Training & Preparation
I left for Canberra just after visiting physiotherapist Barry Spencer at Enriched Health Care for an ongoing calf injury I have every time I run at pace or more than five km, with happy results after some tests I now know where the problem lays & hopefully soon will be back out running again like the good old days.
The roads were busy on the way down to the ACT but I was still able to get to the track for a quick lap & pick up my race number plate before dark, then head over to see Clinton & his family.
After eating carefully for the past four weeks I had so far lost five kg & I was finding it hard to manage carbohydrate loading as it felt as though my brain had been wired to eat less & not more during the past weeks & fitting in 700 grams of carbs was a hard task, but one I know you have to do if you want the energy to race for seven hours.
After a great nights sleep in a comfortable bed I still had enough time to relax a little at breakfast with Clinton's family before heading out to race.
Arriving at Mt. Stromlo I realised I had left most of my race food I had prepared in the fridge back in Port Macquarie & had to make up a new list comprising of fruit filled pillows, Cola, Gel's & bars. After looking for a spot to squeeze in my table & setting up there was no time left for a warm up & everyone was called to the start line.
Stromlo is one of my favorite MTB destinations in Australia & I was excited to be back after my last race here at the WEMBO Solo 24 hour in October last year. The start had us all race around a fast tar crit track before heading into the first singletrack climb up Fenceline, Cockatoo Switchbacks & down past the wall ride on part of the downhill through the tunnel at the bottom & back up Wattle Happen, Blackberry & Slant Six, Heart Breaker onto the final decent down Skyline, Luge & Old Duffy making up a nine km loop.
The start felt quite slow & I managed to get into a reasonable position before entering the first single track climb where at the top my legs were feeling great & my heart rate was low, I proceeded to go around some of the slower riders in front to better my position overall for the first few laps settling into a good pace & three hours in I was feeling great being told I had at least a two minute lead, I was feeling so great that I was wanting to go faster up the hills, especially now I was feeling both five kg lighter & a little stronger. I was a little shocked that I was in front & found it hard to believe. I was sucking on a carbo gel & getting some food every now & then but not long after the four hour mark I was starting to feel hungry & a little sluggish in the legs. Before to long I was caught by a rider who I thought was in a team so I moved to the side & called him passed without looking behind, as I was past quietly I realised I had just been overtaken by Jason McAvoy who was in my category & as I rode behind him the backs of his legs seemed clean as though he had stopped at some point ( well that is what I wanted to believe). I kept behind him for a while but the pace started to get the better of me & I had to let him ride away hoping that he was to be caught again latter in the race, because at this point I was feeling very hungry & needed to get as much food in as I could next time going through the feed zone.
As the race was coming to an end I found myself more energized but feeling it in my muscles from low glycogen levels earlier in the race & the rough terrain requiring extra effort to get over the rocky ground although I was managing to get faster & faster on the descents now that I was getting use to the track.
I was happy to roll over the line in second place ahead of riders that had finished in front of me in the past, such as Ian Bridgeland now finishing third, Jason McAvoy finished in first only a few minutes ahead of me, who is a local to the trails & current World Solo 24 hour champion for Masters.
Final Series Results
Rocky Trail are a very professional organisation & make you welcome at every race while they run there races at a very high standard & I can see why they get a big turn out to all there races including some of the best riders in the country as well as some international riders.
There were five races in the series & the worst scoring round score was dropped to give the overall podium positions. I managed to finish in equal second spot with Ian Bridgeland but it was decided that I was to take second ahead of him because I raced in all five rounds. First place went to Darren Dillan who rode strong throughout the series where I was only to finish ahead of him in the last round.
I would also like to thank Seers Cyclery for there support also in keeping my bike running at its best.
Most importantly I would like to thank all the support from family and friends on the side line, on the trails & through social media, you know who you all are !
Thanks to Clinton, Bec & kids also for there hospitality in Canberra for the last round, it was great to catch up for a couple of evenings & the hospitality was awesome :)