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!
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!
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!