1st Elite Solo
Heading into my 5th race in 6 weekends I was feeling a little smoked. Added to which, I had jumped back into the base building miles this week after a solid VO2 block post Europe.
For those in the power world, it was a 1000 TSS week with an 8 point CTL jump - so going into an 8 hour race was going to hurt!
I'd spoken with my main nemesis rider Ed McDonald during the week, and it sounded like he would not be making it to Welby. He had a nasty slack at Backyamma the weekend before, and was under strict physio instructions to rest up. #bugger
Even without Ed, there is of course Mark Tupac Tupalski - and if he had had his Wheaties during the week he would definitely be a contender.
McAvoy, Robyn and I snuck up to Welby for a recky on the Saturday afternoon. Finishing the loop, it was something very different to what we usually ride and race on.
It was mostly loose sandy soil over hard pack, or over moving rocks. About 3km of pretty new track was in place, evidenced by the talcum powder layer of dirt over who knows what! The track had a few reasonably techie sections, a bunch of pinch climbs and a little bit of flowing single track towards to end.
Probably the closest track I could match this course against is Mt Annan. Welby was like a more natural Mt Annan style course. Tight corners, pinch climbs and some rough techy stuff.
This was definitely going to be a tough course to do an 8 hour on. I ditched the 29er ht and prepped the 26" Cannondale Scalpel. A dualie would be an advantage on this course, and with a lot of tight and slow corners and switch backs, the more nimble 26" bike would be the better selection.
Race start was fast paced, with the teams riders taking off. Tupac was off with these boys, and I was left cursing my fried legs as I climbed the start fireroad.
A few kms into the single track, I came across Tupac. His chain was all mangled and it was looking like his day would be done early. Although, you can never rule out the Tupalski ...
I started thinking, "sweet ... easy ride today" when I heard a rider come up behind me. I ask he if wants to get by and he says, "nah, am just going to sit here as long as I can ... I am a solo rider too".
"Yay" ... just what I needed ... not! Being a rude prick, I punched it (well as much as my dead legs would) up a few of the fireroads and on the fast flowing sections, and soon had a gap and lost this rider behind me. Back to the mind set of "sweet ... easy ride today".
About 2 laps later, he was back! We had a bit more of a chat, and I confirmed that this was indeed Andrew Lloyd sitting in on my wheel. He seemed to be pushing pretty hard, but it was clear he was intent on riding this one fast. The technical parts of the course really suited him.
Later in the lap, I took a bad corner and dropped my chain. Andrew snuck by and I think he pinned it off the front.
#whatever I thought ... as long as I beat Tupac today I will be a good position in the overall series points, so I was not too fussed to see Lloyd take off. That said, I was looking at my heart rate and how hard I was going. I was thinking that he was probably going too hard on this course, and it would probably come back to bite him.
Around the 5 hour mark I got told Lloyd was about 2 minutes up ... oh well, may as well wind it down a bit and take a pee stop. Next lap I was told I was only 40 seconds back. wtf?? That does not make sense.
That lap I came across a very broken unit. He was well spent.
For me, I was still feeling pretty good, so I stomped it past Lloyd and decided to take the advantage and put some time into him. In the remaining 2 hours, I put 16 minutes into him!
I think a lot of riders under estimated how much the Welby course would take out of them. It it definitely a a course to approach with a little extra hesitation.
In the end, it Andrew Lloyd in 2nd and Aaron Tommo Thompson in 3rd. It was great to see Tommo finding some form again! 2013 World Solo look out ...
I also took the chance to do a little Peter Sagan "running man" salute. There has been a standing order between JD, Ed and myself that any wins are to be accompanied by the running man ... :)
In the Gaz vs Jase battle, Garry won the Masters Solo and Jase came in 5th.
Meanwhile, RAKS Racing came in 2nd in the Chicks-3 category. A super effort!
A big thanks to;
- Robyn, Kylie and Anne for dishing out gels and bottles all day. 16 gels for me today!
- Cannondale Australia - the Scalpel is an awesome bike. Lightning fast and comfortable in the long races
- Schwalbe (BikeBox) Australia - the snakeskin Rocket Ron + Racing Ralph combinations were perfect in the conditions. And despite seeing a lot of punctures on the loose rocks, the snakeskins held tough
- VIE13 - for our great custom kits (check out their new web site www.vie13.com all ready for their Interbike Launch in Vegas)
- Radical Lights
- All other other team sponsors and supporters!
- Fi and Joe from Chocolate Foot for putting on another top event, as well as all the local club volunteers for putting in their time to make this event happen. (I'd still like to kick the course designer in the nuts for a few hours though ... ) :P
Some more base mile building and then the Kowalski Classic 100km in Kowen Forest in a few weeks!
|Tommo, me and Andrew Lloyd|
|Chaotic mess of setting up|
|Gumby and Pokie ... that Pokie is a cool dude|