The Angry Doctor put on by AROC sports was my first 100km race. And apart from some major rides done back as a junior with Graeme Allbon, pretty much the longest I have ridden my mountain bike in one go. As has been the (fortunate) trend over the last 2 years, I nailed the accomodation. An awesome spot, quiet, spacious and views over the beach - got to be happy!
The plan was to do some riding on Saturday, but it just got way too hot. So in true hire-car mtb tradition, we recced some of the fire trails instead. This turned out to be awesome as I reckon we would have been pre-fried before jumping into the big boiling pot that was Sunday. Checking out the trail in the safety and comfort of the Kluger was great!
The sleep Saturday night was just non-existent - not sure why, but 2 hours was probably all I got. On 'awakening' sunday morning at 5am to get some eggs down it didn't matter as it was all about getting fed before heading out to the event village.
All the bottles and race strategies were sorted during the week, so all I had to do was just get to the start line. Kylie was racing the 50km, which started about 2 and a half hours after my race, so she came down and took some photos.
When the start horn went off, it was slightly more subdued than a standard XC race, but not by much. I was pretty fresh from not riding the day before so the HR coming back at 185bpm on some of the early climbs, whilst holding back, was mainly due to adrenaline and heat. And boy was it hot! 26 degrees at the start, and 40 degrees max reading from my HRM out on course towards the end.
Pretty much the race was going to be just about survival and smart pacing strategies. Early on in, a rider smashed past a climb as if he was doing an Alberto Contador impression, 5 minutes later, alberto was blown and I never saw him again. At the 30km mark was the first of the feed stations. I topped up with water and Gu2O. And this was where the reality set in. Still 70km to go, yep long day ahead.
At the 50km mark, I had my ice bag with fresh drinks and gels plus some fresh lube for the chain. This made the bike run a bit nicer and it was good to pedal out of the feedzone with it feeling fresh. The next 15km were pretty much what I expected, and then at the 65km mark I pretty much settled into the long climb that was ahead of me. At this stage also, I started to dream of the next feed station so I could get some more water. The last bit down to the 80km feed station was the most smoothest fastest singletrack around - big berms, no brakes - just awesome.
At the feed zone, i chugged down half a bidon of water, half a bidon of Gu2O and refilled them to the top. I also managed to catch up to about 4 people that I hadn't really seen much of all race. Going out of the feedzone, I chatted with Brent Miller for a bit, then sort of felt alright, so just kept the pedals turning over smoothly. At the 85km mark, I decided to empty the tank a bit and upped the pace. Each 5km section seemed to take forever and there just seemed to be no end to the hills that sprung up out of the creeks that we had to cross.
Finally I rounded the last bend into the event village and crossed the line in 4 hours and 51 minutes. 6th place in Elite Men. I was pretty happy as all I wanted to do was break 5 hours.
I got some fresh bottles of water and Electrolyte mix and went and chilled out under a tree and waited for Kylie to come in. When she rounded the last bend, I got up and yelled some encouragement to get her to the top of the climb. She ended up coming in first place in the Elite women 50km event. Not too shabby at all!
The rest of the day was spent cruising around Bateman's Bay eating fish and chips and ice cream, and the most awesome pizza from Batehaven. Monday morning was all about coffee and a walk on the beach where a local dog, 'Boof' adopted us and cruised the sands chasing seagulls. What a life!