Monday, August 22, 2011

Singletrack Mind Rd 4 - 7 hr @ Wingello

1st Solo Men
13 laps in 7 hrs : 11 mins : 50 secs

This weekend it was off to Wingello for the 4th round of the Chocolate Foot Singletrack Mind series.

This weekend was also the 4th consecutive weekend of out of town racing, and after the 12 hr last weekend I was feeling pretty fried all week.

Driving up on Saturday afternoon, it was clear that there had been a lot of rain up there during the week. Getting to event central was a little 4-wheel drive adventure, and the relocated event area was very muddy indeed.

Garry, McAvoy and I headed out for a look of the track, sure enough it was off into light rain!

Saturday night our spirits were all down, no one was keen to slog it out in the cold rain for another weekend. That said, some light humour was made from the Thai dinner menu which included an entrée of "Poo Jar". Almost as good as the Thai dinner menu from Nowra which included "Pad Pet".

Sunday morning was brisk and very wet. But it would be the same for everyone so time to suck it up.

The race start headed out into around 2-3km of fireroad. It had a gentle up hill gradient to it, and later a nasty head wind.  The pace was fast but not too crazy. I was happy to let the fast team riders (such as Benny Henderson) go, knowing that Ed McDonald was sitting behind on my wheel.

The 8km of single track that followed was sloppy. Very wet and slippery. Extra caution had to be taken on the slippery tree roots and log roll overs.

Coming out of the single track there was another 2km or so of fireroad. Most of this was in a fast flat descent back to the transition area. Ed was still on my wheel as we hit this single track, but when he saw the long descent I could see the disappointment in his eyes.  Ed was of course riding a single speed, and had no chance of keeping up as I dropped into the smallest ring of the cassette and powered away.

Not having support for this race I had no idea of my time gaps. My strategy was to just keep riding at a solid tempo and keep pushing it on the fireroads.

Around the 5 hour mark I got news from McAvoy that I was 5 minutes or so up on Rod McGee and that Ed had fallen back some more. This was good news and I set about keeping up a similar pace.

By this time the track had dried out pretty well. It was really tacky and fast. A great reward for slogging it out earlier in the cold muck.

In the end, I got Rod by 8.5 minutes and Ed by 14.  It was then 40 minutes back to 4th place Enduro Pulse rider Michael Crummy.

After 4 solid weeks of training and racing, this was a great way to finish this block!

McAvoy and Bree won the mixed pairs, and Garry and Old-man (John) Henderson got 2nd in Masters pairs. So it was a good weekend all around for us Canberra boys!

  • Torq gel 1 / hour, 2 in the last hour. Caffeine from 8am - midday
  • 2 x Torq bars (1/2 per hour)
  • 1 x Cliff Shot Block
  • 5 x bottles of Torq energy (2 scoops / bottle)


To deal with the mud, I ran Continental X-King Protection 2.2s on front and rear. These were perfect for the conditions.

These tires were light, and very grippy both in the mud and on the hard pack. These conti tires have a very sticky rubber compound which really grips any surface. The knob spacing was also amble to allow the mud to clear, with no build up on either wheel.

My chain of choice lately has been the SRAM PC-1091-R. This is a lightweight version of the 1091, and has extra slits in the links to reduce weight. The upside of this is that it also helps in mud shedding. I lubed my chain once in the morning before the race (Rock-N-Roll blue), and despite huge amounts of mud my chain had no issues at all. Very impressive.

Finally, the good old Scott Twin-Lock was again invaluable.  I used the full lock out on all the fireroads and also in some of the single track pinches. It really makes a huge difference to be able to make the bike fully ridged with a flick of the switch on the bar.


A big thanks to ACT Bike Superstore for getting my bike prepped for this weekend. A special thanks to mechanic Brett for making sure the TwinLock was perfectly tuned.

Although Robyn was not there to support, she was following the results online - so a big thanks for her too!


Next weekend is back to normal training. So probably heading out to Stromlo to start dialing in the bikes in preparation for the Scott 24 hr!

I'll update with some podium and other pics once they come out!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jet Black 12hr

2nd (solo)

24 laps / 12 hrs : 15 mins : 09 secs

This weekend was the Jet Black 12 hr at Dargle Farm (lower Hawkesbury area).

Although this race was originally not on my race calendar, it quickly signed up a few weeks back once I heard that the Kona Mawson Marathon was cancelled.

