Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rockytrail GP 8hr - Stromlo

Rockytrail GP 8 hr - Mt Stromlo

2nd Solo Men, 12 laps @ 07:54:31

140km, 2400 vert/m

This weekend was the final round of the Rockytrail GP series.   An 8 hr race around a 12km loop at Mt Stromlo.

Although not an important race on the 2010 calendar, it is hard to pass up an opportunity to race at Stromlo.

That said, an 8 hr this weekend was always going to be a challenge, backing up after the 100 miler Highland Fling the weekend before.

The Fling definitely took more out of me then I thought it would, and I was energy-less all week. In fact, we only raced B grade at Dirt Crits - Jase, Blanko, Tommo and I were all feeling it.

But regardless, and ignoring Fenz's words of wisdom to just race 4 hrs, I packed up the car ready for 8 hrs of Stromlo fun. Not having ridden Stromlo since 24hr Worlds I was keen to get some hours in.

Getting set up, it was good to have a heap of mates around - Jase, Kevin, Ed, Gaz and Tommo were all there. Although, ironically we were all racing different categories!

The start was a good sprint around the crit track. Rockytrail races get a lot of beginners, so you really don't want to get stuck behind anyone heading into the single track. My Dirt Crits legs kicked in, and I was about 5th into the single track - and put in 15th fastest lap of the day.

That was the last I saw of any of the guys for the day :( Jase had mechanical issues, Ed busted a spoke and flatted, and Gaz was stuck back in traffic.

The track followed fence line and fire road up to the black berry climb (above the bridge).  It was all about the big-dog getting up that firetrail :)

Blackberry to Slant 6 to the round about area, then up blue tongue. Despite all the talk of ruds and washed out trails, all of this was fine. There were few more exposed rocks and ruts, but nothing bad.

The down little Seymour ... which was great fun. Some nice little rock drops and fast corners. The mud bog at the bottom was a bit nasty, but nothing compared to the Choc. Foot 7 hr race!

From there, we hit fireroad up to the new Willo-link. This bit of fireroad was good for taking in some gels and drink ... and good for peeing on the bike :)

From the top of Willo-link it was down Party Line (pipes) ... which is just an awesome run down. Nice berms, super quick and flows so well.

Then back onto the main windy trail back around, and down the big berm, over the 4x bridge and back onto the crit track.

After about 3hrs I was definitely feeling it - New Years resolutions #1 - when Fenner says do a 4 hr, listen to him :)  But I plodded on - silently wishing I was finishing at the 4 hr mark ...

The heat was tough - my Garmin reported temps up to 31 C!

Food wise, this race I intended to try to run on a little less food;

  • Torq gels
  • Torq bars
  • Torq energy
  • Couple of bananas
  • Hammer heed
  • Hammer perpetuem
Seemed to work ok - although I probably needed some more caffeine. Mid way through I could barely keep my eyes open!

Getting towards the end of the race, Robyn let me know I was about 10 - 15 minutes behind 1st. I honestly was not too fussed ... I had no intention of busting myself to make up this time. Similarly, when I came in at 7hrs 54, and I knew I was a lap up on 3rd there was no way I was going to head out for another lap!

A big thanks to my excellent support crew of Robyn and Bailey. Bailey made sure no food scraps went to waste ... and thought he was a guard dog all day.

Robyn is getting very good at keeping me fed and hydrated - and knowing what I need.

Thanks to Kevin too for his helping hand.

A big thanks to Brett from ACT Bike Superstore - after last weekend's race he put in a heap of work into my Scott Spark. New bearings in my front race wheel, re-packed the headset, cleaned and socked the derailleur and chain. He also put in a heap of time getting the 10 speed X0 shifting just right. Thanks!

The Spark performed well - again the Twin Lockout was fantastic. All the climbing in the mid-lockout and all the fireroads in full lockout. Great for getting out the saddle and having no bob!

I ran the Scwalbe Rocket Ron this week. It is an impressive tire - and has lots of cornering bite. There were a few moments I thought I was going down, but the tire grips and pulls you out. I highly recommend this tire!!

Time to rest up now ... next weekend is a ride to the coast (and back) with the guys, then a light Brindies weekend, then off to Victoria for the Alpine Assault 100km!

Ed and Andrew


Monday, November 15, 2010

Highland Fling 100miles

Highland Fling - 100 miler - 8th

Wow - what a fun race. Nearly 2800 vert meters of climbing mixed up over the 160km course.

