… and action!

Finally after weeks of preparation on the eve of the race at Blores Hill the wife and I packed the kids in the car, hooked up the trailer and off we went – of course this was not only for the race, but an opportunity to get away for the weekend and also the first chance we’ve had to use the camper trailer since we got it a few months ago. After arriving at the venue, and farting around with setting the thing up it would soon be time for dinner and bed. Granted it took a little longer than planned, but what does go as planned when you have a 4 month old in tow!

Race Day
The morning of race day was full of nerves as usual; fortunately there was little to do the morning of the race besides eat breakfast, and get dressed. None of the usual waking up early, packing cars, driving for miles, getting ready etc… After a short warm up we had the race briefing and then line up for the self-seeded start – Determined not to get bogged down in traffic I put myself on the second row directly behind the eventual race winner. Soon enough the bell went and we were off, about 15sec in I ran up someone’s arse; great start I thought in a mad panic I shoved the bloke out of the way and put the hammer down for the remainder of the prologue lap which would see me enter the single track in a reasonable position. I kept the pace up for the first lap with a few changes in position both up and down. After lap one I settled into a rhythm of pedalling, keeping the fluids and food up.

The next few laps were fairly uneventful; just cruising along stringing together corner after corner of fantastic single track. Blores Hill is a great place to ride, fast flowing trails nothing overly technical with the exception to the run up to, and from Trigg Point which is loose, rocky and steep in sections… It’s also in a bit of a rain shadow, so despite the recent rain in Melbourne / Geelong the place was near on bone dry.

After the 4th lap I stopped to take on more food and bottles before heading back out; unfortunately my timing couldn’t have been worse the 3hr riders had started only a few minutes earlier, their race joined the course a few kms into the lap right before the technical climb up to Trigg point and minefield of rock gardens on the descent. I must have caught every slow 3hr rider there was, none of which would heed to my constant (but polite) calls for “track” on the climb. I was stoked when I got to the fire road section of the climb and managed to pass a few, only to come across more on the descent!

After a few spills, including running straight over the top of one of the slower 3hr guys when he fell in front of me I was finally in some clear track, and ready to power back on! I was still feeling good but I was struggling on the climb up to Trigg Point which seemed to get harder and harder every lap. I started really feeling it on Lap 6, the effort was still the same but the speed just wasn’t; I couldn’t find a happy gear and I was getting slower! On the last lap I dug deep hoping to get to the line before cut off enabling me to do another lap but it soon become apparent that I would need to pull out my fastest lap of the race to get there – No hope! In the end I crossed the line 6hr 16mins having done 8laps (113kms) and finishing 17th of 40 or so in Solo open.

At the time I was a little disappointed with the result, I really thought I would be closer to the top 10 but then the realisation that this was the biggest week on the bike since Aidan was born! I felt good on the bike, I ate well and kept the fluids up in all I had ridden a pretty good race despite the mishap with the falling 3hr rider. I had fun and it’s great to be back racing.

A few things to take away from the race!
1) Go hard at the start to avoid the pile up once the single track starts.
2) Do some more work on climbing on the MTB.
3) Admit your 26” is old tech, and buy a 650b / 29er dually already! (the 29er riders made the techy Trigg Point look easy)
4) Try as you might, there probably isn’t a real substitute for volume when it comes to endurance racing.
5) Als you can do is all you can do!

Hell, sure was on a 26’er!

Rocky Descent:

Special thanks to the wife and little ones for their support at Blores Hill their cheers every lap made the race that much easier! Next race is at Officer on the 10th of August; another race to look forward to!

Self Validation!

I have had a quite uneventful month or so since the last update; the planned trip to Albury for VES Rd2 was a “No Go” due to a house full of sick children and a subsequently grumpy wife… Granted it was cold, wet and windy and the race was a slop fest but missing the race was quite a psychological blow having not raced the MTB since April it made me start wondering just why I was doing this again!…

Every now and then when the chips are down, I find it helps to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of sorts. I sat down the other week and thought I would do a bit of validation of my goals I set at the start of the year; some of these were pretty simple goals but goals non the less. Sometimes I think we lose sight of what we originally set out to achieve and get caught up in what we are doing, improving or whatever else to care to much…

Goal 1) This year I want to ride 12,500km. – Well on the way having ridden 7432kms thus far, my current weekly average will get me exactly 12550kms by years end, but more volume will be added when it warms up a little.

Goal 2) I want to ride down the coast, for something different! Done, but only as far as Anglesea, will have to head down when the weather warms up, there are a few climbs I’d like to hit up.

Goal 3) I would like to tackle the climbs of south side of Mt Macedon, Donna Buang, Lake Mountain and Falls Creek.
South side of Macedon done, also climbed Mt Buller which said to be more difficult than Lake Mountain and Donna Buang. More climbs to come when the snow disappears.

Goal 4) I would like to do well in Age Group at the 2014 XCO Nationals. Having kids got in the way of that one, always next year!

Goal 5) This year I want to finish strong at the Wombat 100. As above!

Goal 6) This year I want to chase the podium, and hopefully make one of the steps in the 2014 Victorian Enduro Series. Still working on this one, 5 rounds to go!

Goal 7) Start racing road more actively. Done, when I can – Not racing as much as I would like but there is some good ones coming up! I am looking forward to Summer and Crit season that’s for sure.

So that’s my own self validation for now. In all not a bad effort, with some clear goals to shoot for in the next few months.

Let’s Go Racing!
This weekend is VES Rd3, entries in, accommodation booked so LETS GO RACING! I am really looking forward to this event, it was a good one last year until I crashed out destroying my helmet and bruising my ego.

The lead up to the race has been a bit all over the place with a few sleepless nights, and missed riding days due to poor weather (call me soft, but riding in 70km winds and driving rain is not fun). Like always I always come into the event wondering if I’ve done enough, but also knowing I’ve done all I can!