World Cup and World Championships before – but hey, isn’t that the awesome side of mountain biking?

In the lead up to the event we will ride the track, marking certain sections and placing arrows, signs and directional tape on strategic and critical sections. We’ll try and publish track profiles before race day on our event websites, but a lot of the tracks change frequently or we are forced to make last-minute amends to keep the track safe and to deliver a sustainable race that leaves the track in tact. We always work with “the locals”, ie clubs and land managers to bring you the best and most exciting race track.

Look out for directional Rocky Trail arrows, marking the way at major intersections. We will also work with bunting tape and have other warning signs out on the track, alerting you to technical sections.

A sign with double arrows facing downwards means that a very technical section is coming up.

A sign with triple arrows facing downwards means that an extremely technical section is coming up. If you haven’t checked it out prior to the race you might want to walk it on your first lap.

A line, B line means there are 2 lines to choose where usually the A-line will be more difficult but a bit shorter.

I have never raced before, where do I start?

A first race can be a bit intimidating, however, do dare giving it a go. We at Rocky Trail are there to help you along the way and if you have any questions or concerns. We’re happy to have a chat and provide you with some tricks, from our own racing experience and from what we see our racers go through during events.

If you race in a team in one of our lap endurance races, you’ll have some time to relax in between laps anyway to get a bit of a breather and enjoy the event atmosphere. Take it easy and don’t worry, if you need a bit of a break out on the track, just move off the main path to let the other riders pass and when you’re ready, get going again. From our own experience, the “being overtaken” part can be sometimes scary. However, be assured that we instruct the fast and elite racers that might be in the field to give other riders their space.

What to do when you are being overtaken

Here’s a bit of racing etiquette that we promote at Rocky Trail events. A lot of our racers are experienced endurance riders and we want to make sure that riders who don’t race as often have an awesome time out there.

So to all the newbies, don’t freak out when you hear those chains rattling behind you. We will ask all riders to be polite out on track and to give their fellow racers enough space when passing. So they will come up behind you and we’ll ask them to signal to you that they’re there and where they would like to pass you (mostly depending on the section of the track you’re on):

“Mate, when you’re ready, may I pass on your left?” (you move towards right, to let them pass)
“May I pass on your right?” (you move towards the left, to let them pass on the right)

Easy. And everyone will have a great racing time on the tracks!

How to safely overtake a rider

As per the recommendations above, please indicate to the rider in front of you that you want to overtake. Please be courteous and overtake in a spot that is safe for the rider in front and gives him/her enough space to move to the side at all times. If you know that there are more riders closely behind you, if possible, please indicate that:

“Two (…) riders coming up. When you’re ready, if we could pass on your right/left.”

That’s all it takes to get you ahead smoothly and leaves the overtaken rider with a good experience, which might be an awesome motivation for him/her to give their best for the rest of the ride.

How do I keep track of my time/laps?

We will have an area set out where racers can check their lap times. If you see a discrepancy, please contact the “Timing Chief” immediately, who will be able to look into it and adjust times/lap numbers if necessary. At most races times will be live online too. Check the Results page on the website.

Will there be race marshals?

Yes. We have volunteers who will ride the track as roaming marshals. They will have basic repair kits and first aid supplies on them to help out. They are also in contact with the Event and Race Directors.

They are also instructed to look out that no riders cheats, ie cuts off parts of the track to achieve an advantage over other riders.

What happens if a rider cheats?

We’d like to think that we mountain bikers are a pretty decent bunch of people and are out there to have fun. Please be aware that there is a simple Rocky Trail process in place:

If you see a rider cheat, please report his race number to us at the timing tent. If you have a witness, ie fellow rider, even better.
We will alert all marshals to look out for that rider. We can really only action on the misbehaviour, if we ourselves, or a marshal witnesses.
In that case the Race Direction will discuss the issue and may hand down a significant time penalty or to delete a lap of that rider. In severe instances we may decide to disqualify the rider.

Can I bring my family and friends?

ABSOLUTELY! All venues are very family-friendly, there are spaces for kids to roam around and as we have the event catered, they should be looked after also. We also have colouring-in competitions for the kids going. We do recommend that you bring tents or marquees to provide shade on a sunny day.

Check out the event schedules – we provide additional activities for spectators (e.g. free kids races etc.).

Will there be a bike shop to assist with bike repair?

Yes, we always try to get a dedicated supporting bike shop on-site for the entire day of racing. In the rare cases where we don’t have a bike shop on site we will arrange that there are plenty of supplies and spare parts for sale through our sponsors/supporters.

Will there be a First Aid Officer?

Yes, we will provide first aid officers, who will be on-site at the race or event. They will be located in a clearly marked tent or area.

What happens, if it rains or if bad weather is forecast?

Racing in the wet is quite an experience and can be good fun. However, bring lots of warm and rainproof clothes for the laps and afterwards. A bit of rain won’t do any harm, however, if there are torrential downpours and we decide it’s not safe any more then we might either interrupt the race or have it shortened.

We pride ourselves on operating a set of very proactive wet weather procedures. We are very conscious about your safety and the sustainable use of the tracks – so if very bad weather is expected for any of the race weekends, we’ll monitor the situation in the lead up and provide you with updates via our website, social media channels and newsletters.

