Preparation & Planning ahead
The event was to be held in the beautiful alpine town of Bright surrounded by the steep terrain of Mount Buffalo, Mount Beauty and others. The area is also a well known location for cyclists, both on road and off road because of it's location and friendly cycling atmosphere. Arriving in town after staying in Cootamundra with my sister to break up the 12 hr drive to Bright there were bunches of road cyclists everywhere taking on the steep hills in the area all riding around in there supporting team kits.
We booked a night into the big 4 holiday park so our two smallest kids will have a great time away as well in the park which was located in the small town of Porepunkah just outside of Bright.
The kids had a great time swimming in the pool & jumping on the giant blowup trampoline while I got a small ride in to stretch the legs and check out some of the local area on the bike before heading up to Mt Buffalo for a drive/walk checking out the scenery in the area. If your ever in the area you have to take the time & walk up the Horn. It was amazing!
24 hr race day
Race briefing was the only clue of what I was in for around the track as I opted not to ride a lap knowing I had 24 hrs to work out the best race lines. Called to the start line whilst downing as much last minute carbs as I could I still managed to position myself on the front line where I got a smooth start taking it easy for the first lap hoping riders in front of me knew the track better than myself.
It was not long in the first lap that Dave Speering mentioned his tyre was already leaking air and pulled over to re inflate it. The general race pace for the 24hr was quite fast averaging above 20 kmh and I was wanting to back the pace off, but in doing so found myself holding up keen riders behind me wanting to pass. Mid lap I let them by to burn all there energy on some open fire road that climbed a few hundred meters up the side of a mountain. Most of the climbing in the 18 km loop was on fire road with undulating sections of river rock scattered ground in the singletrack following a fast flowing little river stream. The descents were fast steep lines through pine plantations that became faster and faster every lap as you tried to stay off the brakes saving energy for the climbs.
A few laps in I was settling in to a comfortable pace on the course coming around at the hour mark ( just what I planned ) taking on food and a new bottle of hydralyte before heading back out. The day was hot in the sun but a cool temperature in the shade given the location of Bright. Perfect weather for riding.
I tried to get an update on my position now that I had been riding for a while & I was receiving all sorts of answers to what I was coming due to a problem with the live timing system with the majority of people telling me I was sitting in first place for masters. Just before night fall I was riding over a rocky step up onto a log & hit it wrong stopping the bike suddenly & in a hard gear not letting me get enough power to the pedal to get over it I found myself falling off the side onto rocks. Lucky not to injure myself badly I got back on the bike & started to ride with some more caution around A lines when there was a B line saving more energy to be taken.
The hardest part of any 24 hour race is early morning when all seems quiet because of people sleeping in tents around the event center that are helping or riding in teams. although this 24 hour race was to be the best I had ever seen during the early hours of morning with entertainment out on the track that made you laugh & kept you awake with there crazy cheering. Angel Flight was a small section of track that was lit up with angels, party lights & music. The track was scattered with disco lights shinning in the trees & disco balls hanging from the trees that reminded you that it was not only a race but a party atmosphere. There were a bunch of guys having there own party by the river with music blaring & showing off there disco moves before giving a high five as you ride past & my favorite of all was around 20 teenagers on a bit of a fire road hill climb that dressed up like the crowd in the Tour de France running beside you shouting a random name and cheering with excessive noise as you had tears of laughter rolling down your cheeks.
Finishing my 2nd last lap nearly eight minutes faster than me previous lap I was confident to back off the pace slightly for my final lap knowing if I was to be caught from seven minutes behind then that rider would deserve the win.
I rolled over the finish thinking I had finished in 1st place in masters & headed to the shower truck to have a much needed shower before packing up for the trip home & presentation that was to be held at 2pm.
With my hands, knees & back swollen from overuse I found it hard to shower.
Presentation I managed to get a seat & found it hard to keep my eyes open as I looked around at other solo riders nodding off the sleep. With the call to the podium I found out I was not in first after all with Martin Grannas in Masters finishing just under 10 minutes in front of me & Mark Astley who I though was my closest competition in Master now finishing 17 minutes behind me. It was a shame that live timing was not showing Masters during the event as I would have tried a bit harder to make the top spot, but at the end of the day I was happy to average over 17 kmh & that is what I had set out to do before World Champs in Feb 2016.
Final results for Open had Shane Roberts win his third B24 in a row ahead of Scott Chancellor & Sam Moffitt. The Female solo results was Alexandra Orme 1st, Leah Childs 2nd & Lara Cordell 3rd.