Dargle is a really fun course. It is on farm land and basically follows a big Y shape up into two valleys. Along the way, there is a great mixture of flowing single track, pinch climbs, and fast paddocks crossings. It is all topped off with a fast descent and jump into the event central.

My goal for this race was to stick with Jason English (Merida) for the start, and to then keep with Brett Bellchambers (Niner/Maladjusted).

The start was fast. Brett set the pace early on. The first 2.5 hours Brett pushed hard, seeing the three of us churn out sub 28 minute laps - and have us in the top 5 overall! You can see my heart rate was averaging around 160+ for this time.

Around the 2.5 - 3 hr mark Brett started to slow. At the same time English went off the front and I could settle into a more comfortable pace. The heart rate came down into the 150s and lap times were sub 30s.

I kept this same pace pretty consistently and around the 6 hr point English lapped me. By this stage I had a comfortable lead on Brett, and could see that I was gaining time on him each lap. With Jase looking to conserve energy, we ended up riding together for pretty much the rest of the afternoon / evening.

It was great to have the company and with neither of us having to push it, it was really cool to be able to just cruise around and have a good chat along the way!

A memorable moment was when we were coming up to a split in the single track around a little pond. I punched it to the left to over take a slow mover on the right hand side. My wheel hit a wet tree root and flicked the rear out, with Jase on my wheel he hit the same root with his front wheel and got flung off the track into the pond!

Luckily he grabbed hold of a tree and his bike got perched on a ledge over the water! Without the tree, he would have been swimming in the middle of the pond!

As the night progressed, we took it progressively easier. I had planned to race the GP 8 with Garry James (Torq/Anytime Fitness) on the sunday, but by the end of the night I had seen enough of Dargle for one weekend!

The last few laps were super cruisey and it was great to be finishing a long day out feeling good.


Food for this race was the following;

  • Torq gel every 30 minutes (caffeine from 9am-midday, and 5pm - 8pm)
  • Torq bar every 30 minutes for the first 5 hours
  • 2 x Nutella sandwiches
  • 4 x Clif Shot Bloks
  • 10 x bottles of Torq Energy (2 scoops)
  • 2 x bottles of Coke
Interestingly I found the Torq Bars hard to eat, so I replaced them with the sandwiches and the Clif Shots.  


I took both of my Scott Sparks set up for the race. 

One bike was setup with 2.0 Continental Race Kings on ZTR Crest / DT-Swiss ultra lites, and another with 2.2 Continental Race Kings on my old Rovals.

I ended up riding the 2.0 Race Kings for around 9 hrs of the race. They were definitely the better choice.

The Race Kings gripped well in the thick farm soil, and the smaller width tire were easier to navigate through the rocks on the punchy climbs.

This was the first race where I did not use the Twin-Lock at all! I left the Spark's in the middle lock out mode for the whole race.


A big thanks to;

  • Robyn - for being an excellent pit crew boss and looking after all my food, bike swaps and lights etc
  • ACT Bike Superstore - for getting my bikes ready to go for this race and keeping them running. A big thanks to Brett and Mick for getting my forks ready to race
  • FOX - for a super quick turn around on my fork service which ensured I could run both bikes
  • Rockytrail Entertainment / Jet Black - for running another great race. Well organized and great fun
Next weekend it is off to another Singletrack Mind 7 hr race at Wingello!

 I need a warm sponsors jersey! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Husky 100km

10th overall, 9th Elite*, 2nd Vets

04 hr :48min :23 secs / 100km

* - I was meant to be in Elite, but they obviously foo-barred my category so my results are listed with me in Vets


This weekend was the rescheduled Husky 100. 100km of fireroad and singletrack in the forests between Huskisson and Jervis Bay.

This event had been rescheduled due to heavy rain, and so it was ironic that on the Saturday evening the heavens opened and the rain started falling.

Just a few hours before, I had been talking with Fenz asking on conditions and what tires to bring - the word being it was all dry and would be super fast. So the "fast" tires were packed ...

Waking up early on Sunday morning, the rain had stopped but there was a fair bit of water on the ground.  The event central was already looking like a bog and it was clearly going to be a wet day.

The Elite riders got to go first, with the remainder of the self seeded field to follow a minute or so after.  So Ed and I were up front, and Jase and Garry in a group behind.

