Monday, May 23, 2011

Paterson 24hr - 6x6

1st place - Paterson 24hr - 6 x 6

This weekend I was off to the Hunter Valley for the Paterson 24 hr.

Originally I was going to pair up with Jase to compete in the male pairs, but since Jase was out crook I decided to have a shot at the 6 x 6 category. 6x6 is where you race from midday to 6pm, and then 6am to midday.

The weather was brilliant, and on my practice lap I was sweating for the first time in months!

The course has been freshly built on farm land, and was Dargle-Farm-est in some places. It really suited me, with some longish climbs and around 230 vert meters / lap. A lap being between 45-49 minutes.

Fireroad climbs, some steep chute drops, steep switch backs and some great rock gardens in dark and damp little forests ... and some very inventive tracks cut through cow paddocks. It was also intriguing that a course could have so much off-camber riding!

The soil in the paddocks was super grippy, and you could really lay the bike over around the corners and rocket out of them.

I'd say that for any future race here, it would be worth getting out and working out all the A-Lines. I only rode 1 of the A-Lines (opting for the safe routes), and probably could gain 30 secs / lap by nailing them.

The race start was fast and straight into a fireroad climb. I was happy to be 3rd or 4th in the top single track and let Odams set a cracking pace.

For the first few hours Odams sat a few minutes in front, driving a fast pace. He was climbing quick. Meanwhile Stu Adams (2nd place) was descending like a daemon, and was about a minute up on me.

Around the 4th lap, I got word that both Odams and Adams were slowing and by now I was starting to get into my rhythm. I'd also sussed out the track well enough to be riding the descents a lot quicker.  Sure enough, I soon passed both Odams and Adams on the climbs and punched out a few quick laps to consolidate the lead.

Going into the night, I had 6 mins on Adams, and about 30 to Odams.

After a terrible nights sleep, I headed back out feeling surprisingly good. I immediately got into my comfortable pace and just kept putting out consistent lap times. My gap continued to grow each lap, gaining 2-3 minutes on Adams each lap.

I had a little moment around 8 or 9am in one of the rock gardens - missing my line and wedging the front wheel into a rock. I went straight over the bars, landed squarely on my head and fell into a crumpled mess over the rocks. A few cuts and bruises - and a "wiener meet stem" issue - but overall nothing too serious.

In the end, I got out 16 laps, Adams got 15 and Odams 14. Meanwhile, 24 Solo winner Brett - "Jeebus" - Bellchambers got out 21 laps.

Food wise, I had 1/2 Torq bar / lap, 1 Torq gel / lap and 3/4 bottle of Torq energy / lap (2 - 3 scoops).  This food combination probably meant I was running a little high on carb intake, but I figured with all the climbing it would not hurt.

Equipment wise I ran a 2.1 Rocket Ron (UST) front and 2.1 Racing Ralph (UST) rear. These worked really well on this course, biting into the cow paddocks and being nice and narrow to steer through the rock gardens.  I ran my more heavy duty Roval rims, but you could easily get away with lighter weight rims on this course.

The Scott Spark performed really well- nice and light in the climbs, and responsive in the fast flowing descents. The Twin-Loc was a great advantage - I'd use the lock out on all the climbing and engage the middle lock for the rest of the track. I never needed to fully open the rear suspension.

The front suspension was still setup from Solo Nats, so around 50psi and the rear at around 145psi.

A big thanks to Robyn for coming and supporting me this weekend - she did a great job in maintaining my super quick transitions.

Thanks also to ACT Bike Superstore for keeping me running with all my gear.

SHITS - 6 hrs in the Saddle

6 hours in the saddle - Beechworth

6th open mens, 10 laps 6 hrs :12 min

Last weekend (14th May) I decided to head down to the 6 hr at Beechworth.

The event is run by Finishline Events - who also ran Terra and Alpine Assault - and the course was in a mtb park we went through in Terra - so I thought this would be a good race to check out.

I got to the event early to get in a preview lap and it was cold!

The Beechworth mtb park is really good fun. Lots of granite roll overs and little rock gardens. It flows really well and rewards those who pick the right lines.

It was great to see a really strong turn out of riders - Jackson, Chancellor, Zagorski, Davies, Hayat ... and the list goes on.

For me, this race was just for fun and I went in with no expectations.

Not having any support for this race I had no idea where I was position wise in the race, so I just rode a solid tempo and tried to improve my lines each lap.

In the end, I came in 6th place - 12 minutes down on 3rd and a lap down on 1st.

