Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Giant Odyssey - Forrest, Victoria 2014

I had wanted to do this race for a really long time. A REALLY long time. Thinking back on it, it has been on my mind since about 2007! Like I wrote in the Flight Centre Epic write up from last year, there were a lot of things that just didn't make it happen for this race. However, this year was a different year. The introduction of the Maverick Series made this one suddenly doable for a few different reasons.

In January I planned the whole season out. This one made the list. So even back then, I had booked the flights to get down to Melbourne. Possibly because it was Anzac Day that I was travelling on, I managed to get a late flight out of Canberra. After picking up a classy Kia Carnival Hire Car at Melbourne airport, I left the city in the rear vision mirror and motored through Geelong out to Forrest. I'd pick my dignity up back on Sunday evening after returning the Kia.

Life in a bike bag --- what else would you rather be doing?

First impressions were like this....this place is in the middle of freakin' nowhere! I made it there just on dusk, after the hire car GPS took me down a wrong road....it seems that firmware, software and the actual data are not often updated on these hire car GPS...note to young players and experienced ones alike.

Second impression...I've mentioned before that I am there for the racing, not the salubrious accommodation options. Just as well, because this time I finally lost my good streak and got a cabin the size of my kitchen. And my kitchen is pretty small. Still....it was a roof. The fact that the TV didn't work and the hot water service was about 20 litres in size did not impact this journey. I just had to grab a bunch of rule number 5 and deal with it.

On Saturday I met up with Wayne Dickinson from Sydney for a course recce. We decided to do the middle loop. This was 99% singletrack, and came between 38 and 65 km I think. Minor details if those numbers are off....it was just known as leg 2 in the race program. 2 hours later we returned. It was a pretty good ride, as I was able to see what this part of the course was like, test its limitations, test mine, and get a feel for the trails. I'm going to say it was a cross between Nowra and Bruce Ridge. If you've never been to either of those destinations, then that will probably be a little meaningless, but as I had never done the Odyssey before, the whole course was a bit of a mystery.

Saturday night. Thai in Colac! What else?!?! I met up with my good mate Anthony Shippard, his fiance Bryony, Naomi Hansen, Wayne Dickinson and a whole bunch of crap was spoken whist we waited for dinner. And we waited. And I reminded them about the need for rice with the green chicken curry. I am pretty sure that they were actually having to go out and catch the fish for Bryony, as her meal was noticably later than everyone elses. In fact.... we had all just about finished by the time her meal arrived!

Interesting dinner topics to say the least....Shippard isn't the shy and retiring type and Naomi has had some amazing racing and life experiences ---

  • Potential new race formats
  • Racing incidents from Cape to Cape --- Wardy you sly dog!
  • How long before a vasectomy actually takes effect
  • The perils of pairs racing
  • The sand on the first hill
  • Waxing one's behind (sorry Ships, but your secret is out!)

To say that the race morning was cold would be an understatement. As resident of Canberra I am used to the fine weather of the Capital City. The problem isn't the riding, but the hanging around. You just lose all heat from your body pretty quickly. But as soon as the gun/horn goes off you can heat up pretty quickly. SO, I just stayed layered up until 10 minutes before race start, then decided to start with arm warmers. That was in addition to everything else I had on. Everyone pretty much had the same idea.

We got off at 7:00am on the dot and the pace was mellow. And by mellow I mean that we even had a singlespeed go past us up the first climb. Collectively, as a bunch we rolled him on the next descent, as, you know....silly idea running just one gear unless you are a bmx or track rider. Just saying....personal opinion and all that. Take it up with management.

The bunch was massive as we rolled along the bitumen under the escort of the organiser's vehicle. It was also freezing as the wind chill ripped through the jersey, the fingers and the legs. When we finally hit the dirt, I gt into a decent position up near the front. At the base of the climb proper, the rolling turns started to formulate. This was probably the first indication that things were starting to get real. One good thing about mountain bike races is there is no need to do the elbow flick. It is just assumed that the next in line will come through and do a turn.

