Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 assessment and looking through 2015

Looking down the barrel of 2015

Visiting unique and exotic locations.....

The dust has settled on 2014 and I thought it might be worthwhile just reflecting on what has happened and where things are going. I raced a lot in 2014 notching up 40 days of competing across varying disciplines such as Marathon, Cross Country, Short Track, SuperD\Enduro, Cyclocross and Road.
Flying with the bike requires good packing skills

Training: you have to ride the bike to get good at being able to race the bike. For me, I clocked up another 10% from 2013. Numbers are largely irrelevant, but in addition to loving riding the bike, I don’t mind at all working hard on the bike to get certain objectives met.
Cannondale F29: Superlative weapon
Food intake: Probably a bit less of some stuff and a bit more of other stuff. Every one’s requirements are going to be slightly different, but I upped my protein levels to allow for better recovery.
The training partner....Cannondale Evo
Favourite Race: without a doubt, the Back Yamma Bigfoot. I love how low key it is. I love the course because it is dead flat! And I love the drifts….some of these can go on for minutes at a time!

Top 5 Races: Capital Punishment, Giant Odyssey, Alice Springs Stage Race (Redback), Flight Centre Epic and the Back Yamma Bigfoot. For different reasons….each one of these are ones that get plugged in straight away to do every year
Tahtra 100km race had fantastic trails to get your flow on

Most frustrating day on the bike: Convict 100km….I felt good here. It is all relative of course. I don’t know if it was ‘winning the race’ good, but ultimately after getting a flat tyre at the hour mark I wasn’t going to know anyway. 6th place here for the 4th year in a row!! With the course being run in reverse for 2015, maybe the result will change….for better or worse only time will tell!
Beach Road Melbourne got a visit!
Best race result: A tie between the Capital Punishment and the Giant Odyssey where I got 4th and 5th respectively. Of note here is the fact that I didn’t even win these races. Some times your best races aren’t the ones that result in you having the nice view from the top step. For me, it was the fact that I was able to post a good result against the best racers in the country and felt as though I had stepped up just that little bit with regard to my outputs and my performance.
Had a blast at the Wagga 3 hour
Luckiest day on the bike: Flight Centre Epic….again at this race I brought ‘good’ form, but I know full well that I wasn’t the strongest on paper there. But I do reckon that I was the one with the least amount of bad luck. With crazy overnight rain turning the course to mud, which was unridable in some places, it soon became a war of attrition. Mud clogging, flat tyres, broken chains and pedals conspired against my competitors, and ultimately I did a ‘Bradbury’ as the last man standing. It happens. I’ll take it.
A highlight was winning the Queen stage at the Alice Springs Stage Race and getting 3rd on GC
Hardest day on the bike: XCM Champs at Mt Joyce without question. 3 laps, 27km per lap, 1000m of climbing per lap. Heat and humidity simply just killed me here. I have raced on this course twice now and it commands respect in so many different ways. It is always a tough day out on the bike that is for sure.

Cyclocross is not for me: Now, I know that CX is pretty cool and all that, but after doing a couple of National Rounds this year, I realised that I wasn’t really interested in it! That is being brutally honest and I always love riding and racing the bike, but it just didn’t gel with me for some reason. Oh well….
Pulled a few wheelies in 2014
SuperD\Enduro does however, float my boat: Yeah, I do like the odd Enduro, or SuperD as it used to be called. A 10 – 15 minute run down a mountain definitely appeals to me. I still ride my Cannondale F29er in these sorts of events as I like to keep it real….plus, it is the only MTB that I have!
The Flight Centre Epic was a massive win for me. Luck played a part, but as they say, 'that's racing'

Wins, podiums, losses: I race everything from local club races up to the National Championships. Some of the local ones have been the best fun, whereas some of the bigger races have returned the most value on adventure to the life experience gained over the course of the travels.

Support: 2014 was a great year with regard to industry support. I cannot thank these people and companies enough as they make mountain biking, which is arguably the hardest cycling discipline, just that little bit easier. So, a huge thankyou goes out to Cannondale, Sugoi, SRAM, Avid, Magellan, Enduro Bearings, Rocktape, First Endurance, Premax and The Cyclery Canberra for the extremely generous support over the course of 2014.
Sometimes you just have to be the designated driver

Musical inspiration: It is no great secret that I am a fan of 80s classic rock, but one band that has amazed me this year has been Steel Panther. It is a little known fact that lead singer, Michael Starr has a PhD in English Literature, but when you listen to the lyrics, only a very skilled wordsmith could come up with those elaborate lyrics!

Most underrated Social Media usage: Twitter Lists. If you are not using these, then you are definitely not getting the most out of this particular app. Google it.

Most annoying use of Social Media: mixing #hashtags and @accountnames in the #sentence. No creativity, no flow, no good.

Best use of Social Media for content marketing: Instagram….as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. Well, the photo definitely does….and if you do it right, you can tell a pretty good story. Instagram also allows you to travel the world and see what is out there and get your content in front of a lot more people than ‘closed’ applications such as Facebook.  
On a dare, I actually took this into the bank to deposit it

So where to in 2015….

There are now 2 series that have been announced. The MTBA XCM series and the Maverick XCM series. Ironically, or really, as it was to be expected, both series are made up of staples on the XCM circuit, so I will be doing the vast majority of all of these once again. And as usual, there are a few overlaps in the race dates between series and other desirable events, but that is ok….it shows that the demand for races is quite strong and people are still lining up to do these events.

Also of interest is the Evocities Series, which will take place across regional NSW cities. Unfortunately, there are a lot of clashes with these races and the other XCM ones, but with the prize money on offer, it may be that the Evocities races draw a larger crowd. Only time will tell.

In the short term, the local CORC dirt crits will definitely get a visit as will the AMB100 at Stromlo. I raced this one last year and it was super hot! So hot that I chugged a huge amount of fluid on the last lap and probably needed a lot more on the 2nd lap!

See you at the races, and if you see me, feel free to pop on over and say hi and talk some crap!