Mystic's trails are set to be in prime condition when the biggest names in Australian mountain biking descend on Bright to thrash it out at the 2020 MTBA National Championships next week, with a good drenching of rain timing itself perfectly.
Reigning World Champion and 10-time Australian Champion Tracey Hannah will be back to defend her downhill title after a stellar-year for the veteran, while defending cross country champion Daniel McConnell will have spectators on edge with stiff competition from Oceania champion Cameron Ivory. Meanwhile, Rebecca McConnell remains favourite to take out a seventh-straight title in the women's cross country after securing bronze at the 2019 World Championships. And it's all free to watch track side in Bright.
The biggest question on everyone's lips is who will take out the men's DH title, with Troy Brosnan unable to defend his title this year. Could it be the year for local favourite Dean Lucas?
Volunteers from the Alpine Cycling Club have been out finessing the cross country and downhill competition trails in the lead-up to the event, which runs from 11-15 March, and adding in some last minute tweaks to keep the 700 athletes on their toes, says Joe Penaluna, the event's DH trail coordinator at the club.
"Mystic is a gnarly track and has earned the reputation as a Nationals-worthy trail. This year we have changed things up with a super fast finish," he said.
"The club's volunteers have also made some tweaks to the cross country course to keep some surprises on the cards. And this rain is going to be good for trail conditions."
The finals will kick off with the spectacle of the Trials, which will be held down at Bright Brewery under lights on Friday 13 March. The DH Finals will take place on Saturday 14 March, followed by a heap of fun with the Pump Track Finals down near the event village in the evening. Sunday 15 March will see the event wrap up with the Cross Country Olympic finals over at Mystic. You can grab the full schedule on the MTBA website.
"On the racing side we know the courses will be at a high standard to really challenge the riders in pursuit of national glory," says Shane Coppin, CEO Mountain Bike Australia.
He said there would be plenty for everyone to participate in this year, with coaching and skills courses for riders and officials, and the return of the Friday morning breakfast, which was a great success in 2019.
"We want everyone to be able to participate whether it be racing or through one of the social events planned."
Mystic Park will remain open during the event, although a number of trails will be closed for preparation, practice and racing. The popular Mystic DH will be closed from 27 February to 14 March, reopening on the final day of the event with a special $60 public shuttle service available. The cross country trails will be closed from 9 March and reopen after the event on Monday 16 March.
Popular trails, such as Hero and Shred Kelly's Last Stand, will remain open, with trail access available via Mystic Lane.
All access to the trail network will be ride-in only during the event, with the access road reserved for event participant shuttles and emergency services.