When we hit the first riser, the group was just decimated. At 5km in, there is still a long way to go, but Jongewaard and Mather had other ideas. They started attacking. It is at this time you have to decide you want to follow the wheels or go for the ITT style. I decided to follow the wheels. I'm not a pure climber, and the tales that I have been told of the 52 minute hill were in the back of my mind, so I took a leap of faith to say the least when I got on the wheel of Shaun Lewis and Adrian Jackson and we took off. And by 'off' I mean, we literally rode away from the rest of the pack. I didn't look back very often, maybe twice, but I was quite surprised. But, I was hurting, so I had to just show some restraint at excitement.

True to the concept, the 50 odd minute mark came and we crested the hill. Jongewaard and Mather had a minute on me, and Lewis and Jackson had about 20 seconds on me. Or something like that. We were all in sight of each other, but those seconds are pretty hard to get back when you are chewing the stem. Plus I was riding blind....not exactly sure of what was coming up around each corner! The mud on this climb was pretty crazy. There was one section where I just pedalled the cranks around ten times and went about a metre. Wheelspin city.

After that climb, we crossed the KOM timing mat. It beeped as I went across it. After that, it was pretty much a blur until I got to the event HQ for the 2nd loop. Sam Chancellor came through on a climb. I am not sure where exactly it was, but all I remember was the huge ruts, 15% gradient, and him going past me doing the whole climb out of the saddle. I couldn't go with him at that point. But he was in sight all the way until the transtion zone at the Sportsground.

When you have a slick track and inappropriate tyres, sometimes you just have to work the bike harder to get some grip - a slide is just a muddy drift

After grabbing a bottle, I left for leg 2 -- this was the one that I had done the day before. Not a bad idea either. Now at least I knew where i was going and could really get into a flow with these trails. The standout for me in this area was the amount of log crossings....when you are racing there are a lot of things going through your mind....but through here, all I could think of was that "there were a lot of logs in the Forrest" --- yes, terrible I know.... your Dad called, he wants his joke format back - he can have it along with the Kia!

Through this section it was a bit of a maze, and I came across the front runners in the women's race. They had left half an hour earlier than us --- anti-pacing rules and all that. The only issue was that due to the sinuous nature of the trails, all I could hear was bikes....and I wasn't sure if it was the guys behind me or the chicks I had just gone past. Man, the voices in my head were working overtime through here just trying to keep the hammer on. Unfortunately, the trails didn't allow you to hammer. You had to be efficient. They were too tight for top end speed, and you had to finesse a lot of the corners and not use a lot of brake.

Towards the end of this section I caught sight of Ben Mather. Well it was actually his fluoro green socks and fluoro yellow shoes. They shone through the overcast forest and allowed me to perk up a bit prior to hitting the transition. I actually had to stop for 30 seconds here for a nature break. It was cold, i wasn't sweating too much, and you know....full bladders don't let you exert the full amount of intensity. With that business out of the way, I set about getting to transition and getting another bottle (yep...that's the problem) and heading out for the back 35km.

I knew I was in for a pretty long climb, but I started to feel good again being out on the open forest road. At about the 70km mark I saw Mather up ahead. We said a few words --- along the lines of --- the hill being tough....then I set off into the mist. I had my head down hammering along the lines of the witches hats that had been placed to split the road when Jongewaard exited the singletrack. A quick nod to each other and we just passed like ships in the night. Racing is racing. It was far from over. We probably had 20km or so to go. Turning at the top of the climb I then entered the slickest, blackest, sketchiest mud I have seen for quite some time. The 500 or so 50km racers had been through here also and had left their mark. I was just using the force through here to be honest. I was looking for grip on grass, twigs, leaf litter, anything to keep me upright!!!