Food wise I kept it real simple - 1/2 Torq bar or a Torq gel each lap, and a bottle of Torq energy (3 scoops) every 3 laps.

Equipment wise I ran a 2.1 Rocket Ron UST on the front and a 2.1 Racing Ralph UST on the rear. This combination worked pretty well, especially since there was a little moisture on the track. If the conditions were dry, I'd go a Ralph on the front too - and maybe go for a 2.2 width.

The Scott Spark performed really well - riding the whole day in the middle lock out.

Thanks to ACT Bike Superstore for keeping my bikes running, and to Robyn for letting me out for another weekend of racing!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tour of Canberra

7th GC / 2nd KOM - C grade

What better way to backup the 24 hr Solo Nationals with a road race the weekend after ...

I'd let Fenner talk me into doing a roadie race to mix things up a bit ... and I figured if nothing else this would be a good high intensity, low volume training ride.

On the friday night I really did not sleep too well - I had no idea what to expect the next day. Was I going to be completely schooled? Would they stop that I was an mtb imposter? Would I be a complete tard in the pack?

So I was pretty tired turning up on the Saturday morning and heading out for a warm up with fellow mtb imposter Aaron "Tommo" Thompson. We both had let our stubble get out of control, and I *may* have deliberately neglected to keep the leg hair under control ... :)

The first stage was a simple 55km out to the Condor Creek dirt road via Uiarra Crossing. My plan was simply to stick in the pack and watch what everyone else did. I hung mid way through the pack, and hugged the road center line ... much to the annoyance of the trailing copper who kindly (and constantly) reminded me to stay in the line with a loud toot of his horn.

I found it quite interesting the huge variations in speed the pack would travel out - feeling like we were almost stopping after each little climb.

We eventually made out way to the final climb to the dirt turn around. I guessed this must be a KOM point so smacked it in the last 100 metres to claim the points. It was a good think I did, as it meant I had a pretty clean and independent run down ... and was no where near a big stack that took out a bunch of riders behind me.

The climb back out of Uiarra was fast, and I did not pick up that there was a KOM point there - so missed a good opportunity. Regardless, I hung with the lead pack and avoiding their end of stage sprint finished 10 seconds down.

The afternoon was the individual time trial. Something I have never done (outside of training and FTP tests). I went out and rode to my power meter. I managed to clean up about 4 or 5 riders in front (20 sec interval release), so I figured I was doing ok. At the end though, my time sucked. I finished about mid-way through the pack. My power for the 30 mins was just a big below my FTP, so I think I rode strong - but without any of the aero advantages of TT bars, helmets, wheels, body position I sucked.

Tommo however nailed it. 9th in the TT on his stock Giant / Shimano 105 bike ... beating heaps of guys on their $10k plus beasts!

Heading into the final stage 3 minutes down (damn you TT), I figured I would have some fun on this 80km stage. I sat in until Uiarra Crossing and punched it up the short climb. Reaching the top first I decided there would be no rest, and promptly set a 300 w pace. Not happy, the pack followed without their little rest. Pulling off I expected this pace to be maintained, but they were not up for it ... so I said stuff it and went back up to keep the pace up.

We eventually got down to the Pierces Creek climb and again I smacked it into a climb I know pretty well. But unlike racing with Gaz, where we race side by side, I had a couple of tails who drafted me to the KOM point and jumped out to get the big points. Grrrrr.

Out into the long false flats I set the pace again, no attacking just a solid tempo, and soon enough I was out all alone! Lazy buggers!  I got a few minutes up the road and was wishing for Jase or Gaz to be there with me to take it home. I eventually sat up and waited for the bunch.

Luckily by now, we were into the meaty end of the race, and the race leader was keep to see the pace picked up. A small group attacked Mt McDonald and the cruise back to Uiarra. Heading up the three sisters I dropped off this little group - but was not lone as my fellow KOM buddy was there suffering and fried. We dragged each other back in to finish about 1 minute behind the lead group of 5 or 6 riders.

So, all up an interesting weekend of training riding.

Food wise it was the simplest setup in a long time ...  a few bottles of Torq Energy and a few Torq Gels!

Bike wise I ran my Scott Addict RC 2 . The bike is light, fast and responsive. It was good to see a number of them out there too.

Thanks to Tommo for keeping me company on this roadie adventure, Fenner for his daily tips on how to ride each stage and Robyn for her patience in losing another weekend to me on the bike.

Next it is back onto the mountain bike for a 6 hr in Beechworth and then the Paterson 24 hr ...

Being an embarrassing MTB rider