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.
- 2 x Fortsips - although I think I had some curdling issues again
- 1 x Hammer or Torq Gel / hour (2 in last hour)
- 3 x Torq Bars (1/2 per hour)
- 3 x Bottles of Perpetuem (which had caffeine)
- 3 liters of Torq Energy drink
- 1/2 Banana
- 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!)