Going down red carpet, the track seemed to be pretty dry and tacky --- it's a relative term of course. The only exception was the wooden bridge. It was pretty nice of the track crew to place a sign just before the bridge stating that i was about to cross a slippery bridge. It was more of a pity that I didn't really pay enough respect to the sign, and got spat out sideways and was nicely woken up. After shouting at myself for a few seconds, I got back on the bike and climbed up the next hill out of the carpark thankful that i had not done any more damage.....it was mainly the ego....but luckily no one saw it. Hopefully.

The next 17km was just singletrack. It was slick, I was careful, but i kept it pinned....and it just passed...after rounding onto the final fireroad, I just climbed it out of the saddle trying to keep as much speed up as possible. After 4 hours and 39 minutes or so, I crossed the line. 5th place.

My support network definitely makes the hard days racing a lot easier. With the added bonus of live results, knowing that you have someone somewhere looking at a computer screen following results as you cross each successive timing mat also keeps you driving on. You never want to let yourself down, but equally as much, you don't want to let them down. Their investment is equal if not more sometimes to your own. It definitely can make you lift when the lactic acid is making your teeth hurt and the sky is turning black!
Pretty happy with that as a first outing at this event. Some extra course knowledge and grippier tyres would not have gone astray...Probably would not have changed the outcome, however, it would have made it slightly easier...but then again who knows?

With my basic grasp of simple mathematics, that should also place me 2nd overall in the Maverick XCM Series, which is a bit of a bonus. We're halfway through that one now, with the Kowalski Classic and the Highland Fling to come later in the year.

So, what's next? Saturday --- Convict 100 at St Albans \ Wisemans Ferry just outside of Sydney. This one is the last in the Real Insurance XCM Series. This one always has a massive turnout and is a classic on the race calendar!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wombat 100km - Woodend Victoria

It was wet. Way more wetter than I could ever imagine. The sort of weather that you look at and just think…why bother going outside? I should just curl up under the blankets and listen to the rain on the roof.

I landed in Victoria on Friday the 11th of April and drove off to Woodend stopping at the classy Sunbury shopping centre to pick up some lunch. Living the sheltered life that I do in the enclave that is Canberra, places like these really broaden my horizons. I saw a an old lady driving along with her rear bumper just dragging along the road totally oblivious to it all.

Nice bit of singletrack

This year I had decided to stay on site. This was a sensational decision for quite a few reasons. The main one however, was that it was 50metres from the start line. If you ever want a sensational experience for racing logistics then I can highly recommend that one.

Driving in, it was just pouring down. Fantastic. I had checked with Henry from MaxAdventure on the Thursday prior to flying out to confirm that the race was still on. It was. So, I went. I’m really glad I did.

The first time I ever raced in Victoria, I was a Junior. It was about 1991 and there was a national XCO round at Marysville. True to form, it was raining. Unfortunately over the years I have lost track of some of the 90s, but all I remember was that race being hell. The main recollections I have are not being able to descend the hill because the rear chainstay was clogged with mud and the wheel couldn’t spin. The other thing I remember was throwing the bike in the creek to clean it. Yep…we’ll go with the ‘cleaning’ story there.

I am not a triathlete, so do not know what to do in these situations
Course recce was first thing on my mind after getting the bike built up. It was a little fresh, it was pouring and I wanted to check out how things might be. I had full leg warmers on , and I also wore a thermal jacket that I only wear in Canberra when it is under minus 3 degrees.

The course looked quite good. Bearing in mind that it had rained all week the trails were at least clean. There was a fair bit of standing water. A little understatement, but at the bottom of the puddles, the ground was firm….and that is a pretty big distinction.

2 hours later I was soaked to the bone, hypothermic, and hungry. But I had figured out what I wanted to know, so I considered it a successful mission.

Saturday was just spent sorting the bike. I hate a dirty bike, and despite the irony of the fact that it was going to be a mudbath of sorts and mud spattered after the first 100 metres, I cleaned it so that it looked perfect. OCD much?

