Because I have been sacrificing a lot of my work & not going to sea my wallet has unfortunately started running dry & that meant if I was to race in G-Bomb I would have to share the fuel costs with someone if possible & race with some old beat up tyres. Another rider from Port Macquarie going to his second ever 12hr race was 16 year old Brendon Wood & it was arranged that we could travel up together staying in his parents van.
After making a mess of the kitchen at home making some last minute energy food balls on Friday we set out on the trip up to Graftons Bom Bom State Forest where the race was to be held & we found a tight little camp spot to back the van into at around 6pm after being advised not to camp across the track because of an aggressive bull ants nest. Early camp set up made great time to relax a bit with the next door Switchback Events guys before making up a huge feed of Spaghetti that we could not get through for dinner.
I decided that I would not do a lap of the track because I have raced a few times before in Bom Bom & knew there was nothing to difficult to be concerned about & I also did not want to get sick of the track before it started knowing I would be doing many laps on race day.
The track had two sections to ride. The first six hours was to be ridden around a loop of 8.7 km shared with the 6 hour riders while the second six hours into the dark was a loop of 10.7 km only to be ridden by only the 12 hour riders continuing on.
We drove into Grafton to pick up our race numbers at the local RSL Club & we are told that entries had reached over 250 riders total. I was not surprised because the past races Bom Bom MTB Club have hosted have been outstanding.
I didn't feel that tired back at the camp & found myself sitting up till after 10 pm before going to bed. My normal bed time is no latter than 9:30pm. The night was still warm & with my sleeping back fully unzipped & all windows on the van open, I found it hard to sleep creating pools of sweat under my sleeping bag that was to hot for the conditions but without it, it was just that little bit cool also, so it made for an uncomfortable sleep.
I had set everything up the night before for the race so I only had to concentrate on breakfast & last minute preparations such as checking tyre pressures & shock pressures before the 10 am start.
The start had us shuffled down a narrow fire trail where we were told to have someone holding our bike before running to it in order to split the field up slightly before entering the first single track only around 100 meters from the running start. I was self supported so I had no one to hold my bike & fund a tree to lean it up against where the first car was parked so I would remember where it was. This was to be proven to be a very dumb move as other riders made there way down the fire trail placing bikes all over the place & I was later to find out either my bike had been moved or the last car had moved further down the edge of the trail.
VIDEO OF THE LOST BOY IN BLUE & WHITE OR WAS THAT LOST BIKE?
After getting to the tree where I thought I left my bike 5th, I was surprised not to see it anywhere & running around like a chook with its head cut off when I finally found it I was entering the single track in nearly last place with a lot of ground to make up if I was in any chance of keeping with the leaders, while starting to make my way carefully around a hundred or so riders slowly moving through the singletrack I gave notice that I wanted to get around as soon as I got on the next riders rear wheel, moving through the field one by one. I felt like a bit of a ignorant rider for doing this but there was no other way of making back the time lost if I was to sit & wait for a fire trail to go around everyone. The leaders would have made a huge 10 min lead or so in the first lap.
I did not want to look at my heart rate, although feeling I was riding at a steady pace I had a peak & noticed it well above my lactate threshold but my legs felt fine, so I put it down to adrenalin from the bad start I had.
A few hours in I noticed the bike starting to get loose on the rear & found my rear tyre slowly leaking. I stopped every two laps from here on in the rest of the race pumping 40 psi of air into the tyre with a slow leak taking it back down to 10 psi by the time I was to pump air into it from the bead not sealing on an old tyre. Two laps & 30 push-ups type of scenario.
At around 2pm the sun really started to heat things up reaching a top temp of 34 deg C on the Garmin while moving & the heat was starting to take a toll on me giving little twinges of cramps over different parts of the body. I was going through at least bottle of electrolyte every hour to try & keep the fluids up, but dehydration was starting to set in as we changed over to the last six hour track to finish off the race. With every sip of fluid & felt as though I was going to be sick & my eye sight was starting to blur making it hard for me to continue until the point where I had to step off the bike & take a seat on a log to regain my vision enough to continue the last three kilometers back to my food & fluid where I decided then to play it safe & take a bit of a breather getting in some much needed potassium & electrolytes while sitting in the shade.
I tried to get an update of my position but there was no up to date results at this point, so thinking of the bad start I had & the trouble with the rear tyre I figured I would not be within striking distance of a podium finish & decided to call it quits to be on the safe side. Just as I was settling in comfortably the results came across telling me that when I stopped I was in first place. Not really what I was expecting to hear & not really what I felt I wanted to hear either the way I was feeling, although the weather was now starting to cool down at around 5pm, so I decided to get back on the bike & continue on seeing how I would feel while taking it really easy just to continue.
I felt a lot better than before I stopped, that was for sure. I looked down at the Garmin to see how the heart rate was sitting & noticed it had turned off. I was positive that it had full battery before the start, so I turned it back on with just enough time to notice half battery before it shut back down again. In long rides I find the Garmin Edge 800 as my best friend giving me things to monitor & do while I ride & to be honest it is like loosing your favorite TV channel when there is nothing else to do. I had another GPS do this in the WEMBO 24 hour & it resets itself after giving it a rest for a few hours. I don't know weather the units overheat or just stop working with prolonged use, but it is something I find frustrating in the middle of a race, especially considering that this unit was replaced under warranty from my old one that did the same thing. After a few laps I decided to put on my Garmin 410 running watch & use it for the rest of the race although it was set up for minute k pace & gave me a lap reading every kilometer. A bit annoying when riding a lot more km than you run beeping at you all night long.
As day turned into night my body temperature was cooling back down & I was starting to feel OK besides the slight cramping every now & then caused from the heat of the day earlier I was thinking. The second six hour track I found quite boring during the day & during the night it was becoming a lot of fun tempting myself not to touch the brakes trying to save as much energy as I could & to keep myself awake as I was feeling unusually sleepy. I was not keeping an eye on my lap times anymore & did not know how long it was taking me to do a lap but with only 45 min to go I decided to take it really easy unless a solo rider passed me in order to keep what ever position I was in, but that turned out to be a fail as I crossed the line with five minutes to go & another solo rider behind me went out for another lap forcing me to get one more lap in at a slightly faster pace to pass him & stay in front just in case he was close enough to beat me.
Crossing over the line at this race I was a bit relieved & wondered if I should still compete in the National 24 hr in a few weeks time. What was I thinking, this 12 hour was part of my preparation & what I have learnt from the conditions I would be silly not to race in the 24 hr after all the training I have been putting in, with a few alterations like, change in food, pace & other ways to keep hydrated as well as a few good nights sleep I will be fine.
Sitting at the presentations I was surprised to be called up for finishing 3rd solo overall & second in the 40+ Male where I felt a bit worse for wear compared to other 12 hour races I have raced in & with all the stopping I wondered how it became possible.
1st overall went to Alex Beedie & 2nd went to Carl Dehaen who also came 1st in Male 40+.
I Would Like To Thank
Enriched Health Care for helping me keep in top form.
The Wood Family for lending there van once again making it easier to relax before & after the event rather than pitching a tent in the dust.
Thanks also to the Bom Bom Crew for getting together & making it all happen on the day once again.