The Event I have Been Training For
I always seem to feel prepared for a 24 hr race but always know that I will learn a new lesson during the event, building a stronger foundation for the next.
Moxie from Fizo Cycling organized a pit area for us all along with accommodation in a cabin at a caravan park in Canberra giving all riders a great nights sleep before the 24 hour event starting midday Saturday & ending midday Sunday.
Me With Race Number 24
I did one last check over my bike with tyre pressures, shock pressures & a lube before heading off to a last toilet stop before race briefing & race start.
First lap was a much more enjoyable with all the team riders starting after us solo's so you can see who your pacing with. I had a plan to stay with a rider that was to be riding at the pace I wanted to be riding at & that rider was right where I wanted him to be in my sight.
The first lap was up a fire road till the second section of singletrack after Cockatoo Switchbacks was where it started getting steeper & at this point in the first lap I backed off the pace keeping my heart rate at a sensible level. Bobby Pin Climb & ABC Switchbacks took us to the top of the first hill giving awesome views of the city. I was feeling good from a long taper into the race & looking forward at this point for a good placing come end of race.
Just down the other side of the hill coming down Western Wedge Tail I felt my rear gear cable break pushing the rear derailer into the hardest gear. I was happy that I was over the worst of the hills & also that I had two by ten gears allowing me to shift the front to an easier chainring on the uphills. Getting back from first lap with adrenalin pumped body I started to panic when I found it was going to take time to repair & I knew it was going to set my race time back by at least 15 minutes on lap one.
We managed to get a cable inner from the guys from Scott Bikes & get me back on track. On or slightly above my threshold on both the second & third lap I recorded a few fastest lap times trying to regain my position. I did not know if I was going to pay for this at the end of 24 hours racing, but it was worth a try considering that this was the event I had been training for.
As the race went on I found my energy level to be spot on using Hammer Gels along with the awesome tasting chocolate Perpetuem but was un-normally feeling hungry from not eating enough solids. Each lap I started grabbing pancakes & bread with jam along with Inner Raw paleo bars to suppress my hunger. The day seemed to be very hot with the inland dry heat & I was sweating a lot & drinking a 750ml bottle of Hammer Fizz flavored electrolyte each 40 - 45 minute lap keeping my cramps away & help with transporting energy to my blood stream through my stomach lining.
I am amazed at how these guys can keep there heart rate up so high for such a long race pushing hard up the hills.
Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC) seemed to be onto it & repairing the troublesome area's before to much damage was done. It was a bit like rolling out the red carpet for us riders & I really don't feel these guys are thanked enough.
The temperature got extremely cold at the bottom of the mountain with the Garmin reading below 2 deg C & I was wearing a vest, arm warmers & a waterproof jacket over top. It was hard to get body temp even with the temperature climbing to at least 3 deg hotter at the top of the climb before the wind chill factor took over again on each descent. The only thing that seemed to warm me up was the odd wallaby jumping across the track in front of me as the adrenaline went through the roof.
Warm soup was a choice fuel through the night & something I looked forward to each lap, along with the odd bacon & egg roll.
With a few big hits during the night & my forks getting a bit old they lost all air pressure at one point & it made it hard to control the bike. On the other hand my near new rear X-Fusion shock has been the best shock I have ever had on a bike making the rear tire stick like glue & the ride feel like I am riding on smooth trail. I am definitely going to change my fork brand to X-Fusion this week. Well worth the few extra grams for something that works well.
The best thing about 24 hour racing is that you know at this point that you are 3/4 of the way through the race & only have 6 hours to go. Just a training ride.
My body had taken a beating overnight with my back muscles starting to suffer from the constant pressure on the pedals from climbing the hills, my knees were starting to blow out & my hands were becoming sore from gripping the bars over the rough terrain. That's 24 hour racing !
Through the night I climbed my way up the rankings to what our team thought was 2nd after speaking with the chief commissaires that told us single speed had a category of there own & 1st in my age was sitting in 3rd overall a few laps ahead of me, so there was no way I was able to catch him unless something made him stop racing.
During the morning I was happy to be taking off lights & the extra clothing that kept me warm through the night. Great to be shredding the extra weight I was carting around with me during the night.
In the final hours of the race we figured if I finished after 11:20 am I will place 2nd in my category & 10th overall, so at 11:31 I rolled around over the timing mat for the last time as the crew congratulated me on 2nd place & with a happy face I went for a much needed shower before presentations.
The Result I was Not Expecting
Protesting the results with the chief commissaires he's response was that there was a misunderstanding when my helper asked if single speed was in a separate category. What more can I say !
Devastated with the final result it now moved me down to 13th overall & 5th in my age category.
I am eager to better my result at Italy in the world solo 24 hour champs !!!
The final Results
Congrats also to Liz Smith 1st winning both the world & now national champs this year ahead of Nina McVicar 2nd ahead of Kate Penglase 3rd.
Also a big congratulations to Scott Nicholas 2nd ahead of Brett Bellchambers 3rd both on single speed bikes in my age category.