Hidden Vale 3Plus3 2017

10 July 2017 | Events

On the weekend of 8-9 July 2017, RATS members again made a good showing at the 3Plus3 event at Spicers Hidden Vale. The midwinter 3Plus3 has become a firm part of the local riding calendar, along with Hidden Vale’s 24 hr and 4 hr events in April, the Dingo Duo in October and the Epic in September.

Originally held as a December event, the 3Plus3 migrated to July on a permanent basis after being cancelled due to rain two years in succession. It now serves as a mountain bikers’ Christmas in July. As with other mountain biking events at Hidden Vale, the 3Plus3 offers a unique opportunity to camp on the 12,000 acre property, though some riders make use of cottage accommodation at the resort.

Racing in the 3Plus3 takes the form of 3 hr lap events events on Saturday and Sunday, with separate courses of around 9 km each day in 2017. Riders can participate on one or both days, either as solo riders or in a team of two. Age categories in the main event range from under-19s to over-50s, and a separate single-speed category is available. There are also kids’ events  across the weekend, with A, B and C grades riding laps of a 2.2 km course across the two days and social riders completing the course on Saturday or Sunday only.

In 2016, the event for the first time offered a separate social ride, with social riders using an alternate course to racers in an untimed event. This format was available again in 2017. For the Saturday social event, riders proceeded through transition to a short fire road descent, then up 007 trail, following Dodgem, Western Creek and Woodworm to the always popular Plane Sailing, exiting halfway along for a descent to Ladder and a climb back to the main fire road, then turning away from race base to return along Gully. Sunday racers followed the same course, while the Saturday race (and Sunday social ride) took in a short climb up Buckshot, followed the last section of Plane Sailing then descended through Snake to Juiced, followed by a loop through Airplane, Rock Bottom and Escalator. Escalator has had some much-needed spade work, so it is good to see older trails are not being neglected while Hidden Vale pursues expansion of its trail network further from the resort homestead.

The 3Plus3 remains a highly popular event, particularly for families. Participation has been growing from year to year and even more with the addition of the social ride. A Saturday night Xmas feast is available with pre-booking and many riders appreciate an opportunity to stay on after the first day’s riding and catch up with friends before completing the event on the Sunday.

The 2017 overall win for women went to Imogen Smith, who was returning from hip and shoulder injuries sustained in a criterium race earlier this year. Imogen rode 14 laps across Saturday and Sunday in a total time of 6:36. The men’s overall winner was Trek Racing’s Ethan Kelly, with 16 laps in 6:24. Full race results are available here.