For certain venues we have specific wet weather policies in place in accordance with the rules and regulations set out by the various land managers. These will be clearly announced and publicised on our website.

For our event cancellation and refund policy, please refer to the individual registration pages on our event web pages.

What happens, if hot weather is forecast?

We have a lot of experience with racing in hot weather (Martin at several Crocodile Trophy events in QLD) and also hosting endurance events in hot conditions, like our 24-hour events.

So we are well aware of risks and the challenges our racers will face and we will prepare for it. At our 24-hour races this included routing the race track past the showers for instance so also the solo riders could cool off mid-race and sending out race marshals with extra water supplies and water sprinklers to cool down riders.

We always monitor weather conditions, not only in the lead up, but also mid-race and our main concern is the safety of our riders. We have several options, including delaying starts to avoid the midday heat, resting certain categories (e.g. juniors) until the cooler hours of the day etc.

Rest assured, you’ll be in good hands with us.

XC racing specific questions

How a lap endurance race works and who wins

  • Our endurance lap races are relay-style races. Solo riders just keep going ;-), but for teams of 2 riders of more, only ONE rider is ever allowed on the track:
  • Team riders doing the first lap (who start the race for their teams) can after 1 lap hand over to the next team member or keep riding – that’s up to the teams to decide.
  • As soon as you ride 1 lap per solo rider, respectively per team, your time counts and is valid in the final results.
  • The rider in the solo categories / the team with most laps (and shortest time thereafter) wins.
  • If there are riders/teams in a category with the same number of laps, the time they finish their last lap determines the order.

How does the timing work?

All our races are timed with chip timing which is attached to your number plate. There are mats that record your time at the end of every lap. Only ride over them if you have completed a full lap. Only your own number plate can be on your bike. If you are sharing a bike you need to swap the plate with every rider change.

  • Important for correct timing:
    Number plates need to be attached to the handle bar of your bike; we provide cable ties at race registration. Make sure the number plate displays as flat as possible so that the race number is clearly visible at all times.
  • Next is the “transition zone”:
    This is the area marked for team riders to hand over to the next team rider in line. Solo riders can just ride through it – usually the solo feeding zone is right next to it as well.
  • Important rule – Handing over to the next rider:
    If you are riding in a team of 2 or more riders, as you come back from your lap and if you’re handing over to the next rider, there has to be physical contact between the two of you. E.g.: a motivating high-five, a friendly slap on the back, a nice tap on the shoulder, etc.

Superflow specific questions

Shuttles, chairlift or riding to the top?

With the exception of Thredbo where the climb up is simply too brutal you will need to ride to the top of every Superflow start. There are no time limits – only the cutoff when you need to start your final run of the day. It’s all about being out there with a bunch of fellow riders, exploring the trails and challenging each other to a sneaky race run in between.

Neutral uphills, fast and flowy timed descents… all day long!

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Our Superflow races are best of both worlds – a blend of downhill and cross-country racing that calls for your endurance skills. Most of the race is downhill, on trails similar to the downhill segment of a cross-country race, with some technical bits and pieces. There are also short uphill and flat sections, which make the use of downhill bicycles challenging. The race tracks will have a combination of downhill sections with wicked berms and flowy trails, but also sections to pedal, recover and for the cross-country endurance racers to shine.

What’s the best bike choice?

XC? DH? AM? Fact is that all-mountain-type bikes are the most commonly sold bikes at the moment. They are nimble and absorb a lot of the technical sections with their ~5in travel. Have a chat to fellow riders and try a few out. In any case, whatever bike you’re most comfortable with is your best weapon of choice. Mind you, we’ve had a downhiller win at one event and a cross-country whippet take out the next enduro gravity race in the past.

What gear do you need?

A cross-country helmet is acceptable, protective knee, elbow and torso equipment is recommended, but optional.

Atmosphere that rocks!

Most striking to us is always the awesome atmosphere in the event centre. More festival than race, people gather round after their race runs, sharing stories from out on track, checking out their race times and who was faster. Who nailed that particularly gnarly section and who had the stronger endurance on that “one climb”? It’s a cauldron of voices, pumping music and laughs!

Mates out for a race

Ride and race together, travelling to some of the most fun and exciting mountain bike tracks in NSW and ACT. Some might be close to home, for others you make a weekend out of it and bring the family along.

Variety of trails

At Rocky Trail we like to pick versatile tracks for a racing series – in NSW and ACT it’s a challenge to find high altitudes, however, we talk to the locals and are always on the hunt for new locations. We ride them ourselves and take in suggestions from our racers – some of our favourite trails have included the Thredbo enduro trail, Stromlo Forest Park (think Skyline and Luge!!) and Ourimbah MTB Park. Every race track is different and every event is a racing celebration of the local trail network.

Top riders experience new challenges

With often 2-3 timed section per event it becomes critical to look after not only yourself but also your bike. Do you punch out a quick run risking everything or do you take it back a notch so you don’t loose any time due to a mechanical? Even top riders find that it’s sometimes a balance act to keep up endurance to get to the next timed race run and concentration to perform and “send it” once they swipe that chip at the start of the next run.