First hill straight from the gun

Sunday was an early wake up for a 7am start. The start however floated out an hour after it was discovered that the course markings had been tampered with overnight. Being held through an open forest, there is access by 4WDs and motorbikes. Plus, you never just know what the native wildlife get up to on a Saturday night. Lots of sneaky wombats out there. Just ask Shaun Lewis! He’s the ultimate sneaky wombat from way back!

An hour later, we were underway. As usual, the starts of 100km races are just as brutal as ever. Position fighting is pretty mental. It is like a washing machine. Everyone wants a good wheel, a good position, and when it is muddy, an opportunity to see the track and what it is offering. Descending the initial clay based forest roads there were heaps of soft spots and each one of these could very easily just dump you on your face if you got it wrong.

It feels like about 20 minutes or so….not 100% sure, but the open fireroad went on for what felt like a fairly decent time. A few faux attacks went up the road. Probably French dudes….but there weren’t any cameras out here so and it wasn’t July so, probably no point really.

When the track really opened up, the proper attacks started coming and the pace was escalated. The singletrack pine forest was upon us. That crucial, desparate fight for the sweet spot into the singletrack was on. At this stage, due to the fireroad, the basic first selection had been made. It was pretty massive though. So the next 15 minutes of singletrack would play a bit of a role in thinning the field. In this compartment, I was probably placed about 15th. Not ideal really. It is a bit scary being that far back. If you think of 15 riders strung out wheel to wheel in a straight line, add a few extra metres for gaps…..you can see how far back you can get.

It still wasn’t bad. I was on Jason English’s wheel and I am pretty sure that Cory Wallace was behind me. We exited the pines and I found myself in the second group on the road. We could see the first group about 30 seconds ahead and no other group at all behind us. Interesting…. Someone had dropped the wheel a little. Not sure who, and it doesn’t matter. That is racing. By this stage we were at the hour mark I think. So we just got the paceline going between about 5 of us and setoff trying to track down the group in front.

We got pretty close, but only English and Wallace were able to ride across to the front group. At this point, I was with Murray Spink, Steven Cusworth and Tobias Lestrell. Around this point we entered the maze. This is a bit of singletrack that seems to go on forever round and round. At times you look over and can see groups either behind or in front of you. You get excited thinking that you are catching, and you get worried that you are being caught. So you keep smashing it out. Murray was showing his years of experience by railing the slick singletrack and keeping our group motoring ahead.

After a while, which seemed like a mini-eternity, we finally exited the maze and rolled through for the 50km feedzone. Fresh bottles and gels were grabbed and we regrouped up the road ready to hit up the back 50. The back 50 for us was also the ‘actual’ 50 for the 50km racers. So we had greasy tracks that had already had over 500 riders through them. This made them a bit of a handful at times!

At around the 65km mark we caught Ben Mather who was originally with the front group. The pace just ramped like crazy! Mather was driving, Cusworth was driving and we were motoring through the rolling fireroad hills and super slick sinuous singletrack.

Lines around here were pretty random. You would eye off a puddle, then pick a line and hope to hell that it was the right one to take. A few times it wasn’t and you just either got bogged, or slid out. Mather hit the deck railing a corner, and after checking if he was ok, we kept motoring. He got back on and it was full steam ahead.

At the 75km mark, I came through for a turn on the front at the top of a rise and was quite surprised when looking under my arm I saw that the wheel behind me had disappeared. How did that happen? I looked around and saw that there was a small gap. Oh well then. What the hell? I decided to just slowly increase the pace and see if it would stick.

This week, like last week's race I was able to get some fantastic advice from someone I greatly respect and their words were put to use in basically nailing myself to the stem and just drilling away. I was not going to stop at all!! This support has definitely made such a positive impact on my racing, and it is a total breath of fresh air that has been greatly needed! So, a huge thankyou once again! You know who you are!

