Monday, November 18, 2013

Canberra Short Track #SuperSeries Racing

Thursday night Short track MTB racing is back thanks to the awesome guys at The Cyclery.

Check out these videos to see what sort of action is occurring in the Canberra forests!

Round 1 - #SuperSeries

Round 2 #SuperSeries

A big thanks to Meerkat Productions for putting these videos together.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Highland Fling 2013

I went into this race well underdone. Well….at least a week underdone. That makes it really hard to be competitive and race at a standard that I wanted to race at. However, I am torn because on one hand, I am happy, but on the other hand a little disappointed.

I’ll go back about 4 weeks. I was extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to be selected as a finalist in a prestigious infrastructure awards program, go to London, all expenses paid, and also present at a conference based on work that I do in my #dayjob. That sounds fantastic. And it is. It is a totally defining moment in a career that you don’t get too often. So, I had to take it, and I do not regret it for a moment at all.

When you are doing cutting edge work in an industry you have been in for a long time, it is extremely rewarding to be acknowledged by peers across the world for pushing the boundaries. It is therefore, quite similar to racing a bike. Yes, you do it because you want to see what you can achieve, but you are also doing it for peer recognition.

Now, the issue that I had was this….The conference was from the 28th to the 31st of October. I had the Husky 100 on the 27th of October and the Fling on the 10th of November. This had the potential to be really tricky. I am pretty sure that this is the sort of thing that Meatloaf had in mind when he penned the lyrics to ‘Two out of three ain’t bad’. (maybe)

I was really fortunate to get a flight out of Canberra at 7pm. My race at the Husky finished at 11:00am. After cleaning up we were able to get home at 3pm and then after cleaning up I was able to get to the airport at 6pm. Did it! Then it was just a 28 hour trip to London. Nice recovery model right there!

The conference was 8:30 to 9:30 daily and they packed it into 3 days. That makes things a little tight! I did have a gym with some stationary bikes. Alright then, intervals it was!

• On Friday I flew back to Canberra,

• got back on Sunday.

• Monday was sleeping for 18 hours.

• England has a really nice 13 hour timezone difference also, which makes things quite interesting.

Anyway, I was quite tired, but looking forward to the Highland Fling. I was a little petrified going into it a little underdone (by my standards). I felt as though my endurance was off a little. It had been a few weeks since I had done a longish ride, and like a lot of athletes, I get a little OCD with training and wanting to ensure that things are done in a certain manner before specific races. The Highland Fling demands that all of your abilities are at a super high level in order to just ride it, let alone compete.

The day before Andrew and I watched Kylie Webb race the Bundanoon Dash, which is a 6km race through the town, that ends in a brutally steep climb up Constitution Hill. She came in 2nd place and took home a fair bit of money. So, I make her pay for dinner! Surpisingly, we chose Thai, this time in Moss Vale, and it was exceptionally good. Better than at Huskisson and Bega!

Race day was amazing, and one of those experiences for the history books. We woke up, it was really cold. Then it started to rain. This was a good thing. I probably wasn’t going to overheat or get dehydrated for one thing. So the race went like this

• I warm up for a little bit. See teammate Andrew Hall start his race. Wave to him as he heads out. That’s all I see of him for the day as he is doing the 160km version.

• Get on start line. Freezing. Wet. Towel over shoulders.

• Gun goes off, as does Garmin Sharp pro Lachlan Morton. Ah… the solo breakaway 1 km into the race. Obviously showing some Coluzzi bunch panache there. Helmet choice is interesting however.

• Up the first ‘climb’ out of the first mini water crossing, my legs are feeling a little blocked. Or it is my lungs.

• Thing as get better after the

• Pace is pretty ok, and we have a relatively large group even after the first water crossing. By the second water crossing we are down to about 14 though. Of this, we have a few 50km guys.

• A group of 4 go off the front, including 50km racer Garry Millburn.

• Team tactics come into play, with false tempo and other sorts of things.

• A bunch come into Wingello oval and cross the line for the start of the untimed section.

• Andy Blair comes flying backwards towards us, with his rear tyre hissing.

• A train actually goes through and the boom gate is down.

• Blairy does the Leif Hoste 2006 Paris Roubaix manoeuvre (Google it if you don’t know) which in the end costs him about $2000 in prize money.

• I take a little too long in transition and have to head out solo into Wingello forest. This was going to suck a bit.

• Reach The Wall. Despite all notification, some muppets still decide that walking off the line with their bike on the line is a good idea. I choose to tell them otherwise.

• Catch up to Phill Orr and Jason Chalker after The Wall. Some good company.

• Phill drops off. Chalker is keen to work driving forward.

• Catch and pass Nick Both after he did some mad drifts down one sketch descent

• Negotiate a truckload of traffic through the Wingello singletrack. An absolute truckload….

• Catch Sebastian Jayne at the 65km mark. He looks around, so I wave to him. He then sprints off! Only 55km to go.

• Go past Grant Johnston going up a super steep hill, so I pop a wheelie and wave to him to show him that racing is still about having fun! Check out a burnt out Daihatsu Charade on the right that someone had obviously brought in from 2611 for some reason. Mention this to Grant in passing;)

• Catch back up to Seb. He is broken and out of water. So we give him a ramp test along the dirt road. Catch you later Seb! I’ll take this now, as I was quite surprised at how long he lasted out in front (75km), as traditionally he is a short course specialist. He has to work on his TV choices though.

• Chalker and I continue to swap off keeping the pace as high as we can along the open roads coming into the 2nd transition.

• Grab drinks, gels, lube chain and we are off for the final 29km.

• A truckload more traffic negotiated during this section which includes a fair chunk of technical singletrack.

• Rain has set in. It is cold. I feel like it is a standard Tuesday training ride during winter in Canberra. So I don’t really mind it.

• Come across Ben Marshall at Brokeback Mountain. Finally overtake him along Great Sandy Desert. Ramp test also for him.

• Down the hill, up the hill, across the farm, then under the bridge. Yep, you know where I am if you know this course.

• See the colours of Anthony Shippard in the last 100 metres. Unleash my massive sprint finish to pimp him right on the line. Offer some constructive verbal support as I go past him. Such a highlight. Good times.

• 12th place. Great day out working well together with Jason Chalker.

• Happy with result? Yes and No.

o All things considered (trip away, missed training) --- yes.

o Slight tactical error at T1 – no. That is just disappointing, and a missed opportunity. Oh well, coulda, shoulda, woulda, but ultimately didn’t, so made the best of the situation.

So…..that is just about it for the formal racing season for 2013. Just making a consideration on racing the Gravity Enduro QLD State Championships this weekend based on weather and fatigue levels. Short track racing will continue up until the end of the year which is always fantastic.

The next blog post will probably be a ‘2013 by the numbers’ and ‘best of’ version. That will be interesting to see how the year has gone!