2nd Elite Solo
252km / 12hrs
This weekend it was back to Dargle Farm for the annual Rockytrail Entertainment / Jet Black 12hr.
Dargle Farm is one of those great hidden venues, which is only opened up once per year.
The track itself is built around two valleys of farm land, and has a good mixture of singletrack and fireroad - as well as a couple of nasty pinch climbs and little rock gardens to keep you awake at night.
This year, the track had a few modifications from years gone by, which meant a little more fireroad but did introduce some interesting hidden long grass singletrack.
With the modifications, the fastest guys would be hitting sub 20 minute laps, and for the solo guys sub 25 min laps were on the cards.
The race started with the usual team riders taking off like stink, and thank fully Jason English did not immediately jump onto their tail. So the first lap was a pretty cruisy lap with fellow solo riders of English, Bellchambers and Chops (James Lamb).
Heading to the pinch climb at the start of the 2nd lap, I jumped in front of Chops and stomped it. This was a little pay back to Bellchambers for doing this to us all last year.
I was able to get a useful gap, and it was until well into the 3rd lap that English came across.
Despite a solid head wind, I was happy to set the pace for myself and English - and we kept a solid pace for first 5 or so hours. However, when the fast team riders came through I was not able to make the jump onto their tail - and that was English gone.
I figured that would be the last I would be seeing of Jase for a while, so I settled into steady and consistent laps - with the intent of lapping Bellchambers sooner rather then later.
I came across Brett a bit before the 9 hour mark (just on dark), and we rode around for a lap together before he sent me on my way.
I figured I would take it easy for the last 3 hours, and settled into a lower tempo pace to see out the rest of the race.
The night was welcoming, as riding under lights always adds a new dimension to a race - new lines emerge and it is like riding a new track.
Finishing a minute or so after the 9pm cut off, I was not too upset not to be taking on another lap - 12 hours was long enough for today.
For the race, I rode the Cannondale Flash 29er - yes, a 29er hard tail. The course is definitely a 29er course - with the big wheels flying over the bumpy double track / paddocks and also easily rolling over the rock gardens.
Tires for the day were the Schwalbe Racing Ralph Snakeskins - more then enough grip and fast rolling.
As always, the Radical Lights were bright and gave awesome definition. I also gave Brett a good scare by turning the lights right down as I came up behind him and then turning them into full brightness ... he has seen the light!
A big thanks to all the Team Radical Lights sponsors, and also a huge thanks to Robyn for coming up and providing excellent support to myself, Garry and Tommo.
Well done to Garry on getting 1st in Super Masters, and Tommo for a solid ride also.