I wasn’t 100% sure what road position we were in, but I was just going to see what I could do. It turns out that I could do about 10km….

Cusworth, Spink and Listrell had worked together to get me back. Due to the mud I had some clogging issues crossing a small gully and lost about 20 seconds or so. Bummer. But, I was able to regroup and get back on Listrell’s wheel. We had 10km to go and it was mostly fireroad so we again just swapped off keeping the pace high.

After cresting the final hill, we had lost Spink, so as I came through after Cusworth had escorted us up the rise, I thanked them both for helping keep the pace high and said ‘whatever happens now….happens’ --- we had about 1km to go. I lead them both through the forest road and we then took a left hand turn onto the final small climb before the run down to the dam and ultimately, the finish. I attacked pretty hard near the top and kept the speed high down the hill, around the dam, and then crossed the line.

Run into the finish...

So I crossed the line in 8th place. There is always potential to do better, but I was pretty happy with that. Last year I had had an absolute shocker at this race, and I was pretty determined to make amends one way or another. I was able to go 30 minutes faster this year just to put the perspective on the level of ‘shocker’ from last year! It was also a very decent field with a lot of strong guys in the race with top level form the weekend after Marathon Champs – that is always the best way to be tested on the bike.

So up next is the Giant Odyssey 100 at Forrest in Victoria followed by the Convict 100 at St Albans in NSW.

Results just in....

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 XCM Championships - Mt Joyce Queensland

I love racing in Queensland. I mean, I was born in Brisbane and lived there for the first 18 years exactly before heading down to Canberra the day after my 18th birthday where I have been ever since, but there is something about being back there that excites me.

A bit of a common theme for the month of April

My best memories of growing up in QLD are of racing my bike. Back then the scene was super young and raw. We didn’t even have suspension forks or clipless pedals. Well, that was for my first couple of years of racing….then the 90s kicked in and we got suspension in the form of elastomers and we rocked the fluoro colours before it became fashion once again. Like they say…..what goes around comes around. You know that purple anodising is not too far away from a comeback! I was really lucky to also get the first pair of SPD shoes and pedals that came out. Remember the grey shoes? That totally revolutionised racing. I can recall a race where it allowed me to get back on the bike faster after a short hike a bike section in a race, than a dude with toe clips and straps and got the win. It's amazing what technology can do for you!

I think they say, the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane....but this was Canberra.....thank god we were heading to QLD (and yes, I do know that it is 'plain')

Every weekend was about racing. Between the clubs of Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast there were some amazing opportunities to race the bike. The best times were just being able to ride off from home and rock up to places like Mt Cootha, Chandler, Mt Gravatt, Seven Hills and race the bike, then ride home. It doesn’t get much better than that! Of course, the trips to the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast needed to be done by car, but that probably instilled the excitement of the road trip that still exists to this day.
Now, I didn't do these burnouts. They were already there. I promise. We climbed that sucker 6 times over 3 laps. Then took a dip in the dam. There was a no swimming policy in place, but I am not a triathlete. So I was technically just 'standing' in the water.

So as a sixteen year old, this was amazing. I was also doing my first year of university at QLD Uni. (I started primary school when I was 4 due to some QLD loophole that allowed it - hence being 16 in first year --- toga parties are ordinary when you are sober). I clearly remember my daily commute\training was riding from my home in Seven Hills the super long way out to St Lucia - it was probably a 2 hour hammer fest. And then doing it all again in the afternoon after the daily lectures. The other option, especially during semester beak was hitting up the standard 'Number 9' loop off the backside of Mt Cootha in the morning, followed by more singletrack action in the afternoon.

