4th - 100 miler elite men / 7hrs
This was always going to be tough race ... for me this was the 4th race in 4 weekends, and after the great 12hr last weekend I was smoked!
I dribbled around my midweek training rides, and got out to Stromlo on the Thursday to check out the course. As expected, it was everything brutal you expect from Stromlo!
The course took in most of the standard trails - including the lower sections around Holdens Creek, a trunk trail / red lap climb, down through the upgraded Pork Barrel, into an exceptionally rough transition to Deep Creek. From there, a standard Blue lap through sharp rocks, tight turns and did I mention lots of rocks ... up Missing Link, and down the upgraded Double Dissolution.
From there, it was back into the single track, to then climb back up the fireroad to hit Party Line, and then singletrack back to Willo Link. From there, it was back into the climb through very rocky and rutted sections to the new look Skyline all the way to the bottom, before hooking back into Blackberry, Slant-6, Break Out and back to transition.
Wow - that is a lot of Stromlo, and a solid 1hr : 20 ish lap time.
Lap times were faster then last year - as the Pork Barrel descent is a lot quicker then taking in Magpie Rock and upper Slickrock.
So, after dribbling around all week, I dutifully set the alarm for 3:20am on Sunday morning - ouch! Remember, that the 100 milers start at 5am ...
Stumbling around in the morning, I could not find my no-doz, so I opted for the double caffeine gel on the corn flakes - yummy!
Packing the car in the dark, I managed to tread in a "Bailey Surprise" - aka a big dog turd, and so had the fun job of shoe cleaning at 3:30 in the morning.
|Stella and Bailey - aka Little Spud and Big Spud|
Once cleaned up, we were soon out at Stromlo - hanging out with all the other over-caffeinated miler cyclists. It was great to see the Big Beard (Bellchambers) back on the bike and racing after his nasty stack before the Scott 24hr.
The race started as expected - Ed setting the pace up the front, and English sitting in somewhere behind.
Ed turned up the pace on the red lap climb - getting very (very very) excited at the gap forming back to the bunch English was in. Cresting the top of the Stromlo climb, Ed continued to turn up the pace and soon was off the front of Callum and I.
Looking at my heart rate, I knew I was in for a long day. Usually, in a start like this my heart rate would be up around 185bmp - and can be up there for a couple of hours. I was lucky to see it above 165bmp! Oh crap ... I really am tired.
Callum rolled by as we crested the hill, only to stack on the next corner! He went down pretty hard, and would later have 9 stitches in his leg. Kudos that he kept riding for the rest of the race and getting back on after that!
For me, I then held a small gap to Callum and English for the next 3 laps - I knew they were never far behind, but I just kept chugging along.
|Scalpel railing a berm|
Heading out on my 2nd or 3rd lap, just as the climb started I came up behind a slow rider. I called my usual "hey, can I get by" ... silence. I wait for a little bit and ask again ... silence. Hmmmm ... top of my voice "hey!!!". The guy grumbles something about he can't hear me because he has his head phones in. I use some expletives to explain where he can stick his head phones, and the let me by.
I get back a bunch of expletives and something along the lines of "what do you think your doing, racing or something ??". The guy then looked around and saw my race number plate ... #fail
The 4th lap was marked by English, Callum and I all coming together and then being stuck in the traffic heading up the climb. It was pretty bad - lines of riders walking and stopping, falling off. It was a slow ascent.
I felt bad for English, as as this point in the race he could usually churn out a few quick laps and catch back up to who ever is off the front. But the traffic made this pretty impossible.
We all transitioned together for the 5th lap, but by now I had little in the tank. Where usually I could still hold a 155+ bmp heart rate, I was crawling along at 130 or below! Needless to say, both Callum and English got by and I resolved myself to just getting through this lap and accepted defeat.
In the end, Ed finished 14 minutes ahead of me (very similar to last year), English churned out a fast lap and was 8 minutes up. Callum faded and only scraped in 30 secs in front of me.
|Working through the traffic|
So after a long day out, on a brutal course it was Ed who smashed the 7hr mark and deserves a huge congratulations for not just having a super race, but also in backing up from the weekend before and for getting one over English - no small feat.
Callum also showed he has stepped up, and I hope he can build on his new form.
Well done to fellow Cannondale-Sugoi rider James Downing - 4th in a stacked 100km field. Of course a big congratulations to a fellow Cyclery and Frameskin rider Shaun Lewis for taking out the 100km win.
For me - I'm off to bed :)
A big special thanks to;
- Robyn for coming out early and supporting me (and so many others) - brilliant job as always
- Kylie Webb for the extra bottles and encouragement, and for all the cheers with Andy Blair at the top of the hill - Andy was right - I just need to go faster!!
- Cannondale - the Scalpel was still a weapon for Stromlo. A pleasure to ride
- Frameskin - keeping the bike protected from all the Stromlo rocks
- The Cyclery - for keeping Cannondale-Sugoi riders riding
- Martin and Julie-Anne for putting on another great Rockytrail Entertainment race
- SRAM - XX was flawless for the whole race - and can't wait for XX1 going on my bike real soon