It has been a hard slog at times only using my MTB for training in local bunch rides to hit the zones in training that I need to achieve in order to get my fitness to where I wanted it to be this year.
Arriving at the race Friday night before Saturday race start I was able to set up my tent, then sneak in a lap as the sun set with Fizo Cycling sponsor Jason Moxham & my good friend Grahame Sonter was there to help out the Rockytrail crew as well as myself as his son Jacob was helping out Gilbert Romane with photo's for the weekend.
First thoughts on riding the 14 km lap of the track was that it was going to be hard with steep climbs adding up to over 230m per lap along with the rocky & tight descents that would not give much rest before having to go back up another hill.
Prepping for the start I was called into a quick photo with Hammer Nutrition team mate Natalie Carlyle who was also riding in the 6+6 distance #thisishowwehammer
With first lap over I was feeling good and riding comfortable behind the crazy fast 24 hour solo leaders. My nutrition plan was the same as what I had been doing in training with Perpetuem, Hammer Bars & Gels as my fuel along with Fizz electrolyte for hydration.
It didn't take long for the hills to feel like one continues mountain climb with not much time to recover on the twisting rocky descents. The temperature was starting to take it's toll on me also with my jersey fully unzipped to try & cool the body on the slow climbs. I was praying for rain only three hours into the race, thinking to myself it may even be an advantage to me given that I was racing with more a chunky than normal tyre, running Mita's Kratos race mud tyres both front & rear.
It was not long till I started suffering from the heat really bad with cramps in my adductors. Generally because I had been doing all my training over summer from 5 am when it's much cooler & the heat was a huge shock to the body. I was starting to lose concentration feeling light headed & making small mistakes on the track. Thinking of recovery to be able to race day two was something that I was trying to block out of my mind but I ended up sitting out of the race for 20 minutes to re-hydrate & regain my focus after finding it hard to focus on my riding in the heat. In this short period of time finally the thunderstorm was rolling in & I was starting to feel much better with the cooling temperatures.
Back on the bike with the rain starting to fall I was feeling much better & now drinking water with two Fizz tabs per bottle instead of the normal one. The tyres were starting to pay off now with the extra grip & it felt like riding in the dry. Traction wise I seemed to have an advantage on the riders I was going around.
Rolling over the line at the end of day 1 I was now sitting in 3rd place after loosing a spot with the time spent off the bike, but knowing that day two was to be a much cooler day I was looking forward in a good nights rest before getting back out on track.
Lucky for me Natalie could also helped me out with a few Hammer Endurolytes to stop the cramping.
It was also a good time to check on one of my athletes I set training plans for, Jemma Burtonwood who was sitting in second overall in the full 24 hour distance. She looked like she was in good spirits & lapping constantly into the night. Something that always makes coaches proud, seeing that athletes are rewarded for following a structured training plan & they have not given up.
The restart on day 2 was to be after 6 am but with heavy cloud cover the start time was delayed to allow more light for riding early morning. I got away at 7:03 am instead of the 6:33 am start from my finish time the on day 1.
Feeling like I had been beaten by a stick around the legs from the cramps on day 1 I was surprised to feel quiet good on the bike making up some time toward 2nd place. The solo riders in the 24 hour now worn down from the constant pedaling all through the night were near riding in the one spot as I passed. I managed to slow to have a chat to Jemma on track who was now sitting in 1st position against the other female riders and still seemed happy on the bike.
Not much went wrong for me on day 2 feeling much better in the cooler weather. The track was perfect after riders completing lap after lap all night long with sprinkles of rain every now & then.
With news that I was gaining on 2nd I pushed near my limit on the last few laps looking around each corner as I approached the next rider in front of me hoping that it would be the rider sitting in 2nd spot, but with the time up, I crossed the line just after midday finishing a few minutes behind 2nd averaging a little over one kilometer faster than day 1.
I spoke to the male winner Sam Moffit after the race asking what he thought of the track & he said that it was the hardest 24 hour he had done to date. No surprise I would have thought, it was definitely hard for just 6 hours at a time !
- Outerimage for the photo's
- Grahame Sonter for feed zone & camp shower after each days racing
- Fizo Cycling for race day
- Enriched Health Care for pre & post race massage
- Hammer Nutrition for helping me hammer all day & Natalie for the endurolytes to stop the cramping.
- Rockytrail for hosting a great event & all the other supporters throughout the event