Insider: Reef to Reef – Stage 3 – Mount Molloy

Driving into the carpark at Mount Molloy, you could sense that people were beginning to fe…

Driving into the carpark at Mount Molloy, you could sense that people were beginning to feel the cumulative fatigue of a few days of hard mountain bike racing. There was less panic, less chatter in the queue for the portaloo, and less urgency to push to a good start position.

Words: Anthony Shippard

Photography: Tim Bardsley-Smith

Up in the tablelands, it was due to be a flat stage, and reputed to be as fast as all hell. We were excited to be so close to what would be 3rd place overall on GC (less than 3mins) so hoped our road riding and racing strength would help a little today.

The stage didn’t disappoint. 65km long, and covered in 2hrs20mins – that’s as fast as many group road rides, and they rarely consist of stretches of singletrack through old moto trail! It was a super fun day that perhaps the MTB purists would frown on when on paper, but I can promise you that every rider I spoke to after the stage spoke of the thrill of such high speed racing, and ‘chopping-off’ in 6 and 8 man groups along flat gravel roads.

Whilst it was a fast stage for all, it wasn’t quite as fast as it could have been for us. After a very relaxed first 30km, we were just getting ready to start attacking our group and see if we could eek out a minute or two, to whittle away at our GC gap, when boom – Mike suffered a puncture.

Of course, the repair was quick and efficient, but on such a fast stage getting those 3 or 4mins back on the chasing group ahead on your lonesome is a tall order. We had slipped from 3rd place to about 15th. We pushed and pushed and pressed down as hard as we could on our pedals. We managed to ride back to 5th place overall on the day, consolidate our 5th position on GC and really finish the day feeling like we had ridden a great race. Once back in Mount Molloy the feelings of euphoria of a good chase sunk in, and the disappointment of a puncture was long gone.

Tomorrow brings the final stage – another fast one, from Wetherby Station, down the famous ‘Bumptrack’ to a beachside finish and a cold beer. Its unlikely that any of the GC positions will change tomorrow – and today’s results cemented all the category leaders positions. It has been a fantastic three days of really varied mountain bike racing, and tomorrow will see yet another style and terrain. Lets hope all riders keep it rubber side down, and finish the inaugural Reef to Reef in fine style.

Reef to Reef 2018 – Results Team GC

As mentioned, the results remain as they were yesterday: Open Men is still Giant Shimano (Brendon and Jon), Mixed is Samara and Kyle, Ladies is Briony and Anna, Masters is Rohin and Brad, and SuperMasters – Kevvy Nichols and Matt Bazzano.

Pos Cat Name Time Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
1 Men Brendan JOHNSTON (100-1) 5:25:45 00:59:40 02:09:14 02:16:50
2 Men Jon ODAMS (100-2) 5:25:45 00:59:40 02:09:14 02:16:50
3 Masters Brad CLARKE (144-2) 5:34:32 01:03:14 02:14:27 02:16:49
Pos Cat Name Time Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
1 Mixed Samara SHEPPARD (143-1) 6:02:21 01:05:32 02:27:36 02:29:12
2 Mixed Jessica SIMPSON (113-1) 6:29:40 01:14:46 02:33:18 02:41:35
3 Women Anna BECK (109-2) 6:32:03 01:14:22 02:38:41 02:38:59

For the full results, please head to

Stage Three – Mount Molloy – Details

Location: Mount Molloy
Distance: ~60km
Elevation climbed: ~650m
1min cadence: 107rpm (spin to win!)
Average Power: 260w, Normalised Power: 300w
And I was rewarded with 155 TSS points for my efforts.

My complete Strava activity from Stage 3 is here: