Convict 100 is a cross country mountain bike event that takes in the rugged scenery of the St Albans area and surrounds. There were three course lengths, viz 100km, 68km and 44km with a total of 1500 participants patronising the event.
The terrain is very challenging to mountain bikers and radio signals alike. Depending upon how you configure the radio network to cover such an area determines how many sites you need to put in. To cover the area using VHF-Midband, we can do it using just one site. However, because we are serving a large number of mobile and portable users, it to be predominantly a UHF portable system meaning that the number of sites is around 5 all linked back to the main (hub) site.
The event is run annually out of the St Albans Rural Fire Brigade Shed with the RFS, State Medical Assistance and CREST NSW Inc personnel on the network.
What was the hubsite for the Pioneer Trail Run in April became a crossband site for Convict 100. Due to the ruggedness of the area, we needed to interlink many sites to give the desired radio coverage.
As well as the rugged terrain, the mountain bikers have some extra barriers to keep things challenging. A “Kayak Bridge”, which is specially constructed for the event. The water here in the Macdonald River is tidal, pretty much low tide in the photos below. The bridge height of course rises up and down with the tide. The crossing is not for the faint hearted, riders must remain focused for the duration of the crossing. The vast majority traverse it without incident, but there are some exceptions who provide some entertainment for the nearby volunteers.
As always the event was a great success for the local RFS and an excellent exercise for CREST and our supporters.