Choc. Foot - Single track mind series - Stromlo 7 hr
This race was sure going to be popular. 7 hrs at Mt Stromlo - just a 6 weeks or so out from both the World Solo 24 hr champs and the Scott 24 hr races.
The 7 hr track included a couple of the climbs and the decent which will be part of the Worlds course - so there were a lot of people wanting to have a look.
As has been the weather in Canberra lately, it was cold and rainy all week - which just added more water to an already soaked mountain. I was expecting it to be pretty wet.
The Gibbon and I headed out there on Saturday for a look over the course - there were some puddles but not too bad. We figured most would get splashed out early on ... how we were wrong.
I soon also realized that my rear shock on the Epic had shat itself ... bugger this would mean I'd have to race the nice and clean Stumpjumper ...
Morning came and after a bit of scramble to get an ok pit position and setup we were ready. Well, I was ready, but the Gibbon was contemplating the poo-house line out - 350 riders + support and 3 loos ... with everyone thinking it was better out then in ...
The race started at the usual frantic pace - with fast team riders and some of the usual elite solo's heading up the firetrail. The first firetrail had a little incline and then we headed into a bigger firetail climb which skirted the Nationals/Worlds feed zone area.
I really should have pushed harder to get up in front here - as the traffic jam that followed was painful. I probably had 30 odd riders in front of me - but many were complete spastics on the singletrack and I was working had to get around them.
So, it was across the Nationals/World feed zone, through the trail cross over tunnel and up to the black berry climb.
This section is usually pretty fun and it was ... until the last right hand turn where the mud was actually a little underground river ... with 350 riders hitting this lap after lap it soon turned into ankle deep goop. You could sometime power through it - and risk getting bogged and falling into it, or take the annoying walk around it - battling the prickly blackberry bushes.
Anyways, once out of blackberry it is up the short but steep little fireroad section which is good for overtaking. Into the next single track (Slant 6) which also had a fair bit of mud and water - but held up ok.
Fast and flowy run through to the next single track climb - which *may* be in the Worlds Course.
Again, puddles turned to gloop mud at the start of this climb - but it held up. This part of the climb has a bunch of rocky turns and areas to roll over. Traffic was pretty bad here as some struggled to navigate the rocks.
Over the fireroad and onto Heart breaker - which is definitely part of the Worlds course. Sharp right hand climb into the mud - spinning the wheel to churn through it - left hander switch back over the big rock and then just a few switch backs to Skyline.
Skyline is a fantastic run down to the Downhill bridge ... it has recently been re-surfaced, making it gumby proof - but also means you can ride it as a pump track with no brakes or peddling. Nice to relax on as you fly down.
Through the downhill bridge on onto the Luge track - big bermed switch backs. Picking the high line entry point makes a huge difference here, and staying alert and aggressive through these can see you pick up a lot of speed.
Coming up to the last part of the berm track there was (yet another) mud bog - this one could stop you - literally ... and it seemed to shift as the day progressed. So you never knew which line was going to be safe.
Over the table tops, and big berm, around the 4x track - down the 4x track drops and you were back in transition.
Out of transition, there was the fence line / holden creek loop. Again, muddy, wet and a massive bog which had to be walked through.
Overall, this was a pretty intense track - although nothing compared to how the Worlds will be. This track saw 200m vert a lap, whereas Worlds is looking at 500m vert lap.
The Skyline / Luge / Berm track decent is pretty tough on the body - and you need to find the right places to rest.
Same as on the climbs. You have to take it easy and recover energy whilst climbing.
The Stumpy turned out to be a good choice. With little fireroad and the big decent it worked well. Cleaning it will be a pain :( It and the Epic will be back out at the shop tomorrow to get it ready for the next race on Sunday.
Nothing new on the food front - same as usual.
Robyn (and special guest dog Darcy) provided excellent support as always - and finally Robyn had a nice sunny day to get sun burnt in.
Good work from Brett at the shop in getting the Stumpy rear shock replaced and it ready to race - hopefully the Epic will not be too far behind!
Next race is Sunday - 100km, 2500m vert - Angry Doctor in Mogo.
Finger crossed there is good weather, as I'm not trashing another bike in the rain before the Worlds!!