My first race was just behind Toowong, and I remember being so pumped to race. Back then there was 2 classes. Expert and Sport. I entered the Sport class, got 2nd that day, then was hooked. Next weekend, I raced Sport again and won. Such an amazing feeling. Then the next weekend I just moved up to Expert to race against the guys who did it properly. This to me was the big time. I had Pete Smith (Oz DH Champion), Ben Monroe (DH Junior World Champion), Scott Finlay (seasoned US campaigner), Laurie Cranley (owner of Edward Street Bicycle Centre and now Bikestyle Tours) and heaps of others to feed off. It was a seriously superb environment to learn how to race.

With these guy we embarked on a major road trip and I also ended up doing my first Australian titles at Peirces Creek outside of Canberra in 1989. I signed up and did the uphill, the downhill, and the cross country all on the same weekend on the same bike. As a rite of passage, we also stayed at the caravan park in Dryandra Street near Bruce Ridge!! We also visited Fyshwick, but I'll leave that one for another time.
After the race it absolutely pissed down. I haven't seen anything like it. 

So, the racing mentality was pretty much built in QLD. That’s probably why I like going back.

I flew up on the Friday leaving Canberra in the mix of thunderstorms. No great loss there. In Brisbane it was 30 degrees and sunny. Hell yeah! Having raced at Mt Joyce in 2011 I knew what the course had in store, but more importantly, I had already sussed out the accommodation. That is always some of the hardest stuff to get right. I also sussed out a massage therapist and was on the table at 4:15pm. I am a bit of a fan of the masseuse to say the least. Their work is nothing short of superb!

Course recce on Saturday showed that the course was as tough as what I had remembered 2011’s race to be. This is a good thing. It is XCM champs. So you want the course to favour the people with the greatest abilities on the bike. There is no hiding out there.

I saw this brilliant QLDer on the way to the race. I love how they built a walkway to the clothesline!

I was impressed with the new trails that had been cut in since 2011 though. Whoever built these deserves to be given a sixpack of their favourite beer! And I would personally like to shake their hand! These were mainly in the first climb up to the first feedzone – and then the sweet flowing descent that followed. I could ride that trail all day long!

I was having a chat to one of the race commissaries up here about the course and lo and behold my teammate Andrew Hall just appeared up out of the singletrack. He was giving it some too as he was covered in sweat from the 25 minute climb from the carpark! We then proceeded to hit up the next bit of the course, which in my opinion had amazing flow.

I was a little hesitant in doing too much on this course, as I respect it greatly, so after another compartment check I then went off to find the car and get the hell out of dodge. I was mainly just keen to get out of the sun. It was hot. It was humid. I was thirsty. I’m a ranga. It is pretty self-explanatory really.

Just running though the stats of the course……

• 3 laps

• 24km per lap

• 72km

• 900 vertical metres per lap

• 2700 vertical metres in total

• Equatorial heat of QLD

• Above average humidity

Now….. as a climber, I can tell you straight up, that I am not too shabby on the flat lands. So that requires a fair bit of mental toughness in order to get through that sort of day out on the bike. I actually joked to Hally that 2700vm is more than I actually do in a week. The scary thing is….I think it actually might be pretty spot on.I’m not sure that I am a *mountain* bike rider per se…..maybe a dirt bike riding aficionado!! However, having said that, I might not be the fastest up the mountain, but I can still get up the bugger!

Race morning…..it is freakin’ warm already. I’m just sweating standing in the carpark. Muscles are therefore pretty warm. No need for much of a warm up to be honest. All I can remember is just peeing a lot!

At 8:15 we were called up to the starting grid. Usually I can remember, but this time I don’t know whether a gun a whistle, or a yell was made to get us off the mark. Doesn’t matter. My main aim was being in good position for this awful bit of grassy track that we had to ride down after about 500metres of dead flat bitumen.

