Monday, March 12, 2012

Armidale 12 hr

Armidale 12 hr - 12 hrs in the Piney

2nd - Solo Male

In planning out the 2012 race calendar, I wanted to race a few more 12hr events. I figure these are great both for base volume training, and for simulating a 24 solo.

I'd signed up for the Armidale 12hr months ago, and as it worked out the race was great timing to escape a wet and muddy Canberra.

I was hoping to be able to get a relatively easy race in, but I noticed a few days out the race organizers had upped the solo prize money to $500. Hmmmm - that is the magic number that Jason English will turn up for.

Sure enough, Jase was announced as a late registration - there goes any easy race I had plans for!  Jase had just finished the Mountains to Beach stage race, and had a long drive back up. He would definitely not be on his best ... but hey, this is still Jason English!

Tommo (Aaron Thompson - Onya Bike) and I drove up early and were able to get a good look over the course on the Friday.  With no mud, and a well built track in the pine forest we could not be happier.

The track itself is about 11km, and similar to riding on Majura or Kowen. There were two small hills, some super fast flow sections, lots of tree roots, a maze of A and B lines and some wandering cattle to keep you on your toes.

Given the tree roots and that I would be supporting myself for this race, I opted for the Cannondale Scalpel. It flew over the roots and rocks, and railed through the little berms and fast sections on track. 

Now that the Scalpel has softened up a little in the rear, it is a truely amazing 26" dualey. It is hard to describe - but the no-pivot setup means you still get great power transfer but still with a nice feeling rear suspension. The flex in the rear stays feels more controlled and solid then a traditional rear shock and pivots. The aggressive head angle and lefty fork also make the bike super responsive - and the result is that the bike is a rocket.

Back to the race ...

Jase and I were chatting as the gun went off, and the pace was pretty tame as a few teams riders in front of us set the pace. It was probably the laziest race start I have had ... with my heart rate sitting around 140, it is usually 180 - 190!  So, when we hit the first A/B line 10 minutes into the race, I jumped down the B line knowing it was actually faster then the A, and popped out in front. Jase of course quickly followed and we set off at our own pace.

I set the pace for the first 5 hours, with Jase only dropped off once when he had to tighten a cleat.  In retrospect I should have attacked here, and make Jase work a bit harder to get back on. But I really wanted to stay with him for a few more hours before any move was made.

Ironically, after that lap I had a slow transition (self supporting and needing to re-stock), and Jase got in front. He upped the pace a few times but I was ok to hang on. Going up one of the pinches I stalled and pulled a foot, and this was all Jase needed to fully launch an attack.

Again, in retrospect I should have eaten the bars and caught him back up - but at the time I was content to keep at my pace and hope he slowed down in the later hours.

For the next few hours he put 1 - 2 minutes into me per lap, but then slowed right down again and we were again at matching lap times.

In the last few laps I made up some more time, as Jase had a chain mechanical - but I was not going to bridge the gap.

Tommo came in for 3rd, 2 laps down from Jason and I.

I'd like to say a big thank you to;

* Radical Lights - the Podda Mk3 were brilliant. I had lots of comments on track about their brightness :)
* Cannondale Australia - the Scalpel is weapon, and with no body soreness the following day it is obviously a comfortable bike for a long days riding
* Vie13 - the new team kit was cool and comfortable - top quality fabrics really do make a difference
* New England Mountain Bike club - for putting on a well run event
* Jason English - for the company and conversation on track - always great to ride with you
* Aaron Thompson - for the company on a long drive

Lots of moving 'A' lines ... and they left lots of sloppy presents on the ground too!

Sweeping the track! I want this service at all races!