Although mostly fire road, there was some quite fun single track that flowed really well.

Before I go any more into those post, I have to let out a big aarrrrhhhhhhh ... mid way though the Tertini Wines stage I managed to miss a turn. This cost me 25 - 30 minutes and about 9km!! You can see this massive loop on the bottom of the Garmin map below. Had it not been for this, I could have been up there with Fenz and McAvoy in 4th/5th/6th... but that is the way it goes ... grrrr

Anyway, the race started off a blistering pace. Fenz and Blanko were leading out a string of 100km riders and really cranking. Jase, I and one or two other 100 milers were a bit scattered behind this lead group. We got within about 30 seconds, but they had a few minutes on us by the time we reached the first transition.

Gaz came through the transition a few minutes after we arrived, so it was great to all take off down the road together. We caught up to Tommo who was setting a fast pace down the open road.

Sweet - all the riding buddies are together ... until Jase loses a crank ... and then Gaz drops a chain ... then not long after the "Wall", Tommo was looking very worse for wear and dropped off.

So, then it was just me ... heading in the wrong direction! I realized I had gone off track, but had no idea where. So I followed the road I was on back around - it felt like it was going in the right direction. I knew I had lost a lot of time coming back on track with guys pushing their bikes up the hills!

Getting back to transition, Robyn and Kylie let me know that Jase was only 5 minutes ahead! He had fixed up his crank well enough to ride. I headed out pretty shitty and not in a good head space. Within the first 10km or so, another miler caught me up ... it was then that I started to get my head back into shape and then put the foot back down.

Come the finish, I would have claimed back 6 positions!

The final stage was quite fun - water crossings, pinchy hills and lots of 100km riders walking and looking worse for wear.

I finished feeling good - and had lots of power in the legs.

The Scott Spark was great. Nice and light up the hills, and the twin-lock was great. I rode the whole race in either full lockout or the middle (traction control) mode. Just flick the lock out on and you can get out of the saddle and really punch out the climb. Traction control mode was great over the cow paddocks as well.

I was going to run lighter tires, but a bad bearing in my front race wheel meant I was running my backup wheels - so it was a Specialized Captain up front, and a Larsen TT on the rear. This race definitely does not need knobbly tires. Next year I will be looking for much more low profile and lighter tires.

As for food and drink;
A big thank you to;
  • Robyn - for looking after me and knowing what I needed (even if I could not say it) ... and for looking after all those other riders!
  • Brett from ACT Bike Superstore for getting the Spark's dialed in (and dealing with the muddy cables following Dirt Crits!)
Next race - 8 hr at Stromlo this weekend - where I will try not to miss any turns!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brindabella Mission

Time for a real post since the Worlds ...

With a bunch of races still to come before the end of the year, we have all had to keep our training legs on.

CORC Dirt Crits have started, and Jase and I have been stepping up and racing all four (4) grades ... why stand around watching when you can be racing around the Majura Singletrack? :) 45 minutes at crit pace is a far better work out too.

Today was a 100km+ Brindies missions. A good warm up for next weekend's Highland Fling 100miler.

We had a good turn out for 6:30am, Gaz, Jase, Ed, Bellchambers, Tommo and another SS rider.

Bellchambers set the cracking pace early on, as we wound our way into the low clouds around the lower brindies.

Gaz was never too far behind, keeping a firm eye on Brett, waiting for the Corey climb.

The Corey climb came, and Brett was off - dropping Gaz within 100 metres!

A nice 20 minute climb to the top, and we had some great views through the clouds into the valley below.

A dodgy decent, made extra fun by Brett's almost slick tires, and then around to two sticks.

Usually an uninterrupted 40 odd minute decent was broken by Tommo airing off a water bar, blowing off his rear tire and getting the tube wrapped around the rear hub! Very impressive.

The road back to Stromlo via Mt McDonald was a scorcher ... super quick, and picking up a few roadies in our wake.

My new Scott Spark keeps impressing me. All the road work was done in full lock out, all the climbing in the intermediate mode and the descents opened up. Although everyone else was on 29er hard tails, the Spark was no disadvantage!

The 2.1 Rocket Rons were great on the front - thin enough to dodge in between a lot of rocks and debris on the fireroads - and super grippy in the softer surfaces.

Next week - Highland Fling 100 miler!