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.