Time for testing Fitness
A Lesson To Learn
The start was quick but not fast & I thought I was in an OK position as we entered the first single track where the pace slowed enormously & given that the track was sidelined by trees or grass trees there was no chance to overtake. There were riders calling for track behind me but there was no way I was letting anyone passed because I myself wanted to get passed the riders in front of me & I'm sure other riders in front had the same idea etc, etc.
The track was awesome with long switchback climbs, lots of changing terrain & fun enduro style descents but with the lack of places to get past riders I could not ride at a steady pace & instead found myself having to ride to other riders styles. Fast on the climbs, slow in the single track & extra fast on the fire roads not giving me any opportunity to get past.
With the race starting at 8 am QLD time & the start of the warmer weather I found it very tough trying to keep riding approaching 50km with only being able to carry one water bottle full of electolyte per 25 km lap & not wanting to wast any time by filling up at the water stations throughout the track. A mistake I was to pay for in the end.
2nd lap into the 4 lap race I found myself in the front of the pack I had been trying to get around & started to push myself through the singletracks, maybe a little so much as I was not able to correct a couple of small errors around corners slamming into trees coming off second best with a few cuts to my fingers & bruises to my right shoulder & leg.
I was quick to learn that I had to drop the pace back off a bit in the tight sections of trail & from trying to hard to make up time & I was also starting to get some cramping twinges in the heat as I ascended the hills. Backing off the pace on the last two laps I was starting to feel very ordinary struggling to breath in the heat & just holding off the onset of cramping. The pack I was riding with vanished into the distance & I found myself riding the pace of a 12 hour race instead of a 100 km marathon. I started opting for a bottle refill with 10 km to go each lap & with the extra cooler fluid I was starting regain my concentration that the heat had taken away from me during the day. I managed to catch up to the elite female riders & thought I was going to come good toward the end but as soon as I went past my legs started to cramp placing me back behind them on the climb. From here the race seemed to go downhill fast for me.
Going out for the last lap I felt relieved that I had not been lapped by the elite male riders at the pace I was riding & found myslelf fighting off cramps on every hill. The last 10 km of each lap was where the hill climbs took there toll & I was glad to roll down the second last descent knowing that I only had one more hill climb to get over before rolling to the finish. Climbing the last hill I could see two riders battling it out behind me & gaining quickly so I pushed myself up the hill as quick as possible with cramps in both legs before hitting the last fun gravity descent for the day with a 10 m gap. The two riders were keen to get by as we got to the bottom with the finish line in sight & looking over my shoulder I thought they looked to young to be in my category so I let them by to race for the finish.
Looking over the results Jason Herriot & Chris Thompson are the two that passed me near the finish & both in my category pushing me out of 3rd place down to 5th. A very disappointing result for me & a lesson I have learned very quickly. "Race to the finish no matter who you think is behind you".
At The End Of The Day
A huge thanks to the Brisbane South Mountain Bike Club for hosting the event & I'm sure Ill be back riding the trails in the area soon.
Thanks again to my sponsors for there ongoing support:
Enriched Health Care
Graham Seers Cyclery
Elite Female riders 1st Imogen Smith, 2nd Briony Mattocks & 3rd Anna Beck