We hit the grass section at about 40km/hr. It then funnelled us out onto the mainroad again which was heading skyward. It soon turned to loose gravel and I would go so far as to say that selection 1 was made. The good guys were all in place. We were barely 3 minutes into the race. Then the attacks came. Cory Wallace (Canadian National Champion) decides to ride off. Homeboy was using a 36 t chainring with his XX1. After the race ,Andrew Hall complimented him on it, with some colourful Australian adjectives thrown in for good measure. I was running 32t and at times I wished I had the non-manly 30t version. Then Blairy chased him down, and that started to thin the pack out just a little.

From then it was just singletrack for the next 10km….. and it strung out with the physiological limiters providing the mechanism for deciding the gaps between riders. What was once a ‘fun’ track to ride when relatively fresh, was now a brutal test of concentration. The climb was done at ‘crazy-eye’ pace. This is probably a little just over Threshold…..when you go down hill it takes a fair while before you get back into the groove. Hitting the good lines is pretty tricky as your arms are baked and oxygen is at a premium!

This was taken about 5 corners from the top of the first climb. Not on race day! I wouldn't have been able to hold the camera!

After the descent we hit up this fireroad. It was long, and it felt like it went on forever. The best bit was how steep it was. I didn’t have my clinometer with me, but the feelometer put it at about 20%. In other words…..it is just really hard to ride, let alone go fast. That is stem chewing territory. After the major climb, there was a slight respite which then sucked you in badly because you then went through this singletrack that sucked the life out of you. It was just hard to go forward on this. However, the resultant descent was top notch. Think of the most technically demanding trail you have ever ridden. Then make it about 5 kilometres long. It was brilliant.

The rest of the course then meandered around Wyaralong Dam before taking you back to the start finish area. So after the first lap, which felt like a mixture of flat out, slow out and trying to establish some sort of rhythm, I was joined by 3 others. This made it pretty cool. I grabbed some drinks and headed out for lap 2. Two of the 3 decided to take off. So I tried to keep them in check and in vision and tap out another lap.

I was really fortunate to be able to tap into the mindset of an extremely amazing person that I admire greatly over the course of the previous day and the actual race day. Because this was a super tough day on the bike, it was not just the physical demand, but even more importantly, it was the mental side of things that were going to take a fair bit of a slam. Their words were hugely appreciated, and there were numerous times each lap that I drew on the passionate words of wisdom that were provided to me and this kept me pushing on throughout the course of the race. Some races feel ‘easy’ (it’s a relative term), some races feel like a deathmarch. You have be able to dig deep some days and draw on the different inner strength models you have got going. Some times the positive thinking is what gets you over the mountain. Now, that is a serious metaphor right there!!

Lap two was like lap 1 and 3 but it was just pretty blah to be honest. I was going forward, but the heat was making me stay quite honest, and it was really brutally hard.

So finally I got to the last lap and I just decided to empty the tank. There’s no science to it. You have the lap figured out so you try to just empty it all and just manage to finish the race without breaking too much. Breaking usually comes in the form of cramps, crashing, or just running out of energy. It’s not nice and it’s always a fine line trying to take it to the limit. I decided to just unzip the jersey and try and get some cooling air over my torso. I apologise in advance for any photos you see of this on the internet!!

Anyway, after 4 hours and 20 minutes I was able to finally cross the line in 12th place. Then I just went and jumped in the dam to cool off. I couldn’t be bothered taking anything off. I had been eyeing the cool water of the dam since the start of lap two and it did not disappoint.

Results....just fast dudes racing around the mountain. I just wish I was 10kgs lighter sometimes!

So, on reflection the thoughts are pretty simple. I wanted to get a top 10 on a course that hilly and demanding. I didn't quite get it so that is a bit of a kick in the pants. I just didn't have it on the day, and that is how it goes sometimes. There were 11 guys who were faster. That's all it boils down to.

The next thing is just getting prepared for this weekend's race. It is the Wombat 100 in the peaceful town of Woodend. I did this one last year and am really looking forward to doing it again this year with the health a little better than it was last time. The MaxAdventure guys who run this one always put on a fantastic event and it will be unreal to catch up with them!