The start was fast but quite manageable. Skirting around a golf course, the track was full of sticks and leaf litter. It was surprising not to see derailures pop in this section.

It was soon into single track and fireroad, and there was a lot of moisture on the track. These fireroads must see a lot of 4-wheel drive activity, and there were massive bogs which spanned the width of the road. Sometimes there was a skinny edge to skirt around, but most of the time it was a lottery of plowing into the water. 50-50 chance of either ending in a bog which consumed your front wheel, or you could churn through the mud and pop out the other side.

Around the 10km mark there were around 10 riders still together ... however with the sketchy and slippery terrain and the constant stop/start of the bogs it was inevitable that the elastic band snapped and 3 or 4 of us fell off the back.

It was about this time that Ed McDonald caught up from the fast start, and it was great to ride with Ed until a bit after the 50km mark.

Soon we passed a very broken "Trekkie" ... he did not look like he was having a good day.

Ed definitely had me in the slippery singletrack. He had a slightly better setup for the conditions, but he also had the better technical skills in the conditions... and it was only a matter of time until we hit a long and super slippery section of single track and I lost contact with Ed.

It was around then that Jason Chalker caught up to me. We rode together until around the 80km mark before he pulled away.

We were now in the mix of the 50km riders, and although the overall track was drying out there was still some very nasty slop-fests to get through.

It was also confusing to see slower 100km riders in the mix!! Turns out some bad signage had resulted in a heap of riders taking a 10km (?) short cut ... chaos in the results.

Cruising through the Coondoo Rd single track was great fun. The only down side was coming up behind a Marathon MTB guy who had obviously popped but was extremely rude and would not let me past ... or even acknowledge my requests to pass. I find it ironic that of all the riders I passed, everyone was polite and quick to allow me by ... yet this one "elite" guy was just a complete prick. Talking to other riders they had similar experiences with this jerk ... not a good rep for his sponsors.

The final 15km went fast and soon I was pushing it back around the gold course ...

Crossing the line I was very surprised to see Garry already finished!! Garry and Jase (and a heap of other riders) had been in the group who had missed a turn. Bugger.

So all up, a very wet and muddy day out.

2.0 Race King tires are really not good in these slimy conditions. I had no grip all day and it was quite a challenge to keep the bike up right.

Food wise it was 6 torq gels, 2 torq bars, 1 litre camel back & 1 x 750 ml torq energy.  I chucked in some extra electrolyte tabs to the drinks as I knew it would be humid.

The bike help up pretty well. No lock out issues in the mud (hooray) ... but I did have to replace both sets of brake pads and the chain.

Next weekend I'm off to the Jet Black 12 hr ... 12 hr solo, and then I'm paring with Garry for the 8 hr on the Sunday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

3 Ring Circus - 50km

15th overall / 8th category


This weekend was a short 50km XC race in Wingello State Forest.

This was just a race for fun, as such a short race definitely does not play to my strengths.

So, after a full training week, and a moderate roadie on the Saturday, Robyn and I headed up to Bundanoon.

The girls were also racing - Robyn, Kylie, Kendra and Anne - and Garry was also meeting us up there.

The start was fast - with about 10km of fireroad. I managed to hang with the lead bunch almost until the single track, at which point a few smaller groups at formed.

Certainly I could feel the week gone by in my legs.

The single track was in great condition and super fun.

Coming back out on the fireroads, I was in a group of 6 riders. It was interesting seeing the various strengths - one guy would get away in the single track and we would get him back on the next hill. Another guy was a great climber, and another a good power house on the flat.

Once we got to Tangles the guy in front fell off the back. Eventually I got around him, but the group was just a bit too far out of reach.

I pushed through the final 15km of fireroad and came in 15th overall.

It would have been good to break the 2 hr mark - maybe next time with fresh legs.

I did not go into the race with my usual bike prep. Unfortunately my rear brake desperately needed bleeding, and there was many times I took a handful of brake and almost pulled back to the bar.

Also, my front fork lockout failed. So I rode the race with about 2 cm of travel! Oh well, the forks have been sent of the Fox to be repaired / replaced.

Food wise for the race, it was simply 4 Torq gels and one bottle of Torq energy (3 scoop) ... oh, and some yummy pancakes at the race end!

Next weekend is the Husky 100km ... still not quiet long enough for